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Old 10.14.04, 7:16 AM
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Matchless Lightning 15

Has any one owned or have played a Matchless Lightning 15? I'm considering buying a quality amp and I think I might seriously consider this one. It seems a perfect fit for me, I like good tone, but I don't need a lot of volume (even tho I've heard that these amps are a loud 15 watts). So basically I'm just looking for your feedback on the quality and sound of these amps. Thanks a lot!
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Old 10.14.04, 7:33 AM
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Re: Matchless Lightning 15

Quote:
Originally posted by 3rdDay
Has any one owned or have played a Matchless Lightning 15? I'm considering buying a quality amp and I think I might seriously consider this one. It seems a perfect fit for me, I like good tone, but I don't need a lot of volume (even tho I've heard that these amps are a loud 15 watts). So basically I'm just looking for your feedback on the quality and sound of these amps. Thanks a lot!

The quality is outstanding on every Matchless amp I've ever played.
As for the tone, that's subjective. I happen to love tube rec EL34/84 based amps... Matchless does them very well, and the 'lil 15 isn't any different.

Don't let the 15w rating fool you. If you don't have any problem with volume (ie neighbors, sound restrictions) then you'll be fine, but if you have to be concerned with volume and can't crank that puppy up, you may want to consider something smaller, an attenuator, or a modelling amp.

The only downside I can think of with this particular model is the lack of reverb. I think for the money, you can find a comperable amp that has reverb...
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Old 10.14.04, 7:45 AM
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Quote:
Don't let the 15w rating fool you. If you don't have any problem with volume (ie neighbors, sound restrictions) then you'll be fine, but if you have to be concerned with volume and can't crank that puppy up, you may want to consider something smaller, an attenuator, or a modelling amp.
Thanks, man. Would this amp be louder than a Fender Hot Rod DeVille 210? This is the amp I currently own and it is 60 watts. I can barely crank it past "3" before the pictures on my wall start shaking off. I tried it out at the guitar store before I bought it. I thought it was loud, but I thought once I get it out into the church (this is where I spend most of my time performing) it would be okay. I was wrong, I don't think I've ever turned it up past "3" before my volume over shadowing all the other instruments.
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Old 10.14.04, 8:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by 3rdDay
Thanks, man. Would this amp be louder than a Fender Hot Rod DeVille 210? This is the amp I currently own and it is 60 watts. I can barely crank it past "3" before the pictures on my wall start shaking off. I tried it out at the guitar store before I bought it. I thought it was loud, but I thought once I get it out into the church (this is where I spend most of my time performing) it would be okay. I was wrong, I don't think I've ever turned it up past "3" before my volume over shadowing all the other instruments.
It'll be about as loud.
But it will perform closer to it's "sweet spot".
You'll also be dealing with a different speaker configuration (if you're looking at the lightening combo as opposed to the head/cab version)... and that affects the percieved volume and tone.

Do you use mostly clean tones?
Not that it is in the same class as the Matchless, but if you're happy with the Fender, you may consider purchasing an attenuator. Just a slight amount of attenuation, in the range of
-4 to -8db, will in essance cut your volume in half but still allow you to maintain thsimilar tone as to what you're getting unattenuated.
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Old 10.14.04, 8:19 AM
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I would also advise thinking about the volume. I don't think the lightning will be functionally much quieter than your fender. I use an Orange AD15/12 (also a Class A tube rectified 15 watt amp) with my band, and don't have any trouble with volume. 15 watts is plenty loud, though you will not have the headroom that you do with the fender. That said, when you are playing clean at lower volume, the lightening will probably sound better than the fender. Playing loud (full band situation) clean with the lightening will not likely be an option though. However, that power tube OD you will be getting from that amp will sound amazing.

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Old 10.14.04, 8:22 AM
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Quote:
But it will perform closer to it's "sweet spot".
This is what I'm aiming for. Granted, I've not gone out tried out a Matchless amp, but I know bands/artists that use them and I just love the sound they get out of them. I'm not huge into country, but I believe country artist Keith Urban uses some kind of Matchless amp, and his tone is mouth watering.

