Gear Review: Ampeg GVT52-112 Combo Amp

With their new line of amps, Ampeg is bringing a classic tone (and look) into the modern age.

The GVT52-112 50-watt tube combo echoes back to the ’70s with a brushed metal faceplate, and appropriately styled knobs. It features two channels that both have independent volume, EQ and gain controls, plus a master volume and reverb. The standby switch also controls the output wattage, either 25 or 50 watts.

The preamp tubes are 12AX7s, and the power amp sports 6L6s – no surprises there. A 12” Celestion speaker pumps it all out.

Channel 1 is the clean side of things. It doesn’t get real dirty but it can get plenty loud. Maxing out the EQ, it can sound a bit shrill at higher volumes, but it’s flexible enough to get a nice, warm tone with the right settings.

Channel 2 on this amp can get rude; even for an open-backed combo it’s got enough low end thump, but doesn’t get into über lows. Overdriving this beast isn’t a problem, and its natural distortion is rich and detailed. It does tend to stay in the upper mids a bit, like an older Marshall. Any fan of classic rock will want to check this out – AC/DC, Kiss and Ted Nugent tones are almost built right in, even with a flat EQ setting. It can do warm and sweet, but more aggressive tones come out a lot better with no excuses. Dark death metal and super-saturated sounds don’t live here either; it’s a rock amp all the way!

The included two-button footswitch selects between Channel 1 and Channel 2, and delivers 6dB global gain/volume boost. The boost gives an added jump in volume, and a bit more grit. There’s no control on the amp for how much boost, and the manual didn’t state how much of a boost is actually provided. Ampeg has informed us that they are working to clarify the manual.

Being able to get a maxed out sound at a lower volume is a big plus, especially in smaller venues. It’s quiet when you need it to be, as well. With a maxed out gain setting, turning the test guitar’s volume control down all the way was met with complete silence; no hiss or extraneous noise.

The only complaint is the need for a screwdriver to access the tubes and speaker, which could be a pain, especially if any issues arise at a gig. We learned from Ampeg that the user restriction of tubes is a safety certification requirement by safety governing agencies, however. Bottom line – for any player looking to cover real classic rock tones with a real tube combo, this is the real deal.

Pros: Great amp for classic rock. Switchable wattage.

Cons: Back panel could be a hindrance for maintenance and troubleshooting. No control for boost.

Price: $749

Dual power modes
Full power – 50 watts RMS
Half power – 25 watts RMS
Dual channels with footswitchable gain boost
Ch. 1 – low to moderate gain
Ch. 2 – moderate to high gain
Preamp: Tube ( 3 x 12AX7 )
Rectifier: Solid state
Power amp: Tube ( 2 x 6L6GC )
Speaker configuration: 1 x 12″ Celestion
Tone controls: Baxandall treble, middle and bass
Effects: Spring reverb, footswitchable
Speaker outputs: 1 x 16 ohm, 2 x 8 ohm and 2 x 4 ohm
Cabinet: Open-back, void-free 15mm plywood
Footswitch: Channel switching / gain boost (included)
GVT-FS1: channel switching / gain boost (included)
GVT-FS2: 2-button footswitch for reverb and effects loop on/off (sold separately)
Dimensions (H x W x D inches excluding handle approx.): 19.5 x 24.0 x 11.0
Handling weight (approx.): 52.2 lbs / 23.7 kg

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