Soldano Atomic 16
|Soldano describes this
little amp as "Sonic Detonation in a Briefcase" - and that is very accurate. It
may, in fact, be putting it mildly.
|I acquired my first
Marshall - a 1975 Super Lead 100 - back in 1978 and have been a dedicated Marshall fan
ever since. That is, until I plugged into a Soldano for the first time.
|The thing that initially
blew me away about the Soldano is it's clear articulation of every subtle nuance of every
note. This can be a good thing and a bad thing. One quickly discovers any inadequacies in
their playing, as a Soldano exposes everything - and I mean everything. If you depend on
gobs of gain and distortion to mask sloppy technique - the Soldano will not be your
friend. But, if you relish that distinct Marshall type growl coupled with unparalleled
punch and clarity, the Soldano will help to make you a better player by exposing every
shortcoming in your technique and forcing you to work hard to overcome them so that you
can fully enjoy playing through these remarkable amps.
|What you see to the left is a stock Soldano
Atomic 16 head atop two Marshall 1x12 1931A and 1931B speaker cabs.
|Sadly, Soldano does not offer matching 1x12
cabs to compliment this little beast, so I had to search down these old Marshall relics
which are no longer in production. In fact, the Atomic 16 itself is no longer in
production, having been superceded by the Astroverb 16 which has a reverb tank added. I
have not had the opportunity to play through an Astroverb, but it is said to be identical
to the Atomic with the addition of reverb. The Atomic is more suited for me, as I am very
much a purist - I don't like any crap messing with my tone and prefer to plug straight
into the amp.
|Guitar - cord - amp - period.
|If you prefer the added
punch of a 4x12 cab, this little tone machine will easily drive a full size Marshall cab,
and will keep right up with most 50 watt heads.
|This amp is bone stock,
with the only changes being the addition of a set of matched JJ EL84's, high-gain ECC83's
for v1 and v2 of the preamp, and a balanced ECC83 for the v3 phase inverter. The JJ tubes
added a bit of low end and overall warmth to the tone.
|When it's all said and
done, I could sell my Marshall tomorrow and be completely satisfied with this being my
only amp. Soldano amps are not cheap, but in my opinion are indeed worth every penny. Try
one for yourself - you'll be in tone heaven and lovin' life!
Blues City Music
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