Boss Katana 100 gig report

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  • p90foolp90fool Frets: 8490
    Danny1969 said:


    I think a lot has to do with how players play.  I had a similar experience to the OP and gave up, but the Katana's sound good for most people and to be fair, I've no doubt I'd think the same about listening to somebody else play them.

    To me for gigging it's a no brainer, for an extra £50 and 5kg, I'd go for a used Hot Rod Deluxe (like the one in the classifieds), which to me sound instantly good.  Clean channel set at 5, OD pedal, simple.  But that's all they do.....Wheras the Katana is much more.

    One thing I would say, is give the Katana 10 gigs for the speaker to break in and see how it goes.



    Yeah that's my view as a working muso, the 100 watt Katana isn't much cheaper than a used quality valve amp which as you say generally sound great with no effort at all. I picked up a nearly new Hot Rod Deluxe for £360 and pretty much loving that 
    I agree with you both and already have a pair of 1x12 valve combos, (hang on, make that four after a recount!) but I wanted something light which didn't need any pedals.

    My main issue is that I play guitar and run the PA in my band, and my wife is the drummer. That's a lot of equipment for one estate car plus two people, so we're down to a fairly compact vocal PA, an Arbiter Flats drum kit and the Katana with floor controller stuffed in the back. 

    We're looking at how the economy pans out next year with Brexit upheavals etc before shelling out on an HK Audio Lucas PA, which means we can just pick up any old 300 quid hatchback of reasonable size whenever we need to, rather than having to find big money for a van every couple of years. 

    I hate to mention the B-word, but during the last recession ten years ago gigs in mid Wales totally dried up, so I'm going to wait until at least next summer before shelling out two grand on more gear. 

    If I was just a guitar player I'd still be gigging with half stacks tbh. 
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  • Maxx77Maxx77 Frets: 16
    Interesting topic!
    Looking for the 100w combo, mainly for gig use, since my Fender SS60 its quite heavy and i cant park my car inside bars to unload and load it.
    I think ill wait for a few more of your gigs report to pull the trigger ;)
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  • the issue with it is not volume. its more than adequate in that respect. It comes down to whether you like the sounds and like the way the amp operates, as someone who likes things nice and simple, i found it a bit of a learning curve but now i roughly know what im doing im pleased with it.
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  • Maxx77Maxx77 Frets: 16
    More reports on the Katana p90fool?
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  • p90foolp90fool Frets: 8490
    @Maxx77  I've been gigging other amps for the last couple of weeks, but I'm using the Katana this Saturday, in a biggish hotel function room. I've been tweaking EQ in the software to match one of my other gigging amps at pretty high volume as my neighbours were away for a few days, and it's sounding very promising in isolation. 

    Watch this space!
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  • Maxx77Maxx77 Frets: 16
    thx m8
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  • p90fool said:
    @Maxx77  I've been gigging other amps for the last couple of weeks, but I'm using the Katana this Saturday, in a biggish hotel function room. I've been tweaking EQ in the software to match one of my other gigging amps at pretty high volume as my neighbours were away for a few days, and it's sounding very promising in isolation. 

    Watch this space!

    So how are you getting on with it now?
    Handsome_Chris said: Like white Nile Rodgers. 
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  • p90foolp90fool Frets: 8490
    Well, more or less ok, I'm still gigging it anyway. 
    I'm actually off to a soundcheck in about ten minutes, I'll give you more details tomorrow. 
    :)
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  • p90foolp90fool Frets: 8490
    Last night was a struggle, a very crowded pub gig with a lot of ambient noise before we even started, and no stage.

    Quieter gigs are ok with the Katana, but when it gets rowdy it loses its dynamic feel, I'm never at the right volume, having to ride the expression pedal all night. 

    It's like there's a compressor across the output, if I set up a loud, clean-ish tone and play very delicately it just refuses to get much louder when I really dig into the strings. 

    Our next gig is NYE, and I just know in advance the Katana is not up to it, I will have to bring real valves.

