Pushing things to new heights, AMT introduces the StoneHead SH-100-4R Guitar Amplifier, the company's third approach to —in their words—"the gold standard." But how good is it? Rodney McG gives us the full breakdown.
The AMT Stonehead SH-100-4R is an impressive feat of audio technology, being a 100-watt amplifier with four channels contained completely in a single rack space. Boasting more features than even many full-size 100-watt tube heads,q the Stonehead features a clean, crunch, lead one and lead two-channel, each one having distinct options and not sharing an eq, a common drawback on many tube heads.
There are unique features throughout, like the voicing dial available on the Clean and Lead one channel, allowing you to dial in the tonal characteristics of darker amps like a Fender Bassman or Mesa Boogie head, as well as brighter and sharper units like the Marshall heritage of amps. There's also a selection switch for the power section that allows you to move between 6L6 and EL 34 tube emulation. The power section is surprisingly accurate and gives an excellent reproduction of a true tube amp power section.
Another interesting feature of the channels available in the dry and fat switch on the Lead 2 channel. This allows you to get a very sharp and aggressive, tight style tone similar to what you might get from a VHT, or similar amps. Putting it in the Fat setting gives a larger, somewhat looser and more saturated feel like you would expect from a Bogner or Mesa style amp. The amount of Versatility available on top of all the other features with just that switch makes it a unit that really doesn't have any clear competitors.
No stone has been left unturned when it comes to connections either. It's fully midi capable and has an effects loop with blend, a preamp out for using with recording or going to slave to power amps, a power amp in allowing you to use external preamps, and a balanced line out for using an ear monitors or going to a front-of-house PA that already has a cab sim on it.
Having an available option to allow you to go completely cabless or not have to mic your cabinet from the stage is an impressive option in such a small unit. The number of features packed into the single rack space is surprising, considering that many full-sized heads don't have anywhere near the number of channels, independent EQs, or routing capability that this one rackmount unit has.
Last but not least is a variable output switch that allows you to go from 100 watt, to 20 watts, to 2 watts. This makes the unit the perfect choice for small practice setups at home and smaller gigs where larger volume but not overwhelming power is needed. Finally, you can also take the same unit and step up to multiple cabinets or a full stack for large shows. The stone head is a completely unique option that has all bases covered. If you're looking for new amps, this should definitely be on your list, especially at its low price point.
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