GA15 Review

manufacturer: Harley Benton date: 08/03/2012 category: Guitar Amplifiers
Harley Benton: GA15
1-channel fulltube guitar combo, class A, 15 Watts, 1 x 10" speaker, 3-band EQ, volume control, 2 x 12AX7 preamp tubes, 2 x EL84 power amp tubes, line out (jack), effectloop, 3 speaker outs (4, 8, 16 Ohms), headphone out.
 Sound: 6.3
 Overall Impression: 9
 Reliability & Durability: 8.3
 Features: 8
 Overall rating:
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reviews (3) pictures (2) 6 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 9
GA15 Reviewed by: unregistered, on july 14, 2008
2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Price paid: € 160

Purchased from: Thomann Music

Features: 1-channel fulltube guitar combo, class A, 15 Watts, 1 x 10" speaker, 3-band EQ, volume control, 2 x 12AX7 preamp tubes, 2 x EL84 power amp tubes, line out (jack), effectloop, 3 speaker outs (4, 8, 16 Ohms), headphone out. Made in China 2008. I use this amp at home, in the band room, and for gigging (mic'ed to the PA). It is not very heavy, so it is easy on the back! With Thomann's 30-day money-back guarantee, it's easy to return if you don't like it. // 10

Sound: I play a stock Gibson LP and play rock and blues. Right out the box, this amp sounds pretty decent. Warm clean tones can be acheived with some EQ tweaking. Responds like a tube amp should. It stays clean until you turn the volume up to about the 2 o'clock position. It breaks up OK, but if you want really good distortion, you will need a pedal. I don't play metal, so I can't say how it would work for that. There is a slight hum on higher volumes, but nothing really bad. At max volume, a little rattle from the chasis can be heard. Again, nothing overbearing, I put my GT-8 in front of it(no amp sims) and it really sounded good. I use the natural OD setting, some EQ, and delay. This amp with the GT-8 will do all the songs my coverband plays (AC/DC, Greenday, ZZ Top, Guns N' Roses, Gary Moore, Pink Floyd, etc). It is loud enough to be heard over a drummer that doesn't kill his drums. I have had no problems hearing it in the band room or on stage. I hooked up a 1x12 cab to go along with the int. speaker, and the sound improved quite a bit. I sit the amp on top of the cab to bring the sound up closer to my ears. I'm looking forward to trying out some different tubes in this little guy. I think there is a lot of possibilities in this amp. // 9

Reliability & Durability: I never gig without a backup. I haven't had this amp very long, so I can't really rate it's reliability fairly. Seems sturdy enough. I guess time will tell. It does have a 3-year Thomann warranty. I have never had a problem with thier service. I feel confident with my purchase. I have owned another Harley Benton amp for over a year with no problems, so I hope this one holds up as well. // 8

Overall Impression: I have played for 27 years and have owned countless amps over those years, tube and SS, cheap and not so cheap. Good tone does not have to cost a ton of money. Years of tweaking and trying different things has taught me that exspensive does not automatically equal good tone. This amp with a few choice effects sounds good, and does not Hurt the bank account. I get just as many compliments as our other guitarist, and his rig cost over 2000Euros! I would buy another one in a heartbeat should something happen to this one. It's a good amp for a good price. Remember, tone is as personal as religion, so please keep that in mind. // 9

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overall: 8.8
GA15 Reviewed by: eargasmicalist, on october 08, 2009
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: £ 116

Purchased from: thomann

Features: Made this year or last I assume (2009), Chinese build, very good quality PCB and assembly for the price. Cab is rock solid. There is plenty on the net to suggest that this is made in the same factory and is the same as the Epiphone Valve Standard, minus the onboard FX. The amp is a straightforward class AB push-pull tube amp - volume and bass, mid, treble. No gain pot. Mild break-up can be achieved with a humbuckered guitar played at full vol (on the guitar), even at low vols. Single coils eg strat will stay clean up to higher vols. Overdrive only really kicks in with the vol at 1 o'clock onwards - max vol is reached at 12, just gets dirtier (and therefore louder as it's a toob amp) after that. Has 4, 8 and 16 ohm speaker outs - can run all at once, although output is reduced accordingly. Has line out and headphone jacks. All awesome considering price point. Vol goes from nowt to LOUD in a milli or two of knob turn - awkward but doable for home use (all I've done with it so far). Is PLENTY loud for jams/small gigs. I have a 2 x 10 cab with Celestion G10s 50's in - sounds WAY better through that than the stock speaker (but it would, wouldn't it? Lack of a master/gain circuit is a pain, but considering the outputs etc., great for the money. Has 2 x 12AX7 preamp tubes (Chinese) and z x EL84 power tubes (Sovtek). Have read people changing these out for better results but sounds OK to me. // 8

