unregistered, on october 28, 2003 2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Price paid: $ 350
Features: 2003, Blue tolex (and I dig the blue!); one-channel, three-way EQ (bass, mid, high), reverb (more on that later!). Single 12" Celestion, 25w. Plenty of power for the small club gigs I play. Nice retro styling, solidly constructed and no heavier than you'd expect from a tube amp of this size. I don't need any bells & whistles, but a full-on rocker might want a second, switchable channel. // 8
Sound: I'm playing fairly straight-ahead jazz, duets w/ bass player and trio with bass/drums/guitar. I run either an Epiphone Alleycat semihollow or an Ibanez Artcore AF75 through this thing. Humbuckers on both, so should be whisper quiet. Unfortunately, the Eppy has a nasty hum that I've tracked to the reverb stage. I've switched out the tubes, but that only makes a bit of difference. I think it might be a shielding issue, but I've been having too much fun playing to do much about it yet, and it's only a problem if I use the reverb. I've been running an outboard reverb unit so far, with no complaints.
Absent the reverb-related noise problem, the amp's tone is gorgeous at any volume I'm liable to try. Loud and clear at 1.5-2.5, and I've pushed it no louder than about 5 in a small club. Everyone remarks on the warm tone and clear articulation, so I'm happy there. I don't usually use distortion, but I have a feeling this is the wrong amp for real crunch.
I'm dumping the rating for sound a bit because of the hum. Absent that annoying 60cycle buzz, this is a 10 on my scale. Even so, if I bypass the reverb, it's everything I'd hoped it'd be. // 10
Reliability & Durability: I've only owned this amp for a couple of weeks, and I've only played out with it a few times. The housing seems solid, the design is logical, with nothing much hanging out where it can get snapped off or anything. I'm impressed with the protection of the tubes; noting cheezy there. I've used it on gigs with no backup, and so far it's been trouble free. I carry a couple of spare tubes and a fuse, just in case.
I'm worried about the hum. As the amp is still under warranty, I may either send it back for another or try to get warranty repair. I don't like messing with wiring, and I suspect that's the problem.
I'll hold off on rating this until I've used this thing for at least six months; but I suspect it'll hold up nicely. // 8
Overall Impression: I played for about 15 years before hanging it up for graduate school, about twelve years ago. Recently begun playing again, so this is the first amp I've owned since selling my 100w Marshall head.
Even assuming the reverb-related hum problem to be endemic to the model (and I think any hum can be solved by the right tech!), I love this amp. Fun to look at, wonderful warm tone, great articulation on chorded and single note passages, easily portable but powerful enough for a small club gig. If I decide to send this one back for a replacement, I'll keep the replacement, even if it still hums. I'll just use an outboard reverb and call it good until I can get an amp tech to do appropriate voodoo and cure it. The rest of the package is more than enough for me. And I cannot imagine much more for $350!
The rating is really idiosyncratic for me. An amp is all about tone and articulation for me, not volume or crunch. This one just "feels" right, and hearing it makes me want to play. // 10
unregistered, on october 28, 2003 1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Price paid: $ 349.99
Features: Epiphone Galaxie 25, made in 2003, just before they switched from black to blue tolex. I'm glad I got the prior, having a blue amp is a bit too showy for me. Single channel, volume and tone controls, (no gain knob), and reverb control. 25 watts, all tube. I'm more of a two channel kind of guy, but I can make do. A gain knob would have been nice, but a distortion pedal would do the trick, I guess. // 6
Sound: This amp is brutal for a practice amp. I bought it expecting a little combo I could turn up and roar on at moderate levels, and i've yet to turn the volume past three. It is unbelievably loud for 25 watts. Louder than I remember my Marshall half stack being at 7 or 8.
Volume control is strange, though. It will be silent until about 1.5 or 2, and then it jumps in fairly loud. I tried running a booster pedal into the front end, but it just made it louder with a little grit, I've yet to figure out how to get this thing to distort. The harder I've pushed it, the more it sparkles, which really isn't so bad. I've pegged the volume for a split second here and there, and it's just...incredibly loud. No distortion at all. Strange... Reverb is weak, I'll get into that later.
Sound wonderful for what it IS doing, though. Beautiful bouncy clean, even with the stock tubes. Strum a chord and it chimes like bells. // 8
Reliability & Durability: This is where this amp's rating gets hurt. It DOES have hum, as all amps do, but I have a feeling my power tubes are messed up or something. I've switched out all the preamp tubes, but I've yet to touch the 12AT7 driving the reverb or the EL84s. the reverb pan is mounted to the base of the amp, so it picks up vibrations right off of the floor, and this can lead to some serious noisiness. As far as my reverb goes, as far as I can tell, it's busted. it was faint when I first got it, and now I just get a wave of feedback when I run up the level on the reverb knob, so I'm going to try swapping out the 12AT7, and if that doesn't work, mounting some padding in between the reverb and the base of the amp. The amp itself works fine otherwise, no complaints for 350 bucks. // 6
Overall Impression: It's a nice sounding amp, and the price is unbelievable. Even with the busted reverb, which I'll get fixed, I feel this amp is a steal. // 8