So-Cal 50H review by Epiphone

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  • Sound: 6
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 5
  • Features: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 7 Good
  • Users' score: 8.4 (10 votes)
Epiphone: So-Cal 50H

Price paid: $ 400

Purchased from: Craigslist

Sound — 6
My two main guitars are a B.C. Rich Chuck Schuldiner Stealth with a DiMarzio X2N tuned to D standard, and an Agile Intrepid 930 9 string tuned standard (C#-F#-B-E-A-D-G-B-E). Like I said, I play heavier stuff and when I boost the overdrive, it sounds amazing. I can get super tight distortion with the DOD pedal boosting the Drive channel, or I can get that sludgy stoner-doom sound when I boost the clean channel with the FAB pedal. Not noisy on it's own, which is good, but noisy with pedals.

Overall Impression — 9
With my distortion pedals, the thing is amazing. Super warm sounding, loud when I want it to be, just flat out amazing. And the clean channel channel is absolutely amazing in itself. Been playing about 3 years and this is the only amp I have currently along with the two fore mentioned guitars. Would buy another. Amazing for it's price range.

Reliability & Durability — 5
Haven't had it long enough.

Features — 8
I'll just get this out there first and foremost, I am a rock and metal guitar player. I go anywhere from Anthrax to Burzum to Periphery to Devourment in my playing regime. You may be wondering, why would a rock and metal guitarist want a lower gain tube amp? Well, a few reasons. 1) the clean channel is absolutely stunning, 2) the variable 50W/25W power switch is a very neat feature, 3) it's super simple to use, and 4) it takes pedals VERY well. The amp has all the generic features like bass, middle, treble, gain, reverb, and presence, but it also has a really cool contour control that can bring you from a really dark tone to a more bluesy tone by just turning the knob up a bit. Additionally, it has a switch for an independent and interactive EQ, which changes the tonal qualities drastically. There is a clean channel and a dirty channel, very simply put. However, there is no effects loop on the amp which a slight inconvenience. The gain tones on the amp alone are so-so in my opinion as it has a very loose and muddy tonal quality, which is basically how it's supposed to sound, but it just doesn't satisfy my needs. But when I run my DOD Supra Distortion pedal in the front with the gain on the amp at about 60% and the gain on the pedal at just over 10%, it sounds so much tighter and defined and it still keeps the tube warmth and feel which is very nice. The day I got this amp, I went out to the local pawn shop to see if I could get any cheap, cheap distortion/FX pedals and I found the FAB Metal distortion pedal and that DOD Supra Distortion - got 'em both for a grand total of $40. Before I ramble too much, I'm just going to conclude by saying that if you want this amp and you play heavier stuff, it takes to pedals very well. Just a little bit about the cab, while I'm at it. To my knowledge it has Eminence Lady Luck speakers in it and it is a 16 Ohm cab, that's about all I know of the technicalities of it. All in all, sounds amazing especially considering I got the whole stack for $400.

4 comments sorted by best / new / date

    My amp is branded as a Legacy Hammerhead 50 but it is identical to the Epiphone's. I bought it second hand for AUD $200 and paired it with a Laney 2x12 cab. (In the future I plan to upgrade to one of the Ironheart heads.) For the money I paid I could not be happier with this amp. It's funny reading the reviews with so many different opinions about the sound... reverb is rubbish/ the reverb is great, the clean is flat/ the clean is beautiful, etc etc. It just goes to show that what sounds good to some doesn't have to sound good to others. I'm sure there are variations between the amps too but opinions on sound are so subjective. I personally don't care about the clean channel, I find dropping the gain gives me a pleasing enough clean sound and then cranking it for distortion. I can get nice classic rock to alternative to modern rock and with a small boost from a distortion pedal I have no trouble getting awesome metal tones. So to my ears, this amp performs beautifully. It has good features for an amp in this price range without getting too complicated. What most people will probably miss is an effects loop but I think if the effect that has on your tone bothers your ears then an entry level amp is not what you are probably looking for anyway. It's not a Marshall or a Mesa. It's also not $1000++ What it is though is a reliable, versatile and in my opinion pretty decent sounding amp. I would chose this cheap valve amp over any transistor amp I've ever owned. I've had Roland Cubes and a Fender Mustang modelling amp amongst others and there is just something amazing about hearing those valves doing their thing. Beginners or just anyone on a tight budget should seriously consider this amp or one of the many other cheap valve amps out there. I don't care how clever a transister amp is, I've simply never heard one sound as good as my $200 head. What's more this thing on 25 watts is great for practice at home but on 50 watts it is plenty loud enough for pub gigs. I've read about people modding these and swapping the tubes but honestly the most I would do is maybe replace the tubes when they die with a small upgrade to chase a little more distortion. But really if I have the money I would rather upgrade to the Laney Ironheart IRT60H. Until that happens though, this amp is doing a fantastic job.
    ProgFolk12 wrote: IKnowItsWrong wrote: @ProgFolk12 Chinese made problably ... Not to say that those other amps are all made in the USA but they are like .. well-known brands and epiphone amps aren't Fair point, but even new AC30's are Made In China. And they're worries me a little frankly
    If the new AC30s were made in the UK they would cost much more. They have the HW series that I think is made in the UK. But what's wrong with Chinese made amps? They are still designed in USA or UK or Japan or whatever country. The quality control might be not that great but it depends. You can get very good stuff or very bad stuff stuff from China. But of course the quality control is better in Japan or UK or USA. I mean it can be as good as in the other countries but you can't be sure of it if it comes from China. But nowadays all the stuff comes from China. But Japan was same kind of country in 70s as China is nowadays. They made cheap stuff and big companies started manufacturing all their stuff in Japan. Now the same thing happens but it's just China where everything is made.
    Economically yeah China is an up and comer like Japan was in the 70's, but otherwise the people and culture are actually very disimilar. One example would be that in the 70's there was a very deep awareness and love of rock music in Japan (if you ever browse any of the record shops in Shinjuku you'll get an idea). It doesn't need to be pointed out that Japanese music companies like Roland and Yamaha put out gear in the 70's that still brings a smile to people today. When Martin co-produced guitars with companies like Tokai the results were often stunning.