    It's a shame, I really want a lightweight, single box gigging amp, I'm undecided now whether to sell it or not. It's a handy amp to have around, and I guess it would make an ok backup that's cheap and loud, but it just isn't good enough to be my main amp. 

    It sounds great at home, if a little bland, but in terms of being a crucial half of a musical instrument I've had better results bunging a Zoom G3 directly into the PA. 


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  • That's a shame.

    I've just picked one up and I'm very happy with it as a home amp. It's useful to know it can be gigged if required and I suspect I would be ok as I'm used to having to set up patches with a few levels when gigging modellers.
    I'm under no illusions it's not going to sound like a half stack.
    Handsome_Chris said: Like white Nile Rodgers. 
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  • p90foolp90fool Frets: 8490
    It's a weird one tbh, I really like it at home, and I've had a few rehearsals with a country band and a few jams and it's excellent, but I just can't get it to sit right in a rowdy gig.  

    I have a kind of backup plan in a pressure situation with a good valve amp, just turn it up way loud and do it all from the guitar. The tone at any given time might not be exactly what you'd choose, but it'll be musical and playable with a bit of sensitivity and skill. 

    I just cannot get the Katana to do that for some reason, it's totally unpredictable in the way that it can suddenly be very trebley, or certain notes on the fretboard will leap out at you.  
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  • VoxmanVoxman Frets: 2045
    edited December 2017
    p90fool said:
    It's a weird one tbh, I really like it at home, and I've had a few rehearsals with a country band and a few jams and it's excellent, but I just can't get it to sit right in a rowdy gig.  

    I have a kind of backup plan in a pressure situation with a good valve amp, just turn it up way loud and do it all from the guitar. The tone at any given time might not be exactly what you'd choose, but it'll be musical and playable with a bit of sensitivity and skill. 

    I just cannot get the Katana to do that for some reason, it's totally unpredictable in the way that it can suddenly be very trebley, or certain notes on the fretboard will leap out at you.  
    I play classic rock and blues and been watching this thread with huge interest as I really liked the idea of a lightweight amp and floor pedal that I could use backline or through the PA. But reading about the live problems you've had with your Katana suggest that it's not going to do what I need on stage.  It's really disappointing as up to now I've only read good things but most of that has been based on home playing. 

    The idea was to get a 100w Katana and if it did the job to then sell my Vox Valvetronix AD120VTX rig. The ridiculous thing is that the AD120VTX is brilliant live; the mix of modelling and valves that are in the power section and the way it changes with volume and reacts with speaker impedance makes it very valve-like. 

    The problem is it's size and weight - 58lbs amp, 14lbs VC12 floor controller plus mini pedal board for fx. I'm now 60 and I just can't carry it anymore up and down stairs and in and out of the car. Hence why I'm now using my Vox Tonelab SE and LE which are good but I love the simplicity and tweakability of the Valvetronix.  I really was hoping the 32lb 1x12 100w Katana might have been the answer. 
    I started out with nothing..... but I've still got most of it left (Seasick Steve)
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  • AdamskiAdamski Frets: 757
    p90fool said:
    It's a weird one tbh, I really like it at home, and I've had a few rehearsals with a country band and a few jams and it's excellent, but I just can't get it to sit right in a rowdy gig.  

    I have a kind of backup plan in a pressure situation with a good valve amp, just turn it up way loud and do it all from the guitar. The tone at any given time might not be exactly what you'd choose, but it'll be musical and playable with a bit of sensitivity and skill. 

    I just cannot get the Katana to do that for some reason, it's totally unpredictable in the way that it can suddenly be very trebley, or certain notes on the fretboard will leap out at you.  
    Have you tried mic’ing it up to the PA or a blend of both? 
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  • ive gigged my katana live approx 30 times since ive had it. we are not overly loud but not quiet either. at high volumes i would say it doesnt have that thump of a valve amp through a 4 by 12, but im using  the 1by 12 combo,  not micced up. ive found the cleans are great and cut through no problem, the drives have to be pulled back a bit as can get lost. i think expectations need to be managed as there was a lot of hype about these amps.  I bought it cos i saw one used and i fancied a lightweight amp for home, jams and rehearsals but i found it was very giggable. and the size and weight issues that Voxman stated.im keeping my laney vc30 2by 12 as its a nice amp and i will use it at some stage but im finding the katana works for me in the band im in now
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  • As a Luddite, I’ve never set eyes on a Katana - let alone played through one - but given that a copy of The Times more expensive, aren’t some people’s expectations rather high? It seems that the answer to any ‘What amp?’ question is ‘Katana’ - much like it used to be ‘Lazy J’ if more money was being spent....

