E645/2 Powerball II review by Engl

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  • Sound: 9
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Features: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9.3 Superb
  • Users' score: 7.7 (15 votes)
Engl: E645/2 Powerball II
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Price paid: $ 2100

Purchased from: Rainbow Music

Sound — 9
I currently use a Schecter C1+ with stock duncan pickups as well as a Customized Epiphone SG with DiMarzio pickups for my low drop tunings. Whether I'm playing the jazz, or praise music through the schecter, or playing metal with my epiphone, I can always get that tone I'm looking for. On the downside, the entire amp is quite noisy, so if your debating this be sure to get a ISP decimator or something similarly good. The clean channel stays clean all the way to maximum volume (which about rips my face off!) and the amp is loaded with so much distortion that at full gain its barely recognizable. The nicest part of the tone is that when I crank it up and scream sounds from it, the highs don't slice your head off, they are smooth.

Overall Impression — 9
I play numerous different styles, from jazz to metal, and I've been pleased. I've been playing for roughly 7 years and use this with either my Schecter C1+ or my customized Epiphone SG. I also have some effect pedals I use in the effects loop of the amp.

Would this amp ever get stolen, It would take me a while to save up for it again, but it would be worth it. Its definitely a tone king, and I love the versatility of it. I played it side by side to the Mesa Dual Rectifier, and had it not been for the quality of the harmonics and the sustain on this amp, I would've gotten the Mesa. They were very similar, though the mesa does have a little more control for each channel.

Reliability & Durability — 10
For $2100, it better be dependable. I've only owned this for about 4 months and haven't really used it much yet (as the tolex is rather soft and I don't have a case yet). It came with extra tubes, and as with any tube amp, take a few with you just in case. The nicest thing about this amp is the power tube monitoring section. If a powertube goes out, it will light an L.E.D. in the front and reconfigure itself to use the other power tubes without changing the tones.

Features — 9
The Powerball 2 is one of the newest all tube 100 watt models from ENGL. With 4 channels (driven with Ax7 preamp tubes and 6L6 power tubes), you can set up your channels for the tones you need for any style and easily Switch them with an Engl Z9 switch. I play jazz, rock, metal, and blues, and this amp covers all the tones I need with only some minor tweaks. With all the different buttons on the front, you can really shape your tone (such as the bright Switch for the clean channel, the bottom switches on each channel, etc.) The only feature that I wish this thing had built in is a Direct Out, but I'll just have to pick up a Radial JDX.

