Quick Soldano SLo-30 Review (our take)
Verdict and Review Summary
There's a ton of "chunk" in this amp, not all of which feels particularly useable, just because the mud can get overwhelming at times. That said, it'll give you the modern low-end you want and the chunk you'd expect from a flagship Soldano tube amp. It almost sounds like a balance between the early 2000s gains and modern gain. An active pickup set would smooth it out.
The gain (distortion) of modern metal has smoothed over a lot without much grit, becoming almost sterile. Rock bands started abandoning the grunge era sound in the late '90s and early 2000s, and this amp sounds a lot like the distortion tones we heard during that transition.
Maybe early Linkin Park or late Smashing Pumpkins. I don't know.
It's very heavy and can definitely put out some chunk, but assuming you have this kind of money to spend, there are probably amps that we like better.
But that's just our nonsense opinion. More info below.
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Compare the SLO-30 to similar amps
This table includes some of the amps we like better than the Soldano SLO-30 in this price range. But, to be fair, they're all excellent options. With the SLO-30 it definitely comes down to a matter of taste. We can share our opinion, but in the end, it's your ear that really matters.
Mesa Dual Rectifier
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Soldano SLO-30 Price Guide
Like I said, the SLO-30 is not particularly cheap and it doesn't seem to move much between retailers. At the price, it's definitely a high-end investment that should be considered primarily by advanced players who perform or record in some capacity.
Pricing updated Mon, October 02nd, 2023.
Pricing from Major Retailers
Price Alert Tool (lowest price among listed retailers)
Price History (lowest price among listed retailers)
Price History for Soldano Slo-30 Super Lead Overdrive 30W Tube Amp Black
|Current Price||$2,899.99||September 29, 2023|
|Highest Price||$2,899.99||May 26, 2023|
|Lowest Price||$2,899.00||March 10, 2023|
Last price changes
|$2,899.99||May 26, 2023|
|$2,899.00||March 10, 2023|
IDEAL FOR: Metal, hard rock, recording/performing (it has a line out), advanced players, and chunked up power chords.
Sound quality and tone of the SLO-30
In Ola's demo he mentions the '90s aspect of this amp. I would argue that's a little early, but there's no need to split hairs.
The amp is just very full - sometimes too full - and there are a lot of different feels of saturation that you can dial in. I think the tone is solid, overall, which should be expected at an amp of this price. But it might take some tinkering and moving around before you can tame it.
You'll probably get more grit with passive pickups, and more smoothness with active pickups. It just depends on what you're looking for.
Control, use case, and flexibility
A lot of the controls seem like they really start to shift on the higher numbers, as though the first 80 percent or so of knob turning doesn't make a ton of difference.
But I'll go back to the gain flexibility I mentioned. You have a very wide scope to work with, which bodes well for this amp since I do think it'll require some tweaks and trial/error before settling in.
Soldano deserves credit for building a consequential control scheme.
Frequently Asked Questions
The Soldano SLO-30 uses 12AX7 tubes in the preamp and 6L6 tubes in the power amp.
30 watts isn't considered particularly loud, but the amp has a line out, meaning you can send it to a mixing board if you're playing outdoors or in a larger venue. It'll be loud enough for most situations.
Soldano SLO-30 Review Conclusion
For what it's worth, there are very few negative buyer reviews of the Soldano SLO-30. Most people who grab one seem to be very happy with it, so don't let me discourage you if you like the sound and functionality.
My subjective recommendation is to go with the SLO-30 if you want a little grit. For smoother and more modern metal profiles, keep looking.
But your opinion is the only one that really matters.
Share it, along with your questions or even your experience with the Soldano SLO-30, in the comments section below.
Thanks for your time and support.