ONE OF THE MOST POWERFUL GUITAR AMPS WE’VE EVER TESTED, THE V2 ARCHETYPE IS A HYBRID
design that couples a solid-state or tube preamp (the latter is activated in Tube Overdrive mode
only) to a MOSFET output section (with a tube driver stage) that can pump a blistering 480 watts
2Ω or 400 watts into 4Ω. The V2’s three channels are selected via front-panel switches or with
included 5-button footcontroller that plugs into the MIDI In jack on the rear panel. Channel
and activation of the effects loop and graphic EQ can also be controlled by external MIDI
Designed to deliver a broad range of clean to furiously overdriven tones, the V2 does so without
duplication of knobs and switches you find on some multi-channel heads. The Clean and S.S.
Overdrive channels share a set of tone controls, and there is a volume boost function when you
pull the Treble pot, which only works in S.S. mode. The Tube Overdrive channel has its own EQ
along with Attack and Bright switches. Completing the knob count are global Master, Density, and
Presence controls, as well as a 6-band graphic EQ that can be assigned to any of the
Appearance-wise, the Archetype looks cool with its metal faceplate, blue indicator lights,
metal grille. Tech geeks will appreciate the giant power transformer and the large heat sink in
of the chassis, which has a fan atop it to pull cooling air though the silicon transistors.
handles on the 49 lb head make it easy to carry.
The V2 is all about gain and headroom. The fun begins with the S.S. Overdrive channel, where
find the distortion coming on strong with the Gain up about halfway. This is where you get your
crunch tones, which can sound positively sinister when you click on the graphic EQ with the
set in “V” formation with a scoop in the middle frequencies and boosted highs and lows. The
factor of these tones is ridiculous, especially when you crank the Level and Master controls to
or higher and start feeling the sheer horsepower that lies under the V2’s hood. Drop down to D
and the rumble shakes your insides. Switching into Tube Overdrive mode brings the V2’s highest
preamp on line. Its dynamic sensitivity and great blend of tightness and tube compression allows
to dial in scathing lead tones with as much sustain as you want. The Attack switch tailors the
for a looser or tighter feel to best accommodate your picking style, and the Bright switch adds
edge that allows solos to slice through a mix. The V2 Archetype isn’t the most flexible amp
its clean sounds are sterile, and it’s also very noisy when you really crank up the gain and
Randall knows a thing or two about metal amps, and, if that’s your sound, you’ll definitely want
to give this monster a try. —Art Thompson
MODEL V2 Archetype
PRICE $1,649 retail/
CONTROLS (Clean channel) Gain,
Level, Bass, Middle,
Treble (pull boost),
channel) Gain, Level,
Bass, Middle, Treble
(pull boost), Presence.
Bass, Middle, Level,
switch. Global Master,
6-band graphic EQ
POWER 400 watts
TUBES Four JJ 12AX7s,
EXTRAS Fan cooling, effects
loop w/ series/parallel
switch and send
and return level controls,
slave out with
level control, XLR
direct out, dual
speaker jacks (can
4Ω, and 8Ωloads),
MIDI In and Thru
4x12 w/Mic Eliminator
D.I. outs; $879
WEIGHT 33.8 lbs (head)
MAXIMUM MEASURED VOLUME
KUDOS Furious distortion.
response. A beast in
the power department.
CONCERNS Noisy at high gain
and volume settings.
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