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Test Drive: Quilter Micropro 200

June 19, 2012
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As the “Q” in QSC, Pat Quilter knows how to manufacture crushing volume from a solid-state circuit. The unbelievably compact Micropro 200 amplifier is a culmination of Quilter’s extensive research and success building portable sound systems. The secret here is class-D power, which reduces typical heat losses by 80 percent, allowing designers to pack five times more power into a chassis— or greatly reduce the size of the chassis. And there is no denying that Quilter has made a beast of a tone machine, and it’s lighter—and smaller—than most dudes’ pedalboards!

I tested the Micropro 200 with a variety of Fender Telecasters and Gibson SGs, and I also ran the amp through Mesa-Boogie 4x12 and Fender 2x12 cabinets. First off, the Micropro 200 is VERY LOUD. Having been let down in the past by solid-state amps boasting big wattage numbers, the Quilter restored my faith in solid-state power and what it can muster.

When it comes to figuring out how the Micropro goes about its business, it helps to think of Channel One as the clean channel. The Gain control is inactive, and you can’t use the onboard limiter or tremolo on this channel, either, but you can access the reverb. The amp’s active EQ is shared between the two channels. Channel One brings the clean in a big way, as it stays clean and clear without sounding harsh or clinical. Whether I was looking for tones for funky chord work or burnished jazz lines, Channel One delivered.

Switching over to Channel Two, you’re afforded four modes; Mini, Tweed, Classic, and Full Q—the Micropro’s default tone for Channel Two, as well as Quilter’s signature distortion sound. Mini mode yields a funky, almost lo-fi vibe, while Tweed gives off a bit more muscle in the mids and bass. Classic gets close to legendary British amps of yore—especially when you run the Micropro into a 4x12 cabinet. These modes are well-voiced, very even-sounding approximations—not gimmicky, over-the-top-sounding simulations—which is refreshing. Channel Two’s footswitchable Boost presets—Hot, Loud, Bright, Scoop—are helpful in coaxing more tones out of the Micropro. Loud jacks your volume up and over the band for solos, and Hot will do the same with a bit of added attitude, courtesy of some aggressive gain. The Micropro 200’s front end responds like a tube amp, cleaning up and reacting dynamically to your touch and guitar volume manipulations.

Once I got up and running, I was very satisfied with the Micropro’s honest, loud tones, and its tactile responsiveness. The only difficulty was figuring out the useful operations of the footswitch. For example, you can switch between Channel One and Channel Two, but you can’t switch from, say, Channel One to Channel Two in Classic mode. You can, however toggle between one of Channel Two’s three modes and Full Q mode. Confusing. Still, the Micropro is a boon for players who need to cart around a loud, gig-ready amp in a taxi or bus. Thanks to its tonal versatility and insane portability, the Quilter Micropro 200 is equally at home in a small restaurant, a coffeehouse, or on a large stage.

Specifications

CONTACT Quilter Amplifiers, (714) 519- 6114; quilterlabs.com

MODEL Micropro 200

PRICE $899 retail/street price N/A

CHANNELS Two

CONTROLS Gain, Bass, Mid, Treble, Presence, Volume 1, Volume 2, Tremolo, Limiter, Five-position Boost switch, Five-position Mode switch, Dwell, and Reverb controls

POWER 200 watts at 8Ω

EXTRAS 4Ω/8Ω extension speaker jack, DI output, six-button footswitch (included), switchable effects loop

SPEAKER 8" custom

WEIGHT 18 lbs

BUILT USA

KUDOS Light, loud, versatile, tiny. Good amount of tonal options

CONCERNS Confusing front panel layout. Audible hiss on tremolo effect.

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