by Francis ‘The Grin’ Gray
“Diamond began with one goal. Give the players and features they need, with the durability necessary to stand up to the abuse of the road” (diamondamplification.com). This is a promise I will take to heart because it gives a young shredder hope and faith into the sound he chooses. Not that we would ever want to test this, but the idea of knowing you can drop your amp ten feet and still have a working rig, that is still guarantied for life is a great comfort for the budding rocker. Diamond amps are based out of Houston….. Texas?… Really.. Considering the up and comers Dynamo Amps,it enforces the phrase “Don’t mess with Texas” to “a new level”. Diamond amps may come from long horn, cowfolk but it can stand up to the standards of a devil horned, metal head.
There will always be people like myself who baby their equipment, but we can also agree that minor cosmetic damage can add character, and even complement your gear. Natural wear and tear is great for personalization. Not only does it show that you play the damn thing, you can truly say “this one is mine. There are many like it but this one is mine”. The point I am trying to come across is that, this minor damage can be great but major cracks, dents, tears or even fire damage from the drummer spilling his beer on your head, are not. They say that a sign of a good carpenter is that no wood goes to waste. These bad boys are made from Baltic Burch, and all from the same piece of wood, and each one is air tight, baby. Absolutely everything is hand made and in-house. From the L.E.D. lights, circuit boards and solder, to the coffee, lunch and work benches. I am even willing to bet they have an office somewhere, for some sweet old lady to knit Christmas sweaters for everyone.
The next question is, who stands by the name? A little closer to home at thetoneking.com, we shall start with Zoltan Bathory, of Five Finger Death Punch fame (see interview below). I have to say, I agree with him on how his amp is set when it comes to gain.. ALL OR NOTHING! Fullbore dirt or crystal clean. Mah Brutha.. His weapon of choice is the Nitrox head. As I write this though, a band from here in Edmonton, Alberta Canada is out on a European tour. I am more buddies with the drummer Tim Prevost, and I bought my Crate PB150 from the guitarist John Simon Fallon. So it comes as a bit of a surprise when I looked on the Diamond amps website under artists who are backed by this brand, John Saturley from The Order of Chaos has his name tied to a Phantom head. I honestly can’t tell you anything about this band without making it sound like a shameless plug.. All I can say is, look them up and I promise you will dig it. Other worthy names. Sully Erna and Tony Rombola from Godsmack and Zach Myers from my wife’s favorite band Shinedown.
Finally, what do I think of it. Of course if your reading this part, it will be presumed that you honestly want to know my opinion. Well I tell you what, I am far beyond sold on this company. First I want to address the Assassin head. A simple plug and play model for the ripper who never turns the distortion off. It runs a single channel at 18 watts, though three 12AX7 preamp and two EL84 power tubes. As a side note, I am drawn to the simplicity of compact heads. The F-4 has a nice, thick edge to the dirt, not to mention the ominous green light. It rocks 100 watts on two channels (clean and crunch). Equipped with a bright switch, it also has a front panel dialable “deep” control and front panel voicing switch. They say, its about how it sounds, not how it looks.. I say why not both? A step above is the one used by one Mr. Saturley, the Phantom head is a broader tone, perfect for solos and rhythm alike. 2 fully independent channels, 100 watts, and a tube-driven effects loop. A feature shared by the F-4 is the ohm selector switch for 4, 8 or 16ohm output, which is a favored attribute because it leaves out the question of being able to use a classic, pawnshop treasure cab. While I write these reviews and editorials, I like to have something to listen to and help me choose the right words. Video reviews and audio demos are always a solid way for me to travel, but I think if I had my pick of the bunch, I would probably drop cash on the Nitrox. Surprisingly it is not because of the distortion. It is the clean channel. I have never heard such a sweet chime from an amp before. I originally thought it could of been a different mic, or the guitar but video after audio of listening to the clean channels (as I could find them), I truly believe I have found that crystal clean I have always been going on about.
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About the Author: Started playing bass at 15. It was Danko Jones who inspired me to play at all, and in a small town I couldn't be picky on what I can get my hands on, so I bought a squire with pride. Obtained a B.C. Rich guitar months later. Moved to the city at 17. At 19 joined my first metal band as a bassist which ended at 20. Joined a bass heavy rock band, which I loved being in whole heartily. I now wait to venture into a new project. For the time being though, I am exploring my abilities as a writer.