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The RM100 is both traditional and modern technology rolled into one amplifier. First, you have 3 independent modular channels that can be loaded with your choice and combination of the available tube preamp modules.
ashish_2903, on february 08, 2008 4 of 4 people found this review helpful
Features: The Randall RM100 is an all-tube head and is part of the Modular Tube Series line of heads which have been in production for a while now I think, and is now making a huge comeback by endorsing leagendary guitar heroes such as Kirk Hammett and George Lynch. In my opinion, this is the ultimate personalised amp commercially available. To explain it to people Who have never seen the beast, the head is basically like a really heavy (32kgs!!! That's 70lbs for all you non-conformists) Nintendo 64. I say this because it has 3 slots which allow you to plug in these neat little modules (up to 13 different types) so that you can ultimately create your ultimate 3-channel rig (kinda like the Nintendos we had as kids). Each of these modules aim to model a number of different popular amps by incorporating the internal circuitry in these hot-swappable modules. Each uses 2 12AX7s to generate that warm tube sound. I got mine off Ebay from Brisbane and came with the Recto, 1086 and Modern modules preloaded. A Brand New one costs about AUD$3700 loaded with 3 stock modules. The head has a metal grill, indicated by the M at the end of RM 100M, and this model comes with 4 Ruby EL34s power tubes. And get this: with 3 modules in your head, you have at your disposal a total of 13 tubes, I.e. 4 EL34s and 9 12AX7s!
It also arrived with the MIDI footswich which allows you to hook your head up to an external effects pedal via the MIDI thru and quite easily kick off your channels with whatever effects you want on each channel. If MIDI is not your thing for effects, this head comes with a series and parallel effect loop located on the back of the head. An Effects knob on the front helps blend the wet and dry signals of the parallel loop as you like. Also, each loop uses a 12AX7 preamp tube to warm up the sound before hitting the modules. In addition, there is a 12AX7 at the guitar input side which helps warm the line coming in. If anyone is looking to get this head from somewhere overseas and it's cheaper, do it! The head comes with a variable voltage selector to suit whichever country you're playing it in. Another cool feature of this amp, which is also what sets it apart is the the self-biasing section. Replacing a tube and biasing it yourself is dead easy: get a voltmeter and insert electrodes into the test points available on the back of the head, adjust bias using a flathead screwdriver to the desired voltage. And presto! that's it! I am not kidding. You don't really want to be crawling through your head biasing tubes and touching all sorts of livewires if you're as heavy-handed as I am.
It has tube failure lights that come on when a tube fails, so you can swap it out in between long set rests. Each tube has an associated SLO-BLO 250mA fuse connected to it which if it Burns out, will pop out for easy replacement. Never again will you need to send your head into the shops for a tube change. And maintaining the tubes in top condition can be done in a matter of minutes. Swap tubes as you like, e.g. go from EL34s to E34Ls, 6L6s or even KT88s. Whatever you want; swap till your broke or until you rip out a tube socket. Then you're in trouble. From the serial number at the bottom right of the back of the head, I believe mine was manufactured in May 04', but then I could be reading it totally wrong. Either way though, this head is amazing. Wish this thing came with reverb, which is why I gave it a 9 instead of a 10. Another contribution to the 9, the price! Can't get an all tube amp like this for this kind of $$$. At 100 Watts, this thing is loud. 100 may not sound like a lot, but this is not a solid-state amp. I'm no scientist, but I think 100 W on a tube amp is way louder than 100 W on a SS. Think it has something to do with wattage describing power output for some, and others describing it's conversion to actual decibels. It has all the volume you could ever need, and the more you crank it, the more my tubes compress the output. The head comes covered in tolex, and has recessed, foldable handles at the side to lug around this monster. The handles are really hardy too! // 9
Sound: As with any tube amp, it sounds really thin and unresponsive at low volumes. But that's not why you get an all-tube beast do you? As you crank the master volume, a lot of the character of these individual modules come out. The pick attack response of each module is significantly different too. I use an ESP LTD EX-400 w/ Diamond plate and an Ibanez RGT42 on stage. The ESP has EMG 81/60s in it, and the body shape makes it really middy sounding. But it's perfect for playing death metal, thrash and everything high-gain. My favourite module for rhythms for now seems to be the 1086, I.e. the Dan Donegan from Disturbed signature module. Think Killswitch Engage type rhytms tone, which is really crunchy yet nicely compressed. For leads, the Modern does the trick; searing high leads depending on the guitar/pickups you use.
