Engl Invader 150 Review
Original author: FelixU
Weapon: Guitar Amp
Model: Invader 150
Price: The price for the 100 W version is about $2,849.00 / 2000€
and for the 150W version $2,999.00 / 2100€. The standard box is about $949.00/ 650€. The XXL box is about $1,349.00 / 1000€
THE ENGL INVADER 150
four 3-stage EQs incl. logarithmic treble curve
Bright switch for Channels 1 and 2 (Invader 100 also 3 and 4 )
separate Gain and Volume controls for each channel
Hi / Lo Gain switch
Noise Gate with threshold adjust
2 parallel FX loops
4 x ECC 83 / 12 AX 7 preamp tubes
Tuner out activated via standby switch
150 watts (6 EL 34 tubes)
Master A / B switch
Presence and Depth Punch control for power amp soundshaping
electronic tube protection circuit and powertube monitoring system
MIDI IN / THRU
, jack for ENGL Z-9 footswitch, jack for ENGL Z-4 / Z-3 footswitch
2 x FX Send, 2 x FX Return, 2 x FX Balance
preamp out / tuner, line out / power amp
speaker outs 2 x 4, 2 x 8, 1 x 16 ohms
MIDI programmable functions at a glance, storable in any combination as required
Master A / B, Bright
Hi / Lo Gain
FX Loop 1 and 2
amp mute (tuner)
Dimensions & Weight:
71 x 27 x 29 cm, 21 kg
3 years in a row the ENGL Special Edition E 670 Amp got the award for the best an most complex tube amp. Hundreds of switching combinations , Power amp switching 50W/100W …….. This amp is a monster!
But more and more people were arguing that this amp is so complex ….
The reaction of the ENGL company was the Invader. The invader is a stripped down version of the special edition amps.
No presence A/B switching, no Poweramp switching, and no chorus effects. But for 1 grand less – it’s a fair trade off !
Each of the 4 channels got a really classical 3 band EQ + a gain and a volume knob. Plus for the channel 1 + 2 (Invader 100 all 4 channels) a bright switch + high gain switch.
There is only one bright and high gain switch an the front panel but, the amp is full midi programmable so you can use every combinations of settings for each channel.
In the master section you can find: Presence and depth punch Master A – B
For effect junkies there are 2 FX Loops (serial or parallel useable) and a balance poti. You can switch fx channel 1 or 2 with the switch at the front panel or with midi.
A very cool function is the adjustable noise gate Cause of the moderate gain structure the noise gate is not active in channel 1.
Mute function: Mute the amp with the stand by switch or with a midi setting (good damn cool feature)
The backside of the amp
Here you will find the outputs for the speaker (1x 16 /2 x 8 / 2 x 4 OHM) If no box is connected to the head the amp stays in the mute function – to avoid damages of the tubes.
The power tube monitor is also a very good feature If one of the tubes is done – the power tube monitor will show you which one it is.
Line out here you will get the complete signal of the pre amp including effects and everything
Pre Output can be uses for tuners because this output is not deactivated while the mute function is on.
Ground lift separates the signal ground from the amp ground to avoid un pretty humming loops wonderful feature for big rigs!!
4 x ECC83 Tubes
6 x EL34 tubes
Gives you about 150 W of pure tube tone ( but you don’t have to crank the amp up like hell to get a good sound with lower setting the higher frequencies are not that strong adjust them with your EQ and everything is fine)
The tube mounting is awesome one of the preamp tubes is encaged with an full metal box
The quality of the amp is out standing Built like a rock The box consists of a bunch of layers of wood (all in all 2,8 cm strong) (LIKE ALL ENGL AMPS) You can take this amp an the road - hand down no discussion!
Ladies and gentleman let me introduce you – the state of the art - of writing manuals
Horst Langer the designer of the ENGL amps knows about the needs of customers Check it out – you can download the manual on the companies website.
The 4 channels
All in all the core sound of the invader is precise , voluminous, modern and with a punch like the fist of god!
The high gain mode increases the volume a little bit, but not much, use the second master to adjust the volume or use it as a solo boost.
The idea behind those versatile 4 channels is not
Okay the first one is the clean channel ….
