Maiden-Canada, on november 30, 2012 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Price paid: $ 899
Purchased from: Quilter Labs, Inc.
Features: This amp was built in August 2012 - I know because it was built on the day I ordered it (!). I play a wide variety of music, having done projects that required blues, pop, classical elements, rock and metal. The MicroPro 200 needs some tweaking to get a metal rhythm tone, but it can be done; everything else sounds delightful, no pedals attached!
It has two channels: the first is a neutral, "clean" channel that is meant for two things. First, it is designed for pedals. Second, it has a balanced input/XLR mode for plugging in an acoustic guitar or a mic! The effects loop and reverb functions work on this channel, as well.
The second channel is the "main" electric channel, which comes with the usual 3-band EQ. It has a Gain knob which accommodates up to a "hard rock" amount of overdrive. There is a Boost feature with 4 flavours of boost: HOT (good for metal rhythm tones), Loud (more volume and gain - solo mode), Bright (more treble), and Scooped (more bass and treblish). Obviously, there are a lot of options SO FAR, but there's more. You also have access to a Limiter (cleans away the distortion, keeps the sustain! ), Tremolo, Reverb (as mentioned - with a path selection knob), and Presence (which allows you to tame/unleash your guitar, as required). There is also a Mode switch, which allows you to select what type of sound you have wen the mode switch is off (Mini, Tweed, Classic FullQ and an ability to use Channel 1 as your clean channel). Finally, there is a Master Volume. This amp, despite its small size, is bewilderingly loud; the 200 stands for watts, after all!
On the back, there is an effects loop; a direct out for recording/PA usage; a footswitch jack which uses an ethernet cable (!); extension speaker out, and a snap-in jack for the mains. All in all, this thing is feature-JAMMED. It comes with a 2-button programmable footswitch (any two features), or you can upgrade it to a deluxe 6-button model with buttons for Mode, Boost, Limiter, Tremolo, Reverb and FX Loop.
I have used this amp at home and in rehearsal so far - my new project is getting material together so no live shows yet. I have yet to Jam with it with the master volume above half - it's a f***ing beast. As per Quilter's ads, it uses a newer form of solid state technology they call "3rd Gen" power; it sounds really damned good. // 10
Sound: I am a Fender man normally. I own a reissue '52 Tele with Seymour Duncan pickups (lil' 59 neck/Hot Rails bridge); a Classic Player Tele Deluxe; and a clone Stratocaster made by GK. I also play a Fender CD220SE through it at times. I tend to keep the Gain down around half as a sort of mild break-up, using the Limiter to really clean it up when necessary. I've tried a variety of OD and Distortion pedals through the main channel, which makes them sound a little different than through Channel 1 (which I'm using for a mic, as a singer). I've found a number of great combos, including the EHX Metal Muff w/ Top Boost, DigiTech Bad Monkey, Boss OD-3 and Boss DS-1.
Surprisingly to some, the DS-1 is currently what I am happy to carry along right now; as a main heavy crunch, it rules through this amp and either of my humbucker-equipped guitars (haven't tried the Strat with this combo yet). When I turn on the boost (set to Loud), it increases the volume/saturation very nicely!
If you crank both the Gain and Boost knobs, you can get feedback and noise; however, the amp runs fairly quietly in general. As mentioned, I use an external pedal for rhythm distortion (Bad Monkey cranked up works well with hi-output pickups, too). I find that with the Gain knob cranked, the boost on Loud is less discernible (think the Satchurator pedal, for those of you that have tried it).
For metal players, one thing you might try is using the HOT boost as your rhythm setting, as it has enough gain to riff. When you turn it off, there is less gain but more midrange, which makes the perceived volume jump somewhat. An OD or EQ in the loop would also work as a huge lead boost... Just watch the volume. // 9
Reliability & Durability: I can totally rely on this amp; it is a bloody masterpiece of engineering. Since it has such a huge volume range, and no tubes, I am not worried about it going on the fritz at a show. I haven't owned it long enough to neglect it, but I don't think I ever will. It is light and solidly built - because the reverb is digital there is no worry about a spring tank malfunction. It comes with a thick slip cover, though you can also buy a deluxe bag with a shoulder strap (which I did). When I go to practice or a gig, I have my guitar across my shoulders in a gig bag, this thing over my shoulder or in one hand (<20 lbs.!) and my pedalboard bag in the other hand. // 10
Overall Impression: I love Jimi Hendrix, Iron Maiden, the Foo Fighters, Billy Talent, Metallica, Van Halen, AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, and a nearly endless list of other artists. This amp handles almost all styles very well on its own, but plays very nicely with external effects. I have been playing and singing for ten years; aside from my guitars, I also own effects by Boss, DigiTech, Dunlop, EHX, Behringer and Radial.
