Gallien-Krueger NEO 115-III Review – New Level

There are the amplifiers that follow the latest tendencies, and those that are produced in classical manner. Gallien-Krueger company has always been choosing the calm way, creating classic production of decent quality.

Gallien-Krueger History

Fender revolutionized the World of music with his precision bass. Robert Gallien`s GMT 226A was the most powerful amplifier in 1969. The revolution that he made was not that loud, but the impact was huge.

It only took the amplifier two years to become popular. Popular rock groups like “Led Zepellin” and “Deep Purple” were using amplifiers manufactured by Gallien-Krueger company. Since the company has always been concentrating on quality rather than on design, simple users didn`t really understand how big the influence of Gallien`s inventions was.

The company is holding several World records: the first guitar amplifier with switch, the first guitar amplifier with contour control, the first channel switching bass amp, and many others. However, today we`ll take a look at a simple representative of Gallien-Krueger family – NEO 115-III.

Technical Characteristics

The first thing you should know about any audio equipment you purchase is the most basic information. Like the weight, the physical dimensions and the material it is made of. Even the most powerful amplifier will be good for nothing, if there is not enough room in your studio to place it.

The weightNEO 115 weighs exactly 40 pounds (which is a little bit more than 18 kilograms). It is not the heaviest amplifier in the World, but until you are physically trained, there are may be some problems with handling it.
The dimensionsThis amplifier is 18.5’’ * 23.5’’ * 19,5’’ inches (which is 470 * 597 * 495 in millimeters). Again, if your studio is bigger than you room (or you have a big room), there will be no problems with placing and storing the device. However, if you need something smaller, I`ll mention a nice mini-amplifier later in the article.
The materialThe material is superior. The cabinet is made of plywood, the front panel is covered with metallic grille and each corner has a plastic protection. The cabinet will easily survive the transportation and sunlight. However, you should avoid water contact.

Now the time has come to look at the insides of this cabinet and at its` features. But insides first:

One 15’’ Paragon neodymium driver, one horn tweeter.

The driver construction has been designed specially for this cabinet. It has 3’’ edge aluminium voice coil, which both reduces the distortion and makes the sound cleaner and juicier. All these things work with the power of 400 Watt and total impedance of 8 ohm.

Horn Bi Amp and passive crossover

The tweeter in this device has its` own controller. There is also a twist lock, that can fix all the adjustments, so that you don`t lose them.

The Features

Let us also take a look at the features, that the developer himself thinks make this amplifier unique:

Lock stacking system

The series of neo amplifiers is meant to be stacked with one another. The one way of stacking the amplifiers is by placing them on one another. Neo-115 has locks for other products of the family on top, so it can be stacked easily and reliably.

Rugged construction

The manufacturer himself pays much attention to how well-built this cabinet is. The body has vinyl cover, side grip handles and metal grilles. Although I`ve already mentioned it, I think it is really important for you to remember how reliable and durable this exact cabinet is.

Ultra-light driver

It was mentioned, that the driver is powerful, but nothing was said about how light it is. The construction was developed by the top-engineers, so the cabinet itself weighs less, than it theoretically should have.

That was all the theory part. Let us now dive deeper and take a brief look at how this amplifier behaves when tested in real life.

Sound Test

I did expect quite a performance from a popular device like this, and I got all I wanted, though not everything was super smooth of course.

Advantages

  • Great unique sound

The construction of the driver makes the sound be really unique. It is not similar to any other sound, provided by other amplifiers. Describing the difference with words is quite difficult, but one thing that I can say is that it, at least, is not worth.

  • High level of response

Unlike in some other amplifiers, where you need to make the 360 rotation of the knob to hear the difference, this amplifier responds to settings changes as it has two. Volume changes, tone controls, all that stuff – is all good,

Disadvantages

Although there were no major disadvantages, there is one, that I would like to mention:

  • Lack of effects

I am used to seeing reverbation and delay controllers, which were missing here. However, it is not that important.

Alternative Amplifiers

In case you need something smaller, let me recommend you two mini-amplifiers of high quality that come at a reasonable price.

Trace Elliot ELF MiniBy far, the smallest amplifier you`ll ever meet. It can fit in a jeans pocket, and its` dimensions are similar to a huge chocolate bar. However, it has all the basic settings and provides loud sound.
Blackstar Fly 3Another compact set of amplifiers, which consists of the main speaker and the extension one. The idea is that you carry the small; speaker by your side, and if you start lacking power, you can double it with extension one.

However, remember, that mini speakers will never be as powerful as full-sized ones.

Conclusion

Here is the shortcut of the most important information from this review:

  • Gallien-Krueger is the company that has been creating traditional speakers for a long time.
  • Neo-series is the series of powerful and affordable speakers, which can be stacked together, so you can combine them a lot to get even power.
  • NEO-115 is rather compact and powerful amplifier, that has unique sounding due to some innovative construction decisions.

Well, that was all you need to know about NEO-115. Good luck with your guitar practicing.

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