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Ibanez TSA30 - 30-watt 1x12" Tube Combo Amp Reviews

3.5 stars based on 3 customer reviews
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  • enderun
    from September 7, 2012Music Background:
    session musician

    great value for money amp!

    Clean tone sounds brilliant and the tube screamer internal circuit nearly matches the ts808 (an industry standard).

    This amp is suitable for blues, classic rock, r&b, jazz, and maybe alternative.

    I like the design. The color also makes me stand out from other amps. It's made in China but I haven't owned it for a long period of time to test its durability on the road.

  • Greg
    from Moyock, NC July 27, 2012Music Background:
    Hobbyist / Amateur Musician

    Great tube sound at a great price!

    I was all set to purchase a blues junior when I picked up on the buzz about this amp. My other amps are half stacks and I wanted something smaller that I could carry to small bar gigs or jam sessions. I also needed something that had enough juice to cut through in a band setting on a small stage. This little 30W amp fit the bill perfectly.

    It has a surprisingly big and warm tone for a combo amp. When I got it, I plugged it in and just started playing the clean channel with the EQs all at 12 o'clock... it sounded fantastic. Once I started messing with the EQ's, it got magical... the EQ is very expressive and subtle adjustments have a significant impact on the sound.

    The boost provides a good solid bump, and I've found that I really prefer just leaving it on all the time as it really fattens the sound up and brings out some of the faint harmonics that aren't as easy to hear otherwise.

    The TS circuit is good, and sounds pretty much like the stock TS9 pedal. Thankfully, the good folks at Ibanez had the foresight to add send and return jacks after the TS circuit, so it's easy to introduce compression and time based effects after the TS circuit. I've experiemented with putting OD's both before and after the TS circuit and using it as both a first and second stage OD. Haven't decided which way I like best yet, but it works good both ways.

    The speaker included is not my favorite speaker, but it does not sound bad. I will probably purchase a separate 1x12 cab down the road to use in conjunction with this amp... probably an avatar cab with a hellatone 60.

    If there is one improvement that Ibanez could make (and they should SERIOUSLY consider this), it would be to put out a head only version of this amp. They don't need to change a thing about the head... just get it out of the speaker enclosure. Mine has a significant amount of tube rattle, even after I added silicone dampers to the tubes. This doesn't take away from the amp, but it does get annoying when playing in a small room at low volumes. This problem isn't exclusive to this amp... I think it exists to some degree in most, if not all, tube combos. Still, the fact that there's not a head only version is what keeps this from 5 stars (which probably isn't fair to this particular unit).

    Anyway, for the price, you are not going to find a better sounding tube combo amp for blues, southern rock or "bar" rock. If you're a metal player, this one will not be for you.

  • Richard Milyard
    from Fort Mohave, AZ March 10, 2013Music Background:
    Professional drummer, hobby guitar, Bass, Keyboards

    More of a crier than a screamer

    I was trying to get someplace in the middle of my Fender Blues Junior, and my Fender Frontman 25R.
    I have accomplished this with the TSA30, but have given up the smoother tube sound of the Junior, and the full overdrive
    of the 25R.
    What I have given up the most, is the overdrive, as the Tube Screamer is more of a Tube crier which I assumed a tube driven
    amp would probably sound like, and that is what I got.
    The amp has a notable hiss to it, but seems to mostly go away after warm up (this is a tube amp that needs to warm up).
    The cabinet is very nice looking and the only flaw I could find is in vinyl work on both bottom inside corners where the green dial plate sits; the cut and glue work is sloppy. The plastic lift handle is also a bit cheap and leaves handle shreds caused by the metal clasps when lifting.
    Since the amp is brand new to me, and a tube amp, I will have to give it more time to get used to. (It's kinda like going out with a new gal, as it takes a while to dial her in)
    At this point, I like the clean with the boost switch on which gives it a little growl. The Clean Boost and Scream switches together give you the loudest output, but for a cleaner scream, I like just the Scream switch on, and clean with no boost.
    When using the (so called) Screamer side, you need to crank up the Overdrive all the way to get any half way decent gain out of it.

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