amp review

An affordable—and surprisingly light—1x15, 200-watt combo delivers big, vintage Ampeg-style tones with a distinct SVT bent.

SVT boom in a small package. Headphone and aux capabilities on a larger amp. Lightweight. External speaker output increases flexibility.

Limited distortion channel. No tweeter. No DI volume control.

$549

Ampeg Rocket Bass RB-115
ampeg.com

4
3.5
4
4

Even though Ampeg has made amplifiers based on modern, lightweight technology for years, to many of us the brand represents the gold standard of vintage bass tone. When an engineer or artist asks you to provide an Ampeg sound in the studio or on a gig, they usually want the unmistakable low-mid thump of a B-15 or the unparalleled sub-lows and top-end grit of a ’70s era SVT with tubes that have been cooking for a few hours. So, whenever I try any new product from Ampeg, those sound standards are at the fore of my imagination. The 200-watt Rocket Bass RB-115, from Ampeg’s new Rocket line of combos, captures the essence of many of those foundational Ampeg tones in an amp that’s easy on the wallet, easy to use, and even surprisingly easy to carry.

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If you're a diehard devotee of tube-amp filth but want in on IR action, this innovative architecture may be just what you've been waiting for.


Recorded using an Eastwood Sidejack Baritone DLX with Widerange Jazzmaster pickups and a Gibson Les Paul with 57 Classics into an Audient iD44 going into GarageBand with no EQ-ing, compression, or effects.

Clip 1: Eastwood bridge pickup through gain channel in wide voicing (aggression set to red), bypassing the G20's power amp and using virtual-cab preset #1 direct into GarageBand. G20 gain at max, treble, mid, and bass at noon.

Clip 2: Same settings as clip 1, but with G20's power amp in-line.

Clip 3; Les Paul 57 Classic bridge pickup through gain channel in wide voicing (aggression set to red) with gain and bass maxed, treble at 10 o'clock, mid at 2:30, and volume at 2 o'clock, with an Ibanez ES-2 Echo Shifter in effects loop and G20's speaker output routed to a Celestion Ruby-stocked 1x12 miked by a Royer R-121.

Clip 4: Eastwood bridge pickup through gain channel (aggression off), bypassing the G20's power amp, and using virtual-cab preset #1 direct into GarageBand. G20 gain at noon, treble at 1 o'clock, mid at 11 o'clock, bass at noon.

Clip 5: Same settings as clip 3, but with G20's power amp in-line.

Clip 6: Eastwood's middle position, then bridge pickup into gain channel (aggression off, gain at 2 o'clock, treble at 1 o'clock, mid at 8 o'clock, bass and volume at max) with Ibanez ES-2 Echo Shifter in effects loop, through Celestion Ruby-stocked 1x12 miked by a Royer R-121.

Clip 7: Eastwood (middle position) through SoundBrut DrVa (boost side), Ground Control Tsukuyomi mid booster, Ibanez Analog Delay Mini, and Anasounds Element, then into G20's clean channel (treble at 1 o'clock, mid at 11 o'clock, bass at noon), bypassing the G20's power amp and using virtual-cab preset #1 direct into GarageBand. Clean first, then with Jordan Fuzztite pedal engaged.

Clip 8: Eastwood's neck pickup through gain channel (aggression on), bypassing G20's power amp, using “Doom mooD" 2x15 cab IR (based on a JCM800 bass cab) with simulated Audio-Technica MB2k mic 100-percent off axis direct into GarageBand. G20's gain, treble, and bass at max, mid at minimum.

Ratings

Pros:
Almost limitless range of heavy tones via Two Notes IRs and MIDI control capabilities. Works well with pedals.

Cons:
Some may wish for more brutal gain and/ or more clean-tone variety. 4-button footswitch not included.

Street:
$1,299

Revv G20
revvamplification.com



Tones:


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Value:
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Vox resurrects the AC10 as a more modern, but still superbly simple screamer.

Beautiful, bright, and airy Vox tones. Dynamic and varied. Light and compact, but super classy looking.

Digital reverb is thin. Can be unfriendly to fuzz.

$499

Vox AC10 Custom
voxamps.com

4.5
4
4.5
5

The new AC10 Custom is a very different amp than the first Vox to bear that name. That AC10 was one of Vox’s very first amps—a more affordable, stripped down little brother to the AC15 that was then revolutionizing the English amplifier landscape.

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