NAD - Soldano SLO-30 Custom

Discussion in 'Gear & Equipment' started by AndiKravljaca, Jan 21, 2021.

  1. AndiKravljaca

    AndiKravljaca SS.org Regular

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    So, I just picked this up from the good folks at TGT11 in Stockholm, after waiting for four months. It's a custom shop Soldano SLO-30, the 30 watt all new version of the SLO-100, made by Boutique Amps Distribution, but I'm sure most of you guys know that. It's something I never thought I would ever have a chance to play, let alone to own.

    The first time I discovered Soldano amplifiers was when I bought my POD XT way back when, over 15 years ago. Scrolling through the presets I was pretty underwhelmed by most of the amp models, and decided to just make a simple preset and then go through the amps one by one. There were some pretty good models, the Fender Deluxe was great for cleans, the Mesa Mark IIc+ model was great for crunch sounds and there were three Rectifier models, one of which worked well for heavier rhythm sounds. I even gave the old Insane model a spin and discovered it was actually pretty usable with the gain down. But there was one amp model which in my opinion was the best - the SLO 100 model. I made that the backbone of my POD presets.

    After discovering this model, I had to find out more about this mythical amp I'd never heard of, and the more I read the more I became convinced that this really was my 'dream amp'. But at the time I'd just come out of university and the prices on their website were laughable - it was the sort of amp you were never going to have in your life. But, since I liked it so much, I stuck with it through several iterations of amp sims and modeling platforms. Bias, Overloud, Helix, Nembrini, I was always after something that modeled the SLO-100 because the tone of that amp by now had become second nature to me.

    I read about Mike Soldano retiring in 2018 and immediately realized that this was it - I was never going to own one of his amps. Whoever had one, would hold on to it, and no new ones would be made. I actually put in a preorder for an Axe-FX III, figuring if I can't have the amp I want I might as well go for the 'best' modeling platform to simulate one.

    When news of BAD taking over manufacture came, and even more so when the SLO-30 was announced, I knew I had to make the choice. It's a once in a lifetime thing. Noone _needs_ an amp like this, but as a crowning achievement of guitar equipment, it's worth investing in. And as long as you're investing, why not make one that's truly yours? After all the company's name is Soldano _custom_ amplification.

    After talking to a local sales rep (it wasn't easy to find a Soldano custom shop dealer here in Sweden), I decided on a black panel for the amp, because I like the look of it, it looks sleek and modern that way. The grill cloth was really meant to emulate the grill cloths of old Soldano cabs, and I loved the look of the fabric, it made the amp look classy with a nod to the brand's visual history. The purple tolex was a natural concession to the Soldano color scheme of old, with the rack gear that they made. Together I figure it makes for an updated, rather sophisticated look which still pays homage to history in the right places.

    I have it set up in a 4CM configuration with my Helix. I haven't even begun to explore the possibilities of it yet, but I can tell you guys one thing. It's weighty, it's solid, and it feels like a piece of quality gear. It smells like... The closest thing I can give you is it smells like a gun. That slightly oily, mechanical smell, an old school, analog smell. It's quiet, the noise floor is so much more quiet than my JCM. It's _loud_. I don't know who rated two 6L6 tubes at 30W but this feels and sounds like it'll blow the roof off.

    I look forward to enjoying the ins and outs of the crunch setting of the normal channel most of all. The overdrive channel is what it says on the tin - it's just a perfect high gain channel, tight, articulate, present, punchy. But the crunch mode, I can tell that there's a whole world of color in there. I can't wait to discover just how this thing can sound.

    A long write-up, I know, but... you got to give a guy his new amp day. I'm grateful to the circumstances of my life, which managed to put me in a place where I could afford something which I never thought I would. So, cheers, and have a good day! I'm going to go back to tweaking now :)
     

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    Last edited: Jan 21, 2021
  2. BenjaminW

    BenjaminW SS.org Regular

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    Looks awesome!

    Have yourself a happy NAD!
     
