Price paid: $ 1098
Purchased from: Ebay
Sound — 9
I use this amp mainly with a Gibson Les Paul with BareKnuckles, a Jackson with BareKnuckle Cold Sweats and a Strat with Gilmour sig. EMGs, so I have no problem on the guitar front against the amp. I play classic rock, hard rock and blues, we're talking Led Zeppelin, Van Halen, Thin Lizzy, Pink Floyd and up to the range of Metallica, Megadeth and artists under the Devil Driver level of gain! I aslo use this head through a THD 2x12, which is renowned as one of the greatest cabs ever made, so I do get the best out of this amp. Like so many have said, ENGLs really do have suprisingly shimmering cleans. It blew me away how they can be bright and Fendery, rather than the slightly dark aggresive cleans of Marshall. Channel two can be either clean or pushed into AC/DC territory with the clean gain raised and your picking attack increased, i.e. this amp is highly responsive to the players picking. Channel three will be a commonly used rhythm channel for most players as this is adjusted with the lead gain, seperated from the clean channels. Channel four is quite the beast and is superb for soloing, though I never need this amp with the gain past 12o'clock. It has all the sounds I need and all the gain I will ever need, even if I venture into metal country! No wonder this has Ritchie's name on it, he doesnt't accept any old amp and this does it justice. One small point is that I'd rather of had the EL34s in the power stage instead of the 6L6s, as these make the gain more "open" and fluid. The 6L6s may give better cleans but the gain sounds more brittle and modern. That however, is personal choice and not really the amps fault. I do love the voicing of the amp also, Fendery cleans but as it's stepped up, it turns more into a Marshall beast!
Overall Impression — 9
Don't think this amp is for metal because it's made by Engl, don't think this amp is for classic rock because it has Ritchie Blackmores name on it, it can do all that and MORE! For the price you pay for Engl's, they give you a damn sight better sound than the equivalent Marshall, Fender or dare I say it, Mesa. I've owned pretty much every Marshall (SLP, 600, 800, 900, SJ, 2000 etc) a few Fenders, Sound City's, and toured with Mesa's, I found this amp to suit my playing, sound and needs, the best. I would probably get another amp as a backup, get another one of these! If it had EL34s, double EQ and a stepdown switch, it'd be 10s all round, people are missing out if they don't at least try this amp!
Reliability & Durability — 9
Solid, heavy, better built than any of the Marshalls I've ever owned. Never once broken down, it's even fallen off a stack before, but absolutely nothing! Tubes last ages, only slight problem with the red-coated LED's fading (this happens on 90% of ENGLs) from red to near white, thus less illuminating the tubes from behind into and evil colour. can't say it bothers me one bit, I'd probably re-epoxy them myself at a later date!
Features — 9
Ritchie Blackmore Signature E650. The design is based on the Engl Savage 120 with the modified voicing to suit the style Ritchie. 4 Channels, with shared EQ. Mid contour Switch and bright switch. Two master volume controls. The power amp section is a 100 watt class A/B design featuring one ECC83 and four 5881 or 6L6 tubes. The preamp section features a further three ECC83 tubes. There is one effects loop post preamp with a control for adjusting between serial and parallel operation Ok, 100watts is easily enough (I think it is a bit more with the 6L6s), this is one of the loudest 100w amps I've ever heard, it smashes the equiv. powered Mesa Recto. Features are superb, with one slight exception of a shared EQ of the channels, it's a love/hate thing, but I can't see a problem with it if you spend time setting it up properly. I must say the footswitch is essential if you are to get the most out of this amp, luckily mine came with it, but I would still fork out the 100 for one, because it is a great piece of kit. Much kudos goes to Engl and Blackmore for the absolute genius of two master volumes! Now I can boost my current sound for solos, with nothing changing. Excellent.