NAD - Redplate RP50R

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lukedlblukedlb Frets: 177

My initial experience with the RP was of shock, amazement and distress as I understood that the 6 year pedal quest was all sought for nothing: quite simply, this amp needed no pedals. Now that three weeks have passed, I can reflect with a sober mind and share my thoughts.

The RP was my first amp built this side of 2000, and my first 'boutique' amp. My experience with amps other than a reissue ampeg and a reissue bassman were all pre-1975. I started out with a '72 fender twin silverface 27 years back, stopped playing music and returned with an interest in gear these last 6 years. While my current sound of choice was indeed more Marshall (superbass/lead, artiste, etc), my favourite sounds sat somewhere between a marshall and a fender (hence mixing alnico and ceramic cabs; and favouring different artiste amps, the Marshall fender twin). I finally settled on a kelly sound master, built by an ex-selmer employee, based on the treble and bass amps. It has one sound that, depending on the channel, is either open or bold. It handles pedals well and will always be my amp of choice. I play custom made 50s/60s stratocasters, each with a unique voice. My guitar interest is mainly Hendrix and SRV, supported by the american and UK blues players.

So why buy a Redplate?

The features on modern amps interested me (the kelly amp doesn't even have a standby switch) and the potential for a different sound for a multiple amp setup pushed me to inquire about D-type amps. After looking at ceriatone, I read posts on the forum about Redplate, mainly from @Wazmeister. I had the good fortune to inquire about his RP at the right moment when he had decided a lighter combo was more suitable. He made the purchase a delightful one and I'm grateful for all his help and more.


Simply put: everything he said is true.


My vintage snobbery, my disdain for 1x12 when only a 4x12 will do, was all put to the test and crushed and humiliated by the RP. I quickly sold on a couple of amps to help cover the cost without a shred of regret. That's it; I've found it. I don't need anything else. No more forum for me or scouring gumtree. The usual new gear ecstasy.

However, after three weeks of playing the Redplate, I understood its place in my setup. The RP is different than the kelly, although it sounds just as great. All the pedals that work so well on the Kelly are unnecessary on the RP: Cali76 compressor, Ryra Klone, Hamstead Odyssey, Chase Tone boost, EQ, TS9, Spring reverb. It does what I was trying to make the Kelly do with the help of pedals; and as much as I tried, the Kelly has its own voice and is not a Fender type amp. I have a limited experience of Fender amps, especially vintage tweed and blackface, to offer a reliable impression of the Redplate's interpretation of vintage tones. Rather, I can testify to the strength of every setting, whichever sound option is selected. Please allow me to explain the amp's tones/sounds to give an idea of its potential.


The RP's tone/sound options:


Tone options, an effect and power settings to begin with:

1. A rear switch selects between single coil, humbucker, and fat (selects bass gain amount in the clean input stage).

2. A front switch selects between normal, bright 1 (new strings twang) and bright 2 (normal bright)

3. A rear pot turns on and adjust the amount of Reverb

4. The blackface channel has a 6 selector pot passing through progressively fatter positions of the midtone frequency

5. A rear switch to select between 50 watts fixed bias or 40 watt cathode bias. The cathode bias permits using 6V6 to run at 18 watts

Channel options (bear in mind that this does not include the myriad of tones produced by moving the volume for a clearer or punchier or gainier sound and the tone controls which produce more spit, added bass, scooped mids):


  1. Brownface (reduced girth)

  2. Tweed (brownface + Mid)

  3. Blackface

  4. Blackface + Mid

  5. Blackface + Drive

  6. Blackface + Mid + Drive

  7. Brownface + Drive

  8. Tweed + Drive

  9. Brownface + Boost (full tone stack control lift)

  10. Brownface + Drive + Boost (full tone stack control lift)

  11. Tweed + Boost (full tone stack control lift)

  12. Tweed + Drive + Boost (full tone stack control lift)

  13. Blackface + Boost (partial tone stack control lift)

  14. Blackface + Mid + Boost (partial tone stack control lift)

  15. Blackface + Mid + Drive + Boost (partial tone stack control lift)


That's 15 channel options where I am hard pushed to decide which is my favourite. I have followed a tradional route and chosen the clean Blackface as my foundation, and matched the other channel's volume accordingly. It's important to note that there is no 'pop' or click in the amp when changing channels. I still haven't decided whether to match the brownface's or tweed's volume to the blackface. I currently play at bedroom volume level so the girth difference between the brownface and tweed may show its advantage at higher volume; it currently sounds like a weaker tweed. The tweed is technically a brownface + Mid (hence no tweed + Mid option).