    My guess - having not tried one - is that it is the modern-day Peavey Bandit - great value and useable - but not really a substitute for a Matchless/Bogner/Two Rock/vintage Fender, et al. 
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  • As a Luddite, I’ve never set eyes on a Katana - let alone played through one - but given that a copy of The Times more expensive, aren’t some people’s expectations rather high? It seems that the answer to any ‘What amp?’ question is ‘Katana’ - much like it used to be ‘Lazy J’ if more money was being spent....

    My guess - having not tried one - is that it is the modern-day Peavey Bandit - great value and useable - but not really a substitute for a Matchless/Bogner/Two Rock/vintage Fender, et al. 
    yes , bang on.  its a great "working amp" it does have loads of options and a degree in computer science is optional, but you can use it as simple as you like. I thought thats what i would do, i like simplicity. but i have delved into hooking it up to a pc and had some fun making and saving settings . i've never owned a boutique or really expensive amp so im not spoiled by the best gear. but it works and my band like it and im confident playing it live. modern day bandit is a good analogy.
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  • p90fool said:
    It's a weird one tbh, I really like it at home, and I've had a few rehearsals with a country band and a few jams and it's excellent, but I just can't get it to sit right in a rowdy gig.  

    I have a kind of backup plan in a pressure situation with a good valve amp, just turn it up way loud and do it all from the guitar. The tone at any given time might not be exactly what you'd choose, but it'll be musical and playable with a bit of sensitivity and skill. 

    I just cannot get the Katana to do that for some reason, it's totally unpredictable in the way that it can suddenly be very trebley, or certain notes on the fretboard will leap out at you.  

    In fairness to the amp (and I think you are being fair), you are very much a dynamic player - plenty of valve amps would struggle with your use case, and the fact a katana has been seriously considered by yourself is a good indicator of its quality I think. 

    Really enjoyed your review. 
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  • p90foolp90fool Frets: 8490
    Adamski said:
    p90fool said:
    It's a weird one tbh, I really like it at home, and I've had a few rehearsals with a country band and a few jams and it's excellent, but I just can't get it to sit right in a rowdy gig.  

    I have a kind of backup plan in a pressure situation with a good valve amp, just turn it up way loud and do it all from the guitar. The tone at any given time might not be exactly what you'd choose, but it'll be musical and playable with a bit of sensitivity and skill. 

    I just cannot get the Katana to do that for some reason, it's totally unpredictable in the way that it can suddenly be very trebley, or certain notes on the fretboard will leap out at you.  
    Have you tried mic’ing it up to the PA or a blend of both? 
    I always mic it, and am in charge of the desk on pub gigs so can do whatever I want with that regarding FOH and monitoring. 
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  • p90fool said:
    It's a weird one tbh, I really like it at home, and I've had a few rehearsals with a country band and a few jams and it's excellent, but I just can't get it to sit right in a rowdy gig.  

    I have a kind of backup plan in a pressure situation with a good valve amp, just turn it up way loud and do it all from the guitar. The tone at any given time might not be exactly what you'd choose, but it'll be musical and playable with a bit of sensitivity and skill. 

    I just cannot get the Katana to do that for some reason, it's totally unpredictable in the way that it can suddenly be very trebley, or certain notes on the fretboard will leap out at you.  

    In fairness to the amp (and I think you are being fair), you are very much a dynamic player - plenty of valve amps would struggle with your use case, and the fact a katana has been seriously considered by yourself is a good indicator of its quality I think. 

    Really enjoyed your review. 

