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3rdDay's picture
The Hawkeye State, USA
Dec 2003
6 months ago

Has any one owned or have played a Matchless Lightning 15? I'm considering buying a quality amp and I think I might seriously consider this one. It seems a perfect fit for me, I like good tone, but I don't need a lot of volume (even tho I've heard that these amps are a loud 15 watts). So basically I'm just looking for your feedback on the quality and sound of these amps. Thanks a lot!

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Want to sell: Dr. Z Route 66

tiefightertk069's picture
Quincy, Ma
Apr 2004
5 years ago

Originally posted by 3rdDay
Has any one owned or have played a Matchless Lightning 15? I'm considering buying a quality amp and I think I might seriously consider this one. It seems a perfect fit for me, I like good tone, but I don't need a lot of volume (even tho I've heard that these amps are a loud 15 watts). So basically I'm just looking for your feedback on the quality and sound of these amps. Thanks a lot!

The quality is outstanding on every Matchless amp I've ever played.
As for the tone, that's subjective. I happen to love tube rec EL34/84 based amps... Matchless does them very well, and the 'lil 15 isn't any different.

Don't let the 15w rating fool you. If you don't have any problem with volume (ie neighbors, sound restrictions) then you'll be fine, but if you have to be concerned with volume and can't crank that puppy up, you may want to consider something smaller, an attenuator, or a modelling amp.

The only downside I can think of with this particular model is the lack of reverb. I think for the money, you can find a comperable amp that has reverb...

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My Gear

FOR SALE:
Ampeg VL-501 $400
Ibanez TS-9 Reissue, w/ box: $85 shipped in the US.
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3rdDay's picture
The Hawkeye State, USA
Dec 2003
6 months ago

Don't let the 15w rating fool you. If you don't have any problem with volume (ie neighbors, sound restrictions) then you'll be fine, but if you have to be concerned with volume and can't crank that puppy up, you may want to consider something smaller, an attenuator, or a modelling amp.

Thanks, man. Would this amp be louder than a Fender Hot Rod DeVille 210? This is the amp I currently own and it is 60 watts. I can barely crank it past "3" before the pictures on my wall start shaking off. I tried it out at the guitar store before I bought it. I thought it was loud, but I thought once I get it out into the church (this is where I spend most of my time performing) it would be okay. I was wrong, I don't think I've ever turned it up past "3" before my volume over shadowing all the other instruments.

My gear.

Want to sell: Dr. Z Route 66

tiefightertk069's picture
Quincy, Ma
Apr 2004
5 years ago

Originally posted by 3rdDay
Thanks, man. Would this amp be louder than a Fender Hot Rod DeVille 210? This is the amp I currently own and it is 60 watts. I can barely crank it past "3" before the pictures on my wall start shaking off. I tried it out at the guitar store before I bought it. I thought it was loud, but I thought once I get it out into the church (this is where I spend most of my time performing) it would be okay. I was wrong, I don't think I've ever turned it up past "3" before my volume over shadowing all the other instruments.

It'll be about as loud.
But it will perform closer to it's "sweet spot".
You'll also be dealing with a different speaker configuration (if you're looking at the lightening combo as opposed to the head/cab version)... and that affects the percieved volume and tone.

Do you use mostly clean tones?
Not that it is in the same class as the Matchless, but if you're happy with the Fender, you may consider purchasing an attenuator. Just a slight amount of attenuation, in the range of
-4 to -8db, will in essance cut your volume in half but still allow you to maintain thsimilar tone as to what you're getting unattenuated.

My Site
My Gear

FOR SALE:
Ampeg VL-501 $400
Ibanez TS-9 Reissue, w/ box: $85 shipped in the US.
------------------------------------------------

anoren's picture
New York
Mar 2004
7 years ago

I would also advise thinking about the volume. I don't think the lightning will be functionally much quieter than your fender. I use an Orange AD15/12 (also a Class A tube rectified 15 watt amp) with my band, and don't have any trouble with volume. 15 watts is plenty loud, though you will not have the headroom that you do with the fender. That said, when you are playing clean at lower volume, the lightening will probably sound better than the fender. Playing loud (full band situation) clean with the lightening will not likely be an option though. However, that power tube OD you will be getting from that amp will sound amazing.

adam

Current:
'92 Martin D-35
'02 Fender Jaguar (American Reissue); '74 Gibson SG (w/ bigsby; Harmonic Design Neck Z-90, Bridge Humbucker)->Ernie Ball Volume (Boss TU-2 in tuner out)->ZVex Fuzz Factory-> Ibanez AD-9 -> Catalinbread Super Chili Picoso-> Uncle Spot Tube Reverb Unit ->Orange AD15/12 (w/ Celestion Blue Alnico; Area 51 Tube Tremolo)
Pictures: http://community.webshots.com/album/169966825NrhdJf
My Band's Site:
www.academyny.com
www.myspace.com/academymusic

3rdDay's picture
The Hawkeye State, USA
Dec 2003
6 months ago

But it will perform closer to it's "sweet spot".