15 options all controllable via the simple and convenient foot pedal.

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  • lukedlblukedlb Frets: 177

    However, it doesn't end there.

    A send/return loop allows for the addition of modulation and echo effects or the inclusion of other pre-amp pedals.

    A presence control works to establish a balance between highs and lows at louder volumes (low end can cause speaker cab distortion). It has little purpose at low volumes other than cutting the low frequencies.

    A master volume allows for a faithful louder presentation of the settings without losing tone.


    I tried using alternative speakers, including alnico, but ultimately returned to the celestion V30, as recommended by Redplate.


    As a reference, I managed to find settings very similar to the whole Stevie Ray Vaughan catalogue. Playing along with the recordings, I was surprised to find how often he switched between pickups, using all 5 settings. I had always thought he was predominantly a neck PU player whereas the middle PU is much more audible and the 2 and 4 settings are used a good 50%. In some cases I switched on the brightness 2 or reverb. The mid together with the drive gave a good Tube screamer sound although with less clipping. And in case you're wondering, my leslie 16 cab helped complete the sound. 


    I have yet to try the effects loop circuit. I plan to place my tremolo and maybe a vibe there. They both sounded great in front. A fuzz and treble booster also sounded good in the front input. I still need to test my way pedals.


    The drive circuit was perhaps the most challenging to dial in as the mid and boost already provide enough umph and edge of breakup. The most extreme drive/distortion I use is usually fuzz-based so amp drive is probably at the limit of Voodoo Child SR. The RP is particularly good at matching volumes. Including the cascading drive channel plus the boost option helps make performance much easier.


    The most alarming part of the RP is the fact that I really don't need the obligatory four or five pedals to a pedalboard (boost, drive, compressor, EQ, reverb). When I've stopped enjoying the simplicity of plugging in directly to the amp from the guitar, I will make an effort to return to the pedalboard, although it really has thrown a spanner in its final completion. I am not kidding; I had just received the final A/B loop pedal and had worked out how many cable jacks to order to complete the board. Once again, the pedalboard completion date has been postponed (and potentially jeapordized). 


    The construction is impressive and heavier than I expected. The zilla matching 112 cab is open backed as the bass was a little too much for the fat baby cab. I'll have a 212 at the end of the month and will face the difficult speaker choice. I really wanted to try a mixed cab but I'm a little worried about the highs that an alnico could provide. I'll try a set of Goodmans blackbacks although I fear they may be too dark.


    There were times I prayed that the next time I played the amp I would discover that all my pedals were indeed necessary. Other times I calculated how much I could sell those same pedals for and whether the funds would contribute to buying another redplate. A vintage marshall amp is still an option and the redplate magica might just be my next GAS.


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  • lukedlblukedlb Frets: 177
    How do the other redplate amps compare? Anyone else on the forum had the chance to play a cds2 other than Waz? Anyone tried the magica?
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  • 57Deluxe57Deluxe Frets: 5732
    /\ are you writing a User Guide for them or something???!!
    <Vintage BOSS Upgrades>
    __________________________________
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  • lukedlblukedlb Frets: 177
    57Deluxe said:
    /\ are you writing a User Guide for them or something???!!
    What started out as first impression expanded as I got my head around its potential. And I suspect there’s more to come. Coming from one trick pony amps, a full overview might help others interested in the amp’s potential as much as it helped me. Sincerely, this amp deserves such an explanation. 
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  • WazmeisterWazmeister Frets: 3875
    Brilliant and in-depth review mate... superb !

