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Rating and Reviews: Ironheart IRT Studio

The Laney Ironheart IRT Studio head offers 1 watt or 15 watts of all-tube power, USB audio I/O, a re-amping send, and even a 1/8" jack for your MP3 player.

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"An amazing amp!!" submitted June 30, 2014

By Sam Lee
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Overall: It has been about a month since I purchased this amp. I am very satisfied with this amp. I don't usually record, so I just use it as a practice amp. But it can easily be a good live amp as well. Don't let 15w fool you. IT IS LOUD!! Especially if you use 4x12 cab. I usually play with my headphones since I have an infant at home. The sound you get through headphone is amazing as well. A lot of people say that the boost control is useless, but I find it quite useful actually. As long as I don't go beyond 5. If you watch a youtube demo done by Ola Englund (IRT120 I believe), he uses it and gets a great tone. I know the recording is not a raw recording, but I tried setting my amp the same as he did and got a great result as well. Very good strong construction for the money. It is Chinese made, but still a very good quality except for the pedal. When I press the clean ch. button, sometimes it makes popping sound. not always, but still kinda annoying. But I don't use clean ch. much, and I did buy it for the great dirty ch. so doesn't matter. This is a one great amp in my opinion. I know there are better amps out there, but what you get for the money you really can't beat IRT studio.
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"A Super Versatile Amp With Great Tone, Feel and Dynamics" submitted May 18, 2015

By Tim M in Grayslake, IL
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Musical Background: Ameteur home recordist and player
Music Style: Classic and Vintage Rock, punk, Classic Metal
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Overall: My first impression was kind of Meh. Tone was okay, not real special. No bottom end and harsh top end spike when distorted. Overly bright clean. Really little character and dull where it wasn't annoying. And the Headphone out and DI out sounded bad. HOLD THE PHONE.Amp was biased WAY too cold. %48 at idle. Blech. Biased it up to 60% and a WHOLE world of difference. Missing bottom end was there. Amp NOW had character, harmonics, liveliness, TONE. While I am on the topic, a LOT of range to bias here. I have run through NOS GE, NOS Amperex, EH, Mullard RI, JJ, the stock, Svetlana. They are all over the place as far as where they need to be set MA range. Also, real pain in the but to get to the tubes, and pot. TO take the top off takes removal of 12-16 bolts. May not have needed all of them to slide the top cover off, ah well. It's at least 10-12.Build Quality Amp is well built. It is Chinese manufactured, UK QCed/checked out. But, it's about as good as you see as far as Chines, PCB jobbies go. PCB itself is better quality than Bugera uses for instance. Assembly, soldering, shielding, etc are all noticeably better done than Bugera. Peavey Chinese made, my other Chinese tube amp, is on par. However, I think Laney uses better quality parts top to bottom. Pots are very nice as far as feel. Very good pots. THAT SAID, the push pull on both Mid pots are a little stiff. SO much so, wasn 't sure I had it pulled, and pulled the knob off. Wow are the tube sockets nice quality. Even JJ tubes fit nice and snug and fast (THey are notorious for using thinner legs). This is a plus, considering this is supposed to ne a mobile, easy to transport amp, from studio to gig. It WILL take a lot of rough handle. However, that is also a little bit of a problem. The preamp are mounted to the board. Removing tubes is a little bit of a core. You really need to grasp the metal socket surround with one hand, and remove the tube with the other. Else you get a lot of pull on the board. See the pic, not a lot they could have done. Me, I'd have mounted them with the output tubes. As to the O Tubes. With my Bias probe, it is a TIGHT fit back there, have to finagle it in there with the ice cream cone tip of the tube in the cooling slot. Very quiet for a high gain amp. Hiss doesn't even start until Volume above 7 or 8 on either dirt channel. Or gain up there, or gain at mid and onboard boost going. Still, it is a LOT quieter than the Bugera (with the Noise limiter on). NO pops, sounds, whatever when changing channels. Tone just changes. THAT is very nice.How Does it Sound? Clean Channel - is a good clean Channel. It is clear, good string separation, chime, you name it. YOU can dial in a nice Jazz smooth, warm tone, all the way to fairly sparkly. It is an above average to very good clean channel for any amp. For a high gain amp it is surprising. At the
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"A Great Solution!" submitted February 20, 2015

