World Music Supply | Marshall DSL Amplifiers

Hey guys, it’s Brian from World Music Supply here again, to bring you another dose of gear and guitar reviews. Today though, I have an awesome treat, I get to review the Marshall DSL series of all tube amplifiers.  Surprisingly, this is the first Marshall I have had the privilege to actually review, a fact that I hope to rectify in the coming months. Regardless, the DSL stands for Double Super Lead, because the amp is based around a two channel design. All of the amps in the line have the same overall design and a similar sound, with the only noticeable difference from amp to amp is volume and headroom, as well as the controls layout.

The Marshall DSL15H 15 Watt All Tube Amplifier Head

The Marshall DSL15H 15 Watt All Tube Amplifier Head

First up on the block today is the 15 Watt head, which is also available in a combo which is equipped with a Celestion 12” speaker. The 15 watt DSL is laid out like the other amplifiers in the family, with a classic gain, an ultra gain, a mid shift button which contours the mids for a much more metal friendly setting, and a deep button, which shifts the resonance frequency to boost the bass up. The amp is also equipped with a Pentode/Triode switch that drops the power down to 7.5 watts as well as shifting the tone to a smoother less aggressive styled sound.

The Marshall DSL15C 15 Watt All Tube Combo Amplifier

The Marshall DSL15C 15 Watt All Tube Combo Amplifier

The first thing that needs to be mentioned, is this amp is plenty loud, but I could so see the point behind an amp like this in the studio, as you can crank it, and get that classic Marshall on the brink sound, without being evicted or going deaf. The sound does have everything a great Marshall should have, that great Nashville style clean tone, with just a bit of an edge to help you cut out above the band, a crunch AC/DC style sound, and switching to the Ultra gain side of the amp, you get everything from late 80s hair metal gain, all the way up to mid 90s angry at the world style gain. All of the settings are very, very usable, and voice perfectly for what they are designed for, the classic side ranges from the aforementioned Nashville style clean, and right up to what you recognize as the Marshall sound of the late 70s, with tons of bottom end, mid range cut, and all of the harmonic glory that cemented the Marshall name into the fabric of history.

The Ultra side, is much more aimed at really hard rock, and metal players, as the levels of gain are amazingly high, it is great as a lead boost for solos, and as a rhythm channel for a metal guitarist, as with the tone switch engaged, the mid range chunk that this channel has is perfect for big, brutal rhythm, and just devistating when you play big down tuned chords.

The Marshall DSL40C 40 Watt All Tube Combo Amplifier

The Marshall DSL40C 40 Watt All Tube Combo Amplifier

Next up is the 40 Watt combo version of the DSL, which incorporates all of the features of the 100 watt head, into a 40 watt package you could fit in the trunk of your car. The two channels now are split, with a clean/crunch switch on the classic channel, and a lead one and lead two switch on the ultra channel. There is also an expanded EQ with a presence and resonance control taking over for the bass shift button, as well as two different types of reverb on hand.

The division between the channels was cool, and being able to switch from clean to AC/DC style crunch to a metal lead tone was pretty cool. The division of the ultra channel made for an interesting conundrum as I loved everything about the ultra on the 15 watt version, but now being able to switch from that metal grind tone I got before over to an equally amazing Lead two was just great for down tuned glory. It was hard to choose which side of the Lead section I liked more, but the one part that floored me was, it really isn’t all that noisy, you still might need a noise gate, but compared to many other high gain amplifiers, there really isn’t all that much hiss.

The Marshall DSL100H 100 Watt All Tube Amplifier Head

The Marshall DSL100H 100 Watt All Tube Amplifier Head

Finally there is the matter of the 100watt head, which took everything I liked about the 40 Watt version and pumped it up a lot.  What I love about this head though is that it is everything a Marshall should be, versatile, dramatic, roadworthy and loud! As with any 100 Watt amp, you have to handle them with a certain amount of care, as they are amazingly loud, I was able to keep the clean channel clean no matter how loud I turned up, well I should say, as loud as my ear drums would let me turn up. The Crunch channel had a lot more boom to it when it was pushed through a 4×12, and likewise the lead channels had a lot more thump to them, and by that I mean you get a lot more of that punched in the chest feeling when they are coming at you from a Marshall 4×12 cabinet.