    Very valid point. I think @p90fool use case is about the least suited to a modeller and the most suited to a simple valve amp. The Katana getting anywhere close to doing the job is extremely impressive.
    Handsome_Chris said: Like white Nile Rodgers. 
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 32695
    Voxman said:

    The idea was to get a 100w Katana and if it did the job to then sell my Vox Valvetronix AD120VTX rig. The ridiculous thing is that the AD120VTX is brilliant live; the mix of modelling and valves that are in the power section and the way it changes with volume and reacts with speaker impedance makes it very valve-like. 

    The problem is it's size and weight - 58lbs amp, 14lbs VC12 floor controller plus mini pedal board for fx. I'm now 60 and I just can't carry it anymore up and down stairs and in and out of the car. Hence why I'm now using my Vox Tonelab SE and LE which are good but I love the simplicity and tweakability of the Valvetronix.  I really was hoping the 32lb 1x12 100w Katana might have been the answer. 
    I think I’ve said this before in which case I apologise ;), but you need to find an AD60VTX. I’m not totally sure of the weight but it should be around 40lb I think.

    I’m actually thinking of looking for one since I’ve always loved the Vox sound but can’t be bothered with the weight of an AC30 now...
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • VoxmanVoxman Frets: 2045
    ICBM said:
    Voxman said:

    The idea was to get a 100w Katana and if it did the job to then sell my Vox Valvetronix AD120VTX rig. The ridiculous thing is that the AD120VTX is brilliant live; the mix of modelling and valves that are in the power section and the way it changes with volume and reacts with speaker impedance makes it very valve-like. 

    The problem is it's size and weight - 58lbs amp, 14lbs VC12 floor controller plus mini pedal board for fx. I'm now 60 and I just can't carry it anymore up and down stairs and in and out of the car. Hence why I'm now using my Vox Tonelab SE and LE which are good but I love the simplicity and tweakability of the Valvetronix.  I really was hoping the 32lb 1x12 100w Katana might have been the answer. 
    I think I’ve said this before in which case I apologise ;), but you need to find an AD60VTX. I’m not totally sure of the weight but it should be around 40lb I think.

    I’m actually thinking of looking for one since I’ve always loved the Vox sound but can’t be bothered with the weight of an AC30 now...
    The AD60VTX is 43lbs - around the same weight as my AD212 2x12 extn cab. But the 2x12 gives a much fuller, bigger sound. What I should have bought back in 2004 was the AD120VTH or AD60VTH head and cab.  
    I started out with nothing..... but I've still got most of it left (Seasick Steve)
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  • p90fool said:
    It's a weird one tbh, I really like it at home, and I've had a few rehearsals with a country band and a few jams and it's excellent, but I just can't get it to sit right in a rowdy gig.  

    I have a kind of backup plan in a pressure situation with a good valve amp, just turn it up way loud and do it all from the guitar. The tone at any given time might not be exactly what you'd choose, but it'll be musical and playable with a bit of sensitivity and skill. 

    I just cannot get the Katana to do that for some reason, it's totally unpredictable in the way that it can suddenly be very trebley, or certain notes on the fretboard will leap out at you.  

    In fairness to the amp (and I think you are being fair), you are very much a dynamic player - plenty of valve amps would struggle with your use case, and the fact a katana has been seriously considered by yourself is a good indicator of its quality I think. 

    Really enjoyed your review. 

    Yes that sums up what I think as well. It's been really good following this thread and getting a 'real world' gigging perspective.

    Owing to my back problems, I'm going to try one if/(hopefully when) I start gigging again. Even if it doesn't work out, it's not a huge outlay and it can always serve as a backup or practice amp.
    It's not a competition.
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 32695
    Voxman said:

    The AD60VTX is 43lbs - around the same weight as my AD212 2x12 extn cab. But the 2x12 gives a much fuller, bigger sound. What I should have bought back in 2004 was the AD120VTH or AD60VTH head and cab.  
    If you can find a head you could use that with the cab, but I'm guessing they're very rare - I've certainly never seen one, and I wasn't even aware they did a 60W one. Or get a head box made for the 120 amp section...