I like my Fender, but I'm ready for a change.
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Old 10.14.04, 8:22 AM
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One more thought.....if you are looking at the Matchless, you may also want to look at Bad Cat amps, which are similar. When I was looking for a 15 watt amp (initially wanted a vintage Vox AC15 until I priced that out), I looked in the Matchless and Bad Cat amps, got as far as the price, and found my orange relatively cheap used. I couldn't be happier than I am with the Orange. Well, I have never played that Matchless or Bad Cat (I don't want to know what I may be missing).

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Old 10.14.04, 8:26 AM
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Quote:
I use an Orange AD15/12 (also a Class A tube rectified 15 watt amp) with my band, and don't have any trouble with volume.
I've also been wondering about Orange amps. I've heard a lot of talk about them. How would you describe its sound? I've thought about purchasing one when I went to the Orange website and it specifically advertised the fact that they will sound awesome at a lower volume - is this true?
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Old 10.14.04, 8:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by 3rdDay
I've also been wondering about Orange amps. I've heard a lot of talk about them. How would you describe its sound? I've thought about purchasing one when I went to the Orange website and it specifically advertised the fact that they will sound awesome at a lower volume - is this true?
I guess I might describe it as somewhere between a Vox and a Marshall. Basically, I just set the master volume at max and then use the "gain" (preamp) volume to the desired level of volume. At the volume I am playing it, it is not clean, but it is amazing how defined everything is. Chords ring through perfectly clearly. It is almost like you can hear the amp running clean at the same time it is overdriving.

At lower volumes for clean stuff, it does sound really good. It is really nice warm clean sound. At comparable low almost bedroom volumes, the orange sounds much better than my fender twin reverb. That said, at band volume, my fender has that gorgeous fender clean sound, and the orange is anything but clean.

Also, at low volumes, the Orange (or matchless I would assume) will be far more sensitive to your pick attack than the fender. This, more than anything, probably has to do with sweet spot factor. It is something you feel more than hear, and makes playing the amp far more pleasurable.

If you can afford it, I would suggest getting the 15 watt amp and keeping you fender for while. They will be very different amps, and you may find that you want to use them both.

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Old 10.14.04, 9:09 AM
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Have you looked into Dr. Z amps? They are boutique amps in the same vein as Matchless, Bad Cat, Vox but are quite a bit less expensive yet equally impressive. I was recently looking into getting a Vox AC30 reissue but I decided to look into Dr. Zs. They are really sweet amps and are getting rave reviews and winning awards. I ended up purchasing a Dr. Z prescription 2x12 combo at a local boutique store and am loving it. Hand wired point to point, 45 watts of pure class 'A' tube warmth and chime. They also have several 15 watters.

Dr. Z has a wide range of configurations and options. http://www.drzamps.com.
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Old 10.14.04, 10:36 AM
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I played a HC-30 (30W) into a 1x12 cab, and had to use the half power switch the entire time I was in the shop testing it. Granted it's a slightly different amplifier but they are very very similar. They are really very nice amps. Built like tanks, very glassy, very expressive. It will bring out every beautiful thing in your playing, and also expose your faults. There is no hiding whatsoever behind them. The distortion is a really nice progressive breakup that remains articulate over the entire range. I'd highly reccomend any Matchless amp, including any of the 15W models.
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Old 10.14.04, 10:47 AM
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Quote:
Have you looked into Dr. Z amps?
Checking out that site, I see where Brad Paisley gets that awesome twangy sound. I really love that sound, but I'm not sure if the other band members will like it as much. We usually are playing a heavier rock style.
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Old 10.14.04, 12:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by 3rdDay
Checking out that site, I see where Brad Paisley gets that awesome twangy sound. I really love that sound, but I'm not sure if the other band members will like it as much. We usually are playing a heavier rock style.
The Route 66 is a nice heavy Dr. Z amp...
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Old 10.14.04, 2:27 PM
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Ha, trust me I don't play anything twangy. I'm a straight up indy rocker. With a Les Paul my amp sounds like the cross between a Vox and an Orange. You shouldn't necessarily look at who uses the amp. Think of all the different people that use Vox AC30s and Fender Twins and how so many of them are on the polar ends of the music scale.


Quote:
Originally posted by 3rdDay
Checking out that site, I see where Brad Paisley gets that awesome twangy sound. I really love that sound, but I'm not sure if the other band members will like it as much. We usually are playing a heavier rock style.
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