All in all , the DSL series are some of the best Marshalls I’ve ever gotten to play through, with a liveliness to them, and a brashness about them that reminds me of the amps of yesteryear, but at the same time retaining all of the power tube punch you need to play modern metal. For all of these reasons the entire DSL family scores a well earned 10 out of 10.

World Music Supply | Bugera Infinium

Hey guys it’s Brian from World Music Supply here again, supplying you with your usual dose of gear and guitar reviews. Now I believe I’ve mentioned that as much as I can, I am going to try and keep this week as Halloween themed as possible, and that means supplying you with the most dark and brutal equipment I can find, and today that includes a few amplifiers from our friends over at Bugera. These amplifers all feature their Infinium technology, which regulates and closely monitors the tubes, and even rebiasing them as necessary, allowing them to last at full potential much longer than normal. This means that over the life of the amp, you will spend substantially less on replacing tubes, as you will no longer have to spend huge sums of money on whole matched sets of tubes.

The Bugera 333XL 120 Watt 3 Channel All Tube Guitar Amplifier Head

The Bugera 333XL 120 Watt 3 Channel All Tube Guitar Amplifier Head

The First amp in today’s review is the Bugera 333XL which is a massivly high gain, high wattage amplifier designed to let you play loud and proud. The 333XL is a hand built 120 watt monster, driven by four EL34 tubes, which can be switched out for 6L6s for a totally different tone, and the preamp is powered by four 12AX7s. Bugera integrated a high class digital reverb, which is a little cleaner, and clearer than a more typical spring reverb, which tend to get rather muddy when it comes to high gain tones.

Clean, this reverb added a ton of depth and body to my guitar tone, the feeling of having a small hall style reverb, as opposed to a spring does a lot to boost the quality of your sound, giving you studio style sounds in a live setting. The amp was sweet and clear, and all of my notes sang out with a clean, singing voice, never muddying up, no matter how much I messed with the EQ. Switching over to the Crunch channel, I was greeted with classic, AC/DC style bark. The classic rock vibe was nice, and comping 70s rock rhythms with it was no problem. Flicking on the XL switch, which is a low mid boost, the sound suddenly was chunckier, and could almost pull off some early Metallica style tones as well.

Finally switching over to the Lead channel, I was greeted with gigantic, over the top roaring distortion, with overtones and harmonics galore. I was clearly in modern metal territory, and the addition of a built in noise gate really was a great idea, as it really does clean up the over the top roaring hiss that you tend to get from a setting like this. The distortion is more than enough to do anything from modern rock, to full on shred metal, so there is plenty or room to move around with a sound like this. The XL switch on the Lead setting would be an ideal tone for anyone who spends most of their time in a dropped tuning, as it really keeps your sound tight, and heavy. Overall the Bugera 333XL is a beast of a machine, and easily deserves its 10 out of 10 rating.

The Bugera TriRec INFINIUM Guitar Amp Head

The Bugera TriRec INFINIUM Guitar Amp Head

Next up is something I really wish I could be more discriptive about, but sadly due to some production restraints, they haven’t exactly came in just yet, and that would be the Bugera TriRec. I was able to briefly scope out, and listen to the TriRec at NAMM and was blown away by its sound, and power. A few features stuck out to me, and because I know so many of you have already preordered it, and are waiting patiently to get your very own, I figured I would give you my opinions on it, to help satiate your want for this high gain beast.

The name TriRec comes from its three fully independent channels, as well as its switchable silicon diode rectifier, and tube rectifiers, which allows it to have everything from roaring modern rock tones, hyper overdriven metal tones, to soaring almost synth like lead tones. It also features what Bugera has termed the varipower switch, which is a type of attenuator, that you can dial down, rather than use fixed power points, which was a really cool feature as it acted as a sort of mega-volume knob.  

