Thrasher review by Randall

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  • Features: 9
  • Sound: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9.3 Superb
  • Users' score: 9 (3 votes)
Randall: Thrasher

Price paid: £ 962

Purchased from: Musik Productiv

Features — 9
I'm not entirely sure when this amp was made but I bought it towards the end of 2015 so I'm guessing it possibly that year, the amp is made in China. There are two input for the amp, the passive input (the only one I actually use, with and without active pickups) and the active input, which lowers the guitar volume to better match the output of passive pickups, though I've found it doesn't do this effectively. The main big part of this amp is the distortion channel, which happens to be channel 1 on this amp. This features low frequency gain control, high frequency gain control, gain, boost, volume, bass, middle and treble controls along with a 3 way tone stack shift to help the amp better match with different room sizes or cabs, the clean channel has gain, volume, bass, middle and treble controls along with a 2 way bright switch and a 3 way mid switch to chance between a more scooped style clean (more American in nature) to flat to a mid boost (a bit more plexi styed with more again). There's also a boost for this channel but its a preset boost and cant be adjusted with out modifications. Next is the master section consisting of depth, presence and the master volume. On the back of the amp, there's a line out, emulated line out that can be run with the cab or as a silent emulated di out, a fx loop send with a send level control and 2 fx loop returns to choose between series and parallel. There's also a bias adjustment controls on the amp to allow you to bias and swap tubes/valves when you like. While it might be a quite straight forward amp, there are a lot of features for fine tuning your sound, making this a tweaker's dream.

Sound — 9
As I'm sure many are aware already, this amp was made for metal. The gain channel on this amp is extremely tight sounding while still delivering punch to chugs and allowing higher notes to really sing. Thanks to the lf and hf controls a overdrive or boost isn't needed to tighten up this amp, there's practically one built in. The amp does everything from Judas Priest to Pantera to Black Sabbath with ease just by tweaking the 3 gain controls, it also reacts very well to rolling back the guitar volume to get a more vintage clean sound.

The clean channel on this amp is also really impressive, a nice big headroom clean that can get into some nice dirty blues territory when the gain is cranked and with the boost on, it almost ends up working like a fuzz. I normally tend to use either my Jackson King V with EMGs, my Washburn Dimeslime with EMGs or my Gibson Les Paul '60s Tribute (stock) and they all sound great through it. I've usually found that with the 3 way tone stack shift, its best to use the up position when in a small venue and the down position when in larger venues or when your really able to crank the volume on the amp, however this only applies to the distortion channel. So far I haven't heard an amp I like more than this one, this is the only amp I've been able to just plug my guitar straight into with no effects and get the tone that's been in my head for so many years. The downside though is that unless you dial in the amp just right, the boost function wont give that much of a boost in volume as much as a boost in gain, while this isn't so much of a issue for rhythm players, it can e an issue for lead players like my self with my way round it being a clean boost in the fx loop. Another issue is the active input, being that to me it didn't sound right at all, sounding like the guitar volume had been turned really low with my active guitars. While its not too big of an issue being that you can just plug into the passive input, I think its still noteworthy in case anyone buys this amp and wonders why the amp sounds bad if they're plugged into the active input. All in all, I would give this amp a 10 simply due to how I got the tone in my head with no pedals but due to the boost not doing what I expected and the active input being pretty much useless I'm going to mark it down to a 9.

Reliability & Durability — 10
When Randall said they were making a metal amp, I didn't think they'd decide to go so far as to cover the amp in metal but I'm glad they did. So far I've only had a small bit of paint come off from one of the top corners in the time I've had it so its pretty tough (I don't really take care of any of my equipment). While the amp is a tube/valve amp, which are normally more fragile than solid state or modelling amps, I have to say the "metal shell" is a great idea for making it amp more durable, however the down side is the weight but to compensate they've added 2 handles so it can be carried easier. So far I've had no issues with sound quality or things not working as they should, granted the amp did sound a little "off" when I first got it but I'm going to put that down to the tubes/valves not being fully worn in yet. Essentially it's almost literally built like a tank, I almost want to dare people to find a more durable amp considering it's literally all metal!

Overall Impression — 9
I'm a recording and gigging thrash metal guitarist from the UK and I've been playing for around 10 years. I've been a fan or randall for a while so of course when they announced they were teaming up with mike fortin to make an amp called the thrasher, I immediately knew I had to get it, no matter what. That was 3 years ago an now I finally have one and I can fully say it better than I expected. This is easily the best amp I've ever played through. While it is marketed fro the metal crowd, with the tweaks that can be done to the amp with out modifying it, I could easily do a gig with a blues band with this amp or even use this amp to record numerous albums of different genres and it would work for all of them. While I would love to give this a 10 here, due to the small issues I've discussed in this review, it's doesn't seem right to officially give it a 10, so officially its a 9 but in reality I would give it a 10 every time.

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