I have been a player of Marshall and Mesa Boogie amps since about 68 so I've had
rather a lot of practice with amps.
The Mesa Boogie TriAxis for example, which is one of the Mesa amps I've used can
be very difficult to drive - my main site
shows you how to get the
best out of a rack setup for this amp. It's a great amp - especially if you're
technology driven but if you're not - then your Ј2000.00 you just spent on one
is a bit of a waste.
So, when I was buying the Engl E670 Special Edition amp at the time I had a
choice of the E660 Special Edition - or the E670 Special Edition. I chose the
E670 because the E660 Special Edition seemed to be at the end of the run and the
E670 had much more going for it - and at a retail price of Ј2700.00 it should
have - and would have to be good.
The E660 Special Edition has lots of goodies on it - and if you look around
these are available right now (Jan 06) so if you're not in to MIDI in a big way
then this is probably as good as you might want or need - or your budget will
But I bought the E670. The E670 Special Edition is the top of the line head from
Engl, it has more features than you can shake a stick at (and I like features -
you never know when you will need them!).
I often want a really cooking amp to work with and have in the past bought a
model sometimes lower than the best from a particular manufacturer - and later
regretted it - and then can't really afford (or justify) buying the one I really
wanted in the first place. If you know what I mean.
So in this case, I went right to the top of the pile and bought the E670 Special
Edition made by Engl in Germany. I think I made the right choice - there are a
few things missing on the E660 Special Edition so I won't be wishing I had
bought the E670.
The features that I found interesting were as follows, and the primary reasoning
why I eventually bought the E670:
- Midi Interface fitted (Option on the E660)
- Total of 6 Channels if you're devious
- Enough Preamp even to drive a Strat hard
- Gut Wrenching Bottom End Enhancements
- Dual Presence Controls
- 50/100 Output Switch
- 6L6 Tubes as standard (EL34 Option) (I like the red glow)
- Bias Built in to the Rig
- Studio Out
- Great Loop Features
- Very High Quality Build
These were not all the things I wanted but these went a long way towards the
I wanted an amp that was like a Mesa Rectifier - but had more. The Road King
I had was a great amp there is no question - but I could not achieve a great
lead tone - a good one maybe, but for me the Road King didn't have that lead
tone I wanted. Or at least I couldn't find it in there. It was difficult to set
The Engl is another world. I really wanted an amp that was very flexible, had
all the sounds I needed (easily) and was midi controlled if I wanted it to be.
This is the Engl E670.
Now let's talk about the first aggravation I encountered with use...
Lets say the word - Roland. Ok I did it. That feels better - because this is
where I found the first bit of aggro - and it was NOTHING to do with
I bought a Boss GT-8. I had used a GT-6 and a GT-5 previously - the 5 was
great - the 6 was not.
The GT-8 looked superb. The sounds you could get through a desk live were
also good (not in direct comparison tests - but live through a desk!). And the
Boss GT-8 had an implementation of MIDI.
Great I thought - I'll just turn off the amp simulators, save the presets and
use the GT-8 to control the Engl E670 as well as having all those sounds wired
through the loops of the Engl. What a GREAT idea!
I was right, it WAS a great idea - and I wondered why Boss (Roland)
included an analogue switch to change amp channels on an amp via a regular wire?
Surely this would increase their costs in manufacture?
I was right again - it does. But why bother with this when most switching of
amp channels can be done with the on board MIDI of the GT-8?
I was to find out - over the next month or so. I am not a novice at wiring
MIDI or understanding the patch changes required to do what I wanted (check
and you probably will agree).
However - around and around I went. Horst Langer offered all the help
DIRECTLY via email that he could - in fact the E670 midi implementation is
simple and would switch channel patches if you asked it nicely - that is, EXCEPT
with the GT-8 asking it nicely.
I normally use a Ground Control System from
(just like Steve Vai in fact), but on this
occasions I wanted a floor pedal to do what it supposed to.
