Well what's up guys it's been a long time since I posted. Sucks about what happened to the site. I have been busy with other life stuff, got sidetracked from my chops for a while. Recently got into playing guitar again, and have got a VH140c combo with casters and footswitch in excellent condition that I'd like to review.
First I want to mention the Roland Cube 20XL I got to replace an old practice amp. On a Roland Cube 20XL, the Extreme setting sounds very good for death metal, lovely on mids near maxed out, lows and highs in the middle with gain at 3 o clock. Volume is really loud on a Cube 20XL after 11 o'clock without power squeezer on. This Roland amp is very easy to EQ, and contains some cool pro-effects like chorus and delay, though not widely adjustable. Always use "power squeezer" to get the optimized amount of gain for best tone. Good decent sounding amp, better than the DOD Grind IT I had when I was starting out. You kids are lucky nowadays, to get a 20 watt amp you can play Suffocation on, when you bring your axe to school with delays digital and spring reverbs, chorus, flanger, solo mode for extra boost. Prepare to beat off the haters with a stick, or your pointy headstock.
When I did my tabs, I had a VH140c old style logo head which I swear the gain was brutal @ 5 1/2, on a axe with active pickups. I used it with a Vader 4 x 12 cab that was in a word, excellent. I got a VH140c combo this time around because I didn't need all that power.
For our purposes of grinding brutal metal and thrashing madness, I like the VH140c combo at the following settings: Distortion Channel Gain @ 6, Low at 5 1/2. Ultra Mid @ 3, Highs at 7. That ultra mid is really great. I have it sometimes up at 6, sounds more traditional, which is as far as I like for the "dark sound" I want. Mean, biting, grinding with enough dash of mid to fill it out nice in the guitar's range.
It is a multi-channel amp so clean has its own setting, plus 2 line/preamp outs, nice for use with effect or rack processor. Also a direct out for recording. I'll bet it sounds nice through a tube in direct box for DI recording.
The VH140c's Clean channel sounds GREAT on a wide variety of settings. It gets nice and crunchy on high gain, enough to play anything from Rush's first three albums, Steve Howe/Yes or ACDC. I like it with the bright switch off and rely on the amp EQ for the overall sound, the bright switch makes it louder and overloads the signal. The chorus, dare I say, sounds better than the head? This is probably the most gorgeous chorus I heard close to a Retro Sonic Chorus Ensemble for nailing those chorus tones of 70s all kinds of rock, you can nail Rush on lower gain settings. 80s cleans are here and 80s trippy leads, progressive death metal leads. Rate up high gives the raygun Korn sound. With more gain from the VH140c, gothic/doom metal or progressive death metal lead tones with chorus can be obtained to taste with the ultra mid. Add some pitch shift and/or delay and you got Cynic or Death solos.
The gain knob on the Clean Channel is like a separate volume channel. All the way up gives you classic hard rock gritty distortion sound, real nice for blues soloing. It has two effects loops, one in the front and on the back we have preamp outs/ins. Onboard reverb is there, the onboard 'verb and chorus is also separated per channel. Custom voiced Ampeg speakers 140 watts rms.
Try these chorus settings, everything at 6, and Depth A at 7, with distortion channel and high gain settings (sounds like Type O Negative.) With heavy compression raise the gain to get a raw hot steamy blues tone on neck pickups.
Even with these stock Ampeg speakers when you palm mute or chug, play fast on a VH140c I think that every note is tight, articulate, clear, defined, precise. I like to hook a BBE Sonic Stomp in the front effects loop and it sounds like you are playing through a live mastered recording if you don't set the knobs too
high. First knob at four and second nob at 5. Suit to your taste. It makes the VH140c's well known bottom end even nicer and tames the highs though I wonder what the difference would be running raw [with higher mids] vs. BBE during a gig.
I had to get a VH140c again because I was outright tired of buying amps...
Crate GX130c, no way! I do not feel it comes even close to the VH140c. The GX130c combo I had for a short time sounded like a polite version of this amp - nowhere near as good. There are demos of the head on YouTube that sound great though, one comparing it to an ART preamp where both sound particularly good. When I was playing full time in a band, I played a Crate GLX212 Combo Amp in Guitar Center when it was 2004 and I liked the distortion ALOT! Good amount of gain. I can see the argument where it shares the VH140c DNA on that amp but not the GX130c.
Yes that Crate combo whatever it was, was a blast, it was a crazy random encounter with an amp. Had to be told to turn the volume down at the store.
Randall T2 combo, should have gotten the G2/G3 or RG or a Valvestate instead. T2 is a NICE amp but it was not my thing. Too much midrange always, and not enough biting-grinding-chomping-tearing enough. I will say this, the T2 is great for getting that huge broad smooth solo sound Eric Rutan used on old Hate Eternal and Morbid Angel "Gateways" songs. It really pops out in a mix.
On a guitar with EMG active pickups like a BC Rich NJ Deluxe Warlock or BC Rich 7-string Stealth Deluxe TNT, the Ampeg is even more overdriven and sounds wonderful for any extreme metal style... Sepultura used BC Rich and Jackson guitars with EMGs on their classic 89 - 91 albums and I love their cutting razor sharp edgy thrashing guitar sound. You can sound like this, and beyond that into grindcore, with the VH140c's distortion channel gain alone.
If you still can't get a good picture of the amp's gain structue by now here's about pickups and the VH140c. There's an Ibanez RG1570 Prestige I am planning on putting a Tone Zone for the bridge and Air Norton for neck in. I feel the Ampeg VH140c is going to provide plenty gain for these pickups for shredding and death metal. It's because on gain of 6 I can go back and forth from heavy riffing to fast soloing no problem with my stock BC Rich ASM1 pickups, this is a cool low-end BC Rich guitar I use for Eb tuning.
Ampeg VH140c is the only amp I went out of my way to buy twice, I drove 150 miles round trip to get this combo and I am glad to have this amp again. The VH140c combo is VERY LOUD. The louder you turn it up, the better it sounds.
Just don't scoop the mids too much. I feel that below 2 might
be pushing it. The more mids you cut out the less of the guitars character comes through, or so I've read. Anyway let your ears decide, because this combo has enough gain to tackle any metal tone you may want and more. When I powered it through a Furman Merit M8SP that powers the rest of the setup, it sounded much better and less noisy, not that it was bad before. But on a guitar with factory passives there is noise at high gain, unlike an active or aftermarket pickup. I use the G-Major's flexible in and out gain level parameters to be able to turn up the VH's master volumes to 6 (!) and have maximum tone at bedroom level volumes. Say you take the G-Major from the signal chain. Well, the Ampeg's volume at 6 will get the stage or your entire street's attention. Instant feedbacks like a bastard. (Just use the guitar volume knob for noise gate...)