23 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Marshall Lead12
    Powerball I & II < Savage 120 < Mesa Dual Rectifier. You DON'T get much tone beyond a Dual Rec for what you pay at all. Mesas cut through the mix very well. Very low, very punchy. Don't believe me? Proof:
    sewoo55
    The^Unforgiven wrote: Hell yeah, you know that if it reads 'ENGL' on the front it's bound to be top-notch stuff. Though, I can't fully agree with the comment on how a Dual Rec and this one are "very similiar" - they might sound alike, but being that the Rec is a 3-channel amp with 6L6GC power tubes and a choice of either tube or transistor rectifiers while the ENGL is a 4-channel amp with 6L6 power tubes, they're bound to act differently in different situations - Still, glad to see people choosing ENGL instead of Mesa, as I feel the ENGL doesn't get the recognition they desrve, but are instead overshadowed by Mesa, Diezel, Peavey and other big brands.
    Diezel? Seriously? Diezel is way more underrated than ENGL. in terms of tone, they're both in the same league imo
    sewoo55
    AHHH..... if only i had the money i would suck george bush's dick to buy this amp you cannot go wrong with an ENGL
    The^Unforgiven
    Hell yeah, you know that if it reads 'ENGL' on the front it's bound to be top-notch stuff. Though, I can't fully agree with the comment on how a Dual Rec and this one are "very similiar" - they might sound alike, but being that the Rec is a 3-channel amp with 6L6GC power tubes and a choice of either tube or transistor rectifiers while the ENGL is a 4-channel amp with 6L6 power tubes, they're bound to act differently in different situations - Still, glad to see people choosing ENGL instead of Mesa, as I feel the ENGL doesn't get the recognition they desrve, but are instead overshadowed by Mesa, Diezel, Peavey and other big brands.
    guy_tebache
    Nice review. Never paid any attention to ENGL, but I will now I notice that this has very similar features to the Diezel VH4 (though I have no real experience with either amp). Anyone know how they compare?
    toneseeker101
    I have to say I considered getting a PB2 until I heard & played the JVM410HJS. The Powerball has a touch more high-gain distortion but the JS is MILES more versatile has a better clean & crunch & it's high gain is killer. The ENGL has a tighter, more modern metal tone.
    StevieG59
    I've had a Powerball II for 6 months now and I wouldn't trade it. I get lots of complements from other guitar players on the tone. I also have a Bogner Shiva el-34, and Marshall JCM800, modded by Voodoo amps and it has the Deluxe HG Jose mod. The output transformer was upgraded with a Mercury Magnetics transformer. But to my ears, the Engl is better than both of these.
    themelodicdeathshow
    Diven wrote: I find I cut through the mix just fine with my Powerball 1. The gain is extremely tight and responsive, more so that the 6505 and the triple rectifier I owned. I found the 6505 to be to muddy and cold and the mesa didn't have the gain I was looking for, though it was incredibly warm. The Engl has tons of gain, you don't ever have to go past 2 o'clock frankly, and still retains the warmth I wanted.
    The mesa didnt have enough gain wut?? Rectos have more gain than anyone would need,
    CapnKickass
    Brendan.Clace wrote: CapnKickass wrote: to cut through, crank mids to ten, presence to about 8... and adjust other stuff to however sounds good. You shouldn't have to do this. Also, not everyone plays djent. If I wanted to play djent, I'd buy a Fortin Natas. You answered my question though. Still muddy in a mix unless you literally crank the mids and presence.
    Not necessarily djent sound by doing that, I was playing today, and there's still quite a bit of room for tone adjustment with the controls. I've just found after a lot of messing with the knobs that that's the easiest way to getting the most cutting or forward sound out of the amp. But then there's the focus mids which really brings it to the "djentish" territory which I haven't done a whole lot of. But yeah I dunno if it's really a bad thing to crank the mids to cut through, as long as it sounds good, and to me it sounds sweet.
    Dakkstar
    sewoo55 wrote: The^Unforgiven wrote: Hell yeah, you know that if it reads 'ENGL' on the front it's bound to be top-notch stuff. Though, I can't fully agree with the comment on how a Dual Rec and this one are "very similiar" - they might sound alike, but being that the Rec is a 3-channel amp with 6L6GC power tubes and a choice of either tube or transistor rectifiers while the ENGL is a 4-channel amp with 6L6 power tubes, they're bound to act differently in different situations - Still, glad to see people choosing ENGL instead of Mesa, as I feel the ENGL doesn't get the recognition they desrve, but are instead overshadowed by Mesa, Diezel, Peavey and other big brands. Diezel? Seriously? Diezel is way more underrated than ENGL. in terms of tone, they're both in the same league imo
    I think Engl is getting the recognition it deserves, as you look at their artist relationships tons of amazing musicians use them and for good reason.
    Dakkstar
    I have yet to try an amp that sounds better. Mesa/Boogie is too chainsaw muddy, Modern Marshalls let me down, Perhaps the only other amp I would choose would be an Engl Invader or a Blackstar.
    Diven
    I find I cut through the mix just fine with my Powerball 1. The gain is extremely tight and responsive, more so that the 6505 and the triple rectifier I owned. I found the 6505 to be to muddy and cold and the mesa didn't have the gain I was looking for, though it was incredibly warm. The Engl has tons of gain, you don't ever have to go past 2 o'clock frankly, and still retains the warmth I wanted.
    Brendan.Clace
    CapnKickass wrote: to cut through, crank mids to ten, presence to about 8... and adjust other stuff to however sounds good.
    You shouldn't have to do this. Also, not everyone plays djent. If I wanted to play djent, I'd buy a Fortin Natas. You answered my question though. Still muddy in a mix unless you literally crank the mids and presence.
    systematic_nois
    ilovesyu wrote: Seriously considering selling one of my kidneys for one of these...
    it'll be worth it
    CapnKickass
    to cut through, crank mids to ten, presence to about 8... and adjust other stuff to however sounds good.
    Brendan.Clace
    MUD! I wonder how THIS model cuts through a mix. The last just didn't cut through at all.....