Submitted September 16, 2019 by Russell
"Great live amp for those of us who want something other than a clean pedal platform"
See the more detailed review below
First off, this thing definitely sounds good, don't let any review make you think otherwise. That said, it doesn't quite sound like a tube amp. It feels, plays, and takes pedals like a tube amp, but there is something a little bit different about it. I would us the word "stiff" or "dry" to describe it. This results in superior note definition, even with a lot of gain. People who like "tight" dirt sounds will also find a lot to like about it. All but one of the channels sound very good, but the amp really comes alive with a good overdrive in front of it like a tube screamer or similar. This amp would be worth the price with just the clean channel, but the OD channel is like having 2 in one. THIS IS NOT A HIGH GAIN AMP. Do not expect this to sound like a Mesa or 5150 on its own. Maxed out, this sounds like a modded JCM 800 or Peavey Valve King. You can do metal and the like with a set of very loud pickups, but you will need a pedal to get to true heavy territory. This amp will also tell you how good (or not so good) your pickups are. Great pickups sound godlike with tons of harmonics, feedback, sustain, etc, and mediocre pickups sound wooden, dull, and lifeless. If you've got an import guitar be sure to load it with some aftermarket pickups, otherwise you're going to think this is a lackluster amp.
Second of all, this thing is loud. I mean really loud. Completely crushed 120 watt tube amps volume-wise and then some. Next Quilter I buy will be a 100 watt deal because this was more than loud enough for my very loud band. Want to hear what your cab really sounds like? Hit it with this thing on the clean channel. It also has three channels. They are confusing to use at first. Essentially, there are two lights, one that says crunch and one that says lead. Both lights off is clean, it sounds great and starts to get dirty around 8 and is a good, dynamic crunch at 10. Very Fender-y with a vintage Marshall flavor once you get the level up there. The lead light on is the overdrive channel. You get a master volume (on top of the real master volume) and the character of the amp changes to a more straight-up Marshall type character. Gain usable all the way up to 10 which is like Iron Maiden territory. Push both and you get a crunch mode with no EQ. It's a slightly different saturation profile and has an EQ scoop that is just too deep to be useful in a live setting. I never use it. FX loop is a given for an amp like this, and the footswitch is a great add-on that makes this amp worth twice as much. The direct out and headphone out do not have an impulse response/cab model on them, so they are not super useful for home practice or live use which is what I thought these features were for. If you are playing at home I guess you can put it into your computer and use your own impulse response but at that point you should just be using a software amp
Ease of Use
This is pretty easy to get to sound great, as long as you are on one of the regular/non-crunch channels. Gain and volume knobs totally useable at any setting, but the farther the EQ knobs get from 5 the less good they sound. Overall they are a little too drastic. The midrange for each is a little "wide" so it turns muddy or completely missing from the mix a few clicks off of 5. I would have been more down for a thinner eq profile so I could have more useful settings. Low you can cut all the way down to 2 or 3 and high you can crank to about 7 or 8. You don't have to worry about it being able to tame a boomy or bright rig. Set everything at noon and rip- this isn't the sort of amp where you should be worrying about stuff like this too much.
Says made in USA and I believe it. Seems built tougher than some of my other gear which cost twice as much. I would feel comfortable with it on a pedalboard or throwing it down a flight of stairs right before a gig.
This is one of their more expensive heads and it's still under $600. I don't think there is anything else under $1000 that will give you the same combo of volume and two good sounding clean/dirt channels. Even then, anything that could compete would be huge, heavy, and fragile. If you like to bring just a gig bag to your gigs, this is the way to go. Also, this comes with it's own bag! A very good bag designed for these amps too
Apparently easy to get in touch with and they will go pretty far for you. Also you can get the owner on the line to troublehsoot things if the other staff can't figure it out. Very few companies where you can say this, and none where the CEO is a legend in pro audio like Pat Quilter.
The Wow Factor
I got this for ease in gigging/practices and for fly-ins. I haven't missed my tube amps when I'm using it.
20 ish years
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