Tube Screamer Series TSA15H Head & TSA112C 1x12 Half-Stack review by Ibanez

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  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Features: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9.5 Superb
  • Users' score: 7.9 (23 votes)
Ibanez: Tube Screamer Series TSA15H Head & TSA112C 1x12 Half-Stack

Price paid: A$ 509

Purchased from: Five Star Music Ringwood

Sound — 10
We have used it at home with a Schecter Omen Extreme, a Fender Squier Classic Vibe 50's, an Ibanez GSA260 and a Yamaha Pacifica 112V. So it runs a wide gamut of pickup styles. I myself consider myself a learner. I have been playing now for two years and only now is it all starting to appear to fall into place. My style is blues and classic rock solos from Pink Floyd to Ritchie Blackmore and Dire Straits. The amp suits my music style very well. It is actually a very quiet amp even at high gain. It has some of the most sparkly clean sounds and is an almost dead ringer for a very famous Fender amp. In fact the sounds are almost a bit more well rounded. The great thing about this amp is how it can go from sparkling cleans to a bluesy note and all the way to an early metal sound. It probably wont do modern metal but that is not my thing. For that you do need to use a pedal. The nice thing is that this guitar works beautifully with all sorts of pedals. So far I have tried an SD-1, a DS-1 and an MI-audio Crunch Box in addition to a Boss ME-70. It works beautifully with pedals, probably better than any tube amp I have every come across. I currently have a Vox AC-4 TV that I love a lot too. The Ibanez is much more versatile. In the family we have a Roland Cube 30X, a Vox Valvetronix VT30 that my kids use. When I brought this amp home and my kids played on it and totally fell in love with it as did our guitar teacher. Who said it had one of the most beautiful sounds he had ever heard.

Overall Impression — 9
I was actually planning on buying a Blackstar HT-1 to give me a wider range of tones than is possible with my Vox. I was looking for something that could do a nice clean as well as good hard rock approaching early metal sounds. The Blackstar did this very well. However the cleans did not have enough head room. So I brought it back to the store. I was planning on swapping it for an HT-5 but saw the Ibanez. No matter how much I wanted to buy the Blackstar the Ibanez just killed it on almost every count, from the sparkling cleans to the beautiful crunch and the blue tones. Its almost like they were two different price points. I also tried the Marshall Class 5, which has a very lovely sound. I did not get the Marshall because it was a one trick pony and I already had one of those in the Vox. The Marshall was not better than the Vox just different and I might one day actually buy one of those as well but not this time. I also tried the Vox AC15C1 but that was at a different price point and was too similar to the AC4. At the end of the day the Ibanez totally won me over. I really believe this amp is a steal for the price. It is a very new product and will certainly garner a real following. The guy at the store told me that it was their fastest selling amp since it was launched. I definitely would replace it if it was stolen or lost. I wish it had reverb that would make it totally perfect.

Reliability & Durability — 10
Too early to tell but it is beautifully built. The tubes are not mounted to the PCB like on some cheaper amps and everything feels very high quality.

Features — 9
The amp is a standard tube amp with two 6V6 tubes. On the front from left to right it has it and input socket, then three knobs that control the inbuilt tube screamer (overdrive, tone and level), they are followed by two small switches that engage the tube screamer and a 6db boost. This is followed by three knobs for the main amp. These are bass, treble and volume in that order. This is followed by a standby and a power switch. Last is a red power indicator light. On the back you have an output mode switch to move between 5W and 15W. Then there are five speaker outputs. Then on the right it has a footswitch socket and two sockets for the effects loop. The speaker is a 12" Celestion Seventy 80 speaker. It is supposed to be a really good economy speaker. It certainly sounds lovely. The way I have rated this is by considering what it has and what is missing for amps around this price point. It does not have reverb, but it has a 12" speaker. It has a tube screamer built in, which is something out of the ordinary. It has a lovely case and looks the bees knees.

7 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Very good amp within the limits of its concept. Not a revolution but a reliable alternative to Vox Night Train or Orange Tiny Terror. If you like the Tube Screamer type of distortion better than cleans, this could be a gem for you. And it's considerably cheaper too. I prefer the Night Train, but I've tested this one and I can say I liked it a lot.
    I also dont think its a revolution. It is certainly a unique amp though and deserves some following. The more I am living with it the more I appreciate it. The tubescreamer is so perfectly matched to this amp and the range of tones I can get out of it is very impressive. This is slighlty less so when I use the 50s strat because of its lower output coils. Anyway I am still smitten and I am not an easy person to please.
    pinheadslts75 wrote: I demo'd one at decent volumes in a store and I swear you could hear the clean sound blended underneath the TS circuit and the gain boost. Definitely killed that for me.
    Tone is very personal so I respect your choice but I find your statement puzzling. When the tubescreamer is engaged it overdrives the tubes resulting in clipping thus causing the higher gain sound. You make it sound like there are two sounds coming out of this amp and they are both blended. This is definitely not the case.
    Hi, just wanted to share a video I posted on youtube to demonstrate how this amp sounds by comparing it to a well known quantity. I hope you find it useful [url]
    [/u rl]
    2 years ago I played an ENGL Straight 100w Tube, now Im playing TSA15H and I think they are both very good. (I just mentioned the ENGL to show my comparison skills.)
    Hi, just wanted to share a video I posted on youtube to demonstrate how this amp sounds by comparing it to a well known quantity. I hope you find it useful [url]
    [/u rl]
    Hi, just wanted to share a video I posted on youtube to demonstrate how this amp sounds by comparing it to a well known quantity. I hope you find it useful