The few moments I was able to actually to hear it clean, as a majority of the time getting to hear the amp was spent with them amp on a much higher gain setting, the clean sounded rich and pure, with a slight bit of that tangy solid state character you sometimes get from hybrid style amps. The overdrive setting, was big and beefy, with a sort of woofing quality to it, almost reminiscent of the XL boost on the 333XL. The lead sounds though; those were heavy as possible, just raw, metal heaviness. Chugging drop tune chords, and searing, vocal like lead tones, this amp really is going to be killer. Sadly it still might be a little while before the TriRec actually hits our warehouse shelves and I get to do a proper test for all of you. However, I will go ahead and say that the tone of this monster easily deserves a 10 out of 10, Now to sit and wait for a chance to actually play it for myself.

World Music Supply | VOX AC30 Review

Hey guys, Brian from World Music Supply here again to bring you your usual dose of gear and guitar reviews, and today I got the chance to review a very special amplifier, the VOX AC30. Now once in a while, I will take a break from my regular duties of reviewing two or three guitars, amps, or pedals, and sit down with something I think is very influential, and just work out and explain why it is so important. I’ve done a review like this for the Line 6 Variax, the Fender Deluxe Reverb, and the Nuno Bettnecourt N4, but today I get to review something that virtually shaped an entire generation worth of music.

The Vox AC30 Hand-Wired 2x12 Combo amp

The Vox AC30 Hand-Wired 2×12 Combo amp

The Amplifier has a very particular sound, with a distinctive top end jangle, and a simplistic, and straight forward design. The sound of the amplifier is heavily influenced by its lack of negative feedback, which is an amplification technique used by most major manufacturers to help with gain stability, frequency response and reduced distortion. This lack of negative feedback causes the upper harmonics of the notes to jump out, creating an otherworldly distorted tone that has characterized the sounds of dozens of guitarists throughout history. The sound is also modified by its inclusion of a rectifier, which is often a buzz word for “metal” amplifiers, but what a rectifier does in effect is take all of the “valleys” of the sound wave and pulls them up into “peaks” resulting in a brighter, cleaner, more sine wave like sound.

The Vox AC30VR 30 Watt 2 Channel Guitar Amp

The Vox AC30VR 30 Watt 2 Channel Guitar Amp

Enough tech mumbo jumbo though, what this all translates to is a sound that was, and still is miles apart from its competitors, as the AC30 and the whole family of VOX amps for that matter, sound nothing like their Fender and Marshall contemporaries. Playing a Fender Strat on the cleanest of clean settings, this amp had two things going for it, one was it was amazingly loud for only being 30 watts, this is thanks to the two unique characteristics mentioned earlier, the AC30’s lack of negative feedback, and its rectifier help keep the volume high and pristine even on cleaner settings. The clean tones were very cool too, with lots of clarity and note definition, with lots of high end jangle and twang, and mid range bite and growl. Now while every variant of the AC30 that has come out over the years have different specs, and additions to them, most of them still have about the same sound, so these sentiments should ring true for every model in the line.

The Vox AC30 Hand-Wired Amp Head

The Vox AC30 Hand-Wired Amp Head

I remember about the time I was turning 17 or 18, I saw a documentary on the VOX company, and in particular the AC30. I remember hearing all of the different sound bites of the different bands and being marveled at how broad a scope they were, from classic rock, to country, to blues, to alternative rock. They all had this one amp, and none of them sounded the same. I remember hearing a worker at the factory talk about how the Rolling Stones didn’t know if the AC30 would be road worthy enough to tour with, and someone at the factory actually took one of the amps, and threw it down two or three flights of stairs. They then plugged it in, and it played just fine. I was amazed that a company would put that much trust in their product. So now that I had some spare time on my hands to take an in depth look at one specific product, I wanted to make it count, I wanted to hear what made this amp so timeless and sought after.

The Vox AC30C2 Custom Back Panel

The Vox AC30C2 Custom Back Panel

Turning the volume up, and letting the amp creep into natural overdrive, it becomes very clear why the likes of Brian May of Queen, The Edge of U2, and Thom Yorke of Radiohead all love this amp so very much. The sound is big and powerful, but with a different sort of tonality and harmonic response than what many guitarists would be used to, as the dynamics of this amp are very touch sensitive, and as well the controls to the amp itself are very precise, as their ranges are very wide. Turning the bass knob from side to side, doesn’t just suck away some bass or add on a little bit, it can delete the bass entirely, or emit enough low end to shake the foundation of most houses. This is unusual for a guitar amp, and you will find that many guitarists will actually tape down, or glue the knobs in place on their AC30, or if your Brian May, you might even just eliminate all of the knobs except the volume, and have the controls set one way forever. It should be noted that Brian May no longer does this to his amps, but the point still holds, that this amp has a very broad scope of sound.

