'Diavolo' means 'Devil' in Italian, although you might be more familiar with the Spanish 'Diablo'. Either would have summed up Randall's affiliation with heavy guitar tones nicely; after all, metal hellraisers such as Dimebag Darrell and Kirk Hammett have helped to establish the company's name over the years.
However, Google 'Diavlo' and the results include pictures of a 'Moshi Monster' (no, we're not sure either), a typefont, a video of an American on a rollercoaster screaming, "Japanese Batman!" and a zingy Italian sauce. Randall has used the latter as an analogy for the kick of the new Diavlo series, from which we can surmise that it's threatening a spicy blend of blues, rock and metal tones.
"Far from being just a one-trick steel-horse, this baby has soul too."
The Diavlo is available as a 50-watt head and combo, and we've gone with the head-and-cab format here. It's an all-valve design with two channels and a global boost. Randall has also engineered the Diavlo so you can swap the power valves. It comes with a pair of EL34s, but you can install 6CA7, 6L6, 5881, 6550, KT88, KT77, or 6V6 valves without needing to rebias the amp.
The Diavlo's channels are laid out back to front compared to most amps, so your first controls on the left are for the Overdrive channel. We're going to start with the clean sounds.
Randall often gets flak for these, but we're happy to report that the Diavlo steps up with a decent array of clean and crunch sounds. Perhaps it's down to the pure-valve design, but there's more character than the surgical metal cleans Randall has become associated with. Because the Diavlo is a 50-watt amp, you can also drive it harder.
It's still louder than you'd need for rehearsal or small gigs, but it does allow for more power-amp grit on your clean/pushed sounds. With the Boost engaged, it works wonders with singlecoil and soapbar pickups for a vintage garage sound too.
Given Randall's pedigree, you'd be for given for taking the Overdrive channel to be a foregone conclusion. Not exactly. With the Boost on and Gain controls maxed, you can go after some convincing metal sounds.
But far from being just a one-trick steel-horse, this baby has soul too. Feed it humbuckers and fat rock rhythms or weeping bluesy leads are where it excels. Annoyingly, you'll need to perform a reach-around to cuff the Reverb control, and Randall's generosity runs dry before it stretches to a footswitch for changing channels.
We're glad to see a Randall that doesn't prey solely on metallers. It's not without shortcomings, though: the Diavlo is suffering from a slight identity crisis.
It starts with the name, and extends to the fact that it's too loud for home use, yet Randall only produces a 1x12 Diavlo cab. You can use two at once, but we'd like a 2x12 or 4x12 option.
That said, you've probably eyeballed the price tag. If talk of 'power reduction this' and 'valve protection that' bores you, then this could be your next amp. It's simple, solid and sounds great.