No with each channel you can achieve hardly any sound you want
Just the amount of gain is increasing with each channel – but you can also play a lead solo with the first channel if this is the sound you are looking for.
Channel 1: clean to crunch (awesome clean tone blues country funk what ever )
Channel 2: crunch to rhythm and lead ( very warm crunch, warm leads good rhythm metal and rock from the 80ties Iron Maiden to Metallica )
Channel 3: Crunch to Rhythm and lead (modern crunch sounds and modern metal lamb of god / Devil driver/ machine head ….. )
Channel 4: very strong Mids (Crunch rhythm Lead)
I think the Mids are to strong for a good rhythm sound but it’s the ultimate lead channel. Harmonics and tapping’s sounds awesome
4 complete independent EQ for 4 Channels with 8 Modes (low and high gain) The low and high gain mode changes not only the amount of gain - it’s changing the whole voicing of the channel
In many many forums you will find postings with – the invader is a [pooey]amp but
It took me about over 6 months to learn this amp because it’s so sensitive
If you are changing the presence knob from 5 to 6 you got an complete different sound
So nobody could tell me the he/she is able to checkout the whole sound of the invader in their music store within 10 minutes to one hour.
Channel 1 :
clean to crunch or two different clean sound
Gain: at 9 ‘o clock
Bright switch ON
Bass at 12 ‘o clock
Mid & Treb. At 2 ‘o clock
Delivers a brilliant glassy clean tone - but still with warm accents!
State of the art for country or funk lovers!!!!
Same EQ settings Bright off and high gain on and here it is A strong and very warm sound with very strong mids!
Old school vintage sound (like SRV) – also no problem with this HI FI channel
The Invader is reacting extremely sensitive on the personal way of your playing style and shows every dynamic nuance in detail. When you are playing cords you can hear each single string like you recorded them separately.
The other three channels got different amounts of gain but the spectrum of mids is the core difference of 2, 3 and 4. the best way to get the amp known is to start with all setting at 12 ‘o clock and then adjust here and there a little bit .
Channel 2 got as much gain as the most of the hottest kick ass lead channels of other tube amps! Unbelievable !!! – and it’s the second channel!
Cause a thinned out distortion of the lower mid – distorted arpeggios are extremely clear!!!!
Low Gain – more gain – much more gain - ridiculous much more gain – please switch to the high gain mode - ……
But in all channels the sound is never getting fuzzy - very good JOB
Is the best friend of all metal heads and power cord freaks all over the world Very strong bass and low mids gives this channel the power for all modern styles of heavy music.
But high gain off and decrease the bass knob and there you’ve got a clear domination of the trebs.
Channel 3 is another rhythm and lead channel but with much more gain as channel 2.
The amount of gain you can get in this channel is quite abnormal !!
Play a Note – wait – wait – drink something – check your hair – the note is still there After a long time the tone is switching to harmonics and there it goes…………
A dream comes true!!!!!
Solos, pull offs , hammer ons, tapping ……… unbelievable!
But – merciless you will hear every little mistake (good thing this amp makes me a better play because of it )
But the best thing is you can hear the core sound of your instrument in every channel with every gain setting.
Well i am a gibson and esp fan but you will always hear the pickup combination of your vintage strat also with high gain in channel 4 The amp fits also perfect to EMG but you have to increase the BASS knob a little bit!
For me it’s very hard to say which the best channel or function is – the amp is all in all a very strong and good concept – for a very fair price!
Check out the homepage of “rock solid amps“ http://rocksolidamps.com/ there you can find sound files – these files (of each amp) sounds like the original amp without any fakes
You can compare the invader power and the flexibility with the mesa road king but in my opinion is the sound of the invader way better and you have to spend about one grand more for the road king. (okay the rode king got some additional features but as an semi professional guitar play you don’t need more flexibility as you get with the invader - that’s for sure )
But a very important thing is the box - if you got enough money please buy the XXL cabinet because the difference between the standard box and this one is like day and night.
The core sound of the Engl standard box is a little bit scratchy and scooped. The sound is cool for metal of rock rhythm sound but with clean or solo sounds it starts to get parasitic.
If you got any other questions let me know.
If you like it - i will do reviews for the savage and the powerball aswell Cheers Felix