Playing lead lines with the amp cranked you begin to notice something peculiar, as the note sustains, and the fundamental frequency falls away, a tone that is either a perfect fifth, or an octave above the tone begins to pull itself to the surface. This almost octave like effect is almost certainly thanks to the unique wiring of this amp, but all I know is that it is awesome! It took me some fiddling around with the controls to really dial in specific sounds of specific artists that I liked, but once you get the sound set, you really do notice the unique and unusual properties of this amplifier. You can dial in Revolver era Beatles grind, Jangly echo laden U2 tones, and when I used a EQ pedal to act like a treble booster, I was even able to dial in a very convincing Brian May style sound.

The Vox AC30C2 Custom

The Vox AC30C2 Custom

The VOX AC30 has a sound that is unique, and timeless. This is the amp that drove The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Queen, U2, and millions more, to international stardom. This one amp has been the voice of many a guitarist, a symbol of technical ingenuity, and a timeless reminder of classic rock history. For all of these reasons, and surely many more, the VOX AC30 lands itself a solid 10 out of 10.

World Music Supply | Fender 65 Deluxe Reverb Reissue

Hey guys, Brian from World Music Supply here again, bringing you all another dose of guitar and gear reviews, and today I get to talk  about one of my favorite amps of all time, and that is the Fender 65 Deluxe Reverb. I got my first real experience with this amplifier when I had just started playing guitar, and a friend of mine had a vintage one of these that his father had given him to play with, as it was just collecting dust in his garage. Luckily, even after all of those years it worked just fine, after we replaced the tubes of course. After all of these years, it’s good to know that an amp like this still has all of the power to move me just like that vintage one had, just without all of its wear and tear from years of playing in bars.

Fender 65 Deluxe Reverb Reissue

Fender 65 Deluxe Reverb Reissue

I tested this amp and remembered at once how powerful the sounds from it really are, with that perfect fender tone, with its big meaty low end, and a bell like chiming high end, with the sweetest mids I’ve heard from almost any other amp. Everything I gave the amp, it gave right back to me, with an airy SRV style snappiness that certainly has its place in any guitarists rig. The weird part about this amp that always confused me as a young guitarist, was that the two channels aren’t connected, you actually have to use a splitter box to go from one channel to another. You do still have a footswitch, but that’s to turn on and off the tube driven reverb and vibrato settings, which have a very distinct sound, that just screams late 60s style rock. The reverb is very twangy, with a very nice country edge to it that really helps establish that vintage Fender Vibe. The Vibrato setting is actually a tremolo effect, which was named inaccurately, which seems to be a hallmark of Fender, because lets not forget that the famous tremolo bridge piece on their Stratocaster guitar, actually creates a vibrato effect, confusing isn’t it.

After playing the amp for a few minutes, you will quickly realize why it’s loved by everyone from classic rock and blues guys to country players. The “normal” clean channel is very, very clean, with all of the crisp and airy power that people have come to expect from Fender, all of the notes perfectly defined, with the true tone of the guitar always shining through. The Normal channel is a little restrictive, as the reverb and vibrato controls aren’t in the circuit, but it does a great job of giving you a nice warm, thick sounding clean slate to add to with a palette of pedals.

The Vibrato channel is a lot more dynamic, with a lot more tone shaping options, but you still can get that classic Fender clean sound, as long as you keep the volume backed off. However, this channel has a very distinctive distorted tone, which has been heard on countless hit records throughout the years. This channel was great for playing everything from bluesy riffs, to a few different classic rock songs I had laying around waiting to test an amp like this, and the 65 did a great job of giving them that familiar body and spank that only a Fender could. Adding in the vibrato is great for emulating a few great C.C.R songs, and the tube driven reverb of this amp was so famous that BOSS even made a pedal just to replicate its warm spacious clamor.

For the years and years of countless songs the tone of this amp has inspired, the 65 Deluxe Reverb reissue definitely gets a solid 10 out of 10. However it should be noted that this amp doesn’t have a master volume, so getting a good distorted tone out of it does require you to crank the amp quite a bit, which can get a little loud, but hey, that’s just how we like it right!

