Laney is back!
The first time I played a Laney amp was in 1990 when Yamaha first brought in a few models. At that time, one of the guitar virtuosos, Vinnie Moore, used a Laney (which was really rare in those days).
I’m very glad that Yamaha is bringing in the new range of Laney amps, especially the tubes. One amps that caught my interest is the new Ironheart, a full tube 60-120W head. It is visually rugged, with big smooth knobs and buttons. Everything is laid out very clearly; the handles on its side are really useful for lugging it around. Definitely built like a tank!
I tested the Ironheart 2 x 12” combo – the IRT60-212. It has three channels: clean, rhythm, and lead. I was more eager to hear the clean (rather than the dirty option it had to offer) because Laney has already established itself on the heavy side of things. And what I got was an unexpected tone: crystal clear, fat, and very distinctive.
When I switched to the rhythm channel, I was blown away – each note I played on the guitar just rang and sang, cutting through and standing out; it was something that I always wanted on the rhythm (crunch) option. The stock tubes are 6L6s, but the awesome feature of this amp is its ability to switch between them and the EL34s with a flick of a switch.
The lead channel, in my opinion, is more of a metal/rock kind of sound, and despite not being my usual playing genre, I managed to coax my ideal tone out of the it. Smooth, high singing trebly distortion, very responsive to the EQs and somehow I had no problem getting the tone I wanted. But I was so caught up with the rhythm channel that I had to go back to that mode again. I just couldn’t get enough of the juice.
A few more things that I liked: the sweet reverb that wasn’t too overwhelming; options for dynamics and tone on the master section that cater to each guitarist’s needs much more flexibly than the usual presence knobs on other amps. And when you have to change guitars, you only need one knob to tweak the tone to your liking.
And to those who are afraid of having a big amp at home, don’t fret! The IRT-60-212 has an in-built attenuator, which eliminates the need to buy an external one. It goes from one watt and to the max! I only spent 15 minutes with the amplifier, and I’ve gotten so attached to it. If I have the chance to do a video review I would do it for sure. But for now, I am just trying to get closer to the amp, get to know it better and hopefully, fall in love with it.
For a full tube 60W combo, the affordable price of S$1,250 isn’t pocket-burning and it’s more than worth the cash. But don’t just take my word for it – go down to Yamaha Beatspot at Plaza Singapura and have a taste of the sounds the setup has to offer!