That ripping noise you hear might be the sound of guitar players the world over tearing up their high-end guitar amp wish lists and starting again upon hearing the news that Soldano has launched the SLO-30 – a new yet classic design from the iconic US amp brand that reimagines the mighty Super Lead Overdrive platform as a compact 30-watt 1x12 combo.
The SLO-30 is released alongside a pair of open or closed-back 112 extension cabinets. All are kitted out with a high-powered heavyweight Celestion G12H-150 Redback 12” driver, and you have the options of classic black or purple vinyl coverings – or should you feel nostalgic for the hot-rodded electric guitar aesthetic of the ‘80s, there is a snakeskin option too.
Whichever you would pick, you will have yourself a heck of an amplifier. The SLO-30 has of course been available as a head since 2020, and like the head, this combo takes the sound and the same high-gain performance from a two-channel set up as its larger 100-watt sibling.
The addition of a Depth control to the amplifier’s power section will be a welcome feature for long-time Soldano fans. This was an ever-popular mod on older models. Alongside a Presence control and a three-band EQ that serves both Normal and Overdrive channels, the SLO-30 offers players no shortage of tone-shaping power.
Further improvements have been made to the noise floor, with Soldano going under the hood to equip the SLO-30 with DC-based filament circuit and circuit separation which reduces “crosstalk” between channels. The tube-buffered effects loop has also been upgraded.
The SLO-30 features five 12AX7 tubes in the preamp, with a pair of 5881 / 6L6 tubes in the power section. You can switch channels via the footswitch, but everything you need to control the amp is on the front panel. There is a toggle switch for selecting channels. The Normal channel has a Bright switch, and switchable Crunch and Clean modes. Each channel has its own preamp and master volume dials.
Between both channels, you have a wide range of tones, from gin-clear cleans all the way through to high-gain saturation. The SLO-30 weighs 55 lbs and is hand-wired in the USA with “military grade components”. It ships with a lifetime warranty for workmanship.
At $3,199 ($3,399 for the purple and snakeskin versions), it is not a budget guitar amp by any means but the SLO is Soldano’s flagship amp and a legendary sound that soon attracted the great and the good of the guitar world when it debuted in 1987. Most famously Eddie Van Halen used the original 100-watt SLO-100 on Van Halen’s For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge.
Now, if three grand is too much to spring for, there are alternatives, with Soldano releasing a $249 solid-state version last year, the 30-watt SLO Mini, and exporting this SLO tone mojo as very impressive preamp/distortion pedal.
The 112 extension cabinets, meanwhile, are priced $699 for the black version, and $899 for purple or snakeskin. For more details, see Soldano.