looseness of the lows, and the tone knob
resembles a typical presence control, delivering brighter, sharper sounds the more you
crank it clockwise. Watts enables you to
drop the Ironheart down to less that a single
watt, which is great for players looking to get
natural, biting power-amp overdrive without
having to endure face-ripping volume levels.
The amp’s built-in digital reverb offers one
knob that adds more or less of the effect.
The Ironheart’s back panel is pretty sparse.
There’s a serial effects loop with a switch to
either bypass it, or set it at 0 dB or - 10 dB
level. The amp can also be easily converted to
EL34s by replacing the output tube complement and flipping the bias switch on the back
panel. Channel switching, activation of reverb
and pre-boost, and alternating between the
clean and rhythm modes on channel 1 are all
controlled via a 4-button footswitch that connects to a 5-pin DIN jack. And if you forget
the footswitch at home, there are also two 1/4"
jacks for connecting conventional switches that
cover everything the supplied one does.
Laney offers both 2x12 and 4x12 cabs
to handle the Ironheart’s output. Both the
IRT212 and IRT412—which is used for
this review—are loaded with custom Laney
12" speakers, each rated to 80 watts. At
only a little over 65 pounds, the IRT412 is
surprisingly light. That might seem like a
hefty weight to those who regularly gig with
small combos, but in the world of stacks, it
almost ranks as a featherweight.
Deaf Forever to the Battle’s Din
On one hand, the Ironheart is designed to
deliver molten metal tones, and boy, does it
deliver on that count. While its second channel roars and bellows like a smoldering beast,
the real surprise here is the amp’s excellent
clean channel, which delivers a wide range of
crystal-clear tones with a hi-fi edge.
With the tone controls set flat and the
reverb up about halfway, open chords I
played on a Telecaster sounded full and
lush, with an extremely tight low end.
The bass and treble controls both have
huge ranges in clean mode, and you can
significantly reshape your sound using just
these two controls. My attempts to loosen
up the lows by adjusting the dynamics and
the mid knobs had only a nominal effect.
But each of the control’s push-pull features
had a pronounced effect on the signal. You
can get a lot more pop and cut by pulling
out the treble knob, and that’s sweet for
twangy country riffs. The clean channel is
also responsive to picking dynamics, and