REVIEW: Jet City JCA20H

Michael J Soldano founded Soldano Custom Amplification in 1986 after years of notoriety as an amp modifier to the stars, and his flagship model, the SLO-100, has found its way into the quiver of players as diverse as Eric Clapton, Mark Knopfler, Silverchair’s Daniel Johns, Joe Satriani and even Eddie Van Halen, who used one for the majority of the For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge album. Soldano’s “strip everything to the essentials” design philosophy comes with a hefty price tag – the best components and flawless build quality don’t come cheap – so Soldano has teamed up with Jet City Amplification to offer a series of amps that carry through on the essence of his design manifesto at a much lower price point than the sometimes shocking price tags found on amps like the SLO-100. (By the way, Jet City has also enlisted THD legend Andy Marshall for the PicoValve, a low-wattage amp based on a single 6L6 power tube which can be switched out for almost any octal-based power tube without rebiasing).

The JCA20H is stripped-down 20 watt single-channel amp with no crazy tone switches or power damping or any other such gadgetry. The power amp features a pair of EL84 tubes, partnered with a trio of 12AX7s in the preamp (the rectifier is solid state). Controls are Gain, Bass, Middle and Treble in the preamp section, and Volume and Presence in the master section, and that’s it. Not even a reverb. This really is a what-you-see-is-what-you-get amp. A lot of thought was put into the choice of transformer too, which had to be low in cost while providing boutique tone. Jet City uses audio-grade metal film resistors and high-quality copper for all internal connections as well.
CLICK HERE to buy the JCA20H from Musician’s Friend.

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