World Music Supply | Bugera Vintage Amplifiers

Hey guys its Brian here with World Music Supply, and today I’m here to talk to you about the Bugera Vintage series of Amplifiers. Bugera has made it their mission to get classic great sounding tube amplifiers to the world, at a very affordable price. Within the Vintage line of Amplifiers are the V-5, the V-22, and the V-55 combo and head.

The Bugera V-5

The Bugera V-5

First up on the chopping block is the V-5, an amplifier that is close to my heart, as it has been my “secret weapon” so to speak in the studio for a while now. The V-5 is a simple Class A, 5 watt amp driven by one EL84 and one 12AX7. This amp might not be as feature laden as some little practice amps, but what it lacks in technology, it makes up for in amazing tone. Right out of the box, the V-5 is certainly a handsome little devil, and so are the rest in its family, with their two tone cream and black coverings. Mic’d up this little amp is down right amazing, at low gain settings it adds that tube “girth” that even high end solid state amps seem to lack, giving your playing a very warm character, with added harmonics thanks to its hyper simple design.

Running straight into the amp, the guitar has a character all its own, and sure enough, swapping out guitars changes the sound entirely, even when they are very similar guitars. This is in part due to the Class A design, which while I wont go into explaining its benefits, it’s worth reading into. The long and short of it is, Class A amplifiers sound fantastic, even though they are only low power amplifiers. The V-5 also accepts pedals rather well, although you will notice a loss of signal clarity the longer the chain is, and similarly the longer your cable is. The V-5 produces big classic rock tones when you crank the gain and volume up, which are halfway between later Led Zeppelin and early Van Halen. You can hear the Amp distort and feel it pulse and sag with your playing, as well the V-5 is equipped with a power attenuator so you can drop it from 5 watts to 1, to 0.1 watts, meaning you can have awesome tone at any volume. For its ability to be a beast in most studio situations, and for being one awesome practice amp the V-5 scores a nice 9 out of 10.

The Bugera V-22 Combo Amp

The Bugera V-22 Combo Amp

The V-22 is a slightly different beast to its little brother the V-5, in that it is a A/B style amplifier and has a much more versatile and “live friendly” feature set.  The V-22 is a straight forward 22 Watt amp that features two channels, clean and dirty, and two inputs bright and normal much like most vintage amplifiers. The amp has a very different character to the V-5 when it comes to tone, with a much brighter, sweeter sounds with a very, lets say Californian feeling clean section, and a rather British feeling dirty channel.

The clean channel still has that nice girth thanks to the tubes warming them up, although it doesn’t have the guitar to guitar sensitivity of the smaller V-5 it still has a slightly different character from guitar to guitar. The dirt channel has a nice very Queen sounding tone, and thanks to the included mid boost switch, you can even get a very good AC/DC tone out of it. The bass, mid and treble controls are very sensitive and moving them a little does result in some rather dramatic changes, which is good for people who get frustrated with never having enough Bass in their guitar tone. For bedroom practicing there is a Pentode Triode switch on the amp to drop its power threshold to take it to a much friendlier volume, which is great for recording as well. The V-22 also includes a footswitch to switch between the two fantastic channels, and for its ability to have some rather classic tones in an amazingly affordable package the V-22 gets a well deserved 9 out of 10.

The Bugera V-55 Head

The Bugera V-55 Head

Last in the line up are the V-55 head and combo. The V-55 is the most powerful in the line up, with all of the features of the V-22 but far more output and much more headroom in the clean section. The clean tone is still nice and fat, although it does lack some of the tube character of the smaller, lower watt amplifiers, although this is to be expected. The clean channel has a very rock vibe to it, and it is a tad dark, which felt great for jazz and for some rockabilly style country tinged licks. The Dirty channel has a much more distinct sound then the V-22, and a much higher level of gain on tap, which makes this perfect for everything from blues to modern metal.

