Price paid: £ 1600
Purchased from: Thomann.de
Sound — 10
I use a Rocktron prophesy for effects and I primarily play with a highly customised Ibanez S520 EX, I've had all the electronics swapped out with high quality parts (CTS POTS, switchcraft switches and sockets, new capacitor etc.) and I have bareknuckle warpig pickups in the beast too. I also have a Fender strat that has had similar treatment and is boasting 3 bareknuckle trilogy suite single coils, however my Ibanez is my primary guitar. I play mostly metal, not mids scooped out buzzsaw metal, I have my own tone with the mids cranked and let me tell you, this amp growls and barks like a mother. The quality in tone is simply incredible. The other guitarist in my band uses a Line6 HD147 and he is left in awe when he hears my wailing leads and my grunting growling rhythm tone. That however is not all this amp does, I have dialed in amazing early rainbow, early whitesnake and ACDC tones from the amp, because of the channel setup you can get amazing versatility from this amp. One warning I will give youm, if you are the kind of player Who just wants that scooped out sound stay away from this amp, it has relentless mids that are hard to dial out. I however love mids and play with them cranked through my Engl XXL Celestion V30 cab, this amp sings. 10 for sound, beautiful is the only word I can use to describe the sound that comes from this amplifier. That dream tone you hear in your head that sounds almost like a voice, thats the sound I get from this amp.
Overall Impression — 9
If you are looking for a unique mid rich tone for your metal playing and not the typical scooped sound this amp is amazing. For lots of other genres I'm sure it would be exceptional too, the cleans are shimmering and bright, or deep and warm depending how you EQ, the distortion is to die for, and there is such a broad range of tones and gain levels to squeeze out in between that the possibilities with this amp are endless. I have been playing for over 8 years now and am currently in a band called No Love Lost based in Birmingham in the UK, I have through rehearsal rooms played through many marshalls, peaveys, and a few solid state H and K amps. They don't come close, my tone from this amp is simply godly, and cuts through the mix like no other. I have found my dream gear already so early on in my career and would recommend this amp without question. Overall I will give it a 9 because of the technical problems when first purchased, but for sound... It gets a 10 for sure!
Reliability & Durability — 8
I have had a few problems with the amp in the year that I have owned it so far. When I first purchased it within 2 weeks the power amp tubes blew, however these were replaced by thomann with Sovtek tubes and I haven't had a problem with them since and problems with modern production tubes are widespread. Secondly the midi input port on the back became loose because of my mishandling, this caused the amp to constantly Switch channels, I had this repaired locally for 40 and reinforced. Both these problems were early on in the amps life and since then I have had 0 problems with it. I would use this amp without a backup at a gig as I have been using it about 4 months now in rehearsal for 2 hours every week and had no problems, however if I could afford it I would buy another savage to take with me just incase.
Features — 9
This is a 2008 Engl Savage 120 Head I believe. I'm not going to give you all the features as they are, look on the Engl Site for that. I will however explain a few of them in a bit more detail. The amp is crammed with features, there are so many buttons and dials that you don't know where to start. 4 Channels, and rough/smooth mode on channel 3 and 4, which does make for a total of 6 different voicings right? Wrong. You are forgetting all the other buttons and dials such as contour, depth boost, lead boost, switchable presences, not to mention the fact that this amp has a very sensitive EQ, you really can squeeze just about any sound you want out of this amp. Very versatile indeed. Midi switching works fantastic, the only thing I really wish was that I could switch more with it, you can only switch channels, presences, master volumes and rough / smooth mode with the midi setup, would be nice to be able to turn depth boost, contour, lead boost etc on and off with midi too. Switchable effects loops too however I only use one because I use a rackmount for my effects. It also has outputs for 4, 8 and 16 ohms. What more could you want out of a tube amp? Ah yes, its noisy on channel 4 so those of you Who don't use external effects from stomps or rack would want a built in noisegate, I however do not.