E645 Powerball Review

manufacturer: Engl date: 11/22/2006 category: Guitar Amplifiers
Engl: E645 Powerball
No compromise, ultra low end, versatile rock/metal amp. 4 channels lead to where no ENGL amp has gone before.
 Sound: 9.8
 Overall Impression: 9.8
 Reliability & Durability: 10
 Features: 10
 Overall rating:
 Reviewer rating:
 Users rating:
reviews (4) 36 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 10
E645 Powerball Reviewed by: hermz, on november 22, 2006
6 of 6 people found this review helpful

Features: Engl Powerball 100W head (2006 build):

- 4 channels: clean(1), crunch(2), low gain lead(3), high gain lead(4).
- Bright/bottom switching
- Extra low end buttons for channels 3 & 4.
- Additional treble knob for crunch channel.
- 2 EQs, each 4 band (one for channel 1/2, one for channel 3/4)
- Presence and depth punch controls
- 2 master volumes and 4 volume controls for each channel.
- Adjustable noise gate
- Effects loop. // 10

Sound: I've been playing this through a mahogany bodied LTD with EMG 81 pickups. The head runs through a Framus Dragon 4x12 cab with V30 speakers. No other effects or anything were used.

Clean. It is commonplace for high gain amps to suffer in the cleans department, however this certainly isn't the case with the Powerball. This channel allows you to go from crystalline cleans to a low/med crunch without losing clarity. The bright and bottom buttons allow you to add a little bit extra resulting in either a sharp or warmer sound respectively. The clean channel is really important to me and Engl have done really well in this department.
Crunch. You can source a surprising amount of gain out of channel 2, however as it shares the gain control with the clean channel it is better to use it for it's purpose, a heavy and mean crunch! This channel comes with it's own additional treble control. The bright and bottom buttons also apply to the Crunch channel to allow for extra tone shaping. An excellent channel for classic or hard rock tones.
Soft Lead. This is where the fun starts. There is more gain available on this channel than most people will ever really need. I play a lot of death metal, mostly melodic, and I probably get the most use out of channel 3. The distortion absolutely rips and combined with active pickups you really won't need to use channel 4 simply because of the amount of distortion on tap.
High Lead. This is basically more of the same. The gain is boosted a few knotches and it provides a slightly more modern tone than channel 3, but overall the differences are minimal besides the extra gain. I'd imagine this channel would be a black metal guitarist's dream.

This is what familiars would call a Version 2 Powerball with the improved noise gate. Honestly, this noise gate is excellent. With the noise gate turned up, there's barely the slightest of hums standing right next to my rig with this thing. I usually keep the gate at about half. Another great thing about the Powerball is that it sounds fantastic at bedroom volumes! // 10

Reliability & Durability: This is a quality built amp. It's an Engl, afterall! This thing is as solid as any other amp I've used and I'd definitely rely on it without a backup. I intend on keeping it for a very long time and I'm sure it will last without issues. I'm yet to have even the slightest problem with it. // 10

Overall Impression: I have been playing guitar for probably 8 years now and only just recently took the leap to buy a high end amp. The main contenders were the Framus Cobra and Engl Savage 120, but I eventually settled with the Powerball. The Powerball is exactly what I had been looking for. The tones from this thing are unreal! It honestly never ceases to amaze me and was definitely worth the hefty price tag. If my Powerball was lost or stolen I would be destroyed and immediately begin saving for another. // 10

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overall: 10
E645 Powerball Reviewed by: jornvdcb, on february 15, 2010
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: € 1495

Purchased from: Musicstore.de

Features: -100 Watts @ 4, 8 or 16 Ohms -4 Channels (Clean, Crunch, Low Gain/High Gain Lead) -2 seperate 4-Band EQs -2 Bright Switches -2 Bottom Switches -Volume Controls for each Channel -4 x ECC83 Preamp Tubes -4 x 6L6GC Poweramp Tubes -Master A/B -Presence and Depth Controls -Integrated Noise Gate for High Gain Channels -FX-Loop (parallel to serial) -Dimensions: 71 x 27 x 27 cm -Weight: 20 kg // 10

