VH100R review by Laney

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  • Features: 9
  • Sound: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9.3 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.5 (50 votes)
Laney: VH100R
1

Purchased from: Guitar Center Used

Features — 9
This was posted on GC.com as a early 2000s UK made Laney VH100R. Dating it myself I got somewhere between 2002 and 2003. 100W all tube (6 preamp 12AX7s, 4 power EL34s) head, 2 channels with foot switchable gain and reverb on each channel. Master presence for both channels, independent reverb for each channel, toggle on/off master resonance control and toggle on/off bright control on the clean channel. Standard Lo/Mid/Hi EQ controls. Separate "side chain" FX loops for each channel and an insert loop for your effects processors and rack effects. Comes with FS4 4 button footswitch to control reverb, channel A and B distortion and switch between channel A and B.

Sound — 10
This thing sounds absolutely massive. That's the only way to describe it. The distortion growls like a freaking lion right in your face. Very warm and heavy tone very akin to a rodded Marshall JCM800 with the extra drive kicked on in channel B. With the drive off it has a nice Plexi-like crunch to it, great for hard rock, rock and heavy blues/jam. Cleans are great but not overly Fendery and tend to be a bit shimmery even with the bright switch off and treble turned down a bit. Still very useable. Adding a bit of gain with the drive control is good for classic blues, slide, ect.

I play mainly sludge, stoner and prog metal. I run a Line 6 POD HD500 4 cable method in the insert loop for strictly effects. I usually kick on a Tube Screamer model to use as a clean boost to add more gain and tighten up everything. EQ and presence all at 6, reverb at 2, gain at 7-8 and drive at 6-7. Matches up perfectly with the tones of bands like Mastodon (Bill Kelliher used this amp in the early days), Bison (B.C.), and Cancer Bats. Great for rhythm oriented riffing. But if I kick off the extra drive and leave a tube screamer in the mix I get a nice crunch good for Gov't Mule or Sabbath type rock/blues. However, if you are looking for a super proggy Uberschall or Engl Powerball type tone, look elsewhere.

Reliability & Durability — 9
The overall construction is very solid. Don't let the low price you can find this at fool you, either. Laney have long shook their electronics quality control issues of the '90s. The tube sockets are nice and tight and everything still works perfectly after 10+ years. Solid grate on the back protects yet showcases the power tubes and each preamp has it's own metal sleeve for electrostatic protection. Definitely stands up to regular wear and tear of gigging. The two handles on top make for easy carrying and are solidly bolted to the head itself, I see no issues with dropping this thing.

Overall Impression — 9
Hands down the best amp I've ever played. As I said I use a POD HD500 for effects with this thing. It goes into a Crate 2x12 cab with Eminence V128 speakers. I use an Ibanez IC300 with Lace Dissonant Aggressor pickups and an Ibanez RG7321 with SD Full Shreds as my two main guitars. This amp definitely pairs up with my IC300 better. Recommend for pairing with any Mahogany bodied Gibson-like guitars and a Vintage 30 or similarly voiced (i.e. V128) speaker. My only gripe with it is that the controls do take a bit of figuring out. Basically you should just have all the distortion, channel and reverb switches on at all times if you want to use the footswitch. Resonance and Bright switches to taste.

I would definitely buy again and again and again. Best amp I've ever owned. Bottom line: Hot rodded, balls to the wall Marshall/Soldano tones on a budget that will not disappoint.

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