Where It Shines
Plugged into the Sahana and the Wave cab, I
only had to strum my Gibson SG a few times to
realize I was in the company of a serious amplifier.
Like many point-to-point amps, it’s very
revealing of your technique. Regardless of your
skill level, though, the Sahana will inspire you
to be a better player and squeeze everything
you can out of each note. The output of the
Sahana’s preamp tubes is carefully crafted, as
the overdrive tones are delicately compressed
and in no way erratic. This is a sign of a truly
great amp that doesn’t rely on power tubes to
tame a flaky preamp section. The preamp also
has a great level of dynamic range and touch
sensitivity. With the gain at 11 o’clock, soft
fingerpicking takes on a warm, bell-like chime.
The clean tone is robust, with great definition
and clarity. The harder you play, the more the
preamp gradually breaks up. Working my guitar’s
volume knob, I was able to continue to the
point of full-on distortion, and I still had gain to
spare. Even at full gain, I was able to back off
my guitar’s volume and play softly to get gentle,
musical overdrive. The Sahana’s response to input level is gradual, making it easy to dial in
the right amount of gain on the fly.
So how much gain are we talking about? To
find out, I dimed Gain 2, scooped the mids,
switched on the neck pickup, and started
chugging away on a heavy rock sound. Metal
and shred tones are not within the scope of
this amp. That’s not to say you can’t produce
jamming, palm-muted thrusts, but they’re just
not voiced for metal. In this scooped setting, I
was able to get a clear picture of the Sahana’s
complex and pleasing upper-harmonic register.
As my fingers gravitated to Tool riffs, the
amp delivered punchy, hard-rock tones. The
Sahana has the ability to crank out a ridiculous
amount of treble if you need it. If not, attenuating
the highs via EQ sounds natural, when
used in moderation. Idling at full gain, I experienced
slightly more noise than I would have
expected. However, distorted tones transition
gradually to musical feedback without being
overcome by screeching noise.
The Sahana responded gorgeously to my
SG’s bridge humbucker. After bringing up
the Middle knob, backing off the others, and
setting Gain 2 at two o’clock, I was able to
channel pure British EL34 tone. If the low-watt,
high-gain Marshall JCM/JTM sound is what
you’re looking for, this amp will blow you away.
Rockers who lean toward this midrange sound
are really going to dig the Sahana for its ability
to cut through a loud mix. I usually prefer
a slightly scooped sound, but the Sahana’s
boosted mids are easily my favorites.
The Final Mojo
The Sahana executes that slicing, midrange
rock-and-roll sound of Malcolm Young as well
as any amp I’ve played, and it does so while
preserving your picking dynamics. Playing an
amp of this caliber gives you a new perspective
on both your tone and technique, because
each note in a chord is present and powerful.
Further, the Wave cab has a bass response that’s
as focused as any guitar cabinet I’ve played
through. Jazz players, seven-string rockers, and
baritone guitarists will really enjoy this cabinet’s
extended bass and tight low end. Soloists especially
will appreciate the immediate thump that
accompanies each pick strike.
you need a powerful EL34-flavored amp with a wide range
of tones and tons of thump.
you need an amp capable of metal
|Sahana Head Street $1899 Wave 2x12 Cab Street $685 - Port City - portcityamps.com