DESPITE BEING A RELATIVELY NEWCOMPANY, DIAMOND HAS QUICKLY BUILT A REPUTATION WITH ITS fierce sounding Nitrox and Spec Op models. Diamond continues to refine its products, however, and the new Decada offers an improved clean channel and smoother, more refined distortion tones. The Decada’s overdrive channels share a common set of tone controls, but are configured in a format of 2A and 2B, with the latter being the highest gain. This arrangement makes the Decada very easy to use, as you dial in your distortion sounds with shared the 4-band EQ and then toggle between the lower and higher gain modes that you’ve preset with the 2A and 2B Gain controls. The Decada is also equipped with a boost knob on the front panel, as well as a Low Focus switch on the rear panel with Low, Mid, and High settings. The Decada comes with a heavyduty footswitch that selects channels, toggles between the A and B modes on channel 2, and switches the boost on and off. There are also remote switching jacks for activating the same features via an alternate control system.
The Decada is also perhaps the most versatile Diamond amp to date. The clean channel delivers sweet-sounding tones at every setting of the Gain control, and its voicing accommodates singlecoil or humbuckers with only minor adjustments of the tone controls. And if you want to turn it up high enough to elicit some overdrive, the channel’s dedicated Volume knob keeps the loudness in check. Switching to channel 2A unleashes a flood of bottom-heavy and richly textured distortion as you wick up the Gain control. The sound stays tight and focused no matter how hard you run it, and this quality spills over into channel 2’s B mode, where the amount of distortion is even more impressive. Note articulation when playing at high levels of gain is something the Decada truly excels at, and while passive humbuckers sounded great here, our EMG-loaded Shecter ruled though this channel in terms of razor-sharp precision. It’s worth noting that channel 2’s circuitry is configured so that Gain settings above 5 in both the A and B modes are slightly browner sounding.
Diamond also gives you the option of jumpering the effects loop with a short cable and then using the E. Return to adjust the loudness. The advantage here is that you can run volume settings of 5 or higher—working the tubes harder in the process—without killing the room. And when used by itself with no jumpering, the Boost control can unleash a massive amount of loudness increase to lift a solo or rhythm riff out of a dense stage mix. Bottom line, with its intense gain, superb definition, and humongous low-end response (even with Low Focus switch in the middle setting), the Decada is well armed to take on all challengers. —Art Thompson
PRICE $3,299 street
CONTROLS (Channel 1) Gain, Volume, Treble, Middle, Bass, Presence. (Channels 2A and 2B) Gain A, Volume A, Gain B, Volume B, Treble, Middle, Bass, Presence. E. Return and Boost controls.
POWER 100 watts
TUBES Four Svetlana EL34s, seven ARS 12AX7s
EXTRAS Effects loop, Low Focus control (low, mid, high), dual speaker jacks w/ impedance selector (4Ω, 8Ω, 16Ω), footswitch jacks for the included fourbutton switcher, external switching jacks (channels 1 and 2, channel 2 A/B, boost)
MAXIMUM MEASURED VOLUME 123 dB
WEIGHT 49 lbs (head)
KUDOS Tons of gain. Tight and precise sounding. Great clean channel.
CONCERNS Unaffordable for many players.