The Defender review by Kustom

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  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Features: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 9 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.5 (38 votes)
Kustom: The Defender
4

Price paid: $ 499

Purchased from: Cheap Sounds

Sound — 10
I'm playing out of a PRS SE Singlecut. I think this amp is perfect with this guitar. The majority of the songs are classic rock, and it covers it perfectly! It also would be ideal for the blues. We cover songs from the '60s to now. The heavier songs (Godsmack, Local H, etc) call for a distortion pedal. The cleans are wonderful. I don't plan to use the reverb too much, but I can honestly say it sounds impressive compared to a few SS ones I've used. Break up is great when the volume is set pretty high, and I've been keeping the master volume switch on because I can't turn it up at home. I'll add comments to this (breakup with the master volume bypass switch) later when I turn the MVB switch off for practice.

Overall Impression — 9
We cover classic rock, '90s rock, and current rock bands like Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, The Cult, STP, Velvet Revolver, GN'R, etc. It fits just right for most of the songs, but like I said earlier, this is more suited to classic/blues rock. I've been playing for about 15 years now. I'm happy with this amp! It has just what I need for what I play. I wouldn't mind a headphone output jack.

Reliability & Durability — 9
This will be my new gig amp. I feel I can rely on it. It's big but not nearly as heavy as a half stack! It feels like it's built like a tank (pine wood tank). The master volume bypass switch, as well as the bright switch, seems small. It would have been better if they made it thicker so it's sturdier.

Features — 8
This is a fairly new, affordable tube amp from Kustom Amplification. No frills, no thrills, basic 50 watts, single channel amp, powered by two EL34 tubes, with three AX7 preamp tubes, and a Ruby Reverberation unit. There's a bright Switch and a boost knob (pedal sold separately). It would be nice to have an extra channel and a headphone jack, but I wanted affordable tube with awesome cleans and classic rock overdrive. As far as wattage goes, 50 is perfect for the venues our band will be in.

10 comments sorted by best / new / date

    jmag
    Gryphon999 wrote: Whats the difference between normal tube amp and a tube combo amp?
    There's no difference. A combo is like a head and cabinet in the same enclosure, which usually implies smaller wattage. Doesn't matter if it's solid state or tube.
    drunkonshadows7
    Jmag gets it man! Finally someone who understands that having a tube doesn't make it better in fact they're worse in so many ways; they take ages to warm up, the valves implode everyso often and then you have to wait for your amp to be repaired, they normally tend not to have a massive distortion range (but thats just the bad ones i've played tbh) Granted brands like kustom, laney and marshall will produce top-notch tube amps, the only difference is the sound wave it produces, which doesn't cut through the mix better in a live situation, it cuts through it differently, so unless everyone else is using a solid state, it makes no difference! no matter what, I'm really not convinced by tube amps. Sorry, i'll probably start an arguement now but yeh. Great review man!! keep up the good work! =D
    peever
    drunkonshadows7 wrote: Jmag gets it man! Finally someone who understands that having a tube doesn't make it better in fact they're worse in so many ways; they take ages to warm up, the valves implode everyso often and then you have to wait for your amp to be repaired, they normally tend not to have a massive distortion range (but thats just the bad ones i've played tbh) Granted brands like kustom, laney and marshall will produce top-notch tube amps, the only difference is the sound wave it produces, which doesn't cut through the mix better in a live situation, it cuts through it differently, so unless everyone else is using a solid state, it makes no difference! no matter what, I'm really not convinced by tube amps. Sorry, i'll probably start an arguement now but yeh. Great review man!! keep up the good work! =D
    haha arguement you have started grasshopper! haha but seriously go try yourself some GOOD tube amps at louder volumes. the sonic difference in tubes and solid state is massive! tubes can carry through a greater amount of frequencies and overtones that solid state cuts out. making tube amps sound much much more rich and warm. also there is a massive difference in the amount of volume a 50 watt tube amp can produce compared to a 50 watt solid state. basically a 15-20 watt tube amp is about as loud as a 50 watt solid state. do yourself a favor and go to a guitar store. ask them if you can try a jcm 800, orange rockverb, or any sort of high end tube amp (if you like TEH GAINZ then try a krank or something) at a decent volume. then compare it to ANY solid state at ANY price. i guarentee you the difference will be huge.
    papersun87
    I love Kustom. Thanks for posting this review, I've been waiting for one of these to hit a shop near me for months.
    leondb
    It's an awesome amp, especially for what you get and the price! I was also considering a Fender HRDx, and a Peavey Valveking. A nagging inside of me wanted to go with the Kustom. No local shops carried this amp. I took a chance based on what little sound clips I could find online and Guitar World's review. I'm not here to argue. I'll say this though. There really is a lot missing as far as tone goes, with an SS amp. I used to wonder why I couldn't get remotely close to Angus Young's sound about 10 years ago. No matter what kind of pedals you have, effects, or digital amp models you have, you cannot get that beautiful, thick, natural overdrive from an SS power/preamp supply! You can get close, but not close enough. Cheers and keep jamming!
    leondb
    Here's an update: we had rehearsal tonight, and this amp really shone! I had another incident with my TS9DX's pot, so I just used the amp's OD. I had my Volume up to about 75%, and my Master up to 20%. This amp's OD was awesome! Ideally I wanted to turn the Master Bypass off and run the volume up, but it was way too loud to do that. I couldn't help but smile through most of practice tonight! When my TS9DX pedal was working, it made some really nice thick distortion that got heavy enough to do our heavier songs. I didn't use my DS-1 too much. I love this amp!
    SwampAshSpecial
    Guys, just to clarify this: anyone who thinks SS is as good/better than tubes PLAYS AN MG! (and thinks it's as good as a JVM full stack!) OK, so they require some maintenance, and every 3 years or so the vavles need changing. Well, who gives a flying f*ck!? I guess if you can't tell the difference, you don't really deserve a tube amp. (or to play at all, but that isn't for me to say)
    duzit89
    SwampAshSpecial wrote: Guys, just to clarify this: anyone who thinks SS is as good/better than tubes PLAYS AN MG! (and thinks it's as good as a JVM full stack!) OK, so they require some maintenance, and every 3 years or so the vavles need changing. Well, who gives a flying f*ck!? I guess if you can't tell the difference, you don't really deserve a tube amp. (or to play at all, but that isn't for me to say)
    calm down.. shove a damn tube up your a$$ already. not everyone needs to jump on the tube bandwagon.
    big bawls
    Honestly I like the sound of a good tube amp, with overdrive mind you, over ANY solid state pos. To me they sound cheap