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  1. #1

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    “Head to head” comparison of four amps: brand new for 2019, the Quilter Toneblock 202 and the Raezers Edge Luna vs 10 year old Acoustic Image Clarus SLR vs a vintage Walter Woods from 1978, the original class D amp that started it all. Two guitars use; a Ribbecke Testadura MK and a Ribbecke Halfling. I’d love to know if my guitar nerd friends like one more than another.

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    I'll bite!

    With the Testadura:
    1. Woods
    2. Luna
    3. Quilter
    4. Clarus

    With the Halfling:
    1 to 3: three-way tie between Luna, Quilter and Clarus
    4. Woods.

  4. #3

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    I may lack the fineness of ear for certain nuances and frequencies, but the consistency of the 4 amps (at what appear to be flat EQs) is more remarkable than any difference.*

    Are you sentimental about the Walter Wood? With each guitar, you seemed to let the opening notes on that amp bloom a bit longer than with the others. (And it responded well, as though you’ve known it for decades. I’m unfamiliar with WW, but came to Class D (Clarus, Quilter, Henriksen (?)) only in the last few years.)

    Then too it must be said that most of the consistency and clarity in this comparison is in your hands.

    Do you have a favorite of these, or a ranking?

    ________________

    *To hear differences—relative weaknesses, strengths in these amps—we might have to hear many more comparisons (all with treble rolled off; all with midrange maxed, etc.) And then there’s a risk of going crazy (either you or the listener) after hearing the same test phrases 12,16, 20 times....
    Robert Hill Long
    Ferndale California
    rhl.photography

  5. #4

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    I really wish you hadn't included the RE Luna. It's giving me a really bad case of GAS. I preferred it over any of the others. Next the Walter Woods, the Clarus was very close to that, and the Quilter was in last place, as usual. I've never heard a Quilter that I liked. I bought both the 101 and the 101 Reverb, and couldn't get rid of them fast enough. But that Luna, I may have to acquire one. And I already have too many amps.

  6. #5

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    Thanks, Mark -- sounds great!

    [What cab were you using, and were you using some outboard reverb, too?]

  7. #6

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    Actually those were all very good and quite usable. I really enjoyed your playing as well. I have Clarus, Henriksen and Quilter 202 class D heads myself. I found myself liking the Walter Woods the most by a slight margin. I would assume that is your keeper amp as others may come and go. That Luna also sounded great. Of course I have to like the most the two I don't have :-). But then again, as I said earlier, they all sounded great in your capable hands. Thanks for sharing this Mark.

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by marcwhy View Post
    Thanks, Mark -- sounds great!

    [What cab were you using, and were you using some outboard reverb, too?]
    all through a raezers edge NY8; close miked to Zoom liq5
    mike/iPhone. The woods has no reverb so I used a. Outboards pedal, whilst the other ones used onboard reverb
    Attached Images Attached Images Class D amp shoutout-7d8f07de-122e-43ac-b4cc-68c9c6d71a7e-jpg 

  9. #8

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    I like all the amps except Quilter. That one doesn't sound good no matter what guitar, but other 3 have different flavors I can live with fine.

  10. #9

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    I preferred the AI with both guitars, followed by the WW and RE with the Testadura but those two were a tossup with the Hafling. I thought the Quilter worked better with the Halfling but liked it the least with both guitars. I prefer a bit of softness to the attack and to my ears the Quilter had the hardest attack. But they all were very usable.

    Disclaimer- I have a Clarus 2r and RE12 of my own, so some of that may be familiarity.
    Beauty is as close to terror as we can well endure. -Rainer Maria Rilke

  11. #10

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    I like the WWoods for its clarity and midrange prominence. I like the AI Clarus SL for its malty rounded tone. The Quilter and RE Luna are...nice.

    I would happily keep the WW and AI. To know that the WW dates from 1978 is astonishing.

  12. #11

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    This is an interesting comparison in an unexpected way. I don't think this is a class D shoot out, more like a class D/ class AB ( probably) shootout. If the WW amp is from 1978, and judging from
    the huge heatsinks on the back of the WW, it's not class D ( which generates far less heat and doesn't need heatsinks). WW amps were innovative not for a class D power section, but for something equally useful and weight saving, a switchmode power supply, which all modern class D amps now incorporate.

