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EVH 5150 III 50 Watt Head

 
The EVH 5150 III Mini 50W guitar amp head is a brute - don't let its small size fool you: this amp barks with the big dogs. With seven 12AX7s in its wheelhouse and two 6L6s in the engine room, the 5150 III Mini punches above its weight with arena-filling volume and and copious tonal attitude. You get three channels, along with comprehensive tone-sculpting control....


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More than a Signature featured

Sound Back in the day I had an original 5150 and would consider it my favorite amp of all time for 1 main reason...Crunch. Love things about Mesa's and Marshalls too, but for me the 5150 tone and distortion is perfect. So right now I am currently using an Blackstar HT5 for studio and a Mesa Rectoverb for bigger needs. I love both but the HT5 did not cover all of my gain needs without a pedal. I love the dirt channel but for higher gain metal i would use either a clean boost or a metal pedal on the clean channel. I also used the clean boost for solos. I have been looking for a head in the $500 - 600 range to replace the HT5 with more gain and 3 channels. After reading reviews on this head, I made a little extra money and decided to see what Sweetwater could do, They gave me a great deal and I decided I need to try the 5150III out. Buy the way, Sweetwater is a amazing, Thanks Greg!

One thing I never liked to much about the 5150 (all revs) is that they were just too loud all the time (both in volume and noise), the volume knob was touchy. The 5150III is quiet, sounds great at ultra low volumes and is easy to adjust at low volume. Even in a small room you can dial a ton of gain, have the master near 1/4 and enjoy the tone without hearing damage. So far I am impressed, controls are simple, resonance and presence adjustment mean a huge range of flexibility, 3 channels from clean to serious metal gain and beyond.

Right now using the 1x12 alone I have the resonance fairly high 3/4, presence about 7/10, and the remaining controls near 1/2. Why use fractions? Well that is how it is marked on the faceplate. I have the gain on the green/blue channel (shared control) at about 6/10, and the red channel gain at about 4/10. The green channel gets Clean to a bit of hair depending on guitar volume, Pure EVH type crunch on channel 2 and easy metal or lead boost on the red channel. It is just about perfect. There are many other sounds available just a twist of a knob away.

Some have talked about volume jump on the green/blue channel but I haven't really noticed it using the gain level I have it set. Using higher gain Dimarzio pickups I get some distortion, a bit less than say AC/DC, but using the guitars volume control and changing picking dynamics creates a wide range of options including clean Paradise intro territory. But I can also take that same channel and settings and get the nice bluesy solo tone like the first solo in Welcome to the Jungle. Want pristine clean, lower the gain, increase the volume and fender cleans with plenty of headroom. So far I have notice no high gain noise on the red channel and haven't even considered a gate. I have had the gain up to about 1/2 and everything remains clear and articulate. It accomplishes heavy metal without blinking, Randy Rhoads, Mick Mars, CC Deville are all in there. Sound to me like Metallica and modern metal are easily attainable too.

I really like it at many different volumes, eq settings, and gain levels. It is very clear and articulate and inspires playing different type of music styles. It is hard to dial in a bad sound. I can get some great AFD tones out of this thing too. It may be somewhat of a signature amp but it does so much more than just that signature sound. But, what a signature sound! The blue channel and its signature sound alone is worth the price of admission.


Reliability First the amp is made in Mexico and the cab is made in Vietnam. They are both perfect with no flaws visually. The materials and build quality appear to be excellent. Fenders builds a lot of stuff in Mexico and has been for a long time, your not really losing any quality there. It looks to be as weel made as my Mesa and has the same 5 year warranty. I expect this unit to stand up well to the road.


Customer Support I haven't needed to use the support for this but have called about an EVH guitar (that I purchased and return because it just didn't quite feel as good as my Ibanez) and they were more than helpful and the product was the highest quality. Again, it is Fender.


Liked about it Versatility, low volume usability, quality, tttttttoooooooonnnnnnnnneeeeeee. Crunch it up baby, turn it up, turn it down, play blues, play classic rock, play hair metal, and never even come close to running out of gain. The amp also looks amazing in Ivory!


Didn't like While I completely feel the price is worth it, at about $1400 for the head and matching 1x12 it is a little high to compete with true micro amps, but this isn't a micro or mini amp. It is basically a full size amp in a smaller package. Comapred to the mini recto, or Transatlantic, Hughes & Kettner Tubemiester, or Carvin V3M, price is on the higher end of the spectrum but I feel it has the better complete tone, as much or more versatility, and more useable feature then the others. and Oh did I mention it has a look, preamp out, and Midi!


Overall satisfaction:
 
5.0

By fly_with_v
Sep 12, 2012
 
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