Hey everybody, it’s Brian with World Music Supply, and today I’m here to talk about the Randall RT503H and the Randall RT412CX. The Randall RT503H is an all tube, 50 Watt, three channel amplifier that is by and large one of the best amplifiers we offer in this price range. The three channels are arranged how you would expect, from clean, to overdrive one, and the ultra saturated overdrive two. It also comes with a series effects loop, a real spring reverb tank, and a three button footswitch. I paired the RT503H with its matching RT412CX cabinet, and my humbucker equipped Tele, and sat down to figure out what makes this amp tick.
Before we step into the actual tones within this amplifier, I want to point out just how handsome this amplifier actually looks. It features a large steel grill covering the main components, and a brushed steel face plate. The most unique thing about the amp however, is easily its cool blue LEDs that glow when the amp is running. Now that we have taken a brief look at how the amp looks, lets move onto the important part, how it sounds.
Channel one is the clean channel, and it features exactly what you would expect, clean guitar tone which sounded warm, and a tad dark. I liked how the RT503H filled out my sound, never did it seem like the clean channel was too “dry” so to speak. I never was left feeling like just because I was on a clean setting that my tone was lacking something. The clean setting also takes pedals rather well, and it has a wide range from clean to gritty, so you can have a little volume fluctuation without worrying about your sound distorting if that is a concern you might have.
The darker character of the RT503H made it fantastic for warming up a sound, for example all of my country style tele licks came out with more body than usual, and when I ran through some blues progressions it was far bolder than usual. Rolling off my guitars tone knob, the darker tones of the amp gave jazz licks that big round tone that is surprisingly hard to achieve. The cleanest of cleans are simple, and surprisingly musical on this amp.
Ramping up to the higher volume and higher gain settings on the clean channel, I was awarded some nice classic rock style distortion. There was plenty of swampy sounding C.C.R style swamp and AC/DC style crunch inside this channel, almost enough that the name “clean” seems misplaced. Once I had a nice 70s style tone dialed in, I was able to just use my volume knob to go from cleanest of cleans, to a nice big overdrive. I love the versatility of this channel, and with it being so accepting of pedals, using overdrives and distortions make it so much cooler.
However, using overdrives and distortions would be misplaced, as this amp still has two whole channels left to cover. Next up, is overdrive one. My favorite part of this amp is that the gain is linear across the channels, the peak of channel 1 is the bottom of channel 2 and the peak of channel 2 is the bottom of channel 3. so overdrive one starts out on that big, full 70’s style overdrive that I loved from channel one. From there it slides all the way up to a very modern sounding bark, the kind of tone you would associate with late 90’s style alternative rock.
I liked the idea of getting to revisit some of the songs I had learned in my earlier days as a guitarist, with a tone that actually suited them for once. So dropping my tuning a whole step to help compensate, I found a plethora of dark, booming metal riffs. The gain was high, but it never got fizzy or annoying, and it wasn’t so over the top that I needed a gate or anything. The dark character of the amp was useful and musical again, as playing power chords sound so much more ominous when they are played through an amp like this, and high shred lines have so much more body than usual. The spring reverb also helped, as having it on a lower setting gave my notes just that little extra magic to keep even long sustained notes sounding interesting.
While I’m almost certain that the Overdrive one channel has more than enough gain for everyone, or almost everyone, the RT503H goes a step further. So I cranked the gain knob on channel three, and hit the footswitch to switch up. I was immediately greeted with a wall of screaming harmonics, as my guitar was overpowered by the blast of sound from the amp. This channel seemed like it would need a gate at the higher end of the spectrum, so I rolled the gain back a bit, to about halfway. Still over the top, the High gain power of the Overdrive two channel is enough to make the Overdrive one look miniscule in comparison.
I went out and grabbed a Boss NS2, and bit the bullet, cranking the gain on channel three to the very brink. I got the most over the top lead sounds, just fiery, blooming tones. This would be a great channel to use if you played in a very modern metal band, in the style of periphery or the like. Dropped tunings felt fantastic on this channel, and switching to a seven string, I was blown away at how this channel performed with all that was thrown at it. Never once did it get muddy, or transform higher notes into synth-y sounding sine waves, as many amps do at the highest of high gain settings.
Overall the RT503H is an overall outstanding amplifier, with more than enough power on tap for any player, in any genre, from country to jazz, and from rock to even the most brutal of metal. The RT503H has more than enough power to do it all, which is why the RT503H easily receives a 10 out of 10.
However, while the amp is amazing on its own, it can’t be said how valuable the RT412CX is to the tone of this amp. Designed by Randall to be the perfect match to the RT series of amplifiers, with its four vintage voiced Celestion G12M 25W speakers, and its ¾ birch plywood cabinet with a sealed back, this cabinet really adds a lot of power and punch to any amplifier. It features a very modern look with its all black steel grill cover, and its black tolex covering, a fitting addition to the equally modern looking RT503H. While this is a great cabinet when used with any amplifier, when paired with the RT503H, they are a virtual dream team of tone. Which is why the RT412CX also receives a well deserved 10 out of 10.
I have to say that I loved getting to test out this amp and cabinet combo, and they are easily some of the best products available at such a low price right now on the market. If I were you, I would head over to Worldmusicsupply.com and get yourself one of these monstrous amplifiers now, before they’re all gone, and at this price that won’t be long.