Price paid: $ 2200
Purchased from: Splawn Amps Direct
Sound — 10
I use Ibanez, Fender Gibson guitars. I play rock and heavy stuff. I bought this amp SPECIFICALLY for low down and dirty Marshall flavoured sounds and this is what I get, but tighter and lower sounding than a Marshall. Channel two is it. I could compare the sound somewhat like a marshall, but with a Triple Recto channel 3 in Modern mode on diode setting thrown in. It is a very unique sound in my opinion. The amp is a relatively quiet amp and you CAN get more Marshall style sounds from it, but you have to be a little careful of those gain knobs because there is huge amounts on tap. Clean channel can sound great - but I am not really a clean channel player so its a little wasted on my style - I wanted a brutal rock amp and Splawn came up with it. The sound is impeckable.
Overall Impression — 9
For heavy rock and detuned this is a great amp. Slightly harder to dial in a Marshall sound exactly, but you did not buy this to sound like a marshall, right? I have been playing since 68. I own Marshall, Engl E670, Triple Recto (see my other review on here), Ceriatone Overtone HRM (Like Dumble) which I built myself (visit www.overtonehrm.com to see how I made it) and much more stuff. Because I have such a variation of amps available to me I might buy another one of these, but it was actually bought for the sound for an album, so I might not buy another - but that sound IS awesome and it's no reflection on this amp. One of the only regrets is no volume control on the loop! It would have been nicer with that feature rather than messing around with all and sundry on the effect. I did compare this amp to 5 or 6 other amps - I wrote a website (www.splawnamps.co.uk) that compares the splawn with many other amps and has sound clips online.. you guys might like to go there. Heres what I wrote on my site about the Nitro - but to see the comparisons you need to go there. --- The Nitro packs a punch - of that there is no doubt in my mind. This amp was developed for the guitarist that needed that extra Drive and more importantly that bottom end that this amp just loves to deliver. Each and every one of these amps is custom made for the user by Splawn based in Dallas, North Carolina, USA and there is a waiting list - always a good sign of a hot product. The one on this site was bought towards the end of 2008 and was delivered a few months later in awesome condition which oozed quality right out of the box. There were absolutely no issues whatsoever with this amps pedigree and build quality. The options when buying enable you to buy an amp customised for you and a unique product. Fortunately, most guitarists have never heard of Splawn amps - and that's a good thing if you are in the market - firstly because the wait time is kept reasonable (and quality will matter at production) but secondly that you will be buying one of the worlds premier manufactured and designed products for what is really an awesome price and extremely hard to beat. The Nitro is a 100 Watt head which utilises a few tubes (which you can specify at order time) such as EL34, KT88 etc and likely there are more options if you contact Splawn directly. Basically it's a two channel amp with extra 'solo' options residing on a foot pedal. It does not have all the bells and whistles of some amps on this site, but it does have a effects loop which is switchable, it does have a mains voltage Switch for different countries and it does have an awesome tone. There's also a handy half power Switch if you want to be half soaked ( :-) ). The amp features a great resonance control that can change this fire breathing monster in to somewhat of a pussy (in the nicest sense of the word) so that it is quite tame - for other styles of music than just modern heavy rock. This amp comes with a Limited Lifetime Warranty to the original owner of the amp, but tubes and transformers are just 90 days... it seems every manufacturer wants to semi warranty those parts... yet in law they would be liable for failure (at least here in the UK they would). In any case - it is very unlikely you will need the warranty - or indeed the manual - this amp is as easy to play though as you can get. This amp is one of the best kept secrets and the best priced top end gear amps available anywhere in the world today.
Reliability & Durability — 10
This amp has never even sniffed a problem. It looks like a very well made Marshall, but has the Quality of a Mesa Boogie - a great combination. The only thing I really don't like much (and this has not caused any issues) is that the floor pedal uses two wires to the amp. That design is a little 'crap'! It is unlikely that this amp will give any major headaches to anyone. In real life sitting in front of you - you would see why. Awesome quality.
Features — 10
I had this amp for about two years now - mine was made about 2008. Splawn amps made the thing the way I wanted it and I designed the tolex etc - so this one is unique - it even has my name on the back!. It is really a two channel affair with a boost for solo like many amps have these days. Lokking at the amp even from a visual point, you will KNOW that this amp replicates a Marshall old school amp - but this is where the comparison stops - dead. The Nitro, as the name suggests, will infact knock off your head in one foul swoop - bang. No Marshall will give you what this offers by way of sound. There is an effects loop that works great and a magic 100 to 50w switch. I always use the 50 watt because this amp is very loud. I use this thing in the studio only, and bought it based on the video that Scott Splawn posted on the net when he played a proto of this amp. Amp is based on EL34 but you can have 6L6 etc if you ask. Its not a cheap amp, but you do get what you pay for with this one. At the time the exchange rate was great in my favour (Im in the UK) so actually this amp was cheap to me...