Eddie Van Halen is as meticulous with his tone as he is with his playing. While a considerable part of his tone lies within his fingers, his guitars and amps also factor greatly into the equation. Eddie played Marshall amps during the first few Van Halen albums and later went on to use Peavey amps. During the past few years, Eddie has developed his own line of amps that are manufactured by Fender. The EVH series of amps come in 50 and 100watt options for the head and 50watt for the combos. I read that during the testing phase of these amps, Eddie and Fender put these amps through rigorous trials including leaving it on and letting it feedback for a month to see how it held up. I appreciate the type of quality control that has gone into the production of this amp. I am reviewing the EVH 5150 III Combo that features one Celestion speaker and comes in a great ivory color. A four-button footswitch and casters are also included with the amp.
For this demo, I played a Jackson Dominion and a Gibson Dave Grohl 335 plugged straight into the amp. Channel One is the clean channel and while it sounded decent, I feel like it lacked some of the warmth that I prefer in an amp. Don’t get me wrong, the clean channel still sounds good, but just doesn’t have those pristine cleans that other amps may have. That being said, I think if you’re playing an EVH amp it’s for what the other two channels have to offer. My reason for wanting to try out this amp was for its overdriven and distorted options. There is also a switchable reverb that is very natural and sounds great in all channels
Channel Two is great for all around rock and metal playing. You can dial in a number of suitable tones that sound amazing. For this review, I kept all of the Low, Mid, and High settings between 11 and 1 o’ clock. I wanted to get a consistent tone throughout all of the channels for comparison. I also kept the Presence at noon for all channels during this demo. I think if this amp only came with the option for the first two channels it would be great and be better than most on the market. You can easily dial in the classic brown sound in the second channel and that alone would be enough for people.
The third channel of the EVH 5150 III is a beast. It takes all of the elements of the second channel and then adds copious amounts of gain. This is the channel for the modern metal player looking to sonically annihilate and stand out in the mix. I dialed the mids down a bit and got a good, scooped crunch in this setting that didn’t muddy up the sound of my playing. I was able to get note definition without sacrificing any tone.
To anyone looking for a high quality amp for rock or metal, look no further than the EVH 5150 III Combo. This amp also comes in a 2×12 version for those who want that additional Celestion.