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This article was originally published in issue #60
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It has a very raw, aggressive, fuzz style drive sound.
Sustaining, burning bluesy leads!
Drive sound might not be for some players
No real clean option, however, this may be different in the EL34 version
Jet City Amplification is a relatively new amp company, starting up in 2009. Their mantra is to be able to deliver great sounding amps at affordable prices. With that being said, Sam Bell test drives Jet City‘s Custom 5’ amp head, which is the most affordable in the brand's range of impressive amplifiers
The Jet City Amplification Custom 5 is fundamentally a single channel amp with a Master volume that can go between 5 or 2 watts at a flick of a switch. There are two different versions of the Custom 5, one which has EL34’s installed in the power amp section which come with a white chassis or the one that I am looking at which features a 6L6 and features a black chassis. You can, however, replace the power amp from EL34 to 6L6 or back without having to bias the amp.
At first glance, the Custom 5 is a ‘lunch box’ head, it's small and portable, however, whilst small, it’s not as small as some of the lunchbox heads on the market. The reason for this is they use a large custom wound transformer which takes up some space but definitely gives this amp some features not found in some other lunch box amps. The build feels pretty good especially considering the price point.
The controls are to the point which I like, Pre-Amp Gain, Bright button, Bass Boost, Mid Boost switch, your regular set of Treble, Middle and Bass controls and of course our Master volume. Around the back of the amp, we have different outputs for various ohm speaker cabinets (4, 8 and 16) and a solid-state FX loop that has been optimised to work with effect pedals.
Now for the sound, as you can hear in the video demo, there is a particular drive sound that this amp likes to sit within. It has a very raw, aggressive, fuzz style drive sound. It has a lot of sustain and a very saggy bottom end which does accentuate the low end in this amp. I definitely had some fun playing with this kind of sound, it responds to notes much like a juiced up fuzz pedal might. Whilst it wasn’t impossible to get a broken up clean sound, I definitely had to make considerable adjustments with the preamp gain vs the master volume. My feeling is that this amp is designed to be dirty for the most part, which isn’t a bad thing if you’re looking for something specialist like this, and I imagine this is mostly to do with the 6L6’s, it would be interesting to try the EL34 version of this amp. One thing I might add is that the amp is very loud for 5 watts, we connected it to a 4x12 in the studio and it was wall shudderingly loud!
My summarised thoughts are that this is an extremely affordable, loud 5-watt amp head which sits in the lunch box range of amps, it has a unique drive sound. I would say it would shine in rock orientated situations, especially with the raw bluesy vibe this amp gives.
Weight: 8 kg
Controls: Bass, Gain, Middle, Treble, Volume
Built-in Effects Loop
1 x 6L6 Power (EL34 compatible), 2 x 12AX7 Preamp