Are you looking for a tube amplifier but do not want to break the bank? Maybe you are just starting out and do not want to spend more than 1000 bucks on something that might not even be for you. One way or another, what we are going to talk about will fit your budget perfectly but still give you the best tube experience. Yeah, you are right, we will discuss Randall RD100H. This little fella has a lot to offer, is small enough to fit any space and will provide you with spectacular performance. How does Randall do all of that at such a small price? I have no idea and to be honest, I don’t even care. The only thing that matters is that it works wonders. All we can do is talk about its features, controls and sound and make out final judgement accordingly. So let’s begin!
Randall RD100H does not joke around when it comes to the features. Everything it offers is usable and even essential for everyday utilization. You could employ it as a practice amplifier, but it can do way more than that. This little fella has 100 watts of power, which can rock any stage if plugged with complementary speakers. It uses 12AX7 and 6L6 tubes, that drive the whole system perfectly. Randall RD100H has three channel configuration and provides the user with a wide range of sonic opportunities. Here we have Clean, Gain 1 and Gain 2 channels, meaning that you can alter your sound in numerous ways. Plus, it has Boost mode, which boosts the tubes and forces them to overdrive harder. This amp head comes with a footswitch, that allows you to switch between the channels and activate the boost mode on the fly. Randall RD100H also has Class A Discrete Instrument Level effects loop, which enables you to pair the tube distortion with your favorite effects and create something ethereal. We do not always pay attention to this feature, but this amplifier looks so damn badass, I had to mention something about it. It is covered with heavy-duty steel grill, which screams girth and character. Last but not least, let’s break down all the sockets and jacks. We have a single ¼” input for your instrument, 16 ohm output and two parallel outputs with modifiable impedance (8 or 4) for the speakers, Speaker Emulator XLR balanced output, that can be connected to the PA or a recording device, Send and Return jacks for the effects loop and an input for the footswitch.
One of the advantages of Randall RD100H is its control panel. It does not have the design you would expect from a tube amp. The knobs are laid out in a traditional manner, however, they have elongated appearance, making it easier to see their settings. Plus, this adds the metal flavor and makes this amp even more distinctive. The names of the knobs are a bit hard to make out at first (due to their font) but as you spend more time playing around, you will get used to them.
The first control on the front panel is the channel selector, which allows you to choose the desired channel (Clean, Gain 1 or Gain 2). Each channel has its own set of Gain and Volume, which have the same functionalities. Gain adds intensity to your signal and modifies the distortion rate of your sound, while the Volume adjusts the amount of output level that is fed to the Master knob (will talk about this one in a sec). Boost forces the tubes to work harder and makes them overdrive even more. Bass, Middle and Treble take care of specific ranges in the frequency spectrum, while the Presence adds more brightness and matches it with your instrument. And finally, we have the Master knob, which alters the level of the overall output. On the rare panel, you will see the impedance selector (4 or 8), which allows you to match the amp with the speakers and avoid malfunction.
Right off the bat, Randall RD100H offers all shades of distortion. Starting from cleans, you can gradually increase the intensity of the effect and create a balanced, well-thought-out sounds. The Clean channel has a huge headroom and can be cranked up to high levels without getting distorted. You could drive it hard enough to make it overdrive and receive those classic tones. And you could always turn up the gain and add some crunch and definition. The Gain 1 has noticeably more overdrive, making it suitable for heavier tones. It has a lot of texture that gives your sound a special character. Now, the Gain 2 is where things get crazy. The distortion it offers is best suited for metal players, since it exploits the realm of unworldly girth and dirt. Randall RD100H has rounded mids and punchy higher mids, that stand out in the mix perfectly. This makes this amplifier an amazing option for those who play in a band. All in all, this tube head is something everybody can use since it gives you everything you could ask for in terms of sound.
Randall RD100H is the way to go if you are searching for an affordable tube amplifier that also works. It has power, depth and character that is hard to compete with. It definitely deserves to be called one of the best tube amplifiers on the market. What else? Nothing much. If I were you, I would start searching for demos right away and then grab my wallet to gather the coins. Good luck!
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