Linebacker LR20 review by Laney

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  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Features: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 10 Gem
  • Users' score: 9.1 (9 votes)
Laney: Linebacker LR20

Sound — 10
Fans of the rocky British sounds of the last century will be happy, and I find it works really well for Priest and Maiden, even some Sabbath if you hit it right. You'll need a pedal or two if you want ultra-sustain but this amp is better setup for cut rather than mud. Depends on your axe, of course. I have a Strat with DiMarzio H-S-S setup and it opens up the sound very nicely. An 8" speaker can only do so much at the low end with an open back cab, naturally. My main amp is a Boogie Mark-2 and it's nice not to have to fire up the big gun when you want a little bedroom skirmish. Haven't pushed the LR-20 too hard so I don't know how catastrophic the breakup is at high volumes, but the trick with this one is that it keeps your basic sound and dynamics pretty steady at low to medium volumes. The "Wreck" setting gives a nice warm growl with a bit of chainsaw. Have to try my other axe with the DiMarzio super distortion to see if I get the creamy smooth PAF sound but it obviously can't saturate the way a tube amp does. Really cuts through nicely playing along with records or what not. I use a Boss Metal Zone to get my metalcore sounds, because it was cheap.

Overall Impression — 10
If I had to pick nits I would say that the presets are a bit uneven in their loudness levels, so there is a bit of tweaking. But the EQ and FX settings are stored with each of the two channels so once you decide on your rhythm and lead tones, it's stupid easy to set your levels and off to the races. Your effects are at a fixed depth so you adjust only the delay time or rate, but they are within a useful range and can be as dramatic or subtle as you might need. The output is also noise gated, so you have to watch a bit for long fadeouts 'cause they might sputter a bit. I was looking at the Roland Cube 15 or Roland Cube 20 line but for the money and also the Laney badge I went with this one brand new. I'm hoping to upgrade to the Tony Iommi model one day, so maybe I have a loyalty thing going on here. Anyway, there a bit of the black ART in the amp and I'm happy.

Reliability & Durability — 10
Brand new, not subjected to road conditions yet but I'm kind to my equipment, probably a non-issue. Looks as well-made as any small amp I've ever seen. Not a gigging amp. I was looking for portability and diversity of sounds (I try to teach a bit) and that's what I got. Might take it along as a Backstage warmup if needed.

Features — 10
Guessing this thing was made circa 2012, easy setup, good solid-state rendition of bigger Laney siblings but sized for my practice room. Won't knock plaster off the wall. Two channels with modeling presets, both channels identical, so you can set the same preset on both and simply change your eq and effects. Goes from clean to "wreck" but all presets have enough "air" in the crunch so you don't get buzzy or muddy. Nice cutting sounds. The EQ is not BMT but Countour and Presence, translates to lower-mid boost and "sparkle", easy to use. I use it for bluesy burlesque-y or some more rocky stuff but need a pedal for metallic or metalcore sounds. It's a practice amp but no horrible trade-offs.

5 comments sorted by best / new / date

    And let the shitstorm of people angry at all the 10s commence. What astonishes me is that he says he owns a Mesa yet did that.
    All 10's is a bit much but Ive played a larger linebacker owned by a mate of mine and its by far the best sounding and most "tubelike" solid state amp ive ever heard