    I'll comment some more when I get a moment :)
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  • ChesterChester Frets: 33
    I have the Aurora 34 head, which is a custom option based on the ADD format. 3 Channels of clean to growl goodness, with a LOT of tone shaping options

    Check out the Mike Hermans vid reviews of the ADD, which do more justice to the amp and it's tones than any blurb I could post here. Simply put - a superb amp
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  • lukedlblukedlb Frets: 177
    @Chester what is the amp's clean sound like? Help me: what do you mean by ADD? I couldn't find the Hermans' video; his gear presentations are often exceptional. The magica is very tempting. Ever seen one in the UK?
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  • hywelghywelg Frets: 1526
    Astro Dust Duo 
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  • lukedlblukedlb Frets: 177
    Looking at the other Redplate amps I noticed the absence of the MID footswitch. The blackverb manual describes the Tweed footswitch as a mid boost, whereas it defines the difference between the brown face and tweed, and more importantly it adds a mid boost to the blackface, a very different sound to the tweed voice. This is particularly important as IMO it acts partly like a tubescreamer, providing a good 'SRV Pride & Joy' tone. Furthermore, the drive footswitch can push it anywhere from more compression to a voodoo child SR sound. I will double check if the Boost acts on the Mid boost or not.
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  • lukedlblukedlb Frets: 177
    hywelg said:
    Astro Dust Duo 
    I'll take a look tonight.
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  • ChesterChester Frets: 33
    lukedlb said:
    @Chester what is the amp's clean sound like? Help me: what do you mean by ADD? I couldn't find the Hermans' video; his gear presentations are often exceptional. The magica is very tempting. Ever seen one in the UK?
    https://www.redplateamps.com/astrodustduo.html
    Vid at the bottom of the page

    The Aurora is exactly this chassis and layout, with 6 "clean" modes as per the rotary options. They provide the foundation for cascading drive options in CH 2 & 3

    I can't remember if Coda had a Magica in before they stopped selling the line, but if you want to import one direct, call Henry and do a deal. Could end up a tad expensive when you add freight + VAT + 3% duty

    Where are you based? If you want to try mine out, it lives near Glasgow
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  • lukedlblukedlb Frets: 177
    The ADD is incredible. The video explains its potential very well. I am nowhere Glasgow or Coda; I'm in Italy! Henry has a magica on discount; it's way out of my budget. The RP50R was my biggest single music purchase ever so I doubt another similar will be permitted in the near future.
    People shouldn't be put off the extra features of the Redplate amps; I use every option as every voice possible sounds as though the amp was made for it. The 15 foot switchable options are multiplied by 6 with the normal/bright/bright2, the single coil/fat and the reverb.
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  • lukedlblukedlb Frets: 177
    The V30 1x12 works very well; however, I can’t resist messing with things. I now have a Bob Burt 2x12 with a rear port and two goodmans 50watt blackback from the early 70s. Next experiment is put a 15” baffle in the 1x12 Zilla fat baby and see how a 15” flies. I’ll probably take whatever my speaker repairman has in his laboratory. Any speaker suggestions are much appreciated. May I repeat that the V30 is particularly good. 
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  • ZenOvertoneZenOvertone Frets: 49
    I very nearly bought a Blackverb, great sound but it had a few technical reliability issues so I walked out of Coda with a Two Rock instead in 2014.  I love the sounds Allen Hinds gets out of his RP amps, they work really well for the player who's willing to work with the touch sensitivity on offer..
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  • lukedlblukedlb Frets: 177
    I seem to remember wasmeister mentioning the same issues with some of his past redplates. I think Henry got around to eliminating the issue in later amps. 

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  • ChrisMusicChrisMusic Frets: 1116
    edited April 3

    Thanks for such a well written and in depth review @lukedlb .  I have been interested in Redplate amps for a while, while I have not had the opportunity to try one myself, the YouTube videos are pretty convincing, I like the design ethos, and reviews like yours only help to feed the GAS monster too !


