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This article was originally published in issue #57
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Synonymous with fire-breathing metal, these triple-channel amps are more than capable of producing everything from clean funk through to the most brutal tones you’re ever likely to require. Their latest offering is no exception.
Ultimate fly rig
High powered enough to play Wembley
Not for those who enjoy backache!
Tube Mono Block Configuration
Ibanez AZ2402-ICM Prestige - MSRP £1779 (UK) $2666 (US)
Brand new for 2018, the Laney IRT-SLS is a 300 Watt head that weighs just 3.5 kg and could slip into your hand luggage with ease. The perfect ‘fly rig’ if you will. However, there’s much more to this beast than simply being a convenient carry on en route to your next out of town gig. Lee Wrathe tells us more.
The IRT-SLS is part of Laney’s Ironheart range of amplifiers. In case you didn’t already know…Laney produces 4 different amplifier ranges to suit pretty much every taste and budget. From the simple and affordable CUB amps, the eminently tweakable GHR’s and the boutique, pedal friendly Lionheart range, all in combo and head and cab formats. The Ironheart amps are perhaps the most versatile and full featured that the brand produce. Synonymous with fire-breathing metal, these triple-channel amps are more than capable of producing everything from clean funk through to the most brutal tones you’re ever likely to require. Their latest offering is no exception.
The IRT-SLS is a tube monoblock amplifier featuring ECC83 tubes and a monoblock output stage to deliver a whopping 300 watts. The amp retains many of the features of the Ironheart range with 3 channels to play with. A clean and rhythm channel which share a clever 3 band EQ (each dial can be pulled to further refine your tone, lowering and broadening frequencies…more on that later). A lead channel with its own 3 band EQ and the same aforementioned EQ tweakability. A Pre-boost switch and dial that feeds all 3 channels. An overall tone dial that essentially works like the tone control on your guitar, a studio quality digital reverb and a vari-watt dial which allows you to run the amp anywhere between 1-300 watts. The first 50 watts can be dialled in clockwise and a simple pull of the dial turns the Red LED indicator to Blue, signalling that the dial now controls 50-300 watts.
The IRT-SLS also features an internal dummy load which means you can use it without any cabinet connected. You could practice silently with headphones or record directly the onboard T-USB connection with studio quality speaker emulation options.
The clean channel has enough headroom to handle any type of clean guitar tone you’re looking to achieve and the 3 band EQ has enough range to give you spanky funk, to warm Jazz tones. The EQ dials, once pulled, allow for a lowered frequency response on the Bass and Mid dials and a broadened frequency response on the Treble dial. Making this amp easily versatile enough to manage a variety of pickup types. The rhythm channel has a huge range of gain stages and can take you from a broken up blues landscape through to enough gain to happily be considered as a lead channel! Then you have the Lead channel which takes the gain levels as high as you’d ever need them and features its own independent EQ.
The foot-switchable pre-boost is a great feature for those looking to boost their signal across all 3 channels for a solo and this can give you anything from a slight volume increase to a significant dollop of pre-amp gain.
The reverb, whilst not cavernous, sounds wonderful and there’s enough of the effect to add ambient textures to your playing.
The IRT-SLS is absolutely packed with features and options. There’s a DI output with speaker emulation options. The aforementioned T-USB connection to allow you to connect the IRT-SLS to your DAW and record in silence. A headphones socket, aux in, FX Loop, connections for various foot-switching options and a combi speaker connection outlet to allow for both Speakon and jack connections.
I’d go as far as to call this amp a ‘game changer’. It covers pretty much any musical situation you’re likely to find yourself in, either tonally or physically. You need to record both the amp’s tone and a dry signal to potentially re-amp later? Sure, no problem! You need to walk/travel on the bus/catch a flight to your gig and take your amp with you? No worries, it’ll do that too. Plus, as I've already mentioned, its easily versatile enough to cover a huge range of styles. If you’re looking for an amp that (insert your requirements here), then I’d seriously consider taking a look at this amp.