even the hardest picking is never excessively compressed.
The channel’s rhythm mode is perfect
for fat ’70s-inspired riffing, though the
overdrive voice can seem congested if you
pile on too much gain. Conservative use of
preamp gain will give you a saturated edge
with less harmonic clutter.
The lead channel roars, to say the least.
Put a Les Paul with hot humbuckers in
front of this channel and you can rage like
a warlord and his army on a hellish ram-
page. There’s a nearly ridiculous amount
of preamp gain on tap—and at times it
can seem like too much. You hit the sweet
spot for heaviness with the gain control set
around 11 o’clock and the master at about
one o’clock (at least for humbuckers), and
beyond that increases in gain will clutter
things up fast. In general, the lead chan-
nel has a very serrated high end and gut-
punching midrange that rides over a dark,
powerful low end and gives individual notes
the weight of a wrecking ball.
Though the Ironheart is a worthy heir to
Laney’s heavy reputation, its also full of surprises. The amp’s stellar clean channel was, at
times, a revelation—especially considering that
the amp was built for metal mayhem. That
capability alone is a feather in Laney’s cap that
sets the Ironheart apart from 100-plus-watt
monsters with high-gain proclivities. There
may be big amps with more gain, but few are
as capable of such a beautifully wide range
of tones. And for heavy players with more
exploratory tastes and musical visions broader
than having more gain than the next guy, the
Ironheart has the goods to take you to head-banging Valhalla and calmer climes beyond.
Pros: Stunning clean channel. Great
digital reverb. Punchy and clear.
Laney Ironheart IRT120H, $999 street, laney.co.uk
Cons: Harmonic clutter at many
super high-gain settings.
Pros: Lightweight. Well-built. Affordable. Tones
Laney IRT412 cabinet, $499 street, laney.co.uk
Cons: High-wattage speakers have
a hi-fi tonality that might turn off some
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