E 650 Ritchie Blackmore Signature 100 Review

manufacturer: Engl date: 03/15/2012 category: Guitar Amplifiers

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Engl: E 650 Ritchie Blackmore Signature 100
This an all-tube guitar amp head featuring the sound and the look that fascinates a guitar legend such as Ritchie Blackmore.
 Sound: 9.3
 Overall Impression: 9.3
 Reliability & Durability: 9.3
 Features: 8.3
 Overall rating:
 Reviewer rating:
 Users rating:
reviews (4) pictures (2) 11 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 10
E 650 Ritchie Blackmore Signature 100 Reviewed by: Johny Kramer, on october 01, 2007
1 of 2 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 3780

Purchased from: A music store

Features: Original made in 1974(~) Engl Ritchie Blackmore Signature (RSA) E 650 is an all-tube guitar amp head featuring the sound and the look that fascinates a guitar legend such as Ritchie Blackmore. The RBS amp is based on a classic, proven design, but is also equipped with a number of innovative features. For instance, you can vary the amount crunch for the two channels Clean and Lead via the gain lo/hi switch. More special features: two master volume controls, the contour button and a custom footswitch port for the connection of a compact footpedalboard that enables the direct access to all important switching functions of the amp. I used this extremely powerful amp mostly at my home, but sometimes use it at concerts in open space. This amp has about 100 Watts prewarm up valvules, feeling free to enter any features you like, stereo, foot pedalboard, among others. // 10

Sound: Mainly I use a Kramer Vanguard FR440S with EMG pickups (metal pickups) in this huge amp. If you need the power and the gain you always have tried to rich in metal or rock music, this is the perfect amp for you to use. I prefer it to use in my prog metal style and rock than use it in blues or Jazz style. I sound I'd very often more Progressive Metal than Rock, but the RBS amp is very versatil so it suits very well in all types of music. Remember all those little noises you've had heard? Forget those noises. You can sound whatever you want with it, just you want to. Then the clean channel he's great even in higher volumes because it not will distort your guitar sound in almost every settings. The distortion channel is freaky creaping. If you flat all the presets you'll get a pretty good distortion, then it's up to you. // 10

Reliability & Durability: In the matter of reliability you can full depend on it, because with he's 9 valve "state of fire" you can do everything, even frize an egg (joking), but pay attention because it could overheat. On gig's I recommend power backup (you don't want to pay for a consert that is much like the price you pay for the amp itself) so a fully recommend power backup. I have this Amp almost 8 years and never had me onto a problem, not even with valvules, so if you have carefull and lots and lots of love with your amp, he will last almost forever. // 10

Overall Impression: I usually play progressive metal, rock and melodic death metal and this amp is the best match I can find in the open market for me. I've been playing for almost 15 years and use this AMP about 8. I own a Kramer Vangaurd FR440S of '86 with a Boss GT-6 pedalboard guitar multi-effect, and never found something to aske about before I bought the Engl amp. it's full customizable predefinitions give the totally pleasant for it, nothing to hate. My favourite feature is Distortion at 3/4 of it's totally power distortion with some almost minimal dealy and reverb. Nothing will get the mesa boogies amps, but for the quality/price I prefered the Engl and I'm not regreted. You should get one. // 10

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overall: 9
E 650 Ritchie Blackmore Signature 100 Reviewed by: davedoom, on november 05, 2007
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 1098

Purchased from: Ebay

Features: 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. // 9

Sound: 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! // 9

Reliability & Durability: 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! // 9

Overall Impression: 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! // 9

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overall: 7.8
E 650 Ritchie Blackmore Signature 100 Reviewed by: Mark G, on november 24, 2008
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: € 850

