Soldano Atomic 16
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Soldano Atomic 16

Atomic 16, Tube Combo Guitar Amp from Soldano.

content in English
King Loudness 27/01/2012

Soldano Atomic 16 : Recensione di King Loudness (content in English)

"Lil' screamer."
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The Soldano Atomic 16 is a smaller amp from the company known for building firebreather legends such as the Super Lead Overdrive 100 or Hot Rod Series of amps. It's definitely a very cool little amp though. It's single channel and has preamp gain, bass, middle, treble, presence, and volume controls. They are also available with onboard reverb. It's tube, and puts out about 20 watts as powered by EL84 tubes. There's no effects loop, though it might be an option if you order custom. Though it lacks the channel switching or functionality of some bigger amps, it keeps up with them in the tone department for sure!_

UTILIZATION

Getting a good sound out of this amp is pretty simple for sure. It's only single channel and the controls are all pretty interactive, which I like. The classic rippin' preamp gain is there, but you can also dial in some cool clean or edge of breakup crunch tones if you so desire that. It doesn't have a ton of low end to it (more focused in the high end to my ears) but it's also a low wattage 1x12 combo, so it won't have the heft of a 100w head pushing a 4x12 cab. It sounds cool with different guitars as well but seems to excel best with something with fairly hot humbuckers.

SOUNDS

This amp could be called a bit of a one trick pony tone wise. It really was designed to get that really high gain Soldano sound in a smaller package. However, it's the type of amp that still needs a bit of volume to really sound good, and 20 watts is still a pretty loud rig. At lower volumes I found it to be a bit scratchy and thin sounding, but as I turned it up it sounded pretty awesome. The clean tones when set up are quite nice. It's not as woody as a Fender nor as chimey as a VOX, but it has its own brigher vibe going on that's almost more hi-fi. The crunch tones are good for some Briish fury (kinda like a Marshall JMP or early 800) and with the gain really turned up high it's that classic rip roaring Soldano tone. It's very articulate and perfect for eighties riffage or leads to my ears. I can only imagine how could it would sound if it was pushing a 4x12 cab!

OVERALL OPINION

All in all I think the Soldano Atomic 16 is a great little amp for someone who wants that awesome Soldano hi gain tone at a lower volume and in a smaller package. It lacks many of the features of higher wattage/priced amps but it sounds quite good considering these supposed drawbacks. It sells new for about $1,200 for the reverb loaded model (a must for me since there's no effects loop) which is a pretty good deal. Compare that to the flagship SLO at almost $4,000, and it's a comparative bargain!