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Quilter has been at the forefront of solid-state guitar amplification since Pat Quilter started out in the late 60's. Back then the world was not quite ready for his guitar amps, and Quilter went on to form QSC and apply his talents to leading edge pro audio. But Quilter continued to perfect the science of solid-state guitar amplification. Recently, Quilter's Aviator Cub duo of 50 watt British and US combo amps recalibrated expectations of how well a compact solid-state combo could perform. Quilter’s Mach 3 head combines both the British and US worlds into a stunningly compact and versatile unit that easily transitions from bedroom (via headphones) to studio to stage.

The Quilter Mach 3 Combo features:

  • 200 watts class D power
  • 2 separate identical channels that can be combined
  • American Voicings: 1957, 1961, 1965 amps
  • British Voicings: Plexi, AC, AC Top Boost
  • Gain, Limiter, Channel Volume and Master Volume
  • 3 band active EQ
  • Shared Reverb and Tremolo
  • Headphone jack
  • XLR direct out with Flat, Bright and Normal cab simulations
  • Effects loop
  • 4 ohm minimum combined load for speakers
  • Includes padded nylon carrying bag
  • Comprehensive instruction manual
  • 3.5" high, 17" wide, 5.6" deep
  • 4.4 pounds

Those familiar with the Aviator Cub UK and US series – or those who want to read our listings about them – will find that we are already big fans of the Quilter combos. Quilter has managed to very closely replicate the touch and dynamics of a tube amp, along with voicings that give you the vibe of some the world’s most popular amplifiers. With six potential voices on each channel there is a lot to explore, and while you may settle in on just one or two, it’s nice to have the options. Being Fender fans we’re partial to the slightly dark saggy feel of the ’57 voice, and the sweet bouncy lilt of the ’65. Having owned (or still own) the real thing our ears are attuned as to what to expect. And these voices are very good, and the Mach 3 excels at clean to mildly dirty tones that are attack sensitive surprisingly organicKeep in mind these are solid state amps and not digital modeling amps.

The Distortion Boost control is a new feature not on the cubs and adds breakup before the voice and EQ section. It’s sort of like a “pedal” built into the amp. We liked it for giving clean tones a little bit of soft crunch that is very attack sensitive. We tended to put it around 8 o’clock and just leave it there, but with the optional footswitch you could use it like a gain pedal.

And because this amp is not tube, you get nice features such as a very linear volume control with consistent tone throughout the sweep. There is no “sweet” spot where to either side the amp is anemic or screaming. There are also active EQ controls that have vastly better range of adjustment than the typical passive controls.

The shared (both channels) digital reverb is musical, and actually includes a dwell control to set the length of the decay (something most spring reverb amps don’t have). The only thing you don’t get is a crashing reverb tank. Lastly there is a shared Tremolo with depth and rate controls. With the optional 3-button footswitch there are six different functions you can assign to each button (like channel select, reverb on/off, etc.). If three buttons are not enough, additional switches can be daisy-chained via ribbon cable.

We’ve gigged with the Mach 3 combo, and it’s for real. It’s loud enough for gigs, but it’s not an overly loud amp, just very controllable. And the active EQ will let you tweak the guitar to the room like no tube amp can. And Quilter’s direct out is easy to use, and more sonically consistent than using a mic.

Tubes are responsible for what we expect an electric guitar to sound like. But if you can very get close to that tone in something that weighs less than 5 pounds, has two fully functional channels, and can hang with a drummer, wouldn’t you jump at that? We’re not saying sell your fancy tube amp, but if you don’t have a fancy tube amp or are tired of lugging it, the Mach 3 head is hard to beat.

ConditionBrand New (New)
Brand New items are sold by an authorized dealer or original builder and include all original packaging.Learn more
  • Mach 3 Head
  • Black
Made In
  • China

UpFront Guitars LLC

Bellingham, MA, United States
Joined Reverb:2013

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