The VH100R is a twin-channel amplifier with each channel having foot-switchable gain giving you four distinct sounds at your fingertips. Sonic characteristics can be broadly split into clean, crunch, stack style distortion and finally, full-on lead. Clean sounds are taken care of by a single volume control with an accompanying Bright switch – tone shaping comes courtesy of a three band EQ.
If it’s crunch you want then you can dial in drive via the Drive pot and control your level boost by the second Volume pot. Access to the overdrive channel is gained either via the front panel or using the FS4 footswitch, which is supplied with the unit. The Drive channel is laid out in the same clear way as the clean/crunch channel, but works in a slightly different way; the final footswitchable gain section adds to the existing gain and volume setting without overriding them. Four sounds with different gain characteristics, each with their own distinct identity – refreshingly simple.
ROUND THE BACK
The rear of the VH100R is home to numerous effects loops and speaker sockets presenting you with plenty of options when it comes to interfacing with outboard gear. The effects loops are laid out in simple, easy-to-use groups; one parallel loop for channel A, one parallel loop for channel B, one parallel loop which is global to the entire pre-amp, and an insert loop which functions in either series or parallel mode with its own return level control. Finally a pre-amp in/power amp out loop to round things off. If desired you also get the ability to retro fit 6L6/5881’s in place of the factory fitted EL34 outputs tubes at the flick of the onboard biasing switch.
The VH100R’s power comes courtesy of a quartet of factory fitted TAD EL34’s hand-selected for the best valve tone possible.The VH100R is a serious road-ready amplifier and is impressive in terms of build quality. The elegant top mounted grab handles show that a great deal of thought has gone into both the aesthetics, and practicalities of construction and use. Finished off in a black basket weave vinyl covering and a black and grey front grille, the chromed corners and white piping make this amplifier a real draw, even before you turn it on.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS COUNT
Firing up the VH100R leaves a big impression! Totally clean sounds – bright, punchy and solid. Single coils are bright without being painful: Humbuckers are smooth with lots of tone – but never nasal. Switch in the drive channel and you’re into that pleasing ‘just breaking up’ rhythm sound area – no mushiness here, even as you wind the gain up.
And then there’s the lead channel – stuffed full of harmonic richness and muscular tone. Dial in the additional gain and you’ve got everything from a bluesy wail to a rip-your-head off mega gain tone.