FedEx showed up earlier this afternoon with a package for me direct from Oklahoma. Obviously, I’m talking about my new amp from Stulce. My first reaction – it’s really wide (24″) and really red. It looks pretty wild sitting on top of my orange Avatar speaker cabinet.
As I have mentioned, I have been playing the combo version of this amp in church for the last few weeks (thanks Maury – you may now take your amp home ), so I already knew that it sounded great. However, I have been hearing it through in-ear monitors – it’s a totally different experience when you’re standing/sitting right in front of it.
First of all, this is an extremely versatile amp. When you crank the master volume you can control the output volume with the gain controls. This makes for a very pristine clean tone, perfect for chimey open chords. I should also mention that this amp takes pedals extremely well.
On the other end of the spectrum, when you dime the gains and adjust the overall volume with the master volume knob you get this amazing distortion. I don’t even know how to describe it. This may sound like hyperbole, but it’s probably the most perfect rock distortion that I can imagine. Leads just sing and sustain, and the rhythm tone is extremely dynamic. It responds amazingly well to picking style as well as the guitar volume controls.
Of course, there are many options in between these extremes, and I explored a lot of them this afternoon. The hard part is going to be deciding where to leave the controls set while I’m playing. As much as I would love to crank the gains, that’s just not very practical. Likewise, it feels like a waste of such great natural distortion to leave the amp set clean and use pedals for dirt. I guess there’s only one solution: I have to get another one. Seriously, I’ll probably leave it on one of the many “in between” settings so that I can lighten my pick attack for clean stuff, play harder for light overdrive, and step on a dirt pedal for higher gain settings.
I can imagine that the Stulce SA-10 would be a fantastic studio amp. It can cover a lot of ground. I’ve only had it for a few hours, but I think that the honeymoon is going to last a while on this purchase. I’ve been through several amps in the last few years (Reverend Hellhound, Reverend Goblin, Fender Pro Jr, Reeves Custom 6) and the Stulce outclasses all of them by a longshot. It’s not even close, really. If you get a chance, play one. If you want to try mine and you live in the Houston area, let me know and maybe we can meet up. I can’t recommend this amp highly enough.
[I tried recording some clips this afternoon, but I don't have a recording interface for my computer. I gave the internal mic on my MacBook a shot, but it didn't really sound right. I could post them anyway, but I don't want to misrepresent this amp.]