Ampeg will forever be renowned as the bowel-quaking lord of the low-end, but the US builder has fingered the guitar pie convincingly with the GVT range and rams a useful five-watt grunt into this smallest member.
Next to the likes of Blackstar's HT-5R, it feels a little heavy, pricey and minimalist: you've only got a Master Volume, plus a Bass and Treble Baxandall EQ, although a bone is thrown to punters in shared accommodation by switchable 5/2.5-watt power modes. Round the back, you'll find the usual speaker out, but no effects loop, headphone socket or other deal-sweetening sundries.
"Past half-volume you're rewarded with a characterful, responsive bite, as well as the low-end you'd hope from the home of seismic tone. Dial-"
It's easy to crank a killer tone from this combo. The fusion of 12AX7 and 6V6GT valves can't go far wrong, and once you get past half-volume you're rewarded with a characterful, responsive bite, as well as the low-end you'd hope from the home of seismic tone.
Dial-spinners, though, may find the stripped ethos makes the amp limited; to state the obvious, the tone isn't exactly tweakable. Ampeg makes much of the Baxandall EQ (circuitry that means the frequency bands don't tread on each other's toes), but the benefits are undercut a little by the lack of a Mid dial.
The smaller speaker also doesn't shake the room as convincingly as a 12-incher, and the low power setting just doesn't have quite enough oomph.