Arrow 16 review by Kustom

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  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Features: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 9 Superb
  • Users' score: 7.8 (18 votes)
Kustom: Arrow 16

Price paid: $ 150

Purchased from: Music Maniac

Sound — 10
I use this with my Mockingbird, 2 humbucker guitar. I've also used it with some of my friends Strats and Deans, and it performs fairly well. Acoustics do not perform well on it, though. So don't try it. Why? the bass is too strong. Plain and simple. As I said, I play everything from Slayer to Ozzy to RHCP to Jazz. So this works very nicely, as it is very very versatile. The only thing I can think of it struggling with is acoustics. For a while, it was quite noisy with the gain turned higher than 3/4, but I then replaced my bridge Pup and the noise stopped dead. Now there is a barely noticeable hum with the gain to full, but once again beware the feedback. This amp loves to scream if you get too close. This amp does most sounds very well. It isn't the best on extremely heavy stuff, but it gets the job done. I'm fairly sure that with some quality pedals it could easily do just about everything. I've never had the clean channel higher than 2/3, but even then it was clean as can be. My wah crunched it a little, but that's the wah. The distortion is not exactly "Brutal", but it's substantial. I guess my only complaint with the distortion is that when you turn the gain down to zero, the sound just leaves instead of being clean.

Overall Impression — 9
I play everything, as I've said, so this is a very good match. I've been playing for about a year, and I own this, my Mockingbird, my acoustic, and my Dimewah. There's nothing else I wish I'd asked before I bought it, I'm completely happy with it. Were it stolen or lost, I would probably just get a larger amp, like a Crate, Vox or one of the larger Kustoms, with more features. I love the simplicity and the sound. When people see it for the first time, they always say something like "Wow, that's a great sound for such a little amp!". I don't really hate anything about it, if I did it would probably be the non-adjustable delay. My favorite feature is the amazing bass end... so rich and sounds awesome. I also love the reverbs, they're just excellent. I compared this amp to several other amps of similar and slightly higher prices-Marshall, Crate, Randall, and Behringer if I remember correctly. This amp's effects and sound blew the Marshall out of the water, and was slightly superior (in sound and price) to the others. I recently saw a Vox Valvetronix for about the same price, and its sound was about the same, but the place I got this one didn't carry Vox at that time. Like I've said, the only thing I wish it had was the adjustable effects.

Reliability & Durability — 9
I'm fairly sure I can depend on this ompletely. I would and have used it at a gig with no backup. It's never broken down, and there's no tubes or such to replace. It's a fairly beefy design, not the heaviest thing out there, but it can easily survive a beating (it fell down half a stairwell at school, and still works fine).

Features — 8
My amp was made in 2006, not entirely sure where because I can't find a "made in" label anywhere. It's a very versatile amp, you get everything from enourmously crunchy thrash metal sounds like Slayer, old-school Black Sabbath, Classic rock like Led Zeppelin, Grunge, RHCP sound, jazz, basically everything. I play all sorts of things, and randomly decide to change songs, so this is excellent for me. This amp has two channels, Clean and Lead. On the 16 DFX (which I have) there's a built-in effect box, encompassing a fairly decent bunch of effects. You have your basic delay, flanger, rotary, phaser, chorus, tremolo and slapback, but then you have autowah, RotoVerb, room and hall reverbs, chorus reverb, delay reverb, tremolo reverb and spring reverb. Very decent for $150. The only thing I really wish it had was an adjustable delay timing, because the built-in timing is way too fast. However, I rarely use the autowah, simply because I have a nice Dimewah. I use this amp everywhere, practicing at home, at band practice, Jazz band, the music room hallway after school on fridays. So far, the loudest I've needed it is during a pep rally at my school, where I had to light up a gym with sound, and it performed very well with just 2/3 max volume. Be forewarned, though: if you have the lead on, and the gain and volume higher than 12 o' clock, beware of feedback within 10 feet of the amp. Aside from that, I'm fairly sure that I could easily crank the volume to max, stand back, and be able to do an outdoor show. I can't guarantee the sound would be the best, but then there's always the external speaker output for putting it up to a PA system. Makes a great playing seat, perfect height to be comfortable playing and sitting. And nothing brings people out of the woods after school like a guitar.

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