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This article was originally published in issue #61
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It’s more about getting a nice warm headroom than getting pre-amp distortion, although you can push this amp with all kinds of pedals to get an incredible response. Perhaps one of the reasons the Lionheart range is popular with touring acts is that it takes pedals exceptionally well.
Classic Class A British tone
Great value for money
A really heavy combo
This issue, Sam Bell takes a look at Laney's single-ended, Class ‘A’ all-tube combo: the Lionheart L20T-112. As with all of Laney's range, (that are designed and engineered with pride in Great Britain) the emphasis is on creating clear, crisp, dynamic guitar tones, and this 20-watt powerhouse is surely no exception.
UK based company Laney has been providing the world and guitar community with quality and affordable tube amps for many years. Having been behind Tony Iommi’s legendary thunderous tone since the early days of Black Sabbath. Laney has gone on to support some of the world’s most notable touring artists providing them with a plethora of awesome British tone. Today we’re going to look into a combo from their Lionheart series of amps.
The Lionheart series are perhaps their most versatile series of amps, this amp range covers everything from Blues, Hard Rock to Smooth Jazz! Just taking a look at their website and seeing how many diverse artists are using the Lionheart range is a testament itself. Before we get started its worth noting that all the Lionheart Combo amps feature the classic blue Tolex finish which I personally feel looks very classy, a folding tilt back stand under the unit and FX Loop. Today we’re going to take a look at the L20T – 112 combo.
First of all this amp and its brothers and sisters are all built with the objective of getting sustain, dynamics and tone from the power amp section. It’s more about getting a nice warm headroom than getting pre-amp distortion, although you can push this amp with all kinds of pedals to get an incredible response. Perhaps one of the reasons the Lionheart range is popular with touring acts is that it takes pedals exceptionally well.
The L20T features a 1x12 Celestion G12H 70th Anniversary Speaker, its bigger brother (L20T 212 features the G12H and a V30. However the size of this speaker enclosure, I feel the G12H is a much more balanced choice, providing a bit more weight and warmth behind the 1x12 tone. However, despite its size, this is quite a hefty speaker and does provide a lot of weight to the combo. This being said, the tone speaks for itself!
This 20-watt combo packs a hell of a punch, more than enough to play with a band and cut through. The power stage is provided by 4 x EL84 power amp tubes and 3 x 12AX7 preamp tubes which help out with the drive channel in particular. This amp sings when pushed on the clean channel, giving a natural compression and grit to the clean tone. When pushed on the drive channel we can go from a glassy crunch all the way through to a percussive and snarling drive sound perfect for hard rock and blues. The EQ for these two channels is shared and can be further articulated with the use of the Bright switch which accents the amps treble frequencies if desired. This can be further shaped by the amps tone control which works just like a presence control shaping the high end further. The amp is very articulate and dynamic in how it responds to your playing technique, which makes it a dream to play through! The slightest change of pick angle comes through clear as day with this amp.
In summary, I’d say for the regularly gigging musician this is a great choice, and for the price point incredible value for money if you’re looking for ‘the real thing’ in terms of tube amp tone and quality. My only issue is that it is particularly heavy, but none of the classic combos that history has given us have been light. And I feel that there isn’t one thing that this amp has that isn’t needed, so it’s worth the heaviness for the awesome tone, response, value, feel and quality. Go out and get one now!