Hi fellow forum geeks,
A couple of months ago I got back from Guitar Candy (little shop with INCREADIBLE equipment in Belgium) with...
... another amp. God knows what I do with all of my amps, but I couldn't resist, as this truly is the most impressive piece of engineering in amp world I played so far.
I'm talking about this new mofo: Engl Invader II with built in Z16 mod.
The cool and innovative thing about this amp is the Z16 mod. It allows you to tweek (cut or boost) for each channel AND each modus per channel (high/low gain setting, sound on/off) 6 different aspects on the amp cirquit. Scroll down a bit and take a look at the pictures below if it's not clear at this point yet. Add that to the 4 channels (each channel has 4 different modi) and the 4 seperate EQ's and 2 FX loops, and you already get the picture: you can create almost ANY sound with this amp.
Now about the amp itself. It's obviously based on the Invader I (which already was one of my favorite Engl amps). Very nice clean channel, although I personally prefer the cleans of my VH4, which are a little less colored, more neutral/HiFi sounding. This is only from first impressions, because I didn't really buy this for the clean channel. Don't get me wrong, it's a VERY nice clean channel, I just personally prefer my Diezel.
Second clean channel (lets call it crunch) is superb. From warm bluesy almost clean tones in low gain modus to spanking hard and very direct (like the notes get whipped right into your face) ACDC-esque sounds up to even NWOBHM tones in high gain modus. I'd definatly use that channel to play Maiden and Priest stuff, even the early metallica stuff and Annihilator tunes. You can surely choose for the 3rd channel for these things too, but I wouldn't. That second channel is just so in your face and tight, holy crap!
3rd channel is a lot more modern voiced, and has quite some grit and dirt in it's gain voicing. Good for Machine Head/Mastodon/slipknot/Lamb of god/Grip inc kind of tones. The low end is clearly less tight than at the second and forth channel. I do prefer the 3rd channel on the VH4 though, but then again, nothing is better than 3rd channel of the VH4 (yet lol)
Or is it?
Kick the Invader II into it's 4th channel in high gain mode, turn back the gain knob until you reach a level between 9 and 10 'o clockset the highs at 1 'o clock, mids around 12 and bass at 10-11 o'clock (a bit like it was photographed in the second pic) and I'll promiss you your jaws will drop like they never dropped before. The tightness, the clarity, the fast note tracking, the oomph in your guts, really, you have to test it to believe it. This will become my setting for my riffing.
How to get a boost for solo's? 2 master volumes YAY!!! Kick it in the second master volume and you'll can set the boost of volume for yourself.
Great little feature at the back:
As you will have noticed with many other amps that have several voicings of gain stages per channel, that there might be a huge difference in volume if you switch between the two settings. Engl now implemented 4 volume level knobs at the back which control the level of volume between the low and high gain settings for each channel. How great is that?
Enough talk, it's fap time!
With the family: