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> Matchless Amps, Waaaay Over Rated?
Todd Simpson
post Nov 19 2014, 07:19 PM
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I tried a MATCHLESS amp the other in a local music shop here in town and I was very underwhelmed. It was priced just above what I paid for my first used car. Then I plugged in to an old VOX sitting next to it. Both were on clean channel. Both sounded roughly the same. The vox was $350. Add a ZERO to that price and you get the MATCHLESS.

Call me a PHILISTINE but WOW do these amps ever seem overrated. Anyone have any experience with these? I thought the price was a mistake at first. But nope.

Here is a vid with CHAPPERS @ NAMM near the Matchless booth. I think being near the booth must cost money smile.gif (kidding)



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This post has been edited by Todd Simpson: Nov 19 2014, 07:57 PM


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klasaine
post Nov 19 2014, 11:41 PM
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Which Matchless amp? A new one, or one from the 90s?
The original Mark Sampson (later of Badcat and now of Star Amps) designed and built models are the ones the reputation was built on.

They're definitely a specialized animal. Clean to medium breakup in the vintage Vox AC camp is where they excel. They are friendlier to normal output pickups and the lighter OD/boost type pedals. They were always comparatively expensive but I wish I had the forethought to buy one in the mid 90's when you could get one of the heads for around a grand.

This post has been edited by klasaine: Nov 19 2014, 11:57 PM


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Saoirse O'Shea
post Nov 20 2014, 10:21 AM
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I have a Matchless Lightning, which I bought new in 1995 (give or take a year). When I got it I tried out over 10 different valve amps all more or less in the same price band including ones from Mesa, Dumble and quite a few other boutique marks. The Matchless had a more organic sound than any of the others that i tried and that is what I liked. Some 20 years and a few tube changes later it still impresses me.


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Todd Simpson
post Nov 20 2014, 02:16 PM
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There must be something to them as they bring a very high priced and hare highly prized. It's quite possible that I don't play on the clean channel enough to really appreciate the subtle beauty of such amps. It didn't look like a new amp but it looked well maintained. I'm guessing it was 5 years old or so?

It was clearly not a high gain monster and was just not an amp I would normally try but I was curious smile.gif They also had a SOLDANO SLO 100 which sounded amazing once I put an overdrive in front of it. This is part of what set me off and spurred me to post about the pricey orange amps that require a $100 stomp to really scream.

Some folks seem to feel that putting a 100 dollar hunk of stomp box in front of $2,000 worth of tube hardware is pure blasphemy, but I gotta say it sure sounded better with some boost IMHO! Here is a vid with LASSE LAMMERT bossting an SLO to spiff effect smile.gif





QUOTE (tonymiro @ Nov 20 2014, 05:21 AM) *
I have a Matchless Lightning, which I bought new in 1995 (give or take a year). When I got it I tried out over 10 different valve amps all more or less in the same price band including ones from Mesa, Dumble and quite a few other boutique marks. The Matchless had a more organic sound than any of the others that i tried and that is what I liked. Some 20 years and a few tube changes later it still impresses me.



Sadly I have no idea which one it was. It did say "matcless" on it which is what made me curious smile.gif IT looked like this guy.

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QUOTE (klasaine @ Nov 19 2014, 06:41 PM) *
Which Matchless amp? A new one, or one from the 90s?
The original Mark Sampson (later of Badcat and now of Star Amps) designed and built models are the ones the reputation was built on.

They're definitely a specialized animal. Clean to medium breakup in the vintage Vox AC camp is where they excel. They are friendlier to normal output pickups and the lighter OD/boost type pedals. They were always comparatively expensive but I wish I had the forethought to buy one in the mid 90's when you could get one of the heads for around a grand.



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Mertay
post Nov 20 2014, 02:41 PM
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I do love Vox smile.gif

Never tested a Matchless, I'm sure the components are very high quality but being unique specially on guitar sound (where to me its more about imperfections) I think doesn't have much relevance to quality components.

Or maybe the engineer intended to balance the amp purely for pedal use? like many expensive Ibanez guitars come with affordable pickups, most likely cause they already know the user will prefer his selection rather than the companies.


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klasaine
post Nov 20 2014, 11:16 PM
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QUOTE (Mertay @ Nov 20 2014, 06:41 AM) *
I'm sure the components are very high quality but being unique specially on guitar sound (where to me its more about imperfections) I think doesn't have much relevance to quality components.


The imperfections that you (we) hear are a by-product of the inherent 'drift' of component values (especially the caps) as well as the idiosyncrasies of certain components (tubes, transformers, diodes) and not an attribute of their original design or quality.
'Vintage' Vox amps used high quality components at the time. Same for all the iconic amp brands - Fender, Marshall, Gibson, etc. The main reason there are so many Fender amps from the 50s and 60s still around is that they were very well made with great quality parts and workmanship (and they aren't that complicated to repair).

One of the reasons why so called boutique amps are so expensive is that most of them try to use the same types of high quality transformers, caps, tubes, etc. ... which are getting harder to find and/or more expensive to have made.
Pedal and amp makers are constantly complaining about the current (inconsistent) quality of op amps, switches, potentiometers, etc.

This post has been edited by klasaine: Nov 21 2014, 06:28 AM


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