Randall T2

A streamlined alternative to the knob-crazy V2 head, the T2 ($1,299 retail/$1,039 street) uses a tube preamp coupled to a solid-state output stage to provide three footswitchable modes and 300 watts of power. The T2’s Clean and Lead channels share a common EQ section that consists of Bass, Treble, Density, and Presence controls, along with a quasi-parametric Midrange filter with Level and Sweep knobs. Combined, these controls provide a lot of tone-shaping power for crafting the metalloid textures for which the T2 is primarily intended.
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MIDI In and Thru jacks make the amp well suited for complex stage rigs, and the amp has the ability to store series and parallel effects-loop settings for instant recall when you switch channels. The included 3-button footswitch connects via MIDI cable to the In jack on the rear panel, and the T2’s channels can also be selected via external MIDI command. The rugged, well-made amp offers such attributes as forced-air cooling on the large heat sink, well-protected controls, and stout, top-mounted inset handles. The front grille removes easily enough for access to the tubes—although, the clips that secure it to the cabinet aren’t permanently attached to the grille, and can fall off once you remove the four securing screws.

Connected to a Randall R412XLTX 4x12 cabinet ($1,099 retail/$839 street; which sports two Celestion Vintage 30s and two Celestion G12-75s), the T2 demonstrated impressive headroom on the Clean channel. In fact, you can floor the Gain control, and get only a hint of grind. The T2 is quite loud when you crank up the Level knob in this configuration. The Lead channel, however, has even greater volume and overdrive potential. A punch of the middle footswitch button—and some wicking of the Gain knob—brings on a big rush of overdrive. This channel is more classic sounding in the sense that you can’t get much of a scooped-mids thing going, although the Density and Presence controls can be used to cultivate some serious low-end thrust.

Getting fully into the death-metal zone requires pressing the rightmost footswitch button, which revoices the channel, and pours on even more gain. It’s here that the Midrange controls provide the deepest notching—and hence, the most scooped tones—and by manipulating the other tone knobs, you can effectively summon the demonic lows and frenzied top-end textures that modern metal styles demand. Designed to appeal to high-gain players, the T2 has plenty of brute-force attack. Fans of traditional solid-state Randall tones will appreciate its tightness, and will benefit from the added sustain provided by the T2's all-tube preamp and Valve-Dynamic power section. Engineered to bridge the gap between solid-state and pure tube amplifiers, the T2 may not have the color and warmth you desire for old-school hard rock and metal, but on the flip side, its rather neutral voicing

may be a good thing if your tone is highly dependent on outboard effects.