Sound: I use this with a Vintage V100 and VRS100 (LP and PRS copies, both humbucker'd), and a Squier Strat with Wilkinson sc's. Gets a great variety of clean/bluesy/rocky tones just with guitar and amp - crank the vol and you can control the OD level using the guitar's vol, which is nice. Out of the box it buzzes like hell - I got the alnicomagnet mod kit off ebay (great guy, highly recommended!) and changed voltage to 240 from 230 (they come with a Euro 2-pin plug, but the amp socket is a 3-pin D shape thingy like a PC socket so I just used a spare PC power cable!), and also fitted a bridge rectifier to change the heater voltage from AC to DC - buzzing gone. Still hums a bit. For 30 you can get a whole mod kit from alnicomagnet to add a gain Switch, change the bias & tone, and further improve the guts of the amp. I bottled it at desoldering resistors etc. but I'm happy as it is. I also changed the stock 8" speaker (OK but a bit 'flat') for a Celestion Tube 10 - much warmer tone. The clean channel (ie ONLY channel) will distort past 12 o'clock. I have played everything from clean to brutal downtuned stuff through this (have a DigiTech GNX4 which I put in front of the amp, usually no amp sims, just FX). Great amp for low vol clean/rocky & bluesy tones - can do metal with the right FX. // 9

Reliability & Durability: Seems very reliable. I've had it open loads of times whilst modding it and everything inside is very professionally put together. I would gig without a backup (and will be in the next 3 weeks or so - the acid test! According to alnicomagnet, the voltage inside running to the power tubes is too high so the life could be shortened - I've had it about 3 months and still working fine with daily playing. Only time will tell...fine so far. // 9

Overall Impression: I play jazzy clean stuff to grindy death doom stuff - the amp is best in the in-betweens, mildly overdriven to rocky tones, but it's fine for the other stuff. Depends on how you shape the tone using the onboard stack and whatever FX you put through it. I nearly sold it but decided to keep it and am glad I did. For the money it was the best featured amp out of the other options I considered. Wish it had a gain knob but that's a mod for the future...highly recommended for first time or budget tube amp seekers. // 9

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overall: 6
GA15 Reviewed by: unregistered, on august 03, 2012
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: £ 120

Purchased from: Thomann

Features: Stock comes with 10" unbranded speaker, Chinese no name tubes, mdf cabinet. Bass, mid, treble and master controls. Has headphones and effects loop. // 6

Sound: Ha, where do we start... - Stock speaker is muddy, boring sounding and plain hurts my ears. - tubes are cheap nasty unbranded ones. - headphones socket nice addition but sounds attrocious. - tone controls just don't do anything other adjust the muddy factor - mains hum Out of the box this amp is pretty much unusable. Crank it and it buzzes, can't dial in a remotely decent tone at all, very uninspiring... HOWEVER... Instead of returning it I thought I'd 'deal' with it. Changed stock speaker to a cheap old Celestion g10l-25. Vast improvement but still sounds horrible. I bypassed the whole tone stack section with the ic's and effects loop etc. The sound improved vastly! I then wired in a gain control in the first preamp stage, success! Can get crazy crunch at low volumes. Used the 12dc feed from the ic's for the preamp tube heaters. Success, hum gone. After lots of googling I found that the amp is loosely based on the 90's Gibson ga 15. Cross referenced the schematics and they were right. So I reformed the preamp stages according to the Gibson amp. Massive success! It sounds fantastic! Speaker change will be next, eminence ram rod, mainly because of the high efficiency and bottom end. Hard to get decent full tones from a 10". // 1

Reliability & Durability: Amp was well contstructed. After all my mods and changes, I know this amp inside out and yes, I would certainly, and will certainly be gigging with it shortly. Not sure a 10" will stand up to gig volumes, if not I'll run it through something else. // 8

Overall Impression: I've been playing guitar for 25 years and bands for 15 years. Like natural overdrive crunch from amps (think early sterephonics sound). For 120 for an amp, it seemed too good to be true and it was! But it gave me the push to start tinkering and improving. If you loose all the rubbish in the amp, you do have a nice raw full tube amp, no hybrid stuff. You can rip all that our and 'voice' the amp as you want it. This is the first Harley Benton product I ever bought and very pleased, I'd buy from them again. If the amp was lost or stolen, of course I'd get another one. With a bit of tinkering and a few components you can turn this cheap horrible sounding amp into something special and learn lots and have fun in the modding process! // 9

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