Smart IIIs review by Silvertone

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  • Features: 7
  • Sound: 7
  • Reliability & Durability: 7
  • Overall Impression: 7
  • Reviewer's score: 7 Good
  • Users' score: 4.4 (18 votes)
Silvertone: Smart IIIs

Purchased from: Artist Guitars

Features — 7
Technical specifications:

- Channels: 2 - Clean and Drive (with Drive knob) with a button to switch between them.
- EQ: 2 - band, Treble and Bass knobs.
- Other: Volume, headphones and tape/C.D. in, power switch, carry handle and rounded corner metal covers.
- 10 Watts R.M.S. at 4Ohms. Can produce a sound up to 98 decibels. 26 watts power consumption at ≈ F500mA per hour. Signal produced at 50 hertz. Short fuse. Hybrid tube and solid state.
- Mine is a copy made in China (as in, not an actual "Silvertone").

Sound — 7
The clean channel is absolutely superb, and so is the clean equalization. I am able to get a lot of different types of clean tone and listen to it with delight. However, when you look at the distortion sound, things start to get a little hectic. For one, I prefer to run my distortion through a Zoom G1XNext Multi-Effects Processor, because the fuzz distortion in the amp is bad, and can actually create static feedback with humbucking pickups. Though, when I run the drum machine through the amp at maximum distortion, the sound is very interesting. It perfectly recreates the music that is played from the tape/C.D. input.

Reliability & Durability — 7
With all of it's flaws, this amp is built reliably, and can be easily fixed because of the short fuse, simple assembly and construction. The exterior is very solid and stylish and only has a mark after I dropped it from a stage rehearsing a couple of times. The plug for the lead is very solid, and is not flimsy. The only worry I have is that the 6.5 inch speaker cover is cheap fabric that could potentially rip very easily, not metal. This could decrease tonal capabilities of the amplifier, or boost them, I am unsure. For what it does have going for it though, this amp will deliver for a long time.

Overall Impression — 7
This came as a part of a guitar pack, but is valued at $99 AUD by itself just because it is a hybrid tube/solid state amp. I would say it is worth the actual $70 I bought it for, but not a pence more. It is good for a beginner, just starting to learn on electric, or can be a good compact solution if you have little room. You may also choose to save money if you are buying an effects processor anyway, because it is able to recreate the input sounds almost flawlessly. If this were stolen, I would not get it again, but buy either a Beta Aivin BM6 or Dethtone Evil1. This amplifier, even for just $70, is missing features. The two amplifiers I just listed are both under $100, have several various effects, are portable with battery power, have the same power consumption and a line out.

2 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I bought the amp as part of a guitar/amp beginner package. Never used either much. Had pickup problems on my pedal steel and used the silvertone smart IIIs just to test the repair. No reverb, so it was dry, but the fairly full tone range and the clean volume surprised me. I ended up gigging with the silvertone guitar (because of the steel's pickup - it was okay, but I'm a steeler first. The audience liked it, though (about 50 people, smaller hall.) This amp intrigues me - I may buy a reverb effects pedal just to see how it does when I'm jamming or in a small room - a peavey session 400 blows the doors off the smart IIIs, but it takes a lot more room and is a bear to lug around. 96db isn't loud for serious sessions, but for practice with a clean sound, I'm very impressed. Would I buy it again? at 100+ new, I'd be tempted to visit pawn shops and find a more powerful fender or the like. But don't diss the Smart IIIs - it's prefectly good when used as it was intended.
    As a side note, the Smart IIIs uses two JRC 45580 chips, and the circuit board is neat and is laid out well, with the ac power supply reasonably far from sensitive components. The speaker is rather non-descript, with no identification, other than a serial number which does not bring up anything in a google search.