For some reason though, the Recto module just sounds too muffled and not really usable. I've since used it to play cleans by turning the gain way down and cranking the level way up. But again, this amp is not only for metal. The remaining modules on the market range from the Blackface, Tweed, Super Lead, XTC, Ultra, Ultra XL, Brahma, and many more. Get whatever it is you think will best suit your individual music genres. The amp is noisy, as with most Randalls. A bit of ambiant noise, but it's nothing a noise gate wont take out. I don't use effects by the way, so I just bear with the ambiant white noise. The amp has Density and Presence knobs on the front which control overall bass and high-end levels. Turning these seems to have an almost logarithmic response on the output. I haven't used it for recording, so I can't comment there. One thing to note is that this head comes with a cooling fan which is a bit noisy, so if you are going to record using a mic, put the head in another room and run a long speaker lead from it to the cabinet. Down the line I might get an XTC (based on the high-gain Bogner) and a Blackface (based on the Fender Twin). But for the music we are writing, the clean channel isn't too imperative. // 8
Reliability & Durability: From what I've read online, this amp seems to be riddled with problems, from rabid blowing fuses, dodgy solder joints and what not. I haven't had a problem yet, but when it does come up, I'll post here again. I still get my drummer to bring his Marshall Valvestate amp just in case the MTS meltsdown. I guess if you follow the rule of thumb with tube-amps, I.e. run on standby for 5mins before playing, and cool down on standby after, your tubes should last, and you won't risk burning a fuse. Also, don't run the head without a speaker lead connecting it. Also, been reading lots of the Bruce Egnater forums, and apparently swapping the modules while the thing is on, or even on standby is a bad idea. Best to turn it off, swap cartriges, then turn back on. Again, like a Nintendo 64. // 6
Overall Impression: For melodic death metal, the 1086 and Modern modules get the job done, with stunning warm tube tone. Doesn't compress as much as an Engl, Framus, Mesa or Peavey, but sometimes you wonder when too much compression and gain is just over the top. You want your tone to cut through and not turn into static mush in the background of a 5-piece metal band. I've been playing for about 8 years now (not long... I know), but its been a real learning experience for me thus far. Before this, my amp was a 2watt Roland Microcube, since I didn't have a band then. Now that the gigs are become more frequent, and venues bigger, it was time to set my sound apart. I got a Randall 412-XC cab for this, which comes with Celestion seventy80 speakers, so its not top notch. If you can afford it, get the XL series of cabs to match this head since those cabs have Vintage '30s. If this stolen, I'd hunt him down and pummell him with the 32 kilo head. Then I'd get back into my car and chase him for a few hours until he passes out. Then I'd release the hounds. My favourite feature would have to be the price, and the fact that it's all tube. Wish it were lighter, less bulky, had pilot lights under the tubes and came with reverb, it would be perfect. But then again, its purpose built for the working musician, no bells or whistles. Just pure, all-tube tone. Lastly, don't just read this review. Do your own research, read what others have to say about their experience with this amp. Responses are varied and complicated. They are not always good reviews, which is what helps you decide in the end. When in doubt Google it.
I decided to write this because I don't see many Randalls on stage here in Melbourne, and that is a crying shame. Rock on! // 9
Shinozoku, on january 08, 2009 1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Features: I can't tell what year this was made in, but more than likely either '07 or '08, I'll tell you how I guess this later (aside from the fact that I got it new). The head alone with n o modules costs around $1300. The reason the amp was so much is because I got it loaded with a set of modules that wasn't offered at Musician's Friend:
Blackface (modeled after a clean Fender Twin) SL+ (the pre-2007 modules were modeled after a Marshall JCM2000, but starting in 07 Randall changed a resistor and two caps giving it the voicing of a JCM800, although thinner than the original, more on this) Ultra XL (Based on the Peavey 5150).