  3. sakeido

    sakeido Contributor

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    oh shit its got that galaxy grille cloth on it :wub3:
     
  4. technomancer

    technomancer Gearus Pimptasticus Super Moderator

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    Killer choices, looks fantastic :metal:
     
  5. laxu

    laxu SS.org Regular

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    That's a great looking amp. If I ever decide to build a cab or another headshell I might steal the look!
     
  6. AndiKravljaca

    AndiKravljaca SS.org Regular

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    Thanks! I've only played it on its own in a room so far, but I've really got the feeling that this sounds like itself wherever the knobs are. I can't wait to record it and hear it back in a full mix, to really find out its sweet spots.

    Yeah as soon as I saw that at NAMM I had to have it. I paid a little extra but it's worth it for a piece of gear you're going to be looking at for years to come :) Thanks!

    Thanks a lot - it's pretty rare to be able to custom design an amp so I wanted to make some choices that set it apart, but still paid homage to old Soldanos.

    You're very welcome to! I'd love to see pics if you ever do. Might order a cab to match from you in that case :D

    Cheers guys, thanks for the replies!
     
  7. Bearitone

    Bearitone SS.org Regular

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    Ooohh it’s like a midnight-blueish purple, I love it!!!
     
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  8. narad

    narad Progressive metal and politics

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    I have an OG SLO and I'm very jealous of this aesthetic (and the deep knob)
     
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  9. Dineley

    Dineley SS.org Regular

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    so sick
     
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  10. Meeotch

    Meeotch SS.org Regular

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    Classy AF man! HNAD!
     
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  11. laxu

    laxu SS.org Regular

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    Is there a name for the grille cloth btw in case I want to find it?
     
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  12. protest

    protest SS.org Regular

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  13. efx1138

    efx1138 SS.org Regular

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    Congrats on a great amp! TGT11 is such a great store, bought a ton of guitar and amps from them over the years and they are always so friendly. Love going there when I can.
     
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  14. Ribboz

    Ribboz Enjoy

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    Happy NAD! As a fellow Soldano enthusiast I understand how you feel and am happy for you. I touch my SLO even if I'm not playing it. Like a good luck charm. Appreciate the amp and rock on man!
     
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  15. Leviathus

    Leviathus Psychotic Monster

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    Killer! Dig the purple. HNAD!
     
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  16. Deadpool_25

    Deadpool_25 SS.org Regular

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    That is a beautiful amp. Good choices on the colors.

    Good write up too. I like to hear the stories behind purchases. Now get back to playing that thing so you can tell us how it sounds!
     
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  17. AndiKravljaca

    AndiKravljaca SS.org Regular

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    Hey guys, just a little update - I've been enjoying this thing for about a week now, and I can honestly say it's the most 'out of the box' amp I've ever played. The whole amp is one big sweet spot, and so far I have a feeling I haven't even scratched the surface. I wanted to give you guys a playthrough of a guest solo I play on a friend's album. I could just play some open chords, but come on, it's a super LEAD overdrive, no? :D



    I'm definitely going back - they've been great through the whole process, and it's just a really nice vibe in the store, you feel welcome and it's neither an anonymous megastore nor a dusty place that looks down on anyone who doesn't have a '54 Strat.

    The knob is really interesting - what I've figured out is that you can basically dial down the bass for rhythm sounds, and really tighten up the preamp, but then put the body and thump back into the sound with the depth knob. Total game changer EQ-wise, because it gets rid of the flub.

    It's called 'Starfall' on their custom configurator. Looks awesome in a dark room because the threads are silver so they pick up and reflect ambient light!

    Yeah, I was telling a guy who wanted a solo done that I could either record a DI and send him or give him the sound of the SLO as well - and that's when it hit me. My SLO. Not a bad feeling at all, is it.
     
  18. narad

    narad Progressive metal and politics

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    Sick playing dude.
     
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  19. Millul

    Millul SS.org Regular

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    Yep, that's a really nice solo!
     
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  20. AndiKravljaca

    AndiKravljaca SS.org Regular

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    Thanks a lot. Credit to the guys in that band - it's easy to sound good when the chord structure and energy in the music behind you are awesome! Plus I think that my playing has improved significantly since I've been doing the Bioplan stuff and really challenging myself with it.
     
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