Randall RH150

Randall makes metal amps. "So what?" you say. "Surely you can play metal through any amp?"

Well, yes and no... Granted, there are plenty of amplifiers out there that you can use for metal, especially if you throw a decent stompbox into the mix. That's fair enough. But what if you want something a bit more, er, mental?

Take a look around and you'll see that there aren't quite as many amps specifically designed for metal. You know - amps that'll blow your nuts off at a hundred paces or scare your granny.

Like those other suppliers of aural mayhem, Krank, the clever dudes at Randall spotted a big old gap in the market.

You may remember that the late Dimebag Darrell was rather fond of Randall amps. His fickle taste in gear may have seen him switch from solid-state Randall to Krank valve technology shortly before his death, but plenty of other metal heroes can't get enough of the Randall sound these days.

Blokes like Dan Donegan of Disturbed, Dan Spitz and Scott Ian of Anthrax, Down's Pepper Keenan and CJ Pierce of Drowning Pool. Even Mötley Crüe's Tommy Lee loves 'em - and he's a drummer! So, what do these guys know that you don't?

Overview

The RH150 features Randall's Valve Dynamic technology, designed to offer you the best of both (valve and solid-state) worlds. This isn't the first time we've seen a hybrid amp, of course, but not many manufacturers are blessed with Randall's expertise with great sounding solid-state amplifiers.

It's probably obvious to you by now that 100-watt heads are for pansies and purveyors of false metal. That's why this Randall pumps out 150 watts of deafening goodness.

The amp's MOSFET (that means 'not valve' to you) power section is aided and abetted by a single 12AT7 tube, which Randall says captures all the important elements of a traditional valve amp's tone.

The RG150 has two channels. There's a clean channel, of course. The overdrive channel has two gain modes. Gain 1 is all about rhythm crunch, AC/DC style. Gain 2 is a thick, high-gain tone that provides so much distortion you'll probably only need to look at your guitar to get a pinched harmonic. OK, we're exaggerating, but you get the idea.

The gain options are foot-switchable, effectively making this amp a three-channel beast. You can switch almost all of the Randall's features by foot, including a volume boost on the clean channel and the effects loop.

We reckon all the distortion sounds you need are in this amp. We actually left our fuzz pedals at home when we went gigging with the RH150. Less gear to carry always makes us happy.

It looks like it's built to survive a nuclear war, which is apt because when you power up the RG150 you pretty much unleash a sonic re-enactment of World War II. The metal chassis and protective corners mean that when you start that riot at your gig not only will your amp survive it may also act as an effective shield.

Sounds

For down-tuned metal riffing, the amount of bass available on this amp is unbelievable. Razor sharp, pounding bottom-end is something that Randall are justifiably famous for. Through a regular 4x12 cab, the results are earth-shaking enough, but Randall also offers a brute loaded with 1x15 and 2x12 speakers too.

Through a cabinet like that, the RH150 takes on a host of practical new uses, like demolishing small buildings, curing constipation, and our personal favourite, annoying the neighbours.

The bass frequencies are perfect for locking in with the bass player for a barrage of crushing riffage. Gain 1 crunches like a good 'un, with plenty of definition however much gain you pile on. And that massive low end translates into a thick lead sound for solos on Gain 2.

By comparison, the clean channel is a bit uninspiring. It does its job well, but, frankly, we came to rock. For most guitarists the clean channel will be used for soppy breakdowns in otherwise rocking songs, and it works great for that.

Considering its awesome gain, the RG150 still retains the personality of your guitar. The clarity of singlecoil pickups is still there under high gain, and the extra muscle of humbuckers only gets amplified. It makes a pleasant change from amps that make everything sound the same.

MusicRadar Rating

4 / 5 stars
Pros

It does 'metal' really well.

Cons

But it doesn't 'do' subtle.

Verdict

Take the RH150 along to your next pub gig and nobody will be in any doubt that you've arrived on stage!

Available Controls

Bass Clean Gain Level Master Volume Middle Overdrive Reverb Treble

Country of Origin

China

Weight (kg)

24

Review Policy
All MusicRadar's reviews are by independent product specialists, who are not aligned to any gear manufacturer or retailer. Our experts also write for renowned magazines such as Guitarist, Total Guitar, Computer Music, Future Music and Rhythm. All are part of Future PLC, the biggest publisher of music making magazines in the world.