The Bugera V-55 Combo Amplifier

The Bugera V-55 Combo Amplifier

The tone still has a very classic rock vibe to it, with plenty of over the top saturation and jangly overdriven chords. Out of all of the amplifiers in this review, the V-55 makes you feel like your playing on a real vintage amp the most, with its beefy clean channel, and its super Californian vibe, and its drive channel for all of its British bark and bite. For the price the V-55 has the most complex and convincing vintage amp vibe to it, and this fact snakes it a deserved 10 out of 10.
 

The Bugera Vintage line of amplifiers are amazing rock machines, they feature tones and looks that feel like they were yanked out of the late 60s. They have all of the bark and bite of those classic amps from way back in the day, but at prices that the working guitarist can afford, and you can get them right now at Worldmusicsupply.com!

World Music Supply | Pawnshop Amplifiers

Hi everyone, it’s Brian here with World Music Supply, and today I want to talk to you guys about some cool new amps that are part of Fenders Pawnshop line of equipment. The Pawnshop line up until now has been filled with quirky Fender guitars built to feel old, but made with a modern sensibility, and these amplifiers are no exception. Thus far, the Pawnshop line of amps has only two models, the Excelsior and the Greta. Let’s start first with the Greta.

The Fender Greta

The Fender Greta

The Greta is designed to function and feel like an old tube desk radio, which is what many guitarists of yesteryear had to deal with before they could buy a “real” amplifier, and as such, the tones generated from this small 2 Watt amplifier is similar to what you tend to hear on many old Classic rock hits from that same era. The Greta does look really cool though, with its speedometer style volume meter, its gold fabric covered speaker, and its bright red vintage table top radio style cabinet.

Sitting down with the Greta and putting it through its paces it’s quickly apparent that the controls to this amp are as simple as simple can get. You have a volume, a tone knob, and a speaker, past that you can plug the amplifier into the front end of another amplifier to use as a pre-amp, or run it into a cabinet to use the Greta as a head. While this makes the guitar a little more versatile, at the end of the day you get a few really amazing tones, and a cool little red amp. I tested the Greta through all of its respective speaker outputs, by itself, through a Randall RT412CX, and as a Preamp for a Fender Frontman.

By itself the Greta is a cool little table radio, and its speaking voice reflects this. Through its 4” speaker, at lower volumes, you get a clean-ish tone which has that classic sparkle that fender is known for, and as you ramp up the volume you get a very C.C.R style “swampy” overdrive. You really need some low output pickups to get a “true” clean tone from the Greta, but as long as the volume is low, you still get a nice, warm clean sound, with the slightest hint of growl behind it. However through its internal speaker, my favorite part was running my MP3 player through the Greta, as the tubes warmed everything up, and really made the music so much more, well…musical.

using the Greta as an amp head into a Randall RT412CX I was impressed by two things, that an amp like this can actually run a 4 x 12 cabinet, and second by the tonal difference between its internal speaker, and when running as a head. By itself, the Greta has a very “swampy” character, with a growl that I really can only link to the tones made famous by the likes of John Fogerty, but when you run it through a cabinet, it suddenly has a very AC/DC style sound, with far more punch and range than it does by itself. This is all to be expected, but the grand difference in good, usable tones was not, and I was frankly impressed. At low settings you get a nice big clean sound, with the slightest impression of the overdriven character of the amp in the background, and as you crank the amp the 5 o’ clock or so, you start to get some real Angus Young style bark. Taking it all the way to ten results in some big, heavily saturated distortion at a semi-low volume, which for those of us who record in our homes, rather than million dollar studios, good tones at low volumes is a definite plus.

The Greta can also be used as a Pre-amp, and for my test, I ran the Greta as a pre-amp into a Fender Frontman 2 x 12, which is a brighter sounding amplifier to begin with, I picked this amp as I have always loved its Fender tone, but I’ve never been a fan of the solid state tone. The Greta did a few things for the Frontman, first of which was warm everything up, this was nice as I could set the Greta on its lowest possible setting, just to add some tube warmth and let the Frontman handle all of the volume duty. This setup proved to be very useable, and did a good job of “faking” a big tube amp, which is something that I’ve always liked, having the tone and analog warmth of Tubes, and the reliability and road worthiness of a solid state amp. This combo really was a match made in heaven.

