As you go through numerous amplifiers, you get to thinking, what could be even better than the units I have experienced. What else can be added to this versatility of heads and combos to enhance their capabilities even further? We have seen signature models, digital sound modeling, multiple channels, audio effects and all that good stuff. Sometimes it is hard to imagine how far the human possibilities and the limits of innovation can stretch. But the genius minds behind musical apparatus never fail to surprise us in the most positive way possible. This time we have received something that is kind of the best of both worlds. A huge company, such as Randall, has collaborated with boutique amp guru Mike Fortin to create an amp that has boutique quality but does not cost as much. Thrasher is a scrupulous tube head, built with elaboration and extreme attention to details. Without further ado, let’s move on to discussing its features, controls and sound.
First things first, Randall Thrasher is a true stage beast, delivering 120 watts of pure power. It is extremely strong and can crash any stage (literally). It drives four 6L6 power and six 12AX7HG preamp tubes. This bad boy has passive and active inputs for your instrument, which tailor the amp response to the type of your pick-ups. It goes without saying that passive input takes passive pick-ups and active takes active ones. Randall Thrasher has two channels, which contribute to the tonal versatility of the unit. Each of the channels (clean and lead) has its own controls to guarantee maximum precision and a meticulous attitude towards your sound. This tube head has in-built voicings that offer different types of overdrive and allow you to go nuts with distortion. The best thing about Thrasher is that it discerns drop tunings and extended range guitars similarly well. This enhances the possibilities of the amplifier and makes it a perfect choice for many different instruments. This baby comes with a two-buttoned footswitch that enables you to move between channels, boost your signal or engage the effects loop. Thrasher has all the sockets and jacks required for professional utilization. This means that it has two different inputs (active and passive) for your instrument, two inputs for the foot controller (Channel/Boost and Loop), send and return (series and parallel) sockets for the effects loop, Emulated Line Out that simulates Randall 4×12 speaker cabinet, Raw output that feeds raw signal to a slave amp, as well as five speaker outputs with different impedances (4, 8 and 16 ohms).
As you take your first look at the control section, you might get a bit confused and have a hard time figuring out, why on earth you would need so many knobs. However, as you get to tweaking and looking into their functionalities, you understand how significant they are and what possibilities they open up. So, let’s get down to business and see what we got here.
Right under the inputs you will see a toggle switch that allows you to choose between the channels with simple movements. Then we have the Channel 1 section. It starts with LF Gain and HF Gain which boost your signal depending on its frequency range, while Gain mixes these two together and controls the overall gain of your sound. Next in the line we have Boost, which once again enhances the strength of your tone and moves from lower to upper gain boost. Volume affects the Send level in the effects loop and evens out the output in accordance with the second channel. Bass, Middle and Treble are nothing more than passive equalizers. And the last two toggles in this section are Shift and Boost. The former matches the response of the amp to the connected speakers and environment, while Boost activates the manually controllable boost gain.
The second section, Channel 2, features Gain, Volume, Bass, Middle and Treble knobs and some extra toggles. I will not explain these knobs any further, since their functions are similar to the ones we have already discussed. But when it comes to the toggles, things are a bit different here. Bright boosts the high frequencies but becomes less present as you turn up the gain, Shift changes the voicings of the channel, while Boost delivers a preset amount of gain boost.
Last but not least, we have the Power section. Depth controls the interaction between low frequencies and the response of the speakers, Presence takes care of high-frequency feedback, while Master adjusts the overall level of the output after the EQ.
Randall THRASHER Sound
There is a lot to say about the sound Randall Thrasher can emit. Its cleans are pretty decent, with a lot of headroom. But if you wanted to achieve a subtle overdrive, you could always boost the signal until it breaks up. However, that is not why this amplifier is so amazing. The lead, or the overdrive channel if you wish, is where the real metal craze begins. Its tight attack and punchy lows, as well as great possibilities for rhythmic performance, allow you to nail any type of gnarl and girth. Thrasher distorts your sound to extremes without depriving your chords of definition and character. The individual notes can be heard even during percussive playing and heavy strumming. This tube head truly deserves the name it bears.
From what you have read so far, you should already know that Randall Thrasher truly deserves the name of one of the best amplifiers for metal. It has all the girth in this world needed for this genre and can truly take you to the distorted world of sounds. The fact, that it has voltmeter test points and bias controls, indicates just how meticulous everything about this tube head is. If you are looking for a trustworthy unit that will not betray you during the most important moments, or you want simply an extreme of extremes, look no other way. Good luck!
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