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Kustom KBA-80
Overall Rating
Submitted: November 19th, 2018
by StevieRayHubcap
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Sound Quality
Clean, tight bass from the 18" Eminence driver, but also full-body mids and low-highs, all clean and distortion-free. And LOUD. Seems more like 120+ watts. It has plenty of stage presence. I'd give it 5 stars for sound if you could overdrive it like a tube amp.
Reliability/Durability
I can't figure out how old it is, but it does not look like any picture of a KBA-80 I can find on the web, and it has an EIGHTEEN inch Eminence driver, NOT a 12". I don't have the manual, so I don't know why this is, but it IS original. It had been reasonably well-cared for...then I got it. It probably hates me but I have not been able to break it. It must be an earlier iteration, because it has had none of the durabilty-reliability issues the ones with the ugly K and blue front panel on them seem to. This one has the original heavy steel cursive font "Kustom" on the grille. I've moved it maybe a hundred times; I've dropped the heavy bastard off the tailgate, off the stage, off the front porch, and off the hand-truck (did I say it was HEAVY?) and not only did it not damage it physically, nothing has given it any pause electrically. Every time I hit the fun button, it wakes right up and it never shuts down or clips on me. Maybe I got the hand-built prototype 😉
Price/Value
For my $100, it is incomparable! I love this amp. I've used it with all my guitars, a rushed-into-service party background music source, and even as a bottom end supplement to my garage stereo. $100? Shut the front door....
General Comments
I have a friend who had this amp and sold it to me for $100 because it 'didn't work right.' It was dirty pots. A can of DeOxit fixed 'er right up. I've had it 7 years now. He told me "KBA" stood for 'Keyboard/Bass/Acoustic' (what do I know), and I'd previously always used old Fender or Randall 'glow plug' (my Dad's term for tubes; they GLOW, and you plug 'em in) amps. Fat, sweet, and crunchy. You can't really get this amp to overdrive much, so you need a tone device (pedals, boxes, processors, busted pickups) to get the 70's hard rock fuzz, which is what I live for...fuzz, distortion, feedback and other general sonic atrocities. As a result of my habits and the era I grew up in, I am now deaf as a post and my two favorite words are "What?" and "Huh?" But I still live by my motto:IF IT'S TOO LOUD, YOU'RE TOO OLD!
Reviewer's Background
I am as of today a 59-yo 70's rock dinosaur. I fell in love with hard rock (Deep Purple, The Who, Grand Funk), edgy folk rock (Credence, The Jug Band, C, S & N), blues (B B, Gatemouth Brown, John Lee Hooker), and anything Motown where they played their own guitars, as a kid in the 60's—my Dad was a rockabilly lead in the Air Force Stage Band  in the 50's and I grew up around guitars, glow plugs, and the Fender nameplate. Today I play Ibanez guitars; I have a battered old acoustic-electric, a 900D hollow-body, and a SR650 4-string bass. I know they aren't virtuoso-quality but neither am I. I started taking professional instruction in 1969. Then as a teen in the 70's, I just flipped over...hard rock, edgy folk rock, blues, Motown (Rick James!). I lost EVERYTHING in a house fire in 2007 and I won't go down memory lane or I'll short out the keyboard with my tears. Suffice it to say that that 'everything' was a nice collection. So I had to start over on the cheap. I was an electronics technician in the Navy and I build or 'improve' a lot of my own sound gear. I have a degree in English, and I'm a published writer and when I sit down to write I have diarrhea of the fingertips, so I apologize for the length.
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