FOR PLAYERS WHO PREFER TO USE rack-mounted gear, Rocktron recently rolled out the Velocity 300 stereo power amp. This one-space unit offers 150 watts per channel (into 4Ω) and can also be run in bridged-mono mode to pump 300 watts into an 8Ω load. The Velocity 300 features a Reactance circuit on each channel that is designed to replicate the output impedance of a tube amplifier. The idea is that by varying the amount of Reactance (which can be done in both stereo and bridgedmono modes) you can more precisely nail the response and feel of a tube amp, while still enjoying the abundant power and reliability afforded by a solid-state power section. Other controls on both channels include Volume and Definition—the latter being a kind of presence control that can make your guitar cut more effectively through a band mix.
The Velocity 300 has dual pairs of 1/4" input and output jacks, a switch on the rear panel for selecting bridged-mono operation (a front panel LED illuminates when this mode is engaged), and short-circuit detection that automatically shuts down the unit if a short occurs in the connections to the speakers. Additionally, there are two small thermostatically controlled fans to keep the internal components cool.
Tested with a Rocktron Gainiac 2 Tube Guitar Preamp ($349 retail/$249 street) and a Mesa/Boogie Recto 4x12 cabinet, the Velocity 300 delivered lots of volume and punch, and its Reactance control proved very effective for dialing in massively chunky tones from a Gibson Les Paul and a PRS SC245. Equally effective is the Definition control, which really brings the sound up and in your face when using gobs of distortion such as the Gainiac 2 churns out. This feature could be a real boon to metal players who want more clarity and detail in their picking attack—particularly when using lowered tunings.
On the other hand, if you are playing cleaner stuff and don’t need any clarity enhancement, it’s good to know that you can bypass the Definition circuit by turning the knob fully counter-clockwise. The Velocity 300 is very quiet in operation, and this is partly due to it being equipped with differential buffers on the inputs, which eliminate any ground loop hum coming from the power section.
Considering its affordability, smart controls, and stereo/mono flexibility, the Velocity 300 is a great choice for just about any rack setup, and especially those where space is tight. Heavily constructed (it weighs over 18 lbs) and well protected for whatever a life of live gigs can throw at it, the Velocity 300 might be just the power amp your rig has been waiting for.
CONTACT Rocktron, (800)388-4447; rocktron.com
PRICE $499 retail/$369 street
CONTROLS (Both channels) Volume, Definition, Reactance
POWER 150 watts per channel; 300 watts bridged mono
EXTRAS Dual input and output jacks. Bridged-mono select switch
WEIGHT 18.3 lbs
KUDOS Compact. Powerful. Useful controls.