The front of the head has a Master Volume, FX level, Presence (power amp highs) and Density (power amp lows) knobs on the front, along with the three slots for your selection amongst the 20-25 available preamp modules. The back sports a power supply with adjustable voltage (so you can play anywhere in the world), a MIDI in jack (for the included 3 button footswitch) and MIDI Through (for a MIDI multi-FX processor), an easy-to-acess bias section for the power tubes, two speaker outs, an adjustable impedance selector (4, 8, or 16 ohms), and two effects loops (one series, one parallel).
It comes stock with four JJ 6L6GC power tubes, and three JJ 12AX7 preamp tubes (on the head itself, one is the phase inverter, the others are the V1 and V2, I think). The power section (and the massive, barbell-esque transformers) can handle almost any kind of power tube (from 6L6s and EL34s to the massive KT88). The only tubes I don't think this amp can take are EL84's, but that's what the RM20 is for... Also, the amp is capable of running two different pairs of tubes, such as 2 EL34s and 2 6L6s, thus giving you almost unlimited tonal control over your amp.
Each module has it's own Gain, Bass, Mid, Treble, and Volume knobs, and a bright switch. Each is also loaded with the same JJ 12AX7 preamp tubes found in the head. As mentioned before the footswitch is MIDI enabled, so you can use your MIDI effects processor to set some reverb, delay, and/or chorus on your clean channel while you add whatever effects you want to the other channels, and each setting can be programmed into the footswitch. I don't use this feature yet, but I hope to one day.
The only feature I wish it had was a power selector (100w, 50w, 20w), but you can take out a pair of the power tubes to bring it down to 50 if you want less headroom (there's not a noticeable droop in volume, though) or if your speaker cab (or speaker, for that matter) can't handle all 100 watts. I use the amp practicing in my bedroom (yes, with the master and channel volumes this behemoth can be brought down to bedroom levels while still sounding fairly good), and with my band. The channel volumes love to be cranked, and sound best when set to noon. The master also likes being set at least to 9 o'clock. // 9
Sound: I use an Edwards E-AL-128 (Alexi Laiho signature) loaded with a DiMarzio D Activator X (great pickup with brutal gain and pristine cleans), and run the amp through a Vader 2x12 cab, and as you can guess, I play metal, but I venture into instrumental and progressive quite a bit. The amp, considering you have at least 60 preamp combinations at your fingertips (with each module costing between $150 used and $250 new), not to mention the different preamp tubes you can use with them and the countless combos of power tubes it can take AND MIDI capability, this amp is versatile enough to play literally anything you want and deliver in spades.
I'll admit, I haven't played many good tube amps in my 6 years as a guitarist, but after trying a couple of Fender Tube amps, I can honestly say the Blackface not only has a slightly richer sound, but it's also more versatile and fun to tweak than the Fenders (I will still test this out some more though). With the gain at 3 o'clock and up you start getting a mild overdrive that's nicely supplemented by power tube overdrive, great for Blues and classic rock (like early Who). It responds fairly well to picking dynamics here, but I don't care for using the bright Switch with this module. It become piercing on the high strings (if you're strumming hard on the bridge pickup with a bright guitar, with a neck pickup though, it's easier to tame).
The SL+ module was chosen with a few things in mind: Iron Maiden, Children Of Bodom, and Nevermore. But remember my statement about it sounding a bit thin? This is because Randall changes the bass capacitor from a.0047uF (pre-07) to a.001uF(recent), to tighten the bass some (more than necessary). Luckily, each module is easily modified, and I happen to have a friend Who is good at soldering, so I plan to change this out, and maybe even add a Switch to go between bass values. Randall basically BEGS you to modify these to suit your taste. This has recently become my lead module, and will suit the job even better after the bass cap change.
