CA-15 review by Stagg

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  • Sound: 6
  • Overall Impression: 6
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Features: 6
  • Reviewer's score: 7 Good
  • Users' score: 4.9 (23 votes)
Stagg: CA-15
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Purchased from: Pj's Southsea

Sound — 6
To be honest the distortion is ok once you find the good setting. Which is in the manual which is basic short to the point and contains good settings which I have changed around a bit to suit my needs. It doesn't sound too bad but it is not what I would call mind-boggling it is fairly dull in that the distort mode doesn't particularly excite. I am using a Westfield electro-acoustic with this amp but believe me if you think that the dullness of the amp is due to that, think again. My guitar is fantastic, love of my life works great in everybody else's amps. In the clean mode I have my guitar's in built preamp on half for Master volume and flex around with the on board EQ to get the sound I like as the tone control on the amp isn't exciting. It suits my music styles but doesn't shine or have that magic quality. It isn't a noisy amp but with the gain on maximum it just sounds like a distortion going on regardless whether or not you're playing or not. But that's only when it's on maximum. otherwise there is no annoying hum or buzzing it's good in that sense. The amp is only really restricted to medium distortion and clean. The clean channel does get distorted at high volumes and that is irritating as it is that digital harsh cutting which isn't pretty. The distortion is adequate but not exciting. But I must say the feedback seeps in rather nicely when in drive mode and actually sounds quite musical for that I'm impressed.

Overall Impression — 6
For the styles of music I play rock and acoustic fingerpicking it's fine. But not a something you will stand in awe at it does it's job and for that it's great. I have tried this amp with other guitars and don't get any different results to the ones I get with my own. I own a Westfield electro-acoustic a Boss PH-1R Phaser (vintage stuff) and that's about it. I wish I had tried this amp before I bought it, but when I got it was in a rush before Christmas and therefore it was yes or no. I am pleased I got this amp as it is exactly right for home practise which I have been doing for the past 2 years approx. But nowadays I am starting to perform and play in bands and this amp doesn't cut it anymore, it's just not enough. If it were lost I would be upset as I have grown up with it and learnt to play rock on this thing, it has a bit of sentimental value, If I was to get something similar I would buy the next model CA-20 with reverb which my friend has and that is OK. But I have been saving up and I have my eyes on the Behringer GMX-212 which has everything I need in an amp. What I love about this amp is it's simplicity and it's ok distortion. I hate the fact it hasn't got a magic quality to it and that it's far too quiet for my present day needs. I have only compared it to the CA-20 and because I was short on money got this. I wish it had Reverb was louder and had an effects loop and an EQ control. Buy this if you want a practise amp otherwise move up the food chain.

Reliability & Durability — 10
I can depend on it to always work. But I would not use, and haven't used this at a gig because it is simply not loud enough but otherwise it is durable and reliable for what it was built for. But I have never abused any of my gear, but so far so good.

Features — 6
I am unsure as to which year this amp was made in but bought it in November 2003 so that is a year and a half ago. I play basically anything and everything but my main styles are hard rock and just acoustic fingerpicking. This amp isn't exactly what you'd call versatile but it has 2 seperate channels clean and drive selected by a push switch, It is a mono output, solid state. The switching is quiet and noise-free but I find I have to turn the volume up to full on my guitar in order for the Distortion to be any good. I use everything this Amp has to offer, because it doesn't offer masses. The Front Panel: - Overdrive - switches between clean and overdrive channels. - Input- obvious, although my keyboard and cd player work too (don't use line out signals they blow your ears off). - Gain - this is the overdrive control for the distorted channel. Turn up for more distortion and sustain. - Tone- works both in clean and drive modes and it works by addingor substracting frequencies. - Volume - obvious n'est pas. - Headphones - headphone jack - Power-switch. There is no effects loop or external speaker jacks or anything fancy this is a very basic amp. This amp is used at home for practise and I have attempted to use it in band practise but it doesn't cut through the bassist and the drummer so I end up hitting the strings super hard turning all the volume knobs to full and then having feedback and then I am annoyed as the bassist is still luder than me. Perfect for home practise though just the right sort of output volume (12 Watts RMS @ 4Ohms load Distort mode, 8 watts RMS @ 4 Ohms load clean mode) I feel it's just not loud enough for me when I play with the band, I have to borrow the school's 100 Watt keyboard amp with the bassist.

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