great for mildly distorted blues or Robben
Ford-style fusion leads.
Pros: Capable, flexible EQ. Great harmonic content from the
drive channel. Accessibly priced.
Dean Markley, CD60 Amplifier, $840 (street), ultrasoundamps.com
Thick, Layered Leads
The drive channel provides much of the
same range as the clean channel. At lower
gain-levels, the guitar’s volume knob is
effective for cleaning up the tone—
sometimes all that’s needed for fast switches
from rhythm to lead, and vice versa. The
drive channel can get incredibly dark and
bassy—especially on the neck pickup
of a Les Paul—though it remains richly
layered and breathy rather than muddy.
Santana Abraxas-esque lead, to a crazy-thick
and creamy Warren Haynes-like Soldano
sound (which you can get with the voice
and mid-boost switches flipped up), almost
everything that came out of the amp had
a cutting presence and sustain. I mustered
some awesome sounds at the furthest
extremes of the EQ’s range, too, from smol-
dering, room-shaking rumbles to raining
layers of intense filth by kicking the treble
knob up and engaging the bright switch.
A Stratocaster and the CD60 are a
great ticket to cutting but less-saturated
rhythm sounds. And the amp retains the
snappier character of the Strat, even with
the drive close to maximum. It takes a bit
more effort to fatten up lead tones, but the
right amount of bottom end from the amp
provided creamy, neck-pickup tones that
took on an almost humbucker-like mus-
cularity. Responsiveness is lightning-quick,
and the CD60’s digital reverb—though
Surprisingly, the drive channel outshines
the clean channel in terms of harmonic
complexity. And as lush and musically
adaptable as the clean channel was, switch-
ing to the drive channel brought the CD60
to life. From a scorching and singing
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Cons: Clean tones could be more complex.
not especially deep—adds warm, natural-sounding ambience. (The company says
the reverb has since been adjusted to
enable more depth.)
At a street price of $840, the CD60 would
be a great workhorse for anyone requiring warm, articulate cleans and an array
of distorted tones that can span decades.
With loads of natural, gritty edge on tap
and the ability to thicken leads with much
more bass and lower-midrange cream than
one would expect from a moderately sized
combo, the CD60 will satisfy those that
need power, character, and portability.