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April 21, 2010

Jet City JCA20H Amp Review

When famous guitar amp developer Mike Soldano is leading a fully new brand of affordable tube amps it is hard not to pay attention. We tested the characterful and very affordable 20-watt amplifier head from Jet City.

Jet City JCA20HCompact tube amps are trendy right now. We’ve already had in our hands a large number of small combos with up to 5 watts of power, like the Fender Champion 600, and also compact, easy-to-use and affordable amplifier heads like the Orange Tiny Terror. Jet City plays in the latter category with its all-tube amps sold at prices terrorizing all competitors. Once you find out that Mike Soldano (from Soldano!), a guitar amplification guru since the 90’s, stands behind Jet City, your mind is set at ease regarding the quality of the products. Moreover, Jet City’s philosophy is simple: no bells and whistles, just the basics in order to offer high-quality gear conceived in Seattle and manufactured in China at a reasonable price. Actually, the 20-watt head on review here has a price tag of $330 and seems to have everything to seduce many guitar players…

Let’s start by unpacking the beast!

Soldano on Sale

Jet City JCA20HAs soon as we saw the compact amp’s controls, we were positively surprised by its blue and black design, typical of the brand. Instead of resorting to a backward-looking, vintage look, Jet City offers a straight, modern and tasteful amp. That’s something we can’t say about all amp manufacturers! The amp’s serious construction is based around a multiple wood cabinet, a 16-gauge, cold-rolled steel chassis and a very nice vinyl covering. The plastic handle facilitates transportation of the 21.3 lbs, 9x9x19.5″ head to your rehearsal room, a friend’s place or Spain (or even Norway!).

Under the hood you’ll find a preamp stage with three 12AX7 tubes and a power amp with a pair of EL84. Nothing but standard, tried and tested features: why change a winning team? The rectifier uses integrated circuitry, and the 20-watt power stage can match a 16 or 8 ohm speaker cabinet.

Now, let’s take a look at the front panel controls…


Jet City JCA20HJet City attacks – in the literal term of the word – the compact tube-amp market with a small, all-tube and characterful 20-watt head. The manufacturing and design quality are faultless, the Soldano-like sound is a delight and the price is just amazing. Add to that its brilliant and characteristic look and you get an amplifier head with moderate output power and no useless controls that, true, is somewhat limited (it has only one channel, no reverb or FX loop) but it can certainly do its thing pretty darn well. Finally, it has a rock spirit: plug and play and you’ve got the tone. For a first attempt, it’s a real masterwork!


  • Value for money
  • Soldano-like sound
  • Manufacturing quality
  • Conception
  • Very nice look


  • Only one channel

To read the full detailed article see:  Jet City JCA20H Review

March 2, 2010

[NAMM 2010] VHT Special 6 Guitar Amp Head

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