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Sovtek Mig 100H
Overall Rating
Submitted: February 22nd, 2007
by I suppose I should get up and go for a
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Sound Quality
In a word, great. The best sounding, most consistent and reliable amp I've ever owned. I play rock'n'roll. The low input is round, fat & warm like an old Superbass I used to have, but better. Sounds incredible with single coil or P-90 guitars and a good OD pedal. The high gain input is the one that gets it compared to the JCM 800 but it's slightly darker & less brittle, which I attribute to the 6L6/5881s. Packs more bass too. The high input is especially suited to humbuckers or P-90s & will start growling with the volume at 10 o'clock. Probably sooner if you use hot pickups. As others have said, this amp is LOUD. I don't think I've ever had the Master past 10 o'clock & that's enough to intimidate the Peavy Triple X kids in the Avril Lavigne baggypants & drive stressed-out soundmen to tears. Turning the regular volume past 1 o'clock just increases the distortion which becomes increasingly preamp-y & buzzy but still cool in it's way. I usually keep it no higher than 10-11 o'clock on the high gain input & use a Boss OD-1 or OD-3 as a boost. It's very pedal friendly too. I've used this amp through an old Marshall 2x12 w/ Vintage 30s & currently through a Matamp 4x12 w/ G12-65s. Hard to get a bad sound & there's not many amps at any price of which that can be said. It's all in here: classic rock, blues, punk, metal, wank-rock, hardcore, grunge, indie, surf, noise even country or rockabilly. It's just up to you to pull it out of it. I have Svetlana 6L6GCs in there at the moment and they're a great match for this amp (w/out biasing!).
Reliability/Durability
Mine has metal switches, but the input jacks and two of the three speaker-out jacks are plastic. I think my friend who owned it before me changed the 16 ohm jack to a metal one. The 8 ohm one is loose but still works. My mate says this is due to the amp taking a dive to the floor during a rowdier than usual gig with the godawful noisecore band he used to play in. Otherwise, not a single scratch on her. I take my hat off.
Price/Value
General Comments
I first played through a Sovtek in '98 when the crusty-punk band that my band at the time was sharing a bill with had already set up & let us use their backline for convenience's sake. I saw this strange Russian-made amp (my memory's hazy, but I believe it was a non-H Mig 100) with plastic switches & jacks & cyrillic writing on the front panel and wondered what the hell I was getting into. We weren't mic'ed so I reckoned I'd just crank it & hope for the best. To my amazement, the best was exactly what I got! Later that same year we toured with another band whose guitar player used a regular Mig100 next to which the borrowed JCM900 I was using sounded anaemic. I stopped playing for a few years & forgot all about them until my friend offered to sell me his Mig100H & I jumped at it. They're so often dismissed as a Marshall clone, but they have their own thing going on too. For all their "limited" features they're a lot more versatile than people give them credit for. I've played on features-laden modern amps & you're lucky if you can get one useable sound out of them (notice I said "useable", not necessarily "good"). I've used or owned numerous Marshalls of various vintages & even the best ones have been erratic & unreliable. My Migs have ALWAYS delivered. If either were lost or stolen I'd replace ASAP. They can still be had for reasonable wedge, though they are going up. The only thing I've seen on today's market with the same 'no-frills' approach would be the Soldano Avenger/Hotrod series, but they'll cost you 3 to 4 times as much, as will a JCM 800 in any condition. So a used Mig is still a good deal as far as I'm concerned. I also have a Mig50 (which is a very different animal) & I'd quite like to get a Mig60 someday (before they crack the 1K barrier).
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