The Defender review by Kustom

logo Ultimate Guitar
  • Sound: 8
  • Overall Impression: 7
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Features: 7
  • Reviewer's score: 7.8 Good
  • Users' score: 8.5 (38 votes)
Kustom: The Defender

Price paid: € 400

Purchased from: A BAND

Sound — 8
The sound is about the same as the box itself: direct, raw, strong, no nonsence. The original speaker was very tipically "Chinese": too direct, too screamy, mid-range-only, low only on finesse. So the first thing was to replace it with something of superior quality. So I got in touch with Lorantz (Australia), told them I play blues with power riffs, like George Thorogood & The Destroyers and they sent me a top-of-the-line 75 W speaker. Simply steroids. Compared to original speaker, I have much more powerful and rich sound but the amp is now using less than 50% of power and drive, all other knobs are in middle position. I don't think I have the guts to try what happens when one turns all the knobs to the right...

Overall Impression — 7
I'm a rocker with Thrash Metal background, enjoying some blues as a relaxation. This amp knows no excuses: it's aggressive, direct, raw, powerful, and when you want some gentleness, just Switch to neck pickup and it'll purr like a cat. It is good such as it is, but in time you can upgrade it with some better speakers (it has a handy Switch for the ohms at the back), some better tubes, it could get you further. Only shame is the footswitch though, it could do with some more knobs... It cannot compete with Music Man or high-end Marshalls, but the blue-blood amplifiers also cost about 5 times more... My recommendation: put it on a top of another single-speaker box and you'll get some serious piece of kit for very few bucks.

Reliability & Durability — 9
The only thing I'm sorry about this amp is - it's Chinese. And if the Chinese cheapo-crapo-amplifayo sounds this awesome I can't imagine the quality of the original US Kustom amp. It's been a while now and I'll have some work done on the lamps, one started to rattle a bit, but no sweat. The machine WORKS. :)

Features — 7
It's a Chinese version (I guess), it was imported from Germany, the rest I don't know. It's no-nonsence tube amp, a box, a speaker and 5 lamps (I think, I didn't bother to count). I bought it when I saw that Van Zants use Kustom. That was just about all the information I needed.

1 comment sorted by best / new / date

    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
    Uhhh...but if something happens to your solid're pretty much up the creek without a paddle. You pretty much better buy a new one. On the other hand, you can replace all the major parts of a tube amp. Plus, after I compared a decent tube amp to a solid state amp, it was night and day. To me, solid state amps have these two ranges I find acceptable. They are really good clean solid states and really good high gain solid states. I do delve into both ranges of sounds, but predominantly play in the clean to in-between range. To me, nothing does that better than a tube amp, with perhaps a mellow overdrive or boost pedal for some extra sonic textures. Solid state can be useful for home stuff or rehearsal, but they always have this icky artifacts when they cut through live. I just learned to deal with it, but that doesn't change the fact that they are there.