MIG-50 review by Sovtek

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  • Sound: 8
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 8
  • Features: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 8.8 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.8 (4 votes)
Sovtek: MIG-50
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Price paid: $ 410

Purchased from: Craigslist Seller

Sound — 8
I play my custom bastardized Teles Paul (Tele neck, Les body) and my OK Go Gretsch Electromatic CVT III (the Gretsch is a monster of a guitar, and I implore you to find a new guitar with more personality for your dollar), which are both extremely bright and hot. The Sovtek darkens right up, and takes it in stride. It's the best amp I've played. Ever. It does buzz quite a bit, but I haven't tried to rectify the situation yet. Weekend project coming up. The distortion is incredibly brutal, but it's kind of hard to hear how sweet is because the amp gets so loud. At about 2:30 on Channel I, it's all crunchy, but retains dynamics, so you can just roll off the volume to get some cleans (they won't be as shimmery as I like, though). The MIG-50 starts to break up at about 1:30 to 2:00.

Overall Impression — 10
I play rock and hard rock mainly. This amp was made for my band's music. I've been playing for awhile now. Not sure how long, but I could figure it out. Too much work. I own a Vintage Kent 1601, a kinda Vintage Fender Stage 112SE, and a Blackheart BH5H. I run the heads (the Blackheart and the Sovtek) through a couple of Peavey 2x12 cabs. If it was stolen, I'd probably hunt down another one because they are cheap and wonderful pieces of gear. I hate the buzziness and I hate how the pots are crackly. I love everything else. I chose this because it fit my budget and sounded awesome. I do wish it had a master volume. Because hearing.

Reliability & Durability — 8
I don't completely trust it, so I always keep a BH5H in case it decides to be a jerk. That's just how I am with Vintage tubular amplifiers. It hasn't broken down on me yet, so my distrust isn't necessarily justified. The casing is built like a tank, and the chassis in a similar fashion. The piping on the front of the amp is made of wood, and was handpainted (the whole thing appears handmade), albeit fairly poorly. There are little patches on the edges that have no paint, or just a smidgen of the stuff. It's cool, though.

Features — 9
I don't know exactly what year my MIG-50 was made in, but its serial number is low 3,000s, so I'm guessing that it was made in the mid to late 1990s. This thing is perfect for crunchiness, and you can get some metallic (for lack of a better term) tones from it as well. There are two channels (I and II), but my II channel just started getting all gross and scratchy past the point of playability. It shall soon be rectified. No channel switching, though. I have found myself wanting for a master volume, or a built in attenuator (like my bandmate's THD Bivalve). I've never had to turn the presence up because I have a very bright cab and guitar already. I've used this in my bedroom (only during the daylight hours. You're welcome, neighbors), in my basement, other basements, a couple smaller venues, and a couple backyards. It's done swimmingly in all of them. It has 2 6L6s, and three EL84s. They need to be replaced. For some reason, it still has the factory tubes in it. Nearly twenty years after it was probably made.

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