The Greta is a great addition to the Fender line of amplifiers, and a fantastic addition to the pawnshop line of equipment. For its ability to perfectly emulate the tones of yesteryear, the Greta gets a 9 out of 10, as even though its tones and looks are perfect, it certainly isn’t a high gain, heavy metal amplifier, and it therefore won’t suit the tastes of every guitarists, even though it will perfectly suit most of them.

The Fender Excelsior

The Fender Excelsior

Next up in this review is the Excelsior amplifier, a cool little 13 Watt Combo with a 15” special design speaker, and like the Greta it’s designed to be filled with all the same weird, quirky energy that has made Fenders Pawnshop line of equipment so exciting. Just like the Greta it bears no Fender name badge, just the name Excelsior, and a big E shaped cloth covering on the front to help echo the vintage vibe. the Excelsior only gets weirder and weirder when you come to find its three inputs, for Guitar, Mic, and Accordion…yes, that’s right, Accordion.

Each channel is designed specifically to complement that specific instrument, and by that I mean it is patterned after vintage amplifiers for that purpose. The guitar amplifier features wiring that is patterned after a vintage combo amp, and features everything from country clean tones with big snappy twang, to big roaring blues rock crunch. The Mic channel seems to be patterned after similar amplifiers, but with a bit cleaner mid range, as it seems to have been designed for use with harmonica mics more than vocal microphones. This means that the Mic channel features slightly scooped mids that help give the mic channel an extra little grind when it’s overdriven. I even went as far as to get an A/B box and toggle between these two channels to help figure out the difference, and it really is just a slightly scooped out midrange, which allows the amp to sound more “full range” than normal.

The accordion amp seemed to take a lot more to distort than the other channels, and had a much brighter sound to it than the other channels, which was nice when you consider that this amp is only 13 Watts and will spend most of its life at least slightly distorted. The last neat little feature about the Excelsior is the Tremolo feature, which is very, very musical. It adds a nice soft oscillation to your tone, and its speed knob never allows it to get too intense to where it’s a buzz saw, or a stutter, just a soft musical warble. Overall I loved the Excelsior, and if I had the extra cash lying around I would have snatched one up in a heart beat. For its ability to have so many sounds in one little box, and for its retro cold-war styling, the Excelsior lands a respectable 9 out of 10, and it doesn’t score that last point for the same reason as its sister, while it is a great classic sounding amp, there just isn’t enough gain on tap for many guitarists wanting a more modern sounding amplifier

So there you have it, some very respectable amps, with a pedigree from one of the most beloved Amp manufacturers on the planet, with a vibe and a tone that is half a century overdue. These amps are sure to be a hit with lovers of low watt amps everywhere, and you can get them and many more Fender amplifiers right now at Worldmusicsupply.com!

World Music Supply | Randall Amplifers

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.

The Randall RT503H

The Randall RT503H

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.

The Randall RT412CX

The Randall RT412CX

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.

The Randall RT503H

The Randall RT503H

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.

The Randall RT412CX

The Randall RT412CX

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.

World Music Supply | Bugera Infinium Technology

 

Within the world of electric guitar, the tube amplifier is the almighty, unchallengeable king of tone. Capable of producing everything from clean sounds that are beautifully articulate while at the same time it can go all the way to the most degenerate overdriven tones that breathe with warm harmonics, string definition and clarity. from the beginning, its been the same, tube amps have ruled the world. Opinions as to exactly what great tone is, have evolved over the years but through it all one thing has remained constant; solid state, no matter how advanced modeling gets, no matter how good computers can replicate the sound, it just can’t compete, and you don’t have to be a tube amp purist to know that solid state will likely never be able to match the warmth, or breadth of tones as the venerable vacuum tube in most audio applications.

 For the past three quarters of a century, tube amps have constantly been a source of headaches to guitarists worldwide, as they are just so frustrating to own and operate. Cost of ownership includes both regular maintenance items like replacing tired old tubes and rebiasing as well as the occasional repair bill, often due to a tube’s lifespan being unexpectedly shortened because they tend to be so very fragile. I mean lets be honest, one good jolt to the chassis while moving an amp before its tubes have had a chance to cool down, is just asking for trouble.  As most of us dedicated guitarists will do anything for our sound, we have typically shrugged these issues off with little drama because we all know that great tube tone is worth almost any amount of extra effort. Swapping out tubes once or twice a year (more often for some of us) and having our amps rebiased seemed a small price to pay. Of course it also gives our friendly neighborhood amp techs a reason to get up in the morning.

