Soldano Atomic 16
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Soldano Atomic 16

Atomic 16, Tube Combo Guitar Amp from Soldano.

content in English
severinsteel 04/06/2012

Soldano Atomic 16 : Recensione di severinsteel (content in English)

"A mini JCM800/ Vox AC30"
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Single channel, 20 watts, 2 EL84's, standard EQ section with master volume, no FX loop, 2 16 ohm speaker outs, No standby switch, controls go to 11!

UTILIZATION

The Atomic 16 is somewhat of a rare bird. I have only seen 10 or so for sale since I purchased mine. Granted, I haven't been trolling ebay for them, but I have come across very few. They aren't like JCM 800's or DSL's which seem to grow on trees.

It is a very very very simple amp. If you can't get good tones from it, the problem lies with you. I sort of liken it to a JCM 800 as far as controls go. I will say the the lack of an FX loop is a letdown for sure, but oh well. I actually contacted Soldano about adding one, but it would have been a bigger undertaking than I could have afforded at the time. That was when I used the Atomic 16 as my main amp. Now a days, I use it for recording if I need a specific flavor.

SOUNDS

Like I mentioned above, the Atomic 16 sounds like a cross between a Marshall JCM800 and a Vox AC30. The distortion it produces is quite smooth. This probably has a lot to do with the EL84's in the power section. This isn't a 'high gain' amp at all, but you can get somewhat more than JCM800 levels of gain. It also takes pedals very well. If you dial it in clean, it really reminds me of an AC30; kinda chimey with a hint of breakup. I like to crank the gain on it to 11 since it sounds very smooth. In the past I used a Tube Screamer with it for even more gain.

My only real complaint about this amp is its lack of bass. It's not a huge deal, but coming from my Mesa's, you really notice they lack of low end. Now, it's perfect for recording, but for live I miss having that low end presence. Aside from that, the lack of an FX loop is a bummer since I use delay a lot. So, that's a deal breaker for me to use it live anymore. I've also gone to a higher gain flavor of amps, but this remains in the stable as a studio option.

OVERALL OPINION

Above all, this is the most reliable amp I have ever owned. I have changed the tubes once in twelve years, which is insane. It has never not worked, never had a hint of an issue, nothing. Just a total tank of an amp. Extremely well built.

This was actually my very first tube amp. I went into a guitar store to buy a Marshall, and I came out with this amp and 4x12 Soldano cab for 1k.

It doesn't have as many options as my other amps, but it isn't really meant to be that kind of amp. It's more of a simple amp with just great tones. It was a great first tube amp for sure. I have no plans on selling it.