Purchased from: friend

Features: My particular Blackmore was made in 2004, and it still has it's stock tubes. Looks absolutely mint, showing just how rugged the tolex covering is. My main style is metalcore/trash metal, but I occasionally venture into rock territory. Right now I'm tinkering with the new As I Lay Dying CD, where I pretty much nailed the tone. This amp essentially has 4 channels: low gain clean, high gain clean (crunch) low gain heavy (rhythm) high gain heavy (lead). Setting these up however is tricky since they share the EQ. However, you do get independent channel volume controls (one for clean one for heavy) and 2 master volumes. I highly recommend you get the Z5 footswitch to go with this amplifier, to allow for easy channel and feature switching. If you don't operating this amp Live might be cumbersome. It has a parralel effects loop, where you can adjust the amount of effects loop in the mix. You can basically go from 100% dry (all amp tone) to 100% wet, where the effects loop is pretty much run in series rather than parralel. I personally tend to use around 40% of the effects loop in order to preserve it's natural sound more. I have one problem with the parralel effects loop. You can dial in how you want it, but you do not have an easy Switch to turn it off/on. I would have loved this feature since there is a significant difference in sound between the amplifier with an without it's effects loop engaged. I use the amp mainly at home for personal use, but it does have plenty of power and versatility for Live applications. A great feature this amp has, along with the other ENGLS is that it sounds very good even at low volumes. When you get say a Peavey 5150, it'll sound thin and fizzy at low volumes. The Blackmore sounds tight and defined at any volume (ofcourse it does sound better at high volumes). This amp has a ton of features, including the two master volumes, independent channel volumes, parralel effects loop with dry/wet mix knob. The only real beef I have is the effects loop. I would have liked an on/off switch for it since engaging the effects loop takes away from it's natural sound somewhat. // 7

Sound: I always make sure to get a few weeks of playtime before I write reviews. Often you will absolutely love the novelty of new gear just to realise it's shortcomings later down the road. This is my current setup: Schecter C1 classic with EMG81/85 straight into the Engl Blackmore. This is a mahogany bodied guitar with a 25.5 scalre neck. I use medium GHS boomer heavy bottom strings since I play in D standard. I have a TC Electronics G-sharp in the effects loop. I run an extra line out from the TC Electronics to a Behringer BTR2000, so this tuner isn't actually in my chain and does not affect my sound. I have my effects loop on true bypass using a home made a/b selector box. This way I get to bypass my entire loop, this eliminating most of the problems coming with not having an on/off Switch for an effects loop. Even with the true bypass in the effects loop, you do get some tone loss when you use it. I suspect this is due to the cheap cables I use rather than the effects loop itself, but I can't be sure. I play my Blackmore through a Framus 2x12 with Vintage 30 speakers. This is a very cheap cabinet (cheapest I could get with Vintage 30s) so I have No Doubt the amp would sound better with a better cabinet. However, at this time the cabinet suits my needs. ENGLS are naturally very tight amps, and the Vintage 30s are very tight and middy speakers. This is absolutely great if you love tight and punchy sound that cuts through the mix like a hot knife through butter. However, if you prefer very boomy loose low end you should probably go with celestion G12-75 speakers instead. Personally I am leaning toward replacing one of the Vintage 30s with a G12-75 so I have the best of both worlds. Still contemplating on this though. In general this amp should go very well with either setup, it depends on your personal style. My musical style is sort of varied. I play melodic trash/deathmetal in my band, but I also love playing metalcore in the vein of new As I Lay Dying. I can't tell you how much this amp shines when I play The Sound of Truth on their latest album. Especially with a tad of delay from the G-sharp. This amplifier is not noisy what so ever. It is very tight, defined, articulate and silent no matter what. Granted, if you crank the gain and volume and you stand right in front of it with EMG pickups you're going to get feedback but that's to be expected. In general even if I max the gain and keep the level at reasonable volumes, it is very quiet. There is some humming, but it is very little compared to the Peavey 5150. The Engl Blackmore I find a lot like the swiss army knife of the Engl family. The Engl fireball goes from fendery cleans to bone crushing deathmetal without doing anything in between. The Blackmore is more balanced out, and can do anything you want it to do. The cleans are a bit warmer and the distortion is somewhat darker than the fireball. That being said, the Blackmore has amazing cleans, and it can do pretty heavy distortion. I don't need an OD for playing As I Lay Dying which should give you an idea. Do note that the Engl wouldn't take well to an OD if I wanted to use one. I gave it a try with my Bad Monkey OD and it did very little. The gain increased a little bit, but it didn't tighten up the low end. This is mostly due to the fact that this amp is incredibly tight to begin with. You couldn't make it loose and boomy if you tried. This is NOT a beginner amp. It takes considerable time to dial it in, and because it is so tight, defined and articulate you WILL hear your mistakes. It took me a good week to get the sound I wanted out of it. This is mostly due to the sensitivity of the dials and versatility of the treble and presence. This amp in my setup has only one limitation: you cannot get it loose and boomy even if you tried. It is so rediculously tight and articulate, nothing is going to change that. If you do like a boomy loose low end, stop reading and find yourself a Mesa Boogie. I had to experiment a great deal with this amp to get the sound I liked because it is so sensitive. For example, the presence knob adds gain, but only on the higher frequencies. If your amp sounds muffled you turn this up a bit. Turn it up too far, and it sounds fizzy. Finding the right balance between the amount of treble and the amount of gain on the high frequencies took me some time. I can't say this enough, this is a very sensitive amplifier. If you want amazing sound right off the bat go away. This amp takes tweaking because it's just so sensitive. You can absolutely love it with bass7, middle6, treble 4, presence 3 and absolutely hate it with bass7, middle5, treble4, presence 5. Adjusting anything a little bit goes a long way, especially with the presence. The clean channel is well, clean. ENGLs are known to have great cleans and this amp is no exception. The Blackmore cleans are voiced a lot like Marshall cleans, whereas the firebal is voiced more like Fender. It stays clean very well, even though I use EMGs. Just dial back the volume on the guitar a bit if you have to. The distortion is tight, very tight. Tight seems to be a key word when describing this amp really. This amps distortion is very natural and tight sounding, but not necessarily very raw. It is pretty hard to describe, it's just an Engl thing. It has ENGLs distortion, that's the only way to accurately describe it. Very tight, natural sounding distortion that has something about it really unique to ENGLs. Love it or hate it. This amp has two shortcomings when it comes to sound. The first is the effects loop I mentioned. However, the tone loss may be due to my shitty cables so I'm on the fence about this one. The second is the incredibly tight distortion. It is amazingly brutal cranked but you can't get it to sound loose and boomy. Normally a good thing but you never know. This might be due to my Vintage 30 speakers though, I'm sure an oversized 4x12 with G12T-75s wouldn't have this issue. All in all, amazing articulate sound with extremely sensitive controls that take tweaking. Has amazing cleans and pretty intense distortion. Not boomy, and ODs wont do it much good. You either love it or hate it, that's just how it is. Try any Engl and you'll get a feel for it. // 8

