Hey gang, I had somthin’ cool pass through my shop that I thought y’all might just want to know about. An AT-100 that had had its treble and contour knobs busted off. I spent a little time under the hood replacing the two pots and then played through her for a while.
I wound up with two overriding impressions: 1) that this is a well thought-out and easy to work on amp, and 2) that it sounds damn good. Given it’s VERY reasonable price, that officially qualifies it as a “sleeper amp” in my book!
She IS a Chinese made PC-board amp … as are most under a grand tube amps these days, but … she is well laid-out and very tech-friendly inside. Any amp-tech that says these are tough amps to work on needs to stop telling folks he is a tech! There ain’t nothing but good old-fashoned Marshall style layout and a bunch of caps, resistors, and diodes inside her … easy-peasy!
This is one super-versatile 100-watt head! The clean channel can do a great fender-like spanky clean tone, and the two overdrive channels can be set-up for anything from mild JTM-45 crunch to full-on mesa scooped metal tone. I’ll highlight several things to know about the controls.
The two tone-stacks have very different frequency-ranges, especially the mid control which is centered around 800Hz on the overdrive channel, and apx. 1.5K on the clean channel.
The “Low-Res” control boosts everything below about 100Hz and is superb at making small cabs at low volumes sound huge … but … be careful, with 100 tube-watts all that bottom end can easily over-excurt and blow speakers at higher volumes!
The bright switch on the clean channel is an ENORMOUS boost, and it shifts the treble control from about 3.5K up to about 5K. Use caution with this switch if you value the upper portion of your hearing!
The “contour” knob is exceptionally effective at sucking out a big swath of midrange for a classic scooped metal tone. Just remember, the lower this control is, the more it’s sucking mids OUT! (At full-on, the control does nothing.)
The reverb is a true tube-driven long-spring tank and is perfectly useable, but it will not keep with a blackface Fender on full-tilt surf!
There ya go! See below for my full-length video review of this cool “sleeper” … one caveat: at 53-pounds, she ain’t for folks with weak backs!