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Heads and cabs

Ronnie Dungan
Heads and cabs

Heads, you win

The more powerful units are still sought after by those looking for more output and aesthetics are also becoming a factor for those valve enthusiasts who like to see the glow.

Looking to expand your in-store amp offering? This should give you an idea of what to introduce to your store.

The introduction of a new breed of mini-units has seen this sector expand into territory traditionally occupied by combo amps.

But the more powerful units are still sought after by those looking for more output and aesthetics are also becoming a factor for those valve enthusiasts who like to see the glow. MI Pro offers a selection of highlights from the sector…


The new all-tube Ampeg GVT guitar amps line-up features models that range from an ultra-compact 5W head all the way up to a gig-friendly 50W, 2x12 combo with extension options. Ampeg’s Baxandall EQ design, offers greater total control over a  variety of tones from clean to crunch.

The Portaflex Series combines the vintage styling of Ampeg’s iconic flip-top cabinet design with a selection of modern, powerful heads. The lightweight PF-350 and PF-500 heads match with any Portaflex cabinet and deliver full power when two cabs are working together. The PF-115HE and PF-210HE  flip-top design allows you to store the head, cables, etc. right inside the enclosure for portability. All cabs are covered in sleek black diamond tolex and featuring premium Eminence speakers.

Mesa Boogie

Recently Mesa/ Boogie have been all about the compact ‘lunchbox’ format amp, allowing for greater affordability and portability than Boogies previous head and cab combinations:

The 25-Watt TA-15 provides useable pro tone across two channels switchable between 5, 15 and 25 watts to give sparkling cleans, overdriven crunch or Hi-Gain sounds. The TA-15 also offers a host of more British style, top boost sounds for flexibility. Comes with single Channel ½ footswitch and gig bag for around £999. Cabs are available between £379- £678.

The Mini Rectifier is housed in an all metal black powder coat chassis with the same iconic diamond plate front of its Dual and Triple Rec big brothers.

Mesa’s Dyna-Watt technology gives 10 watt or 25 watt switchable power levels on two independent channels. The Mini also comes with a fully bypass-able effects loop, a single button (channel 1/2) footswitch and padded gig bag. As with all models, bias for valves is fixed which means replacing valves does not mean a trip to an engineer. And like every other MESA/ Boogie amp before it, the Mini Rectifier is hand built exclusively in Petaluma, California. It retails around £1099 with a cab at £449.


The Laney Lionheart L50H is designed around a Class A, single-ended topology, just like the previous models in the range.

It uses a circuit based around five EL34B-STR tubes, each delivering 10-Watts RMS, placed in parallel. It is the world's first 50-Watt RMS parallel single-ended Class-A amplifier.
The amp features two channels, clean and drive, with independent controls. ‘Bite’ tightens bass, increasing clarity and punch; ‘Tone’ controls the upper frequency levels, whilst a ‘Dynamics’ controls allows the player to control the range of the low frequencies within the guitar tone. An FX Loop is featured, along with an optional footswitch socket, Preamp Out/ Power amp in sockets, and eight and 16-Ohm Speaker Sockets.  A Lionheart amp cover is also included with each head.

The Lionheart L412 cabinet offers a spec to match the L50H. With four 12” Celestion G12 Heritage drivers powering 120 Watts RMS of output. It is finished in marine blue and beige and comes with castors and a cover.


Due to overwhelming public demand, the firm has re-introduced the OR50H.  Featuring a traditional single channel with a three stage gain section. The HF Drive control is two controls in one. Turning the control clockwise will increase the power amp presence while adding an extra dimension of power amp gain. It also has a foot-switchable master volume.

The OR15 is the 15 watt Class A little brother of the OR50 and is designed for guitarists who like to push their amps harder at lower volumes.  The portable Pics-Only Styling Head includes a three-band EQ, valve FX loop and combines both classic looks with a wide range of tones from Blues, Classic Rock through to High Gain Metal.

The PPC412 Compact is a smaller, more lightweight version of the PPC412. Featuring specially designed Orange 12” Speakers giving 240 watts of  power.

Lastly, the Signature #4 Jim Root Terror Head is an all-valve, 15 watt amp with a full three-band EQ. The rear of the amp has both the Slipknot and Stone Sour logos.  The matching Signature #4 Jim Root PPC212 cab has been developed alongside the head and is finished in black vinyl with an embroidered signature on the front.


The Vox Night Train series features a mirror finish and an all-valve circuit that offers a diverse range of authentic, all-valve VOX sounds. There are three models with the Night Train 50 at the top, offering two channels driving a 50-watt EL34 output stage. The original Night Train 15 is a 15-watt model. The clear and simple panel design offers a Thick switch to bypass the tone circuit, boosting the gain for a chunkier, heavier sound.
The two-watt Lil’ Night Train at less than five pounds is light enough to take anywhere. Providing a headphone/line out jack with a cabinet simulator, it reproduces the resonances and spatial character of a quality speaker cabinet making it ideal for direct recording.