This is what I'm aiming for. Granted, I've not gone out tried out a Matchless amp, but I know bands/artists that use them and I just love the sound they get out of them. I'm not huge into country, but I believe country artist Keith Urban uses some kind of Matchless amp, and his tone is mouth watering.

I like my Fender, but I'm ready for a change.

My gear.

Want to sell: Dr. Z Route 66

anoren's picture
New York
Mar 2004
7 years ago

One more thought.....if you are looking at the Matchless, you may also want to look at Bad Cat amps, which are similar. When I was looking for a 15 watt amp (initially wanted a vintage Vox AC15 until I priced that out), I looked in the Matchless and Bad Cat amps, got as far as the price, and found my orange relatively cheap used. I couldn't be happier than I am with the Orange. Well, I have never played that Matchless or Bad Cat (I don't want to know what I may be missing).

adam

Current:
'92 Martin D-35
'02 Fender Jaguar (American Reissue); '74 Gibson SG (w/ bigsby; Harmonic Design Neck Z-90, Bridge Humbucker)->Ernie Ball Volume (Boss TU-2 in tuner out)->ZVex Fuzz Factory-> Ibanez AD-9 -> Catalinbread Super Chili Picoso-> Uncle Spot Tube Reverb Unit ->Orange AD15/12 (w/ Celestion Blue Alnico; Area 51 Tube Tremolo)
Pictures: http://community.webshots.com/album/169966825NrhdJf
My Band's Site:
www.academyny.com
www.myspace.com/academymusic

3rdDay's picture
The Hawkeye State, USA
Dec 2003
6 months ago

I use an Orange AD15/12 (also a Class A tube rectified 15 watt amp) with my band, and don't have any trouble with volume.

I've also been wondering about Orange amps. I've heard a lot of talk about them. How would you describe its sound? I've thought about purchasing one when I went to the Orange website and it specifically advertised the fact that they will sound awesome at a lower volume - is this true?

My gear.

Want to sell: Dr. Z Route 66

anoren's picture
New York
Mar 2004
7 years ago

Originally posted by 3rdDay
I've also been wondering about Orange amps. I've heard a lot of talk about them. How would you describe its sound? I've thought about purchasing one when I went to the Orange website and it specifically advertised the fact that they will sound awesome at a lower volume - is this true?

I guess I might describe it as somewhere between a Vox and a Marshall. Basically, I just set the master volume at max and then use the "gain" (preamp) volume to the desired level of volume. At the volume I am playing it, it is not clean, but it is amazing how defined everything is. Chords ring through perfectly clearly. It is almost like you can hear the amp running clean at the same time it is overdriving.

At lower volumes for clean stuff, it does sound really good. It is really nice warm clean sound. At comparable low almost bedroom volumes, the orange sounds much better than my fender twin reverb. That said, at band volume, my fender has that gorgeous fender clean sound, and the orange is anything but clean.

Also, at low volumes, the Orange (or matchless I would assume) will be far more sensitive to your pick attack than the fender. This, more than anything, probably has to do with sweet spot factor. It is something you feel more than hear, and makes playing the amp far more pleasurable.

If you can afford it, I would suggest getting the 15 watt amp and keeping you fender for while. They will be very different amps, and you may find that you want to use them both.

adam

Current:
'92 Martin D-35
'02 Fender Jaguar (American Reissue); '74 Gibson SG (w/ bigsby; Harmonic Design Neck Z-90, Bridge Humbucker)->Ernie Ball Volume (Boss TU-2 in tuner out)->ZVex Fuzz Factory-> Ibanez AD-9 -> Catalinbread Super Chili Picoso-> Uncle Spot Tube Reverb Unit ->Orange AD15/12 (w/ Celestion Blue Alnico; Area 51 Tube Tremolo)
Pictures: http://community.webshots.com/album/169966825NrhdJf
My Band's Site:
www.academyny.com
www.myspace.com/academymusic

Kid_BS's picture
Raleigh NC
Apr 2003
7 years ago

Have you looked into Dr. Z amps? They are boutique amps in the same vein as Matchless, Bad Cat, Vox but are quite a bit less expensive yet equally impressive. I was recently looking into getting a Vox AC30 reissue but I decided to look into Dr. Zs. They are really sweet amps and are getting rave reviews and winning awards. I ended up purchasing a Dr. Z prescription 2x12 combo at a local boutique store and am loving it. Hand wired point to point, 45 watts of pure class 'A' tube warmth and chime. They also have several 15 watters.

Dr. Z has a wide range of configurations and options. http://www.drzamps.com.

edmundthefish's picture
Somewhere between Cloud 9 and La La Land
Aug 2004
10 years ago

I played a HC-30 (30W) into a 1x12 cab, and had to use the half power switch the entire time I was in the shop testing it. Granted it's a slightly different amplifier but they are very very similar. They are really very nice amps. Built like tanks, very glassy, very expressive. It will bring out every beautiful thing in your playing, and also expose your faults. There is no hiding whatsoever behind them. The distortion is a really nice progressive breakup that remains articulate over the entire range. I'd highly reccomend any Matchless amp, including any of the 15W models.

I felt like putting a bullet between the eyes of every panda that wouldn't screw to save it's species...

... I felt like destroying something beautiful.