    Interestingly I recently had an AD30 - the more recent one with the chrome grille, which are not quite as well-designed - which I acquired with a blown speaker (and power IC, which had taken it out) so I fitted it with a damaged Weber Silver Bell I'd repaired. It sounded brilliant at home volume but sadly quite harsh and ratty when cranked up, so I sold it.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • Danny1969Danny1969 Frets: 3573
    I had the AD120VT and loved it but feck me the power amp section was badly built ..... the soldering was terrible with bad joints everywhere and because the PCB wasn't thick enough or well enough supported the joints used to go again. In the end I lost patience with it and removed the Korg made top part which is very well made, made a simple 78 series regulated power supply for it (from the factory it's fed from  a basic zener diode ) and gig'ed that into a Marshall solidstate power amp before buying a Tonelab SE and a Marshall 2020 valve power amp  ...... that was the sound and that was very portable into a 2 x 12 cab (basically the old box from the AD120VT)
    Then a pint of beer fell into the Tonelab and it was never the same again


    www.2020studios.co.uk 
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  • SchnozzSchnozz Frets: 619
    edited December 2017
    I heard a Katana for the first time live the other day and I was disappointed unfortunately

    I like the idea of a smaller rehearsal amp for the garage, but I think I'd rather pay a bit more for a valve amp now.

    Really dislike changing valves...
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  • VoxmanVoxman Frets: 2045
    ICBM said:
    Voxman said:

    The AD60VTX is 43lbs - around the same weight as my AD212 2x12 extn cab. But the 2x12 gives a much fuller, bigger sound. What I should have bought back in 2004 was the AD120VTH or AD60VTH head and cab.  
    If you can find a head you could use that with the cab, but I'm guessing they're very rare - I've certainly never seen one, and I wasn't even aware they did a 60W one. Or get a head box made for the 120 amp section...

    Interestingly I recently had an AD30 - the more recent one with the chrome grille, which are not quite as well-designed - which I acquired with a blown speaker (and power IC, which had taken it out) so I fitted it with a damaged Weber Silver Bell I'd repaired. It sounded brilliant at home volume but sadly quite harsh and ratty when cranked up, so I sold it.
    The chrome Valvetronix weren't the same design - the AD15/AD30 were designed as budget priced home practice amps. The Valvereactor circuit was quite different (no longer reacted to speaker impedance) with minimal voltage running through the valve. Not a problem at home volumes, but when they brought out the AD50VT and AD100VT they just made them louder with no change to the design.  So whereas the 'Blue' amps behaved very much like a valve amp with changing response/dynamics as you cranked the amp, that vital ingredient was lost in all the later Valvetronix.  The 'Blues' were the only Valvetronix specifically designed as a gigging amp.  

    Re heads, yup they did both an AD60VTH (35lbs) and AD120VTH (40lbs) which had improved circuitry to the original AD60/120VT combos - that circuitry was later brought into the replacement AD60/120VTX. A key difference of the VTX combos wasn't just the closed back, birch ply construction, Celestion Neo-dog speakers and 8/16w impedance switch - there was also a revised better built power-section and valve-reactor circuit that was brought over from the heads and 'tuned' for the Celestion 'neo-dog' speakers. The heads only come up for sale very rarely, partly because they were less popular and partly because folks with a good one tend to hold onto them.

    http://www.voxshowroom.com/uk/amp/advth.html

    Danny1969 said:
    I had the AD120VT and loved it but feck me the power amp section was badly built ..... the soldering was terrible with bad joints everywhere and because the PCB wasn't thick enough or well enough supported the joints used to go again. In the end I lost patience with it and removed the Korg made top part which is very well made, made a simple 78 series regulated power supply for it (from the factory it's fed from  a basic zener diode ) and gig'ed that into a Marshall solidstate power amp before buying a Tonelab SE and a Marshall 2020 valve power amp  ...... that was the sound and that was very portable into a 2 x 12 cab (basically the old box from the AD120VT)
    Then a pint of beer fell into the Tonelab and it was never the same again


    Yup, as above the VTX combos had improved power amp sections brought across from the AD60/120VTH heads and the solder joints were of improved quality (it was one of the things Vox picked up on - the AD60/120VT joints tended to go 'dry-solder' and so the solder material used in the heads and VTX was a little better quality).      




