- Jaw-dropping cleans
- Available limiter eliminates the distortion at higher volumes
- Two channels for two different instruments
- The footswitch is not included in the package
When it comes to stage-worthy amplifiers, it is always hard to pick out the best one. A lot has to be taken into consideration, namely, the wattage of the unit, its sound and, of course, its features. This is true whether we are talking about solid-state or tube amps. Luckily, such kind of devices is replete on the market and musicians have the ability to scroll through some of the best options. Quilter Labs Steelaire Combo falls into the category of badass stage amps and packs numerous handy features. If you want to take a look at everything this amp has to offer and make your research a bit easier, then stay with me and make your final judgment after reading this article. Let’s get started, shall we?
Quilter Labs Steelaire Combo offers an extensive set of features that can be beneficial for finding your perfect tone. It has 200 watts of power capacity with 400 watts of headroom. This bad boy is equipped with a single 15” Eminence speaker, that has an additional 3” aluminum voice coil and hyperbolic cone, as well as 4” aluminum dome. This is the basis for the spectacular sound this unit produces. Steelaire Combo has two channels that can be connected to two different instruments and utilized simultaneously.
This way you can easily combine various sounds and sync them perfectly. Additionally, this amp comes with an effects loop for connecting your pedals to your signal chain. In terms of onboard effects, here we have Tremolo and Reverb for enhancing your possibilities substantially. Steelaire Combo is compatible with a foot controller (you have to purchase it separately though) that allows you to control the device hands-free. It has ¼” dual mono inputs for your instruments, ¼” Send and Return jacks for the effects loop, ¼” dual speaker outputs (for external and internal speakers), and a footswitch jack (accepts RJ45 cable), and a direct out.
One of the most attractive features of this device is definitely its control panel. It is divided into small sections that allow you to navigate easily and make out what is what in no time. All the knobs are labelled in an intelligent manner, which simplifies the tweaking process. Let’s cut to the chase and dive right into discussing the functionalities of each control.
The front panel starts with the Gain 1, which sets the level of the first channel. Then comes the Mode, which allows you to choose between the two channels. It is followed by the Gain 2 which modifies the volume of the second channel. Next, we have the dedicated section for the 4-band EQ, particularly, Bass, Lo-Mid, Hi-Mid and Treble. Each of them modifies the specific frequency range. To be more precise, Bass operates at 50-150 Hz, Lo-Mid takes care of 500 Hz, Hi-Mid is in charge of 2 kHz, while Treble controls 5 kHz frequencies. The next section is comprised with Limiter, Tremolo and Rate.
The limiter prevents your signal from getting distorted (meaning that it maintains the clarity of tone even at higher volumes), Tremolo enhances the intensity of the effect, while Rate sets the speed of the said effect. Towards the end we have the Reverb-dedicated section. Reverb modifies the depth of the effect, Dwell controls the length of decay, while Tone changes the character of the effect from mellow to splashy. And finally, we have the Master knob, which sets the volume of the overall output. All these controls might seem a bit overwhelming at first, but trust me, once you figure out how everything works, you will master this unit in no time.
Quilter Steelaire Sound
Before I get to describing the sound of Quilter Steelaire Combo in-depth, I would like to underline that this amp is designed for steel guitars, which means it is built to have clean headroom (it works perfectly well with electric guitars, so do not worry about that). For this reason, the cleans on this unit are out of this world. They are full-bodied, thick and rounded, with just the right amount of dynamics and warmth. It is also possible to create distorted sounds, the intensity of which can be tailored to your taste.
The four-band EQ of Quilter Steelaire Combo takes the tone-shaping to a whole new level and allows you to be meticulous. Such a scrupulous division of frequencies makes your sound more elaborate and unique. The Limiter is a great addition to an already versatile set of features because it lets you be as loud as you want without your signal getting distorted. The effects themselves are quite distinctive, steeped with character and texture. All in all, Quilter Steelaire Combo sounds just as good as it promises to.
This sums up the review of Quilter Steelaire Combo. There is not much left to say, except for articulating once again how great this amp truly is. It offers a wide range of features that can be utilized in many different ways. The ability to employ both channels (i.e. two different instruments) simultaneously provides you with numerous ideas to experiment with. If you still have any suspicions, you can easily listen to demos and see for yourself what this amp does. Good luck!
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