I’ve now had three weeks with my humble travel combo. It must be review time. First a summary of the amp and it’s key features:
- 30 watt (RMS) solid-state 1×10″ combo,
- Analog modelling with three amp sims, three speaker sims and three gain types,
- 3 band eq (bass, middle, treble), drive and master volume,
- Connections for FX Loop, external speaker, headphones and XLR balanced output.
I’ve been using the amp with my Gretsch G6120-DSV (featuring the single coil DynaSonics if that matters to you) through a cut down set of pedals (Behringer DC9 Compressor, Behringer UT100 Tremolo, Digitech DigiDelay, Boss RV-5 Reverb).
Aesthetics and build
Very clean and neat and has a feel of quality about it. The combination of black tolex, silver grille cloth, chrome corners, polished metal chassis and chickenhead knobs all look the part. It feels substantial and well put together but not overly heavy. Overall, much better than I would expect for such a modest piece of kit.
Gain, Drive and Master Volume
The switchable gain type, along with the drive control, gives a phenomenally broad range from ultra-clean to ultra-dirty. Unfortunately, once things turn dirty some problems with the amp become apparent. At lower volumes the distortion introduces an unpleasant and harsh high pitched fizz. Take the pedals away from the chain and this disappears. I’d always thought that the phrase “takes pedals well” was a load of BS, but I;ve finally found an amp that doesn’t. It could be my power supply that is causing the problems but if you;re considering a GM110 make sure you test it with your own gear. Caveat Emptor and all that.
“Tweed” sounds great but is quiet compared to the other sims. Even at the the highest levels of gain/drive there is no more than the faintest crunch. This is perfect for me and the amp does a decent job of mimicking the classic Fender sound. If the EQ is flat then it is very, very bass heavy and does need correction. Thankfully the EQ section is up to the job. The “British” and “California” sims don’t quite hit the mark for me. When clean, they both lack character and are rather dull and uninspiring. I suspect they’re both tailored for higher gain settings. I won’t be using these much.
The choice of “US”, “UK” and “Flat” is, to a certain extent, moot. The differences between them are very subtle. The difference is audible when you flick back and forth between them, but only just.
Very, very flexible and a good job too because this is an amp that needs the EQ tweaked to get the best out of it. Some amps sound good on any EQ setting. My Ampmaker SE-5a is a great example of that. You can fiddle with the EQ to change the tone but it is practically impossible to find something that sounds crap. The GM110 isn’t one of those amps. Spend a bit of time with it though and this is no problem – I can conjure up the sounds I want, it just takes a little bit more time and care.
The GM110 very closely matches my needs; a good-looking, neat and compact combo that can pair up well with my Gretsch and give me those shimmering Fender tones at low to medium volumes. It’ll fit in the boot of my MX5 and doesn’t break the back or bank. If I had paid full retail price I’d be satisfied. Thankfully I paid a lot less and that makes me a very happy bunny indeed.