I held an email correspondence with Chris Parks, Quilter's CEO, prior to buying this amp. All my questions were answered, and he informed me that he personally checked my amp before shipping (!). It is fairly obvious to me that these guys care a lot about their customers.
If this were stolen or lost I would work very hard to retrieve it; failing that I would surely re-purchase, finances permitting. For people who want a solid-state amp that sounds pretty awesome and costs less, check out the Peavey Bandit 112. I owned one prior to this, and had to sell it when I moved provinces due to a lack of room. In retrospect, though it was a great amp, it was larger and heavier than the MicroPro 200 but had more aggressive distortion.
As you can probably tell, I am more or less in love with this amp. I wish the regular Gain went a bit higher and interacted with the Boost (Loud mode)a little differently, but overall it is an unbelievable combination of features and quality for its size and price. I've played some amazing tube amps, but I will likely never buy one again when I have this to work with. Players who crave piles of distortion can buy pedals at reasonable prices that will give you what you need. If you have the opportunity to try/buy one, I would heartily recommend it!
unregistered, on september 10, 2013 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Price paid: C$ 1100
Purchased from: Quilter Laboratories
Features: I've had this amp for a little over a year now (as old as the amp itself), so I thought I would follow up with a second review. I play various styles of rock (including pop/country rock), as well as blues and metal. This amplifier matches those styles well; for metal it's best to set the Boost mode to HOT and leave it on as the rhythm tone - you can easily get tones like Metallica, Avenged Sevenfold and so on with this setting.
The MicroPro 200 has a Balance/XLR channel for acoustic guitars or microphones, which can also be used as a "pure" clean channel; only the reverb and FX Loop buttons on the footswitch work when this mode is selected. On the main channel designed for electric guitars, I use the Limiter feature (footswitchable) as a clean setting, crank the gain for dirty sounds and use the Boost feature on Loud mode for solos. There is no headphone jack, but the master volume control has a massive range. I've never used it to gig above half volume. I wouldn't mind if the amp had a wider gain range, as you don't really get distorted until 2:00 or more.
The amp is 100 watts per channel, so (as mentioned with the "never above 1/2 volume") it is incredibly powerful for such a small piece. One thing I'm a big fan of is the Direct Out jack - you can record into things like a Boss BR-600 (which I have), or go right into the mixer for PA purposes. By disconnecting the speaker, you can blaze through the monitors/speakers and not have feedback issues from the actual cabinet! The Boost function has 4 modes (Scoop, Bright, Loud, Hot); there is a great, customizable Reverb circuit built-in; there is a Tremolo effect (I only use it sometimes); finally, there are controls for Presence, and a Mode selection switch for different amp sims if you like (I just leave it on Full Q). // 9
Sound: I'm currently using a Fender Telecaster Deluxe; those pickups aren't high-gain, but it cranks pretty hard with the gain maxed out! I would Imagine that with an active set of pickups (or high-gain set), you would have to play around with it a bit more. I used an Epiphone LP Jr. through it once, and the humbucker they have in there is absolutely ferocious - underrated! The MicroPro 200 can be a little noisy depending on the grounding situation where you are playing, but it's not really a big deal. I can get plucky country stuff out of this no problem; from there, dirty blues is easy, as is getting into the AC/DC and Van Halen zone. To get a metal tone (as I said before), you would have to use the HOT boost setting (wah/OD/EQ for solos?), but you can pretty much play anything through this beautiful thing! // 9
Reliability & Durability: I've gigged with the MicroPro 200 for awhile now, and the only problem I've ever had is feedback if I'm standing too close and not Dir. Outing through the PA. In the future, I'll be insisting that we send it through the PA. Because it's not tube-powered, you don't have to worry about issues there; the tone is gorgeous clean or dirty, and it plays well with pedals of all stripes. At this point, though, I haven't even used any of my pedals for shows anymore - it's easier to just plug straight into this thing and rock. Perhaps for metal, I would throw an EQ into the loop and use that for leads... Other than that, I don't need extras. // 10
Overall Impression: I've been playing for over 10 years, and played through Marshall and Peavey amps prior to this; I also own a fair-sized collection of pedals. This is the best amp I've played through in awhile; I'd love to get a Gibson ES-339 Studio an rip through this amp, because that guitar through a Mesa/Boogie Express 5:25 is incredible. I would definitely buy from Quilter again were this amp lost or stolen. The only "minus" in this amp is that it is not designed to be a high-gain, metal beast; however, with the right guitar and playing skills, you can destroy with the MicroPro - I certainly have. // 9