Reliability & Durability: This is a 4 year old amp which still uses the stock tubes. Even the tolex is in mint condition. Extremely durable amp, I'd gig with it any day. I would bring a backup though, tubes could break down due to various causes not related to the amp. Bad power supply, rough handling, etc. // 8

Overall Impression: All in all this amp is a good match for my music. Sounds great clean and distorted. Sometimes I would have liked it a bit boomier but that's mostly due to my speakers. I've been playing for 5 years now, I currently own a Schecter C1 Classic with EMG81-85 and a TC-electronics G-sharp. I also have a bunch of tuners and pedals, but Those do not affect my sound since I have them in a seperate output (tuner) or do not use them (pedals). I used to play a B-52 AT 112 with a bunch of pedals including a Line6 compressor and a DigiTech Bad Monkey OD. My Engl doesn't take those well, they make very little difference. Not that it matters much, the Engl doesn't really need an OD or compressor anyway. If it were stolen or lost I would probably want the same thing, but I wouldn't be able to get it. I got an amazing price on it... 850 euro including the footswitch. This would have costed me 1700 euro new. I compared it to a Peavey 5150 and a mesa tripple rectifier when I got it. I ended up getting the Blackmore because it sounded fuller and more agressive than the Mesa, and it was clearer and more defined that the 5150. ESPECIALLY at low volumes. This Engl is really incredible to be so clear and defined even at bedroom volumes considering it's 100 watts all tube. My favorite feature about it is the distinct Engl distortion. My least favorite feature is the parralel effects loop. I would have preferred a normal loop with an on/off Switch. In retrospect I would also have gotten a different cab, so I could get it boomy if I wanted it to. All in all I would give it an 8. It is an incredible amp, both in tone and versatility. But it isn't for everyone. The distortion is very distinct, and it may not be for you. It also doesn't take well to pedals in that they don't affect it all that much (ODs and compressors that is). Try it out is my advice. It is an amazing amp, but not for everyone. // 8