    I note both your, and Zen's, comment about reliability issues, could you, or maybe @Wazmeister , or anyone else familiar with these amps, cast further light on what these issues are, which models, possible fixes, or when they were eliminated, so that I can hopefully have a great experience first time round with one of these amps.  Hopefully a treat in store for me later this year.  Thanks 


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  • ChrisMusicChrisMusic Frets: 1116
    edited April 3
    I see my @Wazmeister  notification didn't work in my comment above, so I thought I would try again.

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  • ZenOvertoneZenOvertone Frets: 49
    I'm sure any temporary issues were solved quickly, the one I tried (it had a rising crackle/noise after around 30 mins) may just have had a valve problem but it was the only one in the shop at the time that I could realistically compare with the Two Rock.  I'd definitely still consider one in the future as they cover a lot of bases sonically.
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  • ChrisMusicChrisMusic Frets: 1116
    Yes, they do sound good, as well as ridiculously flexible.  Thanks for your experience @ZenOvertone .

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  • lukedlblukedlb Frets: 177
    @Wazmeister will be a great redplate source and it is time indeed for an update and opinion from the man. 
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  • lukedlblukedlb Frets: 177
    I discovered that wah pedals are only tolerable on the normal input. The brightness circuits make the wah unlistenable both with low and high sweep. I am currently testing my Sonus wah against my vintage vox clyde McCoy ; both sound terrible on the bright settings. 
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  • ChrisCox1994ChrisCox1994 Frets: 170
    great amps arent they, glad I kept my Blues Machine 66
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  • WazmeisterWazmeister Frets: 3875

    Thanks for such a well written and in depth review @lukedlb .  I have been interested in Redplate amps for a while, while I have not had the opportunity to try one myself, the YouTube videos are pretty convincing, I like the design ethos, and reviews like yours only help to feed the GAS monster too !


    I note both your, and Zen's, comment about reliability issues, could you, or maybe @Wazmeister , or anyone else familiar with these amps, cast further light on what these issues are, which models, possible fixes, or when they were eliminated, so that I can hopefully have a great experience first time round with one of these amps.  Hopefully a treat in store for me later this year.  Thanks 

    The only issues I encountered were with the small, CDS2 shaped amps - it was something (I think) to do with the Lo-Master (volume) knob on the far right of the amp. It was a very small batch - but sufficient enough to really piss me off at the time...!

    Nevertheless, I do now actually own a CDS2 and it is my main live amp !

    The bigger (iron and body) models - such as Blackverb, CDS3, Bluesmachine Etc are truly superb, and superior imho.

    Luke's review is spot on.

    For the first time, I'm playing live and rehearsing with NO pedals. That's how good these amps are...
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  • ChrisCox1994ChrisCox1994 Frets: 170
    lukedlb said:
    I discovered that wah pedals are only tolerable on the normal input. The brightness circuits make the wah unlistenable both with low and high sweep. I am currently testing my Sonus wah against my vintage vox clyde McCoy ; both sound terrible on the bright settings. 
    the xotic wah can be dialled in to work very well on both brightness settings on my RP - just a thought. 
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  • ChrisMusicChrisMusic Frets: 1116

    High praise indeed @Wazmeister , much appreciated.


    Sorry for the slight thread derail @lukedlb ; :)


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  • BluesyDaveBluesyDave Frets: 303
    I had a CDS2 from new and never had an issue with it.  Still don't know why I sold it!
    No Darling....I've had that ages.
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  • lukedlblukedlb Frets: 177

    High praise indeed @Wazmeister , much appreciated.


    Sorry for the slight thread derail @lukedlb ; :)

    I’m glad the post has been an opportunity to discuss the pros (many) and cons (none so far) and hopefully encourage others to try one. 
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  • lukedlblukedlb Frets: 177
    I tested all my wahs again and corrected the ear pain by adjusting the guitar tone pot. They all sounded great. 
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  • lukedlblukedlb Frets: 177
    Has anyone ever tried a Marshall type preamp in the fx loop?
    Can anyone suggest Overdrive pedals better than the available mid/drive/boost options on the redplate? I must admit that I really haven’t properly given my fx pedals a proper try with the redplate as the amp already has so much to offer. 
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  • lukedlblukedlb Frets: 177
    What about using the fx loop as an additional gain/drive?
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