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Review

Euphonic Audio iAmp Classic and NL 112 Cab

Issue #64

Celebrating EA’s 35th anniversary at the time of releasing the NL112, the company have been enjoying a shift “back to their roots”. Hence the design facelift featuring brown tolex, leather handle and a new name plate, all adds up to a rather prestige package!
Dan Veall

Euphonic Audio iAMP Classic & NL112 Cabinet

EA IAMP CLASSIC £1199 / NL112 CAB £899

GUITAR INTERACTIVE STAR RATING: 5

 

PROS

Stunning audio performance.

All the benefits of lightweight and efficient technology.

 

 

CONS

Only the cost will stand in the way of this rig purchase.

 

 

 

SPECS

 

iAMP Classic:

1200W @ 4Ohms

600 @ 8 Ohms

 

NL112 Cabinet:

Size: 17″H x 17″W x 12.75″D

Weight: 27.5 lbs


Euphonic Audio iAMP Classic & NL112 Cabinet

Euphonic Audio, or “EA” as they are also known, return to the depths of the Bassment promising more incredible tones, this time it's from the iAMP Classic & NL112 Cabinet. Dan Veall tells us more as the brand celebrates it's 35th anniversary with some new releases.

 

We featured the very capable iAmp Micro and EA NL210 III 2x10 cabinet, which I recall most favourably back in issue 24 of Gi. I have always been interested in EA’s “angle” when it comes to creating amplification that is all about reproducing an honest version of what is going into it. Using technologies such as “transmission line”, Neodymium Speakers and efficient D Class power amplifiers with correctly designed power supplies.

 

 

With that in mind I wasted no time: straight out of cold boxes I stacked up the iAmp Classic, a 1200W (in to 4 ohms) beast on to the NL112 cabinet from your good friends at Bass Direct, UK.

 

Interestingly, the iAmp classic isn’t just about bass guitar. It’s a tailored front end that is advertised to handle acoustic instruments and keyboards too. That’s already encouraging as we know the breadth of tones that come from modern synthesisers for example. An amp that can faithfully reproduce that frequency spectrum is what I would look for myself when it comes to multi-range bass guitar.

 

As I mentioned in my reviews the front panel does look busy, to begin with, but, trust me, once you break each bit down, it will become very easy to understand. Allow me to elaborate:

Across the top of the amplifier, there are some black buttons. I would say that there was a sort of “fast access” to tried and tested settings to get you shaping your sound (though I should point out that even all the buttons disengaged, thus leaving your instrument completely uncoloured, this little rig still sounds great!)

 

EQ IN: this is a neat little bypass switch that allows you to completely bypass the settings on the equaliser if only to compare and contrast, but great for setting up say, a second instrument sound as well. Deep, Bright and the two Contour switches further tailor the overall equalisation curve of the preamplifier which I appreciated greatly. Some amplifiers have one switch that performs all of these functions in one go, but I really liked that I was able to choose if I wanted bass boost without having the mid-range scooped out. Each button has an LED to let you know when each function is engaged. Flanked by the input gain level and master volume, you’ve actually got a great amplifier there to begin with given the masses of power available too. EA has included an input level meter - you know I am a big fan of LEDs! So this, although being a very useful way to see how hard you are driving the input, actually quite pleasing for me to see too ha ha!  Equalisation comes courtesy of a 4 band system. The silver knobs as you’d expect operate cut and boost for Low, Low Mid, High Mid and High-frequency bands. You’d dial in as normal, easy job. However. Underneath each silver knob is a slider. You can move the frequency centre point on which the silver dials act upon. This is known as a semi-parametric equaliser. So, maybe I want some really “subby” bass boost for playing dub bass, I might choose to boost closer to the 40Hz region on the Low knob but cut frequencies at 500hz on the Low Mid knob. Or I want some finger style punch in my sound, so I’d move the slider of the Low or High Mids knobs to accentuate a boost in the frequencies that make that sound ping out. Easy peasy!

 

A welcome inclusion is the High-pass filter “HPF” which engages a signal cut below 20hz. This is very useful if you are pushing lots of lows through your signal path into speakers that can’t reproduce those sub frequencies. This is energy that will be just wasted in excessive cone flapping and heat. Engage to offer a bit of protection and you might even notice your sound clear up a bit too.

 

Inputs for instruments with differing level outputs are available and I also really appreciate a mute switch on the front panel as well as a headphone socket for silent rehearsal.

 

Around the back, it’s a clear set up with the usual IEC socket for the auto-power sensing mains supply. Yup, plug it in wherever you are in the world and the iAmp will know what voltage to set itself to. (100-240V) - There are two Speakon speaker sockets - these are not a ‘combination’ type and won’t take 1/4” leads, which is understandable given the power output available from the amplifer.   There’s an onboard effects loop that includes a return level control and to the right of that the expected DI output XLR socket and related controls for level, in/out and the ability to tap your signal before or after the EQ section in the preamplifier. A Tuner Out is provided for leaving a tuning device attached or you could use this as a dry output feed I suppose.

 

iAmp classic isn’t pretending to be a lunchbox amplifer, but it is packing a huge amount of features into a manageable sized metal shell!

 

NL112

Now.. given my experience with the NL210 MkIII previously, I was looking forward to good things. Was I surprised with its performance? Well, at first, no I have to say: NL112 was doing exactly what I expected! I hoped that the silk dome tweeter array (There are two drivers vertically aligned slap bang in the middle of the front grill) sounded sweet and not at all harsh, just like my home studio set up. I certainly wasn’t let down there either. The cabinet, which is super lightweight felt solid and a “tap test” didn’t show off any boxiness or “ringing” making me at least feel like it is well braced inside. The 12” driver was a joy to listen to even out of the box cold. Sometimes, it is immediately obvious that a speaker has a certain amount of tonal colour to it. There are a few combos we have looked at in the past that imparted an inherent characteristic to every note put through it. I honestly felt like this wasn’t happening with the NL112. Certainly not enough to worry me anyway and I am very fussy!

 

Weighing in at just 12Kg this ported 500W rated speaker cabinet demonstrates a wonderfully articulate performance with no real signs of letting up as we advanced the master volume. Very impressive considering its size. Sensitivity is very good and the NL112 is available as either a 4 or 8 ohm unit allowing for use as a once cabinet solution or pairing up into a stack (which I can’t help feeling would be tremendous!)

 

Celebrating EA’s 35th anniversary at the time of releasing the NL112, the company have been enjoying a shift “back to their roots”. Hence the design facelift featuring brown tolex, leather handle and a new name plate, all adds up to a rather prestige package!

 

One thing I certainly have noticed and I would like to add as an appendum to this review, is that throughout the day, genuinely we noticed the sound of the set up getting better. Now, I don’t know if it is because we had a cold studio to start with, or by giving this brand new out-of-the-box rig a chance to break in the speaker a bit, I don’t know. However after 8 hours on our studio stage - and then more recording a couple of days later, I have to say that the NL112 really started surprising me as to its capabilities. The lows were reaching down and down. Having switched over to my Dingwall Combustion 4 I noticed real top end sparkle from the soft dome tweeters too. (Check out my Valeton reviews and GiTV slot where you can hear this set up in a different environment).

 

Given my closing paragraph, I have to score this mini rig highly. A beautifully clear tone and plenty of volume that fills the room with bass. I’ll be sad to send this one back to Bass Direct. It creates a true sound much larger than its physical size.

 

 

 

 

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE VISIT:

WWW.BASSDIRECT.CO.UK/BASS_GUITAR_SPECIALISTS/EA_AMPS.HTML

 

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