Each amp can be paired with a complimentary Vox speaker cabinet such as a V110NT 10'' custom Celestion VX 10;  V112NT 12'' custom Celestion VX 12 or V212NT 12'' Celestion G12H Anniversary (x2).


As the second wave of Marshall’s 1Watt, 50th Anniversary series – the pair of all-valve (2xECC83, 2 x ECC81) 1 Watt amplifiers pay homage to the sound and aesthetics of the Marshall amps that dominated the ‘70s decade – namely the legendary Super Leads. Both are Class A, feature a Low Power switch that takes the output down to a neighbour-friendly 0.1 Watts and are Made in England with Pride at Marshall’s UK factory. The JMP-1C combo also boasts a Celestion 10” speaker. Both are in shops now.


British amp stalwart, Hiwatt offers a range of amps and cabs, starting with the solid state Maxwatt range through the Tube series and the Brand new Custom Overdrive range, to the hand wired Custom range still used by many pro bands.


The CTM – 300  is housed within a 18mm Marine grade birch ply cabinet that features heavy duty flip style handles and an internal fan to keep things cool, it has a power section consisting of 6 x KT88 output tubes. It retails around £1,649.

The ABM-2000 meanwhile, is the firm’s most powerful amp, pairing the ABM Evo 3 pre amp with two Class D power sections resulting in an increase in power and a dramatic reduction in weight. The ABM 2000 produces 2000 watts RMS into two four ohm/4 x 8 ohm outputs. RRP is £1599.

Specifically designed to partner the CTM 300, the BTA, 427 Small Block, Drophead 200 and Little Bastard tube heads, Ashdown’s Classic Series CL-610  bass cabinets feature custom drivers, dual speakon/jack connectors, traditional vinyl covering and vintage red grilles. They retail around £1199.

Rated at 1200W RMS, the 4 Ohm ABM-810 is loaded with eight 10” Ashdown BlueLine drivers. Constructed from high-grade birch ply and protected by a tough, buffalo leather cloth covering, metal corners and steel grilles, the ABM 810 is a tilt-back design, with a heavy duty bar handle, kick plate, castors and slide rails. RRP £699.

The Hayden HGT-A 20 is driven by three ECC83 valves in the pre-amp coupled with two EL84 valves in the power section, the HGT-A 20 features three channels for added flexibility. Retails around £469.
Lastly, the H-212 2x12” cab at £329 is made from extra thick 18mm ply with two Emienece Custom designed speakers for huge rich cleans and overdriven sounds.


IAG is about to launch the Albion amp brand in the UK. Albion is the marriage of design by Steve Grindrod (Marshall/VOX) and manufacturing by IAG (Wharfedale Pro, Mission, Quad). The range is mid to high end, made using completely custom components in the IAG factory to Grindrod’s specification.

The range comprises of guitar and bass gear. The TCT100H Twin channel head with 100watts RMS into 8 or 16ohm and five 12AX7 – four EL34 valves plus three-way (channel A/B/Mix and Reverb) footswitch included and the GLS412 2x12 cab with two large magnet 80watt 12” Albion-made loudspeakers and a maximum operating power of 140 Watts are the stand out products.


The Peavey 6534+ Head is a two-channel, 120-watt amplifier designed with EL34 power tubes to give it a ‘British’ flavour. The extreme high gain and tone of the 6505 Series is featured, but with a special new design to minimise the noise that high-gain tube amps generate. In addition, the amp’s Rhythm channel is voiced to clean up while still retaining its raw saturation. RRP£1,531.

Also arriving in Europe in spring is the Butcher guitar amplifier, a 100-watt, all-tube head with five 12AX7 preamp tubes and four EL34 power amp tubes. Both the Clean and Crunch channels feature independent three-band EQ, plus master volume and preamp gain controls so guitarists can adjust the interplay between the preamp and power amp on each channel for an array of gain possibilities. Both channels include a separate, footswitchable gain boost, while the Crunch channel also has a six-way attack selector that adjusts the low-end attack of the amplifier – a handy feature that helps match the head to various speaker enclosures. It retails around £1,549.

Line 6

The Line 6 DT series draws on the firm’s partnership with Bogner,  pairing valve amplification and Line 6 technology.  Software reconfigures analogue components and provides four classic amplifiers in one unit; British crunch, US clean, class A chime and modern high gain.

Ins and outs include effects loops, foot control, midi, multi-speaker outs, cab simulated XLR, and the Line 6 Link, allowing players to hook up any of the POD HD series and the JTV guitar to make up the ‘Dream Rig’.  DT25/50 head is available with a bespoke 112 or 412 cabinet.


Tags: marshall amplification, loud technologies, ashdown, peavey, westside distribution, korg uk, laney, hiwatt, ampeg, orange amps, line 6, headstock distribution, guitar amps, mesa boogie, iag, vox amps, albion amps

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