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65amps London Head
Overall Rating
Submitted: April 8th, 2005
by Dave LaP
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Sound Quality
This is one terific sounding amplifier. The tremelo channel sounds to me, like a great vintage Plexi Marshall with the addition of very nice chimey cleans at lower volumes. As you crank it it blooms into Marshall land very smoothly. At 8-10 on the volume dial it's quite incredible to my ears. The power tube OD is so natural sounding. The bass stays tight, ice pick highs are totally gone but some sparkle remains and a monster midrange beefs up the notes. The sound definitely reminds me of old school 60's early 70's marshall. It reminds me of 38 Special's Hold on Loosely tone but with a bit of bad ass attitude thrown in. If you play it lightly it sounds pretty but when you dig in it gets rude. The Color Channel is a 63 Vox AC 30 circuit and sounds like it. I like this channel better for clean tones but the other guitarist in our band likes the Marshall side. With the cathode booster switch off you get a very vintagey sounding AC-30. When turned up all the way it's not as loud as the Marshall side and doesn't break up as much. I get an excellent low gain strat lead tone similar to Los Lonely Boys Heaven. Whe you engage the cathode boost switch the volume almost doubles and it seems to bring in more presence and high end. It sounds like my old Matchless C-30 except that it breaks up more quickly and sounds way better overdriven. Switch to bridge humbucker and turn the volume up to 8-10 and the lead tone is very fat and creamy with great low end and sparkle in the highs. Great old school overdrive. The headroom on the two channels is different. The Trem or Marshall channel is not quite as loud as the Color channel with cathode boost engaged. With cathode boost off the Color channel has less headroom than any channel. This is handy when your trying to get to that ideal volume/gain structure. You can switch channels to better match the levels of the band you're playing with.
The folks at 65Amps are very customer service oriented and have responded quickly and expertly to my concerns about the tremelo. I think the intensity is, well a little too intense. I emailed Dan about it and he is sending me 2 different pots to try out. The pix I've seen of the interior are impressive and many knowledgable people in the industry think they are extremely well built. As you can tell I'm not a tech guy.
General Comments
Guys in my band like to joke that I'm in the amp of the month club. They send me 10-12 amps and I send back the ones I don't like. Very funny guys...Serously, I have owned a Hot Cat, Kingsley Deluxe 30, Matchless C-30, Maz 18, Route 66, Carmen Ghia, Fargen Blackbird, Tone King Comet, Cowtipper, Underground 30, and a few more. I've been playing since the 60's and gig out with a classic rock band that does originals and covers. I believe this amp has been engineered with the goal that it be a great small to medium club amp. Man does it suceed. By the way, the low end is excellent especailly for an 18 watter. The London has excellent touch sensitivity. Even at 9.5 on the volume you can get kinda clean if you hit the note lightly enough. The flip side is that when you are playing around 5 which is about where my rhythm level is for band work, the chords are slightly distorted when hit hard. Not great if you need a super clean 9th funky rhythm thing where you have to hit the strings hard AND stay pristine clean. However, the overall structure of the gain and headroom is near perfect for me. It's closer to my ideal gain/headroom structure than any other amp I've ever played. The gain/headroom is not perfect-nor can any amp be that doesn't have a master vol. But then again I've never found a master vol. amp whose sound I liked as much. I have found that it's just a bit louder than I need for the band I play in. That means that I don't exactly hit the "magic" volume area 9-9.5, for lead work so I've been using a pedal to bring in a little more dirt. I think I'm going to get an attenuator to knock a few decibels off the top end. If that approach works the way I want I'm going to be real happy. Sometimes something that is a strength has a little weakness inherent in it. This amp is so UN-harsh that it sounds amazing. A very small downside of this to my ears is that sometimes a little harshness helps cut through the mix. It cuts fine though-no worries there. Also, I think the amp could be voiced to have a little more high end. It's capable of way more bass than I need and capable of about 90% of the treble I need. In other words, there are rare times when want a really bright sound out of my neck strat pickup and can only get about 90% there. This is really nit picking, I know, but it just seems a little heavy on the bass side COMPARED TO the amount of treble available. Other people who have heard the amp don't share this opinion. They think it's plenty bright so maybe it's just me. I've owned this amp about a month now and have jammed with it about 5 or 6 times. I absolutely love it. There's something about the sound that is just so pure. I've never owned an amp that sounded great clean, low gain and medium gain until now. I've also never owned an amp with two channels where I loved both channels until now. The cleans are just about as good as any amp I've ever owned. I played with a friend the other night who is also a tone geek and has heard me for years. He usually doesn't have too many superlatives to throw out but after I played about 3 chords he turned to me and said "that's the best amp you've ever owned." At practice the guys have gotten pretty blase' about new amps I bring. They don't even take notice anymore. At the end of BP the first night I brought it, everyone was standing around listening to the other guitar player who adked to play through it. I had to drop a few hints to get him to stop so I could get home. For my tastes this amp really does it for me. It's very rewarding. Every time I plug in feels almost like the first time. A very cool piece and future classic, I believe.
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