KGA16R review by Kustom

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  • Features: 9
  • Sound: 8
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 8.8 Superb
  • Users' score: 7.1 (10 votes)
Kustom: KGA16R
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Price paid: C$ 59

Purchased from: Pawn Shop

Features — 9
My amp dates to about 2001, Designed in America, Chinese made. 4558D chip based (4 chips). Includes lead channel, Clean channel, Bass, Mid, High tone controls, Reverb (Belton spring reverb, can is about 8", inside the electronics compartment). Inputs are far enough from the main power supply to avoid noise. It has instrument and cd/tape inputs, plus a 1/4" headphone jack. All controls are on the top of the guitar. There is an external speaker jack inside the amp, I assume 8ohm, 16 watts. It is hard to find and the label for it is a few inches away.

Sound — 8
I play every type of country, some Middle of the road, and gospel, using Pedal Steel and Electric. I uee lots of reverb (Belton ~8" spring reverb) and often push the amp to its limit. at that point it is a bit bright. The amp is clean, runs a little bright when pushed hard and will distort at high impedance inputs. It has the "4558" sound. The sound range is decent for an amp in its range, with an English Celestion speaker - rather odd for a Chinese-built economy amp. The guitars I play through it are two Boots Pedal Steel Guitars and a Silvertone (Walmart) electric. The steels are single coil equipped and made by me :D

Reliability & Durability — 9
I use this amp in smaller venues. For electric, it works fine. I rarely use the lead channel, no comments on it except that it works. With pedal steel, you need a lot of headroom in an amp, and this amp runs out of gas trying to fill more that 1000 square feet. The amp is solid built, with decent components laid out and easy to access for cleaning - easier than most amps. Standard tolex (or similar) with plastic corner protectors. Plastic jacks - annoying but very common on many amps. It is my backup amp for larger venues.

Overall Impression — 9
This amp is a great practice amp, and great for throwing in the trunk for a private jam session. It is light and fairly rugged. 16 watts is too small for serious steeling, however. For anything other than the smallest venues I rely on my Peavey Session 400, but it's 56 pounds, making me wish the Kustom had more power.  If it were lost or stolen I would replace it with an amp with more power - but that is not the fault of the amp. The 4558 chips are robust and forgiving and I push them as hard as I can without distortion.

The amp had 4 4558D chips for preamp and to bring it up to 16 watts. The 4558 is an old but stable chip and can be found in almost every budget amp, plus most radios and electronics coming out of Japan in the 1980s on up.

With pedal steel, you need a lot of headroom in an amp, and this amp runs out of gas trying to fill more that 1000 square feet, or with a loud band. It's not the amp's fault, 16 watts doesn't go very far with steel.

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