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Revv G20 head review

An all-valve lunchbox with high gain on the menu and onboard Two Notes Torpedo unit

  • £1135
  • €1250
  • $1299
Revv G20 head
(Image: © Future / Olly Curtis)

Our Verdict

A super-versatile amp with some real high-gain menace under the hood, the Revv G20 marries old-school tube amp magic with cutting-edge digital emulations that make it an exceptional option for pros and serious players.

Pros

  • Exquisite, multi-voiced lead channel.
  • Versatile and easy to use.
  • Great build and noise-free operation.
  • Onboard Two Notes Torpedo module is a game-changer.
  • It's lightweight and portable.

Cons

  • Not much.

What is it?

The Revv G20 sees the Canadian boutique guitar amplifier company build upon their success of the D20 lunchbox head with a high-gain sequel that similarly packs Two Notes Torpedo virtual cab module under the hood.

In terms of a studio or stage tool, the D20 was transformative, offering six pre-loaded cab sims that were selectable via a rotary dial, with the capability to load up to 128 and control via MIDI. 

Altogether, you could send its signal front-of-house, to headphones or record without even bothering with a cab. The amplifier's voice, of course, was classic, with a pair of 6V6 tubes in the power section. Its build was super portable. 

The G20 adopts a similar shape and form but ups the ante with the gain. Again, we've got switchable power outputs, with the G20 running at 20-watts full-steam, or at 4-watts when you want to saturate it without shaking the windows out of their frames.

There is a lot of gain under the hood, and this can be given a little more muscle when activating the Aggression switch.

There is a lot of gain under the hood, and this can be given a little more muscle when activating the Aggression switch. (Image credit: Future / Olly Curtis)

Again, there are two channels, an effects loop, MIDI connectivity, a headphones output and with the Torpedo tech onboard it can run traditionally through a cab, direct, or hybrid. Indeed, why not choose both?

The front panel is clearly laid out but there is quite a bit going on. There's a 3-band EQ, master volume, gain, with a Wide switch, Aggression switch, 20W/4W power switch, headphones out, channel switch, preset store switch and the six-way rotary dial for accessing your virtual cabs when MIDI is not a possibility. 

The lead channel is where the G20 starts to perform its magic. It's very much a West Coast lead tone, that juicy, saturated sound that melts into harmonics

A pre/post switch is included for when you are in reactive load direct mode and wish to have the power amp in your signal or not. If not, you can use Torpedo's power amp simulation to change the response of the amp, say, selecting EL34s or EL84s for a more British-style response.

The unit is extremely compact but rugged. Despite housing two big transformers the G20 only weighs 4kg. Its aluminium cabinet is a clean design, with vents on the back to aid ventilation.

This amp can hold six separate Torpedo presets. Just hook it up to the Torpedo Remote app and load them up. This rotary switch cycles through your presets.

This amp can hold six separate Torpedo presets. Just hook it up to the Torpedo Remote app and load them up. This rotary switch cycles through your presets. (Image credit: Future / Olly Curtis)

Indeed, let's turn our attention to the back of the amplifier. Here you have MIDI connections to control all of the G20's switched functions. There is a buffered series effects loop, XLR balanced output, USB and ground lift, and easy-access bias adjustment and fuse.

Performance and verdict

The G20 operates with very little noise – a sign that all is good under the hood. The cleans are ball-park Fender, with the dual 6V6s offering a nice bit of buttery heat that can be easily sharpened by the smooth and musical EQ.

Compensating for different guitars with different pickups is easy. The Wide switch is a nice instant tone fixer, adding a bit more substance to the low and top ends to help you find the sweet spot with low volume cleans. When the lead channel is engaged, it really does as advertised – it adds width, and it sounds huge.

The lead channel is where the G20 starts to perform its magic. It's very much a West Coast lead tone, that juicy, saturated sound that melts into harmonics. 

The three-way aggression switch lets you sculpt this gain a little, taking it from the aforementioned molten leads to one with a bit more teeth. Helpfully, the switch changes colour to let you know which level of aggro you've selected. 

