JCA20H Head review by Jet City Amplification

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  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Features: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9.5 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.3 (29 votes)
Jet City Amplification: JCA20H Head
1

Price paid: $ 249

Purchased from: Musicians Friend

Sound — 10
I play blues, jazz and hard rock/metal. I use an 87 Ibanez 540 power and Ibanez Les Paul copy and American Fender Strat. This 20 watt head can handle these styles. All it takes is tweaking of the knobs. You can cut the mids, lower the bass and raise the presence and you've got Metallica. Crank the master volume and set the pre amp gain on 1 or 2 and you get great cleans. The tones controls are very reactive to tweaking. At low volume it gets extremely saturated. This amp is very loud. Great for small club gigs. Outdoor gigs you have to turn the volume to 3/4. Inside it's plenty loud at halfway. I matched it with one of my 4x12 cabs which I wired from 4ohm to 16ohm to match the heads speaker input. This head can handle BB King to GnR just experiment with the tone controls. Those of you who think this amp is not loud must speak with sign language.

Overall Impression — 10
I compared the head to my Plexi and my Vintage Modern and it comes very close to cloning their sound. If you need death metal distortion it's not the amp for you unless you slap a pedal in front then it is. It takes wah and delay pedals great. If you really know how to use a tube amp you can coax a hundred different tones out of it. I do recommend changing the tubes to the ones you like. For the money it can't be beat.

Reliability & Durability — 9
I had a preamp tube burn out within a short time but sometimes it happens. I replaced the stock tubes with new 12AX7's and a matched pair of JJ EL84's and the amp screams. I have used for gig's indoors and out and never had a problem. I've used it without a backup. When I changed the tubes I took the chassis out and inspected it. It's very well built with very clean soldering and the wiring is very neat and wrapped very clean. High quality job.

Features — 9
Jet City JCA20H 20 WATT HEAD. I got this amp because I was tired of lugging around my other amps to gigs. It's a pretty simple amp, single channel, gain, bass middle, treble, master volume and presence knob's. No effects loop or any extra's. It has a fixed bias. It has two 8ohm and one 16ohm input's. The 8ohm input's are wired in series.

13 comments sorted by best / new / date

    kidfixer
    MegaSteelMaiden wrote: Honestly everyone in my Sam Ash and bands hate this brand
    I hate everyone in your Sam Ash!!
    mikesmith1972
    MegaSteelMaiden wrote: Honestly everyone in my Sam Ash and bands hate this brand
    I wish I had known that before I bought it. Now I feel stupid.
    Most_Triumphant
    It had a burnt out tube and it only gets a 9? Other than that great review! I've been looking at the 50 watt version lately.
    pinheadslts75
    As much as I love my JCA20 stack, I do agree that it's not as versatile as he says it is. You're not getting anyway near a "metallica" tone, or anything in the same ballpark, without some kind of overdrive or distortion pedal running into the amp.
    barden1069
    I like my JCA20h a lot, but I'm gonna call BS on how versatile the reviewer says it is. It does a really good job with crunchy, overdriven rock tones but everything else is kinda average.
    MaggaraMarine
    Most_Triumphant wrote: It had a burnt out tube and it only gets a 9? Other than that great review! I've been looking at the 50 watt version lately.
    He didn't say the tube was burnt out when he got the amp. He said that it burnt out within a short time. Sarcasm and internet are not a good combo because it's hard to recognize if you are being sarcastic or not (I think you are). But I don't see a reason why he wouldn't have given it a 9. He hasn't had any other problems with the amp.
    jackdis
    A friend of mine has this amp.He replaced the stock tubes with sovtek 12ax7wb's,high gain,for the pre amp and jj el84's for the power tubes.Huge amount of gain at low volume.I experimented with the tone controls on the amp and also the pickups on my guitar and was able to get a very convincing enter sandman sound as well as an almost perfect couldn't stand the weather sound both at high volume.He did say he got a lot of hum with the stock tubes but after the change the hum was pretty much gone.He also put a hum x on the power cord and said it works great in the clubs with poor wiring. Oh by the way this thing is plenty loud for most clubs you would play in.The really big clubs you'll be running through the sound system anyway.By the way I've been gigging out for over 25 years and this amp is very versatile.
    Most_Triumphant
    MaggaraMarine wrote: Most_Triumphant wrote: It had a burnt out tube and it only gets a 9? Other than that great review! I've been looking at the 50 watt version lately. He didn't say the tube was burnt out when he got the amp. He said that it burnt out within a short time. Sarcasm and internet are not a good combo because it's hard to recognize if you are being sarcastic or not (I think you are). But I don't see a reason why he wouldn't have given it a 9. He hasn't had any other problems with the amp.
    Sorry if I was unclear, I meant that even though it burnt a tube out he gave it a nine. Nine is a little below great, great doesn't mean it has a tube that burns out in a short time.
    mikesmith1972
    I've had this head for close to a year and I love it. I still feel like it could easily sell for twice as much. I will agree that it's not versatile on it's on. BUT.. I have a Tube Screamer, a Hardwire Metal distortion pedal, and, most importantly, an MXR 6-band EQ in front of it, and I can pretty much get anything out of it. I have other effects, but I feel those three are essential to my happiness with this amp.
    kidfixer
    I purchased this amp off Craigslist about a month ago. It was gently used and looked brand new. I played it for the first week and I liked it a lot...then I swapped the tubes for sovtek preamp tubes and a matched and biased set of jj poweramp tubes, and had a buddy of mine do the "depth mod". Now I LOVE this amp. Granted, its never gonna be a Soldano SLO 100...but it sounds fantastic at 1/10 the price!!
    mark3777
    MegaSteelMaiden wrote: Honestly everyone in my Sam Ash and bands hate this brand
    cool story. Apart from your bands and sam ash, everyone I have heard likes this amp. The cabinet that comes with it though seems to be love or hate.