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Ampeg GVT5-110, GVT15H, and GVT52-112

February 14, 2012
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The recent introduction of guitar amplifiers from Ampeg signals the company’s desire to expand on its solid reputation in bass gear, and give guitarists amplification options that are different that anything else on the market. Ampeg certainly had its share of guitar glory back when the Rolling Stones and many other groups roamed the world with an Ampeg backline, but instead of recreating storied models such as the V4, VT-22, and Reverberocket, Ampeg has instead launched an all new line—one that borrows from the past cosmetically, as well as in its implementation of a Baxandall EQ circuit. The main difference here is that Baxandall-style tone controls function more independently on their relative frequency bands and don’t “interact” in the same manner that tone controls do on Fender, Marshall, Mesa/Boogie, and the vast majority of other amps.

The Baxandall factor is an important aspect of the Ampeg GVT5-110, GVT15H, and GVT52-112 models—it’s a big part of why they have such a signature sound.. In other regards, however, these amps follow a more conventional path in their use of 12AX7s in the preamp section, 6V6 or 6L6 output tubes, and solid-state rectification. Other details common to the new series include plywood cabinets, Celestion speakers, half-power/standby switches, and rugged PCB circuit layouts that use board-mounted pots, jacks, and tube sockets.

The Ampeg GVT112EW speaker cabinet that we also tested with these amps is a unique closed-back type that features Ampeg’s classic Portaflex double-baffle design. We ran the GVTs though a GVT112E 1x12 cab ($249 street), the slightly smaller, non-Portaflex version, as well as a Bag End S12B ported 1x12 cabinet, which is another very efficient closed-back design. Our test guitars included a G&L Korina ASAT Classic, a Gibson ’59 reissue Les Paul, and a PRS SC-58. Lastly, a Dunlop Joe Bonamassa Signature Fuzz Face was also plugged in occasionally to sample how the amps sounded with pedal-generated distortion.

Specifications

CONTACT Ampeg, (866) 858-5832; ampeg.com

GVT5-110

PRICE $559 retail/$399 street

CHANNELS One

CONTROLS Volume, Treble, Bass

TUBES One 12AX7 preamp tube, one 6V6GT power tube, solid-state rectification

POWER 5 watts, class A

EXTRAS 1x16Ω, 2x4Ω, and 2x8Ω speaker outs. Half-power switch

SPEAKER Custom designed Celestion Tube 10

WEIGHT 26.4 lbs

BUILT South Korea

KUDOS Quality construction. Classic look. Good tonal range.

CONCERNS None

GVT15H

PRICE $699 retail/$499 street

CHANNELS One

CONTROLS Gain, Treble, Middle, Bass, Volume, Reverb

TUBES Two 12AX7 preamp tubes, two 6V6GT power tubes, solid-state rectification

POWER 15 watts, class A

EXTRAS 1x16Ω, 2x4Ω, and 2x8Ω speaker outs. Half-power switch. Footswitchable true-bypass effects loop. Spring reverb.

SPEAKER N/A

WEIGHT 26 lbs

BUILT South Korea

KUDOS Quality construction. Classic look. Tough sounding and dynamic.

CONCERNS Footswitch for reverb and effects loop not included.

GVT52-112

PRICE $1,049 retail/$749 street

CHANNELS Two

CONTROLS Gain, Treble, Middle, Bass, Volume (Channel 1). Gain, Treble, Middle, Bass, Volume (Channel 2). Reverb, Master

TUBES Three 12AX7 preamp tubes, two 6L6GT output tubes, solid-state rectification

POWER 50 watts, class AB

EXTRAS 1x16Ω, 2x4Ω, and 2x8Ω speaker outs. Half-power switch. Footswitchable channel select and gain/ level boost. Footswitchable true-bypass effects loop. Spring reverb.

SPEAKER 12" Celestion Seventy/80

WEIGHT 52.2 lbs

BUILT South Korea

KUDOS Quality construction. Great clean-to-mean range on the clean channel. Tons of sustain on Channel 2.

CONCERNS Footswitch for reverb and effects loop not included.

More from this Roundup:

GVT5-110
GVT15H
GVT52-112
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