Sound: I mainly play this one with a Jackson SL3MG through a Laboga Vintage 4x30 cab (I'm considering on buying an Engl XXL cab). It has 4 channels. Clean: This was one of the prime reasons i bought an Engl, the clean is bright and warm, you can always tweak it a more with the bright and bottom switches regarding how you want it to sound. Crunch: A slightly distored clean sound, it's good for rock. Personally i don't really like this channel but with a tubescreamer this channel sounds perfect to me. Soft Lead: This channel really has a lot of gain. Pinch harmonics, lead stuff, articulation etc.. This baby can handle it with ease. It's really more a metal channel, but that's what I mainly play. This thing has more gain then any other amps i've ever played. High Lead: It's almost the same but is a bit more bassy. Great for blackmetal // 10

Reliability & Durability: Well I have it for over a year now and it still works. I never had any problems with it. Great built-quality. I believe it also has a built-in surge protector which disables your tubes. Oh and Thank god it has a grillplate with medium holes so you can enjoy the red lights by night! // 10

Overall Impression: I play guitars for over more then 7 years now. I play every style of music but I mainly play metal like: All That Remains, Parkway Drive, etc.. When I was looking for an amplifier I noticed that the most bands play with a Peavey 6505. But everyone was complaining about the clean and since I play all styles I wanted it too sound good. So now I have this Line 6 x3 live pedal with a great clean amp sound to play all these different styles of music and I have my gain channel to just blow away every piece of dust in this room. For a distorion amp with a great clean this thing is worth an 10. But be sure to test the powerball with a lot of cabinets, it's sound great with my current cab but I'm sure it sounds way better through an Engl cab especially for the lows. Now we get to the stolen/lost sentence: if that happens I'm sure I'd buy this one again but first I want to test some other amps like an invader or Mesa rectifier. Searching the perfect sound is really expensive! // 10

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overall: 10
E645 Powerball Reviewed by: unregistered, on march 04, 2010
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 1500

Purchased from: online store

Features: So we all know what is Powerball about. 2 Channel multimode guitar amp with many cool features like Bright and Bottom on Clean and Focus/Open Switch on Lead. Add two master volumes and Presence and Depth Punch controls and you probably have the right image right now. 4 6L6 power tubes give it 100W of nasty sound =) // 10

Sound: I use it with my SG Special Faded - I haven't replaced the pick-ups yet and I won't do it anyway. I'm quite happy with the sound ATM. But the most important thing for this review is that I DO NOT PLAY METAL OR HARD ROCK. We play a mixture of rocknroll, Indie pop, punk, but occasionally we do something harder. And this amp can do it all. I play my Powerball through Framus 212 box with 2 Celestion 30 speakers and I'm very satisfied. And now to the Powerball itself. If somebody says that this is metal amp only, he or she hasn't tried it really yet. Clean sound is really clean - depends on your gain setting (I prefer my clean a bit dirty, so I set my gain at 1 o'clock position) - the controls are shared with Crunch mode, so basically you can't have a totally clean sound with a lot of gain on Crunch mode - but as I said - I love dirty clean and it gives me very nice crunch as well. If you want real 4 channel amp - buy Diezel and pay twice the money at least. Lead channel is completely different thing. There are s---tloads of gain on this channel and I use only Soft Lead - I play 2nd guitar in my band so I have no use for High Lead - but it adds a nice kick to your playing and as I say: Better to have the 4th channel and don't use it, than need it and don't have it, right? And if there is too much gain for you on channel 4 just tune your Master volume B for a kick in volume and use channel 3 - works pretty well for me. Engls are pretty expensive, but this thing is worth it and you will hear every penny, cent or in my case crown spent in the sound. It sounds great. Low frequencies are easy to distinguish even in drop tunnings and trebles are nice and smooth. // 10

Reliability & Durability: This thing is built like a tank. Sturdy construction and solid wood. The handle looks OK as well. No plastic on this amp besides the knobs. And the Knobs are fantastic - tunning it is smooth and easy and they are solid as well. There is a plenty of LEDs on the front pannel - so you always know what you are doing at the moment. And those LEDs behind the tubes are a great idea - it really shines! One thing here for reliability - there is a tube control system built-in this beast - if you blow a tube (can't image how...) the system just turns the tube off and you can go on playing and worry about a technician to replace it later - nice thingy to have. But then again - I recommend a case or something - you don't want this amp to be scratched or something. That was the first thing I ordered after buying it. // 10

Overall Impression: So once more - we are not a metal band. We are not even a hard rock band. But I've managed to get a great sound for me from this amp. Together with my SG Special Faded and Framus 212 it is a great counterpart to Stratocaster and Marshall of our Lead guitarist. It is very versatille and it matches my needs completely. I even threw away my Boss Overdrive pedal - I have no use of it now. Before that I had Peavey ValveKing 212 - so you can imagine how thrilled I am to play Engl now. The difference is astronomical. I almost cried when I first plugged it in. I would buy it again if it were stolen or something. I'm extremely happy with Clean/Crunch mode - I actually started playing these channels, because the VK had a shitty clean. I enjoy playing these a lot. I can imagine that this amp can make metal guitarists really happy, but it can make happy almost everybody. Go and Try it if you can, this amp is worth your time! // 10

