You know how some cars—say, a Ferrari or a Lamborghini—look fast just sitting in the parking lot? Well, some amps look like they’re ready to tear your head off before you even plug them in. Case in point is Randall’s RT-50C. With its sinister black and gray color scheme and heavy-duty metal grille, the RT-50C seems poised for a fight. Thanks to its simple, two-channel configuration and perfect watt-to-size ratio, the RT-50C is ready to be taken to the stage to flex its muscles. Plugging in a Gibson SG, I dug into the amp’s Overdrive channel, and with the Gain set to 12 o’clock, I was a little stunned at the huge amount of molten distortion that was on tap. Mommy! Forget “mild grind,” the RT-50C’s Overdrive channel excels at melting faces—period. But even with an enormous amount of preamp distortion, the amp’s string-to-string clarity was actually pretty darn good as chords spoke clearly and musically. The EQ was effective in helping me dial-in my guitar, but it’s definitely not the “sounds good anywhere” variety, so getting my tone just right took a bit of doing. This isn’t a bad thing, however, it just goes to show how powerful the RT- 50C’s EQ is. The Bass control brings in so much tight, bottom-end knock, I thought I’d hooked up a subwoofer, and the Midrange function gave me everything from an evil death metal mid-scoop to a more singing, almost half-cocked-wah honk. Conversely, the Treble control offers a conservatively voiced high end that added the last bit of sizzle I needed for single-coil or humbuckerequipped guitars. Sweet.
Strapping on my Telecaster and moving over to the Clean channel, the RT-50C yielded spanky clean tones with the Gain about halfway up, and after that, a little bit of tasty grind enters the equation. Like the Overdrive channel, the bass response is hulking and tight. In fact, I rarely ran it over halfway up in order to get a bit more slice for funky chord stabs. As you inch up the Gain, you can get into grungier Keith Richards-like rhythm territory—especially with humbuckers—but backing off of your guitar’s volume control does help clean up the tone a bit, though not quite to angelic proportions. The RT-50C’s reverb is a nice touch and does add a bit of ambience around solos, but it’s not really strong enough for washy textures or surf music as it’s somewhat detached from the note. Still, it does add a bit of air, especially to the Clean channel. At the end of the day, the RT-50C wants to kick ass and take names as it excels at delivering heavy, modern rock/metal tones. It’s loud as hell and voiced to withstand the onslaught of an even louder band onstage. It’s portability mixed with its savage tonal attitude and low street price should turn the heads of guitarists looking for maximum tonal wickedness at an affordable price.
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