    So the WW is the daddy, but for the innovative power supply, not class D

    But this only makes it more interesting; a chance to compare modern class D amps with a venerable, well regarded and - almost certainly - older technology, the WW.

    I like the Quilter; certainly wasn't expecting that

  13. #12

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    Hey, thanks!

    Aaahh! This is like wine tasting, with a couple of noble vintages (read: guitars) poured into glasses (read: amps&cabs) of slightly different shapes. Invariably, opinions differ, but we're talking of nuances. A fine dinner (read: concert) is a different story, as the wine is an accompaniment to other great tastes. You add salt, pepper and other condiments (read: EQ, FX) for a more perfect union. Not to speak of a cafeteria lunch (read: club gig), where such vintages are rare and wasted.

    Limiting the discussion to Class D amp heads only (thus excluding current DV Mark and Henriksen combos), the European jazz guitarist, at least on an amateur level, basically has DV Mark and Quilter to choose from. Between them, it's like comparing a robust red to a dry white. But if you can do without reverb or live with a separate stomp box, the G+K MB 200 or TC Electronic BAM 200 deliver great tones and plenty punch, while weighing under 2 lbs and costing seriously less than an arm and a leg.
    Last edited by Gitterbug; 11-18-2019 at 03:05 PM.

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by rhl-ferndale View Post
    ... Then too it must be said that most of the consistency and clarity in this comparison is in your hands.
    ... And then there’s a risk of going crazy (either you or the listener) after hearing the same test phrases 12,16, 20 times....
    A method to take the player out of such comparisons is to use a looper. Record a piece or test phrase into a looper, then put the guitar aside and play the recording from the looper into the amp being tested. That way, there are no variations coming from the players themselves, and listeners can evaluate the amps having the exact same input.

  15. #14

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    So just a thought about amps . It seems as though many here prefer a Neutral or Flat response amp with their Archtops as opposed to say a Fender type of tone.

    For me I like the Quilter since it not only works with my Elferink Tonemaster archtop, Martin OM 21, Tele, 335, even Synth etc.
    I end up using different size speaker cabs depending on application and venue.

  16. #15

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    The Quilter was a strong number 1 for me with both guitars (a surprise to me since I've never liked playing through any Quilter I've tried). Maybe the ToneBlock would change that. The Luna was number 2 with the AI a relatively distant third and the WW an even more distant fourth.

    Just a thought ... the WW and the AI are basically the amps that defined this genre and they deserve huge props for that but the Quilter and RE amps already had an established model to shoot for. I think that's huge advantage for them.
    My CD "Bare Handed" is available as a download at Bandcamp.com
    http://jimsoloway.bandcamp.com/album/bare-handed

  17. #16

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    All sounded good to me with the WW perhaps being my favorite, But they (Walter Woods) are expensive, old at this point and repairs may present difficulties. So I would choose one of the others. The customer service of Acoustic Image is beyond outstanding, so That should be a consideration to a prospective buyer.

    I have to say though, speaking of class D amps, my Henriksen Blu may be the best solid state amp I have owned, particulalry when using my (built by Rich) Raezer's Edge Stealth 10ER cabinet as a "boost". I think I am set for years to come. A class D Henriksen head, if they ever release one, would be a strong contender in this type of shoot out.

    Thanks for posting Mark!
    _____________________________________________
    "When the chord changes, you should change" Joe Pass

  18. #17

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    I liked the Quilter, and that's no surprise since I started using the 202 about 3 months ago and have never been happier with an amp in 50+ years.

    Given all of them seem to be set pretty much flat, I think I'd be happy with any one of them after about 10 minutes of knob tweakage.

    I'd like to point out that the 202 has quite a different EQ section from other Quilters, which would help explain Jim's comments. Note Mark's EQ settings. This is flat response and has plenty room to cut treble for those who might be so inclined.

    Thanks for the demo Mr K!

  19. #18

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    I liked them all; As a Corus III owner I am biased toward the AI. I thought they all gave workable tones - the flat settings give plenty of leeway for room-appropriate tweaks. Once again a prime example of "tone is in the fingers." Your elegant phrasing is captivating. Kudos, and thanks!
    Best regards, k

  20. #19

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    Clarus, Quilter, Luna, WW. The Clarus sounds smooth, round and flat. (If that makes any sense.) Don't like the Woods at all.