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overall: 9.3
E 650 Ritchie Blackmore Signature 100 Reviewed by: givemeajackson, on march 15, 2012
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: € 600

Purchased from: ebay

Features: This amp features: - 4 ecc 83 preamp tubes - 4 5881 poweramp tubes - 2 channels with a low/hi gain option (all footswitchable via Engl Z5) - 3 band eq for all channels - an independent presence knob fot the lead channel - independent gain controls for clean and lead channel - a brightswitch for the clean channel - a mid boost (footswitchable) - an FX loop that is adjustable from parallel to serial - a lead volume knob - 2 masters (footswitchable) This is a very straight-forward amp. It's layout is very basic, but I like that. You plug in and it sounds great, but the controls react so sensitive that you can still spend hours tweaking and the outcome is even greater. I don't really miss a separate eq for each channel, cause if you have a setting you like on the lead channel it's not going to sound horrible on the clean channel. For live use a separate eq is not needed on this amp. I use it for quite everything. I have it at home most of the time, but I rehearse with a band sometimes too. As far as power goes: this is a 100 watt tube amp! You can play at a stadium in front of 10'000 people without using the PA, and you probably wont even set the master to over halfway. But it sounds very good at low volumes too. // 7

Sound: I play metal, mostly thrash, death and prog. My guitar is a cheap Jackson JS32T Kelly with the cheap stock pickups. But this amp compensates the cheap guitar without any problems! Lets start out clean: this amp has a very nice clean tone. It's more Fender than Marshall, very sparkly and smooth. You can get it from a slim, spanky funktone to a very warm, fat jazzsound by using the EQ's and the bright and contour buttons. With a setting like gain 4, bass 7, mid 4 and treble 6 I get an almost acoustic sound when using a splitted humbucker. When turning up the gain, it gets even more Fender. Not that typical Marshall crunch from a JTM45, it sounds way softer. Nice for bluesy stuff. Channel 2 changes the voicing a bit, with gain turned up you get a more concrete crunch than on channel one. More Marshally. Once again nice for blues or classic rock. I almost never use that channel. Channel 3 gives you a sound close to Van Halen's. The best classic hardrock tone on that amp, probably the one Ritchie Blackmore uses the most. Then there is channel 4... What a beast. This amp doesnt't have extremely much gain, so gain on 4= metal doesnt't work. But you can use all of the gain without it getting muddy or undefined. Gain on 10 is easily enough gain for cannibal corpse, and you can set gain to 10 on that amp without any loss of clarity or tone. I got lots of different tones out of this channel, like Dream Theater (imo what the amp is best at, I can quite exactly nail Petrucci's lead tone), Kreator, Necrophagist, Dissection or Wintersun. This amp is extremely tight, no matter how you set it, it will never get muddy! If you make a mistake, the amp slaps it right into your face, it doesn't hide anything. So if you're playing leads, you have to play em 100% clean and accurate, otherwise it will sound like shit. If you do play em 100% accurate, the amp gives you the best lead sound I ever played with. Straight 10 there! Btw, it's very quiet. No noisegate needed for me. // 10

Reliability & Durability: It's built like a tank, I wouldn't do a gig without any backup tough because that is plain stupid, no matter what amp I'm using. It actually broke down once, but that was just a tube (they are still stock, and 8 years old. Quite impressive lifetime for tubes). I give it another 10 because it's built absolutely solid and will probably last a lifetime. // 10

Overall Impression: I will never buy another main amp again. It has all sounds I need, and these in excellent quality. It's simple, but it has all essential functions without any useless crap, it looks cool without looking like a silly toy and it was an excellent deal. I tried rectos, I tried Bogners, I tried Randalls, and I even tried the Engl invader and Victor Smolski, but none of em came close to this amp. My perfect match. I can't do anything else than give it a 10 one more time. But it is not for everyone, if you're looking for a scooped rectifier-like sound you're wrong here! // 10

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