By Todd Zimmerman in Kalamazoo, MI
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Musical Background: Recording Engineer
Music Style: Rock, Alternative, Etc.
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Overall: I bought the Laney because I was not satisfied with the sound of software amps and amp modeling hardware which I had tried to use to practice at night. This amp is a great solution. It sounds and feels like a tube amp, because it is. The speaker emulation and built in speaker load make it easy to plug in to a interface and play. The three channels are all useable, the boost I found useful, although it seems too subtle for some. The dynamic knob (not a compressor) is great for tightening up the bottom end on the lead channel. The reverb is nice, but not flashy. The EQ section is good, although not as versatile as I expected, although it's enough to tailor the sound. Tons of I/O, solid build and clean sound. It's great. The foot pedal has an issue with one lamp not working and I have not heard from Laney so I not so sure about customer support.
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"Really F**kin Sweet!" submitted February 25, 2014

By Chris J in Sherman, TX
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Musical Background: 13 years. Mainly guitar. Used to.
Music Style: Rock n Roll.
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Overall: Very tight mid range and the el84's are very full sounding. Just roll down the volume and get a clean over drive. It has a nice growl and djenty tones especially with a Bare Knuckle Juggernaut in the bridge. Very highly recommended!
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"Ironheart kills it, but needs a little help from its friends...." submitted August 8, 2014

By Benjamin J in Glenville, NY
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Musical Background: guitar, drums, studio engineer
Music Style: Metal, Rock, Christian Rock
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Overall: I bought this head to add to my studio rig. I was using an EVH 5150 III 50w with a load box and cab sims for amazing direct in sounds, I decided to get this to replace the EVH because I didn't own the EVH =\. At first I was not blown away with the sounds I was getting but after hitting it with an EQ, Keeley comp, and a gate the thing sounded wonderful! I was getting tones that could compare to the EVH sound. A big selling point with the built in load box.I played this through a Mesa 4x12 with my pedal chain at the 1w and 15w, sounds great. I would like to get the 60w version in the future. Overall: I would recommend throwing an couple nice pedals in front of it to get the super smooth and raw KSE tone. I'm not a big fan of the built in pre boost. I feel that it only sounds good on the clean channel. I give the clean channel w/ compression 5/5 stars.
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"Nice but not what I needed" submitted August 24, 2014

By Dean Adams in Loganville, GA
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Musical Background: 36 years playing guitar and bass. Former professional, many years in studio and several albums under belt.
Music Style: Classic rock, Metal, Blues, a wide variety.
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Overall: I received the Laney IRT Studio and was anxious to put it through it's paces once it was out of the box. Unfortunately the only truly usable channel was the clean channel and it has no tone controls. When switching to the rhythm channel I had to have the gain set almost to zero to keep it from sounding like a runaway bumble bee. There was no way to get simply an overdrive sound. The lead channel was what I expected but it unfortunately induced a lot of noise. With that said, a noise gate in the effects loop would most likely take care of that since the loop is between the pre-amp and power section. I had high hopes for this in my home studio but it doesn't hold a candle to my ADA Ampulator as far as direct recording and come to think of it the pre-amp was similar, as far as out of control gain goes, to my Real Tube II. I'm better off with its clean channel and my Rockbox Boiling Point for over drive and full on distortion induced by the Xotic EP Booster in front of that. It makes me wonder if the front end of the Ironheart is another starved plate design... Oh well, back it went. I know Laney makes some real good gear, I tried to contact them about a schematic to see whether different tubes in the pre-amp would make a difference (starved plate issue) but their policy does not permit them to give them to the general public. Sigh... If your looking for a high gain low power amp, this might work for you, or it might not. At least it's worth a try with zZounds return policy... but do not rack it up until you know for sure.
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