Tube amps in the 15-watt range have
become increasingly popular due to their
small size, modest weight, and ability to
deliver enough volume for live gigs. The
GVT15H delivers on all fronts, although
at 26 pounds, it is more than double the
weight of a Mesa/Boogie TA-15. The
GVT15H steps things up with a dual-6V6
output stage, spring reverb, and a 3-band
EQ. Here, too, the Baxandall circuit’s isolated
response between the controls can be
a little confusing at first for those used to
more interactive tone stacks. The Ampeg’s
tone controls are indeed passive, but they
feel active enough that once I found settings
that worked for a particular guitar,
I tended to want to leave the controls set
where they were.
The GVT15H has a lot more gain and
headroom than the GVT5, and the addition
of a Middle control makes it a lot easier to
get good overdriven sounds. In fact, once
you get everything set, this amp’s raw, slicing
distortion is a blast to play—especially in
the half-power mode, where you can more
easily push the output stage into distortion.
This model delivers the feeling of playing
an old-school amp—single-note lines jump
out with a fat, mean response and chords
kerrang with a Hiwatt–like authority. Turn
down your guitar and the tones clean up
well for rhythm playing. And here’s where
the reverb also shines with its airiness and
smooth decay characteristics.
The GVT15H’s spirited tones and excellent
touch sensitivity make it an ideal rock
amp for smaller venues, and a good candidate
for blues, country, and anything else
that calls for a lower-powered amp that can
kick out tough tube tone.
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