Starting with the clean, or “Kleen,” channel. I was able to get a very pleasing high-headroom clean tone. Although there are only treble and bass tone controls, the EQ seems to be adequate for coaxing sparkling British-type clean. The tone is a bit similar to a Vox AC 50 head that I own. It’s full and warm sounding.
However, the overdrive channel is really what his amp is about, which you’d expect from a name like Krank. The Krank channel does not disappoint. It absolutely bristles with gain punch and harmonic overtones. The tone is, in fact, very reminiscent of the older modified amps I have played. The controls are wide ranging. Players who scoop the mids a bit will love the tightness this amp provides when scooped, while players who like the mids will find the midrange right where they want it to be. Krank seems to have found the magic frequency for the voicing of their Midrange control to please pretty much everyone.
Low end is big and tight, even at the highest gain settings and with the hottest humbuckers. Pick harmonics will cut through and go into feedback sustain easily. I was impressed with the overall sustain of this amp, as well—notes seemed to sustain endlessly. The one control I was a bit leery of was Sweep. More often than not, controls like these are a cheesy, quasi-parametric filter that sounds like a wah circuit. This was not the case with the Nineteen80. The sweep control did sweep the frequency range, as the name implies, but without sacrificing the low end or making the scratchy tone often associated with these types of controls. It was very useful in fine-tuning the tone for whatever application needed. It ended up being a very well-designed, useable feature.
While tons of gain is not a problem, I should note that this amp is not just for high gain styles. I was able to get some very good bluesy tones by reducing the gain. The amp also cleaned up very well when I reduced the guitar’s volume, allowing control of gain from your guitar. The lead (Krank) channel worked equally well with single-coil or humbucker guitars, and I was able to achieve a wide range of gain and tonal colors.
The Krank Nineteen80 is a well-constructed head that should last for years. It lives up to its reputation of capturing vibe of great modified amps of the eighties, while features like the effects loop and Sweep control put this amp ahead of many of its competitors. The conservative rating of 80 watts makes it perfect for any size venue, and it is versatile enough for classic tones as well as more modern heavier tones.
This one does all that you would expect from a modified British amp head and more.
you are looking for one amp for many types of British tones at a reasonable price.
you are still buying because of brand names.