JCA100HDM review by Jet City Amplification

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  • Sound: 8
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Features: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8.5 Superb
  • Users' score: 10 (1 vote)
Jet City Amplification: JCA100HDM

Price paid: £ 470

Purchased from: Thomann

Sound — 8
The cleans are bright and shimmering, unless you happen to have added more crunch, in which case you get a slightly distorted, bluesy kind of sound. I've not used this with single coil pickups, but I think the clean is most suited to single coils. Either way, the cleans sound good, crunched up or not. The OD can get you almost anything. You can get high-sounding thrash or you can go deeper and play some death metal or even get an almost sludgy kind of sound. Most would say that this amp is quite bright - and it does seem to be, but some people like it this way. Many people comment that the tubes are slightly fizzy - I actually find this bodes well for the amp and is quite a nice effect. Personally I go for a doom/stoner rock/sludge kind of sound and intend on getting a fuzz to throw on top to boost things a little, but the amp on its own sounds excellent. All in all, it is a very unique sounding amp.

Overall Impression — 9
If you're looking for a unique sounding amp that can cover a variety of styles AND doesn't make you bankrupt, Jet City really are the way to go. Whilst the FX loop is more of a nuisance than anything, apart from that then this amp is superb. This amp is a little too bright, but perhaps that is in part down to my guitars. As someone who wants a sludgy kind of sound, this amp does fit in quite well with what I play - although it does need some fuzz on top for me. If it was lost or stolen I would buy another - but then I am poor so if I had more money I'd probably get something different. But this amp is fantastic. Also, there is a blue LED behind the grill when it is on - which makes you look bada-s. Video from YouTube:

YouTube preview picture

Reliability & Durability — 9
The owner's manual believes that the tubes should be replaced once a year and the power tubes once every two years. Even though these are cheap, Chinese tubes I will take their word for it. It's a very well constructed piece of equipment. While bashing it around a bit is likely to... Well, bash it up, providing you treat your amp with respect I can't see there being any issues with it. I haven't gigged with this, but I will at some point and I am sure it will hold up well. For what it is, this is a very well made amp.

Features — 8
First things first, there are two things I need to clarify: 1. I actually have the HDM version 2. The price I paid included the JCA24s cab Since I have the HDM, I have the added switch to swap between 50 or 100 watts AND a depth knob. Anyway. You have two channels. Crunch and Overdrive. The crunch is the clean channel. It's called crunch for a reason - if you twist the preamp knob up for this channel, you can get a bit of grit to your clean tones. That's not to say it can't do clean though - if you keep this knob down, you can get some very clean sounds indeed. You could play funk or a clean heavy metal passage or whatever you wanted. But this amp, is of course all about the OD channel. To activate this channel, use the provided footswitch. This channel can give you almost anything. Need more gain? Twist the preamp knob up a bit. On this channel, you can really feel the presence and depth knobs. Presence seems to be for the treble. Twist this up to tighten things up when your treble is high. Then there is the depth knob. I like my music bass-heavy. The depth control does excellent work on the lows, allowing for a superb, deeper sound. There is an FX loop in this amp - it's not really the best, to be honest, mainly because you get a slight loss of volume and have no choice but to use the loop if you want to add effects. However, that aside this is a very versatile tube amp. No doubt it is more inclined to be a rock amp, but you can still get some great clean tones.

3 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Got this Amp 2 days back, and loving it. And the effects loop actually worked fine (for the pedals I got )for me. The FX loop on the Amp is running on Line-level so pedals designed for low impedence will have problems.
    I got this amp about a month ago and was able to A/B compare it to an '04 SLO. It really can come quite close to that saturated mid-heavy SLO tone! Very, very happy with it. One thing, I changed out the Chinese preamp tubes for Mesa-Boogie ones, and man, what a difference! Next time I think I'll try Tung-Sol as they are supposed to be the cat's ass with this amp!