The Ultra XL is where it's at for any of your death metal needs. Being based on one of the most popular modern metal amps, it can nail the sounds of Arch Enemy (Michael Amott actually uses this module in his Randall MTS), In Flames, Amon Amarth, Dethklok, and (although I haven't tried it yet, but I'm confident of it's versatility) Children Of Bodom's sound on Something Wild (and back before when they were Inearthed). I use this as my rhythm module because I was looking for that Gothenburg melodeath tone, and it's great. It responds much like a 5150 in the tone controls, in that you don't need the gain far past noon to get the distortion you need, and I actually run the bass closer to noon as well, for a slightly tighter sound that still has balls. The Bright Switch, unless the Treble is turned below noon, makes this module sound somewhat thin though, but some people may like that.
I plan on getting more modules soon, and I may post individual reviews on them when I do. Regardless, this amp does exactly what I wanted it to, and can do so much more. It's better sounding and better performing than any digital modeler that I've played, even the Spider Valve. // 9
Reliability & Durability: I've never gigged with the amp, so I'm not sure about it's reliability. I've heard horror stories of blown fuses and whatnot, but this amp has only given me one problem before. Once, the SL+ module sounded more like a Vintage Plexi, and I played with the switched as much as I could, until finally I heard this swell of gain come out from nowhere, and it played fine. I discovered that either in shipping or from my own clumsiness that one of the power tubes was crooked, so once they cooled down I pushed it back into place and it's never given me trouble since. // 10
Overall Impression: I play metal, but I soften things up sometimes, and if I ever got another amp, it would be for novelty purposes, shits and giggles, etc., maybe even to run in stereo with this amp. It's got more flexibility than other amps I've tried, and if I ever change what I play (when Hell freezes over), then all I need to do is change my modules.
I've played guitar for 6 years, and own three more guitars (a Kramer 610, a Jasmine acoustic, and an Ibanez Artcore), and an Ibanez practice amp that sounds like crap drug through shit compared to this beast. If this amp were ever stolen, first off, the thief better have hit the gym first because this head weighs roughly 75 pounds with the modules in it, and it's slightly off-balance because of the transformer placement, so it would be cumbersome to try and run with. Regardless, I could reclaim it and beat the culprit to a bloody pulp with it if it was ever stolen. If it were lost, however... well it would never get lost, once again because you just don't LOOSE at 75 pound piece of equipment that your guitar is plugged into. However, I might decide to go with an RM4 and RT2/50 rack setup if I did ever loose this amp, if only because of the extra module I would have available to me.
When Michael Amott was interviewed and asked what kids Who were looking for great tone should do, he said "Get a job, and buy a Randall". Sadly, I have no job, but I do have a Randall. Try one for yourself if you don't believe me. // 10
Moe., on april 17, 2008 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Features: I'm unsure of which year the amp is made, although it's in very good condition and can't be too old. It's all tube, and has tube modules to replicate different amp tones. Wait, what? Tube modeling? Oh yeah! From the factory I think these amps are equipped with JJ El84's and 12ax7's. It features 3 channels which are interchangeable with any module of your choice, including the older 1 channel Egnater modules. It has a Bias point in the back, for anyone needing a quick Bias. And along with this it also has an LED for each Tube, to indicate whether there is a tube failure. I use a 3 button Randall footswitch which came with the amp for channel switching, which can be programmed in a minute. It also features a Midi through; for midi effects, a Parallel effects loop, A series effects loop, interchangeable voltage selector, and of course an impedance select Switch. That's just the back. The front features the Usual Standby and power Switch, a Density control, Effects level, Master level, and Presence. The Modules have a gain knob, Middle, bass, treble, and level/volume. With an added bright Switch on each one. I've found that the modules will need a little bit of tweaking over time for a perfect tone, but everything takes time. I'm very happy with all of the features. My only complaint is the missing reverb, but all of the other features makes up for it. // 9