The 3-band EQ is powerful and smooth, but the Wide switch comes in handy for boosting low volume cleans and making that lead channel monstrous.

The 3-band EQ is powerful and smooth, but the Wide switch comes in handy for boosting low volume cleans and making that lead channel monstrous. (Image credit: Future / Olly Curtis)

With the onboard Two Notes Torpedo module, your options are greatly expanded. Six cabinet emulations are pre-loaded, and if you want to switch them up, simply connect to the Torpedo Remote app on your computer via USB and get busy choosing your cab emulation, virtual room ambience, virtual mic, load any IR of your choosing and get creative.

The Torpedo's digital voodoo is applied to the signal from the XLR and headphones out, while keeping your speaker output dry – perfect for wet/dry setups and perfect for practice, with the Torpedo's cab emulation adding life and space to its headphone mix.

There’s MIDI control of all of the Revv G20’s switched functions, and you can save up 128 patches of your favourite settings. 

There’s MIDI control of all of the Revv G20’s switched functions, and you can save up 128 patches of your favourite settings.  (Image credit: Future / Olly Curtis)

There is no end of tweaking to be had, but crucially it is easy and quick to change settings and switch up your tone. The emulations are top quality.

Also consider...

(Image credit: Future)

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Cornell Explorer Head
A small, deceptively versatile tone monster that makes a great recording tool, the Explorer 10 is an exceptional amplifier.

All in, the G20 is the quintessential modern amp head, blending MIDI and USB connectivity with state-of-the-art digital tech. It has gain to burn and three flavours of it to play with. The cleans are Fender-esque, which is to say that they're excellent, and on full-power, there is enough muscle to let your riffs shout over the drummer.

It's portable. It's versatile. Don't let the high-gain capability put you off; the G20 excels all the way across the gain spectrum. Whether you're using it in the studio or live, where you can send the signal directly to the sound desk with options aplenty, the G20 has you covered.

MusicRadar verdict: A super-versatile amp with some real high-gain menace under the hood, the Revv G20 marries old-school tube amp magic with cutting-edge digital emulations that make it an exceptional option for pros and serious players.

The web says

"Aimed at serious live and studio players at all levels, we reckon it’s excellent value for money and could be the perfect tool for those who want the reassuring security of a real amp, while enjoying the versatility of cutting-edge direct-to-desk cab simulation. Revv’s G20 is proof that sometimes you can have your cake and eat it."
Guitarist

Hands-on demos

Rabea Massaad

Ola Englund

Revv Amplification

Specifications

  • ORIGIN: Canada
  • TYPE: Valve preamp and power amp with Two Notes Torpedo reactive load and cabinet emulation
  • OUTPUT: 20W switchable to 4W
  • VALVES: 2x 12AX7, 2x 6V6
  • DIMENSIONS: 190 (h) x 160 (d) x 315mm (w)
  • WEIGHT(kg/lb): 4/9
  • CABINET: Aluminium
  • CHANNELS: 2 with a choice of 6 internal cabinet emulations from the built-in Torpedo module
  • CONTROLS: Gain, treble, mid, bass, volume, 6-way virtual cabinet select. Wide switch, Aggression switch, 4/20-watt output switch, channel switch, store switch
  • FOOTSWITCH: Not supplied, can also be controlled via MIDI
  • ADDITIONAL FEATURES: Built-in Two Notes Torpedo reactive load/cab sim, USB (connects to Torpedo Remote app), balanced XLR recording out with ground lift, buffered series effects loop, external bias test points, pre/post switch removes power amp from direct output signal chain, headphones output with level control, MIDI in, cabinet lighting extension socket for dedicated Revv enclosures
  • OPTIONS: A dedicated footswitch will be available soon, but the MIDI option allows superior control and patch recall. There are matching cabs (UK availability TBA)
  • RANGE OPTIONS: The D20 is a little simpler and costs $1,199 / £1,049
  • CONTACT: Revv Amplification