end, and plenty of headroom for crisp,
country-flavored fingerpicking. Increasing
preamp gain added a little grit, but without
any harshness in the treble frequencies. And
the ease with which you can move between
cleaner melodic lines and dig into overdriven, Stones-like Telecaster growl without
any loss in dynamics says a lot about this
While there’s no shortage of heavy
PRS players, for many the brand tends
to conjure associations with more refined
and bluesy tones. And the SE 30’s lead
channel excels at these tones. At moderate gain settings, both my Telecaster and
my Les Paul simmered with a round,
buttery character in the mids and highs.
Higher gain settings get you tones from
the Warren DiMartini or Jerry Cantrell
camp, though with a much less Marshall-like voicing and more of the clarity you
associate with a bellowing Mesa/Boogie.
First-position chords and barre chords
stayed crisp and defined at these settings,
and the 2x12 roared with a big, bossy
PRS Guitars SE 30, $927 street (head), $379 street (2x12 cab), $999 street (1x12 combo), prs-
Pros: Fantastic definition. Incredibly responsive to
different guitar types.
Cons: Clean tones hard to conjure with humbuckers.
Shallow, somewhat muffled-sounding reverb.
Ease of Use
low end. Downtuned riffs require cutting
the bass a notch or two to compensate
for the gigantic low-end presence, but
once you’re dialed in the SE 30’s ability to retain definition and clarity of
single notes over that big low-end bed is
remarkable. It sounds huge.
My only real gripe with the SE 30 is that
it has a relatively weak reverb tone. There’s
a subtle springiness to it, but the decay
tends to sound a little muffled. And sounds
as lush as what the SE 30 can crank out
sometimes call for a deeper ’verb tone than
what its small tank can deliver.
If your musical needs and proclivities run
the rock gamut, the SE 30 is a capable
partner in crime. It has great clarity and
bounce, and can be quite a chameleon,
depending on the guitar you plug in. The
construction quality and tone are impressive, and the matching 2x12 cabinet
pumps out surprisingly copious amounts
of well-defined low end. A stronger reverb
tone would be nice, but if you’re looking
to cover a wide spectrum of tones, the
SE 30 is a great tool with a powerful set