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Monday, September 7, 2015

The Quilter Labs MicroPro Mach 2 - 8 Inch,... (Review)

Reviewed By: Rosario Panzarella
Purchased from: Manufacturer
Street Price: $899 USD + Shipping

About:
Pat Quilter, founder of QSC Audio Products and a veteran designer with over 45 years of experience, is one of the few designers whose career spans tubes, solid state, and the new switchmode technology. His mission is to combine a deep love of music, an understanding of tube behavior, and his expertise in switchmode design to create new tools that will expand artistic possibilities and exploit the latest mainstream technology to deliver higher quality and satisfaction at an affordable price based out of California.

This Quilter 8 inch Mach 2 combo is the ultimate grab and go performance amplifier. The smallest and lightest of the Mach 2 combos (Only 19 pounds.), the 8 inch features a very potent high power pro audio driver. A sealed enclosure calibrated to deliver a very balanced and beautiful tone combined with the characteristics of Celestion's TF0818 speaker deliver amazing low end and a beautiful and articulate upper range. Great for both acoustic and electric instruments, the 8 inch Mach 2 is unquestionably the most extensible and flexible of the Mach 2 lineup. If you are wondering whether an 8 inch speaker can cut it, go ahead and put that out of your mind. It is their top selling combo amplifier for a reason. Combine this with our 12" extension cabinet for staggering power that will easily handle outdoors or coverage without a PA system. 100 watts per channel. 200 watts total when using channel 1 and 2.

Front Panel Controls: 
Guitar and Mic/Line input, Gain 1, Gain 2, Boost, Boost Selection tones containing presets called scoop, bright, loud, cream and crush. An eq section containing bass mid and treble. It also has a limiter and a tremolo with rate control, a highcut with phase selection, and amp voicing. The amp voicing settings are full q, smooth, lead, surf, brown, and tweed. There is also a reverb section with control for tone and dwell with a total weight of 19 lbs.

Sound

Guitar:
Custom Stratocaster “Dragon Den” by Doug Rowell

Strings: 
Von York Kelvinite 10-46

Pick:
Swiss Pick 1.5 and Sinister Venom 1.5

User Profile: 
You are a musician that plays both acoustic and/or electric and sings as well; You want the flexibility to get any possible tone out of your amplifier. You're a performing songwriter and an amp that accepts both your guitar and microphone doubles as your PA.

Reliability & Durability:
This is a well built “solid” amp that has some really interesting tech embedded into maintaining your sound profile wherever you perform. Pat Quilter’s patented nightclub proof power supply is one of the most exiting advances in amplifier technology in decades. I am told by CEO Chris Parks that it can actually maintain stability as low as 95v without changing the tonality of the amp at all, try that tube guys! (Not recommended)! It also features a locking IEC power cord, a great idea and its bright blue so you won’t mix it up with other power cords and it stays put while it’s in the amp. It also features an isolated direct out so you can send the emulated sound of the amp to a mixing board or PA. The amp also has internal safety features to prevent damage to the circuitry from using mismatched speakers or pushing the front end too hard called “the speaker watchdog”, as I found out, it will gag the amp momentarily so as to let you know something is wrong. I experienced it as I accidentally was using a mismatched external cabinet; the amp immediately shut me down when I tried to push it at stage volume. After using the correctly match cabinet, my problems disappeared - That was so very cool. (click here for the user manual)

Impression:
I am very impressed that one can get such loud crushing tone from such a small package. I took the micro pro to my band rehearsal and this mini stack was snickered at by my comrades as I set up my rig. The snickers were quickly replaced by open mouths and WTF looks as my tone was distinct, loud and clear. Amazingly I could get a great tone at volume without anything falling apart. I tried a variety of pedals with the amp for the extra gain but honestly, with a bit of tweaking you can get really hot with this amp and not even need it. I could literally go from loose fuzz like Hendrix or Cream or push on through Dimbag’s finest for chugging rhythms and soaring leads. Dial it back for some tweed blues, yeah no problem. This amp doses it all, and did I mention its only 19 pounds? I can get a Roland JC120 clean, a JCM 800 AC/DC tone or a nice warm Fender Deluxe, and all within 5 minutes. This amp gives you choice and it does not sound like “solid state”. The warmth is there; just dial it in to your liking.

My advice:
Spring for the matching cabinet extension and the 6 channel pedal board, they are worth it. If you’re the gigging musician that needs versatility and reliability this is the Swiss Army amp for you.

Contact:
Quliter Labs
1700 Sunflower, Suite A
Costa Mesa , CA 92626
Phone: (714) 519-6114
Fax: (714) 242-6900 
www.quilterlabs.com

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Posted 09/2015
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