Like its larger siblings, this single-channel 10-watt 1x8 combo200
practice amp combines a hybrid high-voltage FET/12AX7 tube
preamp with a constant-current solid-state power amplifier designed
to emulate all-tube performance. The controls are simple and
straightforward: Volume, Gain, Treble, Middle, and Bass, along
with a Drive switch that significantly increases the gain. There are
also two 1/8" jacks for connecting an audio playback device such
as an mp3 or CD player, and for listening with headphones rather
than the speaker. The power cable receptacle and external speaker
jack are located on the underside of the amp chassis, facing down.
Although billed as a practice amp, this little titan gets surprisingly
loud on both clean and distorted settings, and could easily
hold its own in a moderately loud rehearsal or even performance
setting. The three tone controls sweep a somewhat limited but
tasteful range, and in combination with the Volume and Gain controls
allow you to dial in sounds ranging from solid-state clarity
to varying degrees of crunchiness—and engaging the Drive switch
with the Gain control up past halfway pushes the amp into deeply
saturated distortion. The AG10’s weakest component is definitely
its diminutive speaker, which can get somewhat harsh and boxy
sounding as soon as the amp is turned up very far, though it is
still more than adequate for practicing. Connect the AG10 to a
cabinet containing a larger speaker via the External Loudspeaker
output, however, and the sound improves dramatically. For example,
when connected to a Rivera 1x12 cab loaded with a Celestion
G12H, the sound smoothed out considerably, and I was able to get
almost Polytone-like clean jazz tones, toothier and better-defined
crunch tones, and fat, singing distorted tones. With the Gain control
cranked and the Drive switch engaged, I was even able to elicit
quasi-metal rhythm chunk-a-chunks and searing solo sounds. The
only bugaboo was that it had a distinct “paint” smell when first
removed from its box, and it took a while for it to fully dissipate.
Moral: The AG10 makes a perfectly fine practice amp as is—
and it doubles as an inexpensive, relatively versatile, and loud amp
head when needed.
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