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Franz 1997 View Post
    This is an interesting comparison in an unexpected way. I don't think this is a class D shoot out, more like a class D/ class AB ( probably) shootout. If the WW amp is from 1978, and judging from
    the huge heatsinks on the back of the WW, it's not class D ( which generates far less heat and doesn't need heatsinks). WW amps were innovative not for a class D power section, but for something equally useful and weight saving, a switchmode power supply, which all modern class D amps now incorporate.

    So the WW is the daddy, but for the innovative power supply, not class Dt
    Interesting note about the Class D misconception. I am a big fan of Pearce amps. Early 80's SOA SS amps, made to compete with tube amps. Definitely not Class D. Heavy transformer and heat sink. (But still lighter than tube amps.) I still use a G2R in my studio, and recently bought the Pearce "preamp in a pedal" from Suncoast. I would be interested to hear the Pearce along with these other examples. It's definitely a more "all purpose" amp, from squeaky-clean acoustic, to shred.

    Class D amp shoutout-stereo-jpg
    Class D amp shoutout-suncoast-g2p-jpg
    Last edited by Woody Sound; 11-20-2019 at 10:33 AM.

  22. #21

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    Thanks all who listened and commented. Please check out the shootout part 2 which is 3 of these heads in a live setting. Cheers.

  23. #22

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    So maybe next shootout make us guess which amp you're playing. I'll bet the results will be differen t due to preconceived opinions.

    Also we should remember we are splitting hairs,since they are being used for one tone application. as well as not in a band setting or recording.

  24. #23

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    1. Quilter
    2. Luna
    3. Woods
    4. Clarus

    That being said, they all sound good in different ways. I own the Quilter 202 and I like it quite a bit, more than the other three or four Quilters I have owned.
    Also just got a Henriksen Forte head which has a tube pre amp that I am enjoying quite a bit so far.

  25. #24

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    Update: the quilter has been sent back. I didn’t like it on the gig as much as the others and I don’t need another living room amp.

  26. #25

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    I owned two Quilters, and got rid of both of them. I could not find any settings that I liked. The seller told me they were getting a lot of them back. But some people really like them. Different tastes for different folks.

  27. #26

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    I guess I`m the oddball, because I just bought another Quilter. Tone Block 202,which makes number 3.I can`t understand why any of you would not like it?
    It has the most usable Clean Tone of any amp I've ever owned ,and I've owned a lot.

  28. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Kleinhaut View Post
    “Head to head” comparison of four amps: brand new for 2019, the Quilter Toneblock 202 and the Raezers Edge Luna vs 10 year old Acoustic Image Clarus SLR vs a vintage Walter Woods from 1978, the original class D amp that started it all. Two guitars use; a Ribbecke Testadura MK and a Ribbecke Halfling. I’d love to know if my guitar nerd friends like one more than another.

    Hafling
    1. Walter Woods
    2. RE - Luna
    3. AI Clarus SLR, Quilter


    Testadura
    1. RE Luna
    2. Walter Woods
    3. AI Clarus SLR, Quilter

  29. #28

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    Usable is a very subjective term. I found no usable tones anywhere in either version of the 101. All I could get was a nasally honking tone, regardless of settings. It was always there and I couldn't get rid of it. But clearly a lot of people like that tone, and a lot don't. It's a matter of taste, and my taste is not the same as anyone else's, and no one needs to apologize for their taste.

  30. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by sgosnell View Post
    Usable is a very subjective term. I found no usable tones anywhere in either version of the 101. All I could get was a nasally honking tone, regardless of settings. It was always there and I couldn't get rid of it. But clearly a lot of people like that tone, and a lot don't. It's a matter of taste, and my taste is not the same as anyone else's, and no one needs to apologize for their taste.
    nasal and honking is in line what I was hearing. Not at low “home” volume but on the gig. The louder we played the more it came forward in the sound. Probably brought out a little more scofield in my playing that night, but that’s not where I really want to go. It’s an aggressive sound and does cut through a loud stage mix, though that might be part of what made the band extra loud that night.