Bugera's 1960 Infinium Guitar Head

Bugera’s 1960 Infinium Guitar Head

Rejoice Tube Fans! The days of expensive maintenance issues and annoying and untimely gear failures may be forever behind us. Enter Bugera Amplification with their Infinium Valve Life Multiplier Technology. The good folks at Bugera have been hard at work engineering ways to make our lives as tube amp aficionados both easier and less expensive. How would you like to be able to indulge in all of your favorite tube tones without ever having to worry about failing valves or rebiasing? Now throw in tube life that averages 20 times longer than normal. Sound too good to be true? Well guess what, it’s not.

Years and years of R&D have produced the revolutionary new Infinium technology. Automatic and continual monitoring of each individual power tube gives you ample warning before a tube has the chance to dramatically affect your tone, or worse yet, ruining your performance. This is accomplished via the Valve Life Monitoring indicator on the back panel of the amp. Any upcoming valve failure will trigger a bright red LED next to the corresponding tube.

Infinium Valve Life Monitor

In addition to making sure you get through your bands set without equipment failures, Infinium also continually monitors for optimal tube performance. The system automatically keeps an eye on operating conditions and tweaks for top notch tone. For instance, current levels are monitored and adjusted automatically, all to keep your tubes sounding great,  even if line voltage drops below optimal levels, so no more of that annoying tone “suck” that happens from time to time.

Biasing is also handled automatically with Infinium. Just swap out a tube and the system automatically takes care of it for you. No more trying to do it yourself, risking the lives of you and your amplifier, and definitly no more expensive visits to an amp tech. So you can save those guys for serious problems instead.

Also, how’s this for a neat trick? So your Infinium just informed you that one of your EL34’s is about to go and you only have a 6L6 available on you? No problem. Out with the EL34, in with the 6L6, or 5881, or 6550, heck, just about any tube will do the job! Replace it later with the “correct” tube or enjoy the tone crafting ability of being able to run the amp on which ever odd tube you would like! 

Never again replace an entire set of tubes because your amp suffered a serious jolt right before a show. Never again throw the power switch on your amp and find it dead because it was loaded out at the last gig while the tubes were still too hot.

In fact, most of the issues that used to cause us undue expense and stress have been addressed and promptly, eliminated by Bugera’s Infinium Technology. Since the company’s extensive lineup of amplifiers covers just about every musical style from classic rock to ultra modern metal, there is sure to be at least one model that suits your needs perfectly. Take a long, hard look at Bugera’s complete line of Infinium equipped amps at WorldMusicSupply.com today!

Bugera 1960 & 1990 Classic Guitar Amps Deliver British Tone for Less

Now available from WMS are two very new, very-striking amplifier options from Bugera – the 1960 & 1990 guitar amplifier heads.

Bugera 1960 Classic Guitar Amp Head

Bugera 1990 Classic Guitar Amp Head

Look familiar? Well, they sound familiar, too. Both amps are voiced for that unmistakable, classic British tone and they pretty well nail it – and at under $500 bucks each ($449 street price), that’s certainly not a bad thing!

The Bugera 1960 Classic is a high-wattage (150w), single channel beast with clean headroom up to high-heaven and is perfect for players who derive their dirt from pedals. It’s got a robust, full tone with all the beef, spank and sparkle one might need. Of course, it’ll break up when you push those 4 EL34 tubes, but at 150 watts – it’s gonna be LOUD! (Yeah, you’ll need an attenuator to get those Ramones toanz at bedroom volume).

The second model is the Bugera 1990 Classic– a 120/60w Modern Classic style amplifier with dedicated reverb control for each footswitchable channel and a direct out for those late night, bedroom recording sessions. It provides plenty of crunch on the dirty channel and a nice sparkle on the clean. The high-quality reverb is also a nice touch and allows for everything from a little space to cavernous tones.

Both amps feature FX loops, output compatibility with 4, 8 & 16 watt speaker cabs, merging must-have modern features with classic amplifier design. Check out videos and more info at www.worldmusicsupply.com!