Sound: The guitar I'm using right now is an Epiphone Les Paul Custom, with stock pickups. Due to the modules that can be changed over with the amp, it's very versatile; Which is just what I need due to the constant change in genre enjoyment. It's good for a lot. I've gotten a sound close to Metallica's 'seek and destroy' with the XTC module. A great crunch sound for punk and blues with the Plexi module. And a warm sparkling clean tone for the blackface module. The amp isn't always noisy, but can be. The most noise from it is the fan in the back, but it's un-noticeable while playing. The clean channel can get distorted on a high volume level also, but I don't tend to push it that far. And of course, being a Randall, The distortion is brutal when needed. You can also purchase a little mod kit for the modules. With a replacement of one little component behind the gain knob of each module you can get a tighter bottom end with more pick attack, or can loosen it if wanted. // 10
Reliability & Durability: Not sure, haven't had it for long. But it is well built, and I'm not expecting any problems. It looks to be built in a tank, and is definitely gig worthy; But like everything else, it may need to have a back up taken for gigs. From what I understand the amp hasn't broken down either. A tube change will need to be undertaken though. // 5
Overall Impression: The styles of music I play range from anything, blues, metal, punk, rock, jazz, and anything in between. I've found this Amp to be a good match to all of those styles with a little bit of tweaking. If I could've asked any questions about this, it would've been about a reverb pedal. The amp is completely perfect to my ears. If it were lost or stolen, I'd buy one of these in a second. Out of everything on this amp, The main thing I love is the versatility and choice. I haven't found anything that makes me hate it. I decided not to compared this amp to many, as it's in a category of its own. If I had to compare it to something, it would be many amps rolled into one. If you don't have the intent to buy one of these, I suggest at least trying one. Just let yourself be the judge, and I'm sure you'll be pleased. // 8
unregistered, on march 03, 2011 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Price paid: $ 1800
Purchased from: My work (Southtown Music)
Features: I won't go into all of the specifics because other people did a good job with the basics. I'll just add my opinions from my experience.
All tube, 100watts of amazing sound 3 independent channels. I use them for-Clean, Rhythm and Lead. I got my amp new but at an insane discount because I bought it from the music store I work at. =) The M2 Preloaded set i got came with a Blackface, Plexi, and XTC.
The Fender Blackface is a great, versatile clean that I use for Acoustic rock, blues, any style of jazz: anything. You can even crank the gain to get slight crunch for more aggressive tones.
The Marshall Plexi is good for Classic rock. You can still play full chords without it being too muddy and yet still have the Drive for sweet leads. I did however swap this module out.
The Bogner XTC can do anything from 80s 90s modern rock to even some metal. It is super thick and you can still get great cut through leads. I use this as my rhythm channel.
I got the Randall Ultra XL module for a lead channel and couldn't be more happy. This distortion screams. Hamonics wail, even when your strings are as dead as mine. For a hard rock or metal taste, this is the best in my opinion.
The presence and density controls can boost tone in either direction. You can push almost any channel into a lead or rhythm channel or just perfect the sound you want.
No experience with the effects loop and the master is self explanatory.
If a tube goes out the amp kicks that tube out of the circuit to protect the rest of your head and a light will appear next to the bad tube so no more guessing. So far have not got this amp past 3 on volume. // 10
Sound: I play with a Zakk Wylde Les Paul with passive EMG-HZ pickups, An Ibanez RGT42DX with active Seymour Duncan blackouts, a Washburn J5TSk jazz box Stock and a Takamine EG530ASC stock. I can literaly play any style that I want. Blues, jazz, rock, metal, worship, reggae. Anything. High gain modules do have some noise but I never use a compressor. // 10
Reliability & Durability: I trust this amp. Have only had it about a month so we'll see but I see it as a great construction. // 9
Overall Impression: Love the amp. First tube amp I've owned but have played on fenders and marshalls and this blows them away. Been playing music since I was 7 and am in college studying music. Sound is unrivaled and will keep this amp as long as God allows. // 10