    I started out with nothing..... but I've still got most of it left (Seasick Steve)
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  • Ive found the addition of a valve preamp/boost pedal has livened up the sound when i turn up my katana above home practise levels. Only have the 50, but find it adequate for the side project im working on at the moment. Not tried it with the main band yet but i think it could cut it if your not to precious with your sound.... oh and you mic through a decent PA.

    Anyone who has completed the software update can use a 4 channel switch with the 50 now, picked one up as a xmas present and works well.

    http://www.brightonion.co.uk/katana-preset-footswitch/

    The size and weight is a big winner for me at the end of the day
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  • ecc83ecc83 Frets: 820
    ICBM said:
    Voxman said:

    The AD60VTX is 43lbs - around the same weight as my AD212 2x12 extn cab. But the 2x12 gives a much fuller, bigger sound. What I should have bought back in 2004 was the AD120VTH or AD60VTH head and cab.  
    If you can find a head you could use that with the cab, but I'm guessing they're very rare - I've certainly never seen one, and I wasn't even aware they did a 60W one. Or get a head box made for the 120 amp section...

    Interestingly I recently had an AD30 - the more recent one with the chrome grille, which are not quite as well-designed - which I acquired with a blown speaker (and power IC, which had taken it out) so I fitted it with a damaged Weber Silver Bell I'd repaired. It sounded brilliant at home volume but sadly quite harsh and ratty when cranked up, so I sold it.


    Found a picture of the rear of a head IC. I note it says " 8 Ohm minimum" ! I do hope the amplifiers are totally short circuit proof?

    Dave.

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  • p90foolp90fool Frets: 8490
    Well I think I've reached a kind of working compromise with the Katana after last night's gig.

    After originally scooping the upper mids fairly heavily in Global EQ I decided I was going to have to live with a little Blues Jr-type boxiness if I wanted it to be audible in a mix, so I've reduced the upper mid cut by 4 decibels. 

    I also boosted the overall volume in Global EQ by 10 decibels, giving me vastly more headroom. I had the master at 4 o'clock before, last night I didn't get above 10 o'clock, which is just crazy, why would they starve it of so much power be default?

    So I now have enough power with a kind of usable but boxy lead sound, and a passable but frankly underwhelming rhythm sound, missing that big jangly depth I've always had in the past. 

    I think I'm really now fighting the cabinet rather than the software, despite the inherent flexibility of the EQ it really does have that resonance at high volume of an extremely powerful Blues Jr, albeit with a nice smooth overdrive. 

    I need to make up an adaptor to try it with a 4x12 as I suspect that will solve all my problems, apart from the reason I bought it which was portability. 

    I did have a great lead tone on some songs last night to be fair, and I do need to have a long and delicate conversation with the other guitarist in my band pulling his weight a little more. 

    If it sounds like I'm overthinking this and being too picky you're absolutely right. I'm holding it up to very high standards and trying to get it working exactly how I want it, but in all honesty I think that's fair, given the stir these amps have caused online. 

    I'm not trying to be a dissenting voice because it's a good amp and I genuinely like it, and the two or three players who've tried it at moderately loud volume in my house have all been wowed by it. 
    I'm just pushing it to its limits as a dynamic, musical piece of gear at a very low price - I'm not there yet but it's not far off to be fair. 
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  • midlifecrisismidlifecrisis Frets: 1247
    An issue I had with it last night was that one of the patches i set up for lead, lots of gain, some delay, which previously had been at a good level in relation to my rhythm patches, just wasnt quite cutting through (at least i felt that) I had to go to the amp and turn up the volume (its a hard life) and save the patch, trickier on the fly than it sounds. This is the first of about 30 gigs ive had to do this apart from earlier ones where i was not that familiar with the amp.
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