Well - Hey wakeup -
you're not going to do it with a GT-8.
Like I said, after a month or so - Roland refunded my money.
Every single piece of MIDI control kit I had worked with the Engl - every
single piece - but the Roland GT-8 failed miserably - as did the Roland
engineers trying to make it work.
Anyway - there's some good news. I spent the refund on a piece of kit that
DOES work - the Line6 XT Pro Live Floor Pedal board. That worked as soon as I
plugged it in right out of the box. I should have been a Roland engineer!
So that was the biggest problem I had in a real situation.
Now here's another one a little smaller.
When I got the E670 Special Edition out of the box it looked great and
eventually it sounded even better.
But I'm getting older by the day - and my eyes are not what they used to be.
So much so, that if I moved more than 1/2 metre away from the E670 - I could not
read the settings on the knobs. The chrome on them is great and there's a little
black marker on there so you know where to set the knob to.
The problem is so simple - but with the original knobs its a real pain across
the stage or studio to see exactly where these knobs are set to - and sometimes
The E660 Special Edition has completely different knobs with easy to see
markers on them - but they're not chrome and they are off an E660 - perfect! So
I asked Engl if they had a set because of the problem I have with the chrome
knobs and - hey presto here's a set from Germany.
Other things I have found with the E670 are equally no more exciting than the
control knobs and are hardly worth a mention.
But one of the features this amp has is a noise reduction on the channels and
it is (for recording or live work) superb. When you don't play - there is
absolute silence - in fact it's so good that you have to be a little careful -
walk too near the amp when it's cranked up and it will open up and feedback -
well, wouldn't you at those volumes?
I also found the 1st preamp channel (right at the start of the chain) very
useful if I want a Strat to sound like a GREAT rock guitar. I'm not a Strat
fanatic (but I can listen to Jimi Hendrix all day) and can't usually get the
sounds out of one that the guitar gods can. But with this amp I can!
Sounds easy. It's a very difficult thing to get those sounds like (say)
Hendrix - the era was different - the amps certainly were, the volume was mega
and the talent unlimited. I have no doubt that you could do it - but not at
today's volumes - it's just not the same - except with the Engl E670.
Another thing I like about the E670 is the way you can change Tubes from 6L6
to EL34 and back. It's easy because the amp has a bias meter built in to it! No
more worrying about overheating Tubes or under driven sounds.
When I used the Mesa Boogie kit - I always had to buy Tubes matched from Mesa
- there was no discernable bias control on the amp - it was internal and FIXED
with a resistor so I could not get near it - I suppose they sell lots of Tubes -
but at their prices I was very hesitant. The UK pricing for Mesa Tubes is
Of course, in the case of Engl - I'm sure they will sell you 'Genuine' Tubes.
But I get mine elsewhere and this supplier in my view supplies the best tubes
www.tubeampdoctor.com - this is a GREAT supplier - funnily enough in
Germany too! Here's a picture of some matched 6L6's:
Trust me - these tubes will change the way your amp sounds and works. I have
TAD EL34's in my Marshall and it is a great improvement.
I intend to re-tube the Engl with TAD 6L6's as above in a fully matched set -
and for my 123 Euro's (that's about Ј80.00) this is a really great buy.
There's nothing wrong with the stock tubes in Engl. But there are better
tubes around and I think these are the best.
I'm not entirely sure where Engl source their tubes from - as I said, I have had
no problem with them - maybe they are even TAD tubes - I'll have to ask Horst
Langer at Engl about that - I'll update this page sometime with his answer.
I would tell you about other things I've found at the TAD site - but it's
best if you visit them yourself - that way I'm not selling someone's kit for
them am I!
This page is going to be updated from time to time to keep you guys up to date
with how the E670 Special Edition fare's with some serious studio work.
Any niggles I find will be on here - just like most equipment there are bound
to be a few things here and there - but maybe not? it's very well made and it's
I drive an Audi too!
The above are my Personal Views. All Trademarks Acknowledged.