February 14, 2012

Well equipped for stage use, the GVT52- 112 sports two independent channels, reverb, and a series effects loop that operates on both channels. The 6L6-powered amp also has a boost function that can be activated on either channel. As with the other models in the GVT line, the GVT52-112 has a half-power setting on the 3-way Standby switch. Toggle it up from the center position for 50 watts, and down from center for 25 watts. The indicator light also changes from red to green when the amp is taken off standby.

The channels can be selected via a front-panel switch or with the included two-button footswitch (which also turns the boost on and off). With Channel 1 active, the GVT52-112 responds somewhat like the GVT15H, offering good clean tones at lower gain settings and morphing easily into grind as you wick up the gain. With more wattage on tap, however, the GVT52-112 has greater clean headroom, and is also much louder and punchier. Adding some reverb to the clean channel made the tones sound buoyant and open, while turning up the ’verb with the gain cranked past halfway and the Volume control dimed yielded a cool surf sound with a slicing edge. Using the Fuzz Face on channel 1 further pushed the amp into the kind of heavily saturated tones that ’70s-style rockers would dig.

All the GVT series amps feature rugged PCB construction. Here’s a peek inside the GVT15H.
Designed to cover the span from hard rock to shred, Channel 2 has a wide gain range, lots of sustain, and good dynamic sensitivity. Metal players might be frustrated by the EQ’s inability to dial into the “scooped” zone, though, and I also found it difficult to tame a high-frequency edge that was most noticeable when the Gain knob was cranked to one o’ clock or higher. A presence control to attenuate treble in the power stage would probably be helpful, though rolling the Gain control down to a little below halfway helped to subdue the top-end sizzle while still providing a good amount of sustain. Using the 25-watt setting also allows you to push the amp harder to take advantage of power tube distortion, which enhances the harmonics and compression as the 6L6s start to sweat. And if you still need some extra oomph to lift your lead above the mix, kicking on the boost (which works on both channels) jacks the gain and volume up significantly.

The GVT52-112 offers the most sonic flexibility in the GVT line, and its abundant power makes it well suited for live gigs. If you’re looking for a channel-switching 50-watt combo that puts both classic- and modern-style sounds under your fingertips, you should give the GVT52- 112 a try.

More from this Roundup:

Ampeg GVT5-110, GVT15H, and GVT52-112
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