NAD: Spec-Ops 120w JCM800 derivative on eBay / Sub $600 Tube Rig Rebuild

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by christw, Jan 11, 2018.

  1. christw

    christw Get low!

    May 11, 2008
    Dayton OH

    This is a pre-production Spec-Ops Great White amplifier manufactured by a Chinese(?) company called Wangs. I scored this one on eBay brand new for $250 + shipping(!!!!) It's said to be based upon the venerable JCM800 though no schematics are available. All I know is that it sounds ****ing great.

    I first fired it up through a quad of Eminence Ramrod 10's with a Strat sporting a neck P rail and bridge PAF. It sounded good no matter what I did with it. I found the clean channel much cleaner than a typical Marshall amp, even when run wide open. The high gain channel sounds good at just about any drive level and the EQ offers plenty of control. I already liked this better than the DSL-100's and JCM800 I had. It isn't exactly like them but it's quite similar in sound and function. I was told this run of pre-production amps were modded to have a more linear EQ section.

    Next I plugged the amp into my JBL E155 and picked up my P Bass. I set the EQ at noon and started playing with a pick. Wow! It was clean. I pushed the clean channel gain to the max and it still stayed clean. Then I added some mids and highs and began to crank the master. What a tone! It was friggin' LOUD by the time it started getting a little bit of overdrive. It was "put in earplugs now, stupid!" LOUD by the time it hit a moderate overdrive. I switched over to the OD channel and started playing some Motorhead licks. This amp is fun!

    My other test instrument was a "local music store can't keep enough of 'em in stock" bass that I literally bought out of their loading bay, a Tagima Jazz Bass clone. It's far nicer than most MIM Fenders I've owned and it sounded wonderful to begin with. So I dropped in an Audere JZ3 Pro VB 4B and found it to be even better, seemingly endlessly versatile. For my test purposes I just ran it with controls at noon and volume wide open. I also put my Pickle Pie B in the mix for fun.

    I started on the clean channel again using the same settings as the P Bass. It stayed clean and did not overdrive but sounded modern, bright, punchy, and tubey all at once. I really enjoy this setup as it's loud enough to keep up with most any band around here while retaining a very nice clean modern J presence to the tone. The overdrive is blissful and would make any hardcore punk band blush. The Pickle Pie B was nothing short of beautiful chaos when teamed with this rig.

    Overall: Two thumbs up! It isn't $2000 quality but it is easily $800 quality. This was definitely a great purchase as I really enjoy it whether I'm playing with six strings or four.

    I have no affiliation with any of the brands or companies above. It's just that I get a big dumb smile on my face when I play through this setup at volume and I wanted to let people know that they can do that too!

    Amp: $330 (eBay)
    Cab: $100 (CL years ago)
    Speaker: $150 (eBay years ago)
    Total: $580 (!!!)

    PS - I looked today, the last of the eBay amps are sold out. There may still be some on Reverb for a bit more than the 'bay. Otherwise the production amps run $800 through Spec-Ops LLC's website. It's still a good competitor at that price point but it sure is nice for a bit over $300 shipped! :D
    Passinwind likes this.