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overall: 9.5
E645 Powerball Reviewed by: unregistered, on march 14, 2011
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: € 1000

Purchased from: Local store

Features: This 100W 6L6 driven tube amplifier sports a variety of great features which I've found very helpful for creating different tones. It has four channels: clean, crunch, low gain & hi gain. The two gain knobs supply the clean/crunch and low/hi gain respectively, also the Eq is shared between clean/crunch and low/hi gain (separate treble for clean/crunch, separate middle for low/hi gain) this may be a slight disadvantage, but personally this doesn't really affect me since I frequent channels 3 & 4 the most. The clean/crunch channels have a bright and bottom boosting switches while the gain channels have separate bottom boost switches. This amp has two master volumes, the second which can be accessed via a footswitch, through which you can change the channels (also can be changed manually). The amp also have presence and depth punch knobs which help in further shaping the tone you have in mind. There is also an open/focused knob which is similar to the mid-boost function present on more recent Engl amps. There is a noise gate, altough it's not too great it handy. I hear they've improved it slightly in V2 and the PB2. There is also an FX loop. A great feature is the tube monitor, which shows you any problems in the powertubes via 4 leds, very useful! I wish maybe there could have been some reverb, but overall the features are plentiful and very good. // 10

Sound: I am using an ESP Ltd with 81/85 Emgs and I'm running the head through a Marshall 1960 cab (perhaps not the best cab for this head, but it's pretty decent), as you have probably already concluded by the emgs, my style is mainly metal. Clean: Very nice sound especially being a hi-gain amp, the gain allows you to get a slightly crunchy clean too which sounds very good. Also the bright knob gives it a very sparkly sound, which I've heard has a similar effect to that of single coil pickups. Crunch: A mean crunch for all your hard rock purposes, I might not use it extensively, but I occasionally enjoy messing around with it. I might add there is quite a bit of gain open to use. Low Gain: Here we are able to use the gain Engl is renowned for, this channel is a bit 'compressed' and metal-toned, it's excellent for heavy metal, power metal at mid-gain and it does death/thrash quite well. The sound is is JUST AMAZING...there are a few people who don't really dig the Engl sound, but I've heard the Powerball being compared to Mesa dual/triple rectos, Marshalls... and the Engl's performance gave them some serious blabbering issues. On Engl's website there are quite a few amazing bands who get their sound from this amp and I must say, I've grown to love it. Hi gain: Attention gain-freaks! This is similar to the 3rd channel but slightly more compressed and there is some additional gain (total = TONS of gain). Can do any death/black...ect awesomely. The open/focused knob is handy although I hear not many use it. Basically it boosts some mid frequencies, which is useful too for soloing. Also it's GREAT for getting a slightly more Vintage sound like some Black Sabbath tones ect... A note on 'cutting issues': I have seen a great deal over the web that the Powerball does not cut much in a mix. Firstly let me say the EQ is a bit different than the convential, you have to take a bit more time adjusting and obviously bedroom eq does not equal band eq. As much as I have seen complains I have seen many people counter-argue that their's has cut fine in live situations. Personally I haven't giged with it yet so I don't have experience on that. Some people have recommended using an Eq pedal to give boost certain frequencies due to the Powerball having a bit of a scooped sound. // 9

Reliability & Durability: So far after owning the Powerball after a couple of months I haven't had any problems with it. The powertube monitor is a great feature for reliability!! Also there is a power redistribution system of some kind which, let's say a tube fails in mid-gig, you can carry on without your sound dying abruptly. // 10

Overall Impression: I'm very satisfied with my Engl Powerball, apparently all the Powerball II has in difference is a slightly rectified middle tone an upgraded noise gate and separate gain knobs. So having got the original PB and 600 euro extra cash was a good deal methinks. I've been using various cheap SS amps for around four years and I had spent a good deal of time in saving for a good tube amp to suit my various metal needs and I believe this will serve it's purpose amazing. If something happened to it I would really consider getting it again or some other Engl. All in all, from the it's gorgeous design to it's Killer sound, this amp is great for hard-rock...For metal it's heavenly. // 9

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