2150 review by VHT

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  • Sound: 5
  • Overall Impression: 5
  • Reliability & Durability: 8
  • Features: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 6.5 Neat
  • Users' score: 10 (1 vote)
VHT: 2150

Sound — 5
Here's where things aren't so good: this is the worst sounding power amp I've tried with my CAE 3+SE preamp. That's a little surprising, because the VHTs and CAE preamps are supposed to pair well. But it just plain sounded bad. This 2150 sounds like it has a blanket over it all the time, and seems to suck the sparkle and life out of my preamp tone. Everything just sounded thin and kind of muffled. Adjusting the depth and presence controls helped a bit, but not enough to make this worth keeping. Thinking this might be a tube problem, I've tried various new production KT88s and 6550s in this amp. None were a major improvement. In every case I biased it correctly or paid to have a tech bias it. I've also had it checked to see if there are problems with the amp itself, and none were found. I have to conclude this power amp just doesn't sound good. I'm apparently in the minority on this issue, but I have to go with what my ears tell me. One reason some people may rate it highly is that it seems to impart a modern character on any distorted signal you feed into it. Maybe for certain metal applications that would be desirable. The original compliment of GE 6550s for power tubes might have helped it (those were great tubes), but they cost $200 per pair and I'm not willing to spend that when there are other power amps I like better out there.

Overall Impression — 5
I've been playing professionally and semi-professionally since the late 80s. I thought there was a good chance the 2150 would be a great power amp, since guys like Steve Lukather use them in their stage rigs, and 2150s were used on some classic metal albums back in the day. But it just didn't sound good and there doesn't seem to be anything wrong with it. Bummer.

Reliability & Durability — 8
It appears well built, but I never gigged it because I didn't like the way it sounds. So I really don't know.

Features — 8
This amp was built sometime in the early 90s I think. It's a 4u height, two channel tube rack power amp. Each channel uses two 6550 or KT88 tubes. The name is somewhat of a misnomer - it's not really two 150 watt channels. Each channel is good for maybe 100 watts of clean power. Each channel has standby, volume, presence and depth controls. Pretty much what you'd want in a power amp.

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