  31. #30

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    The Quilter 101 I fou d to be underpowered for any loud gig application. On the other hand the Aviator and Tone Blocks would definitely cover any gig.
    Another important element is choice of speaker and cab. But this is true of any amp as well.

  32. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by jads57 View Post
    The Quilter 101 I fou d to be underpowered for any loud gig application. On the other hand the Aviator and Tone Blocks would definitely cover any gig.
    Another important element is choice of speaker and cab. But this is true of any amp as well.
    . True about speakers, but my Raezers edge cabs sound great (to me) with every other amp I tried, so I have no reason to start rig building from scratch.

  33. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by jads57 View Post
    The Quilter 101 I fou d to be underpowered for any loud gig application. On the other hand the Aviator and Tone Blocks would definitely cover any gig.
    Another important element is choice of speaker and cab. But this is true of any amp as well.
    I haven't tested the 101 in a live setting, but I just have a hard time believing the 101 wouldn't be loud enough. Can be enough to make the ears hurt.


    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Kleinhaut View Post
    nasal and honking is in line what I was hearing. Not at low “home” volume but on the gig. The louder we played the more it came forward in the sound. Probably brought out a little more scofield in my playing that night, but that’s not where I really want to go. It’s an aggressive sound and does cut through a loud stage mix, though that might be part of what made the band extra loud that night.
    Great comparison videos and nice playing. In the live videos it's hard to tell a difference; however, I agree the Quilter is a tad more nasally, but not a ton. IMO, the differences I hear could be minimized by twisting knobs. I'm fully on board with the notion that sounds we hear are very subjective.

  34. #33

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    I guess we all hear things differently. Good thing there are so many options available out there. Now if gigs that paid were that abundant,LOL!

  35. #34

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    Not gonna try to change anyone's mind or anything. Just wanted to say that I hate "nasally upper mid range honk" as much as the next guy. It's certainly not something I go looking for. I had that problem with Aviator 8 and bought another speaker cab and an expensive EQ to solve it. I don't have that at all with the 202. But I also prefer 12" speakers in open cabs. So that's... another variable.

    Mark sounds great through all three amps if you ask me.

  36. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by sgosnell View Post
    Usable is a very subjective term. I found no usable tones anywhere in either version of the 101.
    Hey gnosnell.

    As a Quilter owner, I've noticed a trend that any time Quilter is mentioned on this forum, you chime in with your disdain for Quilter's offerings. You've also mentioned that you do not like the Fender blackface thang, which Quilter is obviously emulating. So maybe this amp just isn't for you?

    My concern is that by consistently offering your dissenting opinion, you are providing a disproportionate negative consensus. Your opinion is, of course, valid, but maybe you need to limit the expression of it. Or qualify it by the fact that you don't like blackface tones, and therefore are not a fan of solid state emulations of blackface tones.

    Just looking out for other prospective Quilterites... I'm very happy with my 101 (and a big Fender Blackface fan), and I wouldn't want others to be put off by those who are really just after different tones.
    Jay

    'boobadoobadoobaooababop!'

  37. #36

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    Besides, it,s more of a middle high end quack, if you ask me :-) :-)

  38. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jehu View Post
    Hey gnosnell.

    As a Quilter owner, I've noticed a trend that any time Quilter is mentioned on this forum, you chime in with your disdain for Quilter's offerings. You've also mentioned that you do not like the Fender blackface thang, which Quilter is obviously emulating. So maybe this amp just isn't for you?

    My concern is that by consistently offering your dissenting opinion, you are providing a disproportionate negative consensus. Your opinion is, of course, valid, but maybe you need to limit the expression of it. Or qualify it by the fact that you don't like blackface tones, and therefore are not a fan of solid state emulations of blackface tones.

    Just looking out for other prospective Quilterites... I'm very happy with my 101 (and a big Fender Blackface fan), and I wouldn't want others to be put off by those who are really just after different tones.
    I am very happy with my MP-12, and newly acquired Aviator 8. Actually surprised at how full the Aviator sounds when adjusted correctly. Used it with my big band the past two weeks, and guys who didn't even notice a different amp came to me on the break telling me how great I sounded.

  39. #38

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    Here’s a full track from last week with the Quilter 202. Nothing wrong with it. Nothing at all