The Raven RG200 amp is a well priced bargain amp that I believe is only available at Guitar Center. It is large, loud, and amazingly clear. With it’s 200 watt power, it is without a doubt the most powerful amplifier you can get in its price range. Like all Raven amps, it is covered in a soft black material and has a black metal grate in front of its dual speakers. This 2×12 solid state amp is amazingly priced (and to make it better is almost always on sale, reduced all the way down to the price of the RG100 at time). With it’s punchy and amazingly clean tones, this amp is perfect for people who get their tone from pedals (like I do).
The RG200 has two channels: a lead channel (distortion) and a rhythm channel (clean). Both sides you have the three band EQ knobs, and a Level knob, and the Lead channel has an added gain knob. The rhythm channel, especially with a slight reverb (which is included, and will be described later) is perfect for clean tones from any pickup, though it sounds particularly good when a bridge humbucker is used. Even with the added reverb, though, there is little coloring of the tone with the amp, so you get as direct a song as possible, making this amp PERFECT for musicians who prefer to make their tone with an array of pedals. I myself prefer the use of stompbox effects over amp sounds because you literally can control every aspect of your tone by stepping one of several boxes.
The lead channel is unfortunately not as great as the rhythm channel. It’s distortion is, for lack of a better way to put it, crappy. That’s the drawback to all of the Raven amp models: the distortion kinda really sucks. There’s probably somebody who likes it, but the distortion is too weak to do any metal or hard rock, yet too hard to do anything seriously bluesy. To be honest, you get a more natural sounding overdrive when you turn up the amp all the way on the rhythm channel (which you can, which makes that channel even COOLER). As stated above, you have the three band EQ (Treble, Mid, and Bass), a Channel level, and a Gain, though the only knob that really makes a difference is the level knob, because the distortion isn’t one you can really tweak.
Besides the two main channels, you have both an internal effects loop and ports for an external effects loop. The amp comes with 16 effects/dual effects: Spring, Room, and Hall Reverb, a Flanger, a Rotary effect, an octave generator (low octave, not high octave), an “autowah” effect (a modulation effect that makes it sound like a wah pedal is opening and closing at a steady and unchangeable rate), a “Rotoverb” effect (rotary/reverb), a Tremolo, a Phaser, a Delay, a Chorus, and a Slapback, as well as 3 crossover effects: Tremelo reverb, delay reverb, and chorus reverb. You can activate the internal digital effects loop by either pressing the DSP button on the front panel or by using an external dual latching foot switch (a BOSS FS-6 seems to work best). The first switch changes the channel (which can also be changes by a button between the channel knobs on the front panel), and the second turns on/off the internal effects. There is also a level knob to alter the level of the selected effect (chosen with an adjacent knob), but there is no what to control rate, depth, or any other parameter. As a note, I’m almost positive that while there is anything connected to the amp through the external effects loop in the back, the internal effects cannot be used.
The amp has, as said before, ports for an external effects loop and a footswitch (all of which using basic 1/4″ cables). It also has a 1/4″ input for headphones (which doubles as a “record out” port). To put it plainly this amp is a bargain amp: massive volume and cleans for mediocre distortion and effects (though to be honest the standard reverbs are pretty good sounding. I have the spring reverb on at all times to make my sound more spacious). It really is a loud amp, though, so I honestly recommend that, unless you want massive volume and an amp that needs pedals to play with, you’d be better off getting something like the Peavy Vyper 60 Watt amp or something around the same price. It’s a good amp, and it sounds great with pedals, but just because it’s 200 watts doesn’t mean it’s a great deal. To put it plainly, you get what you pay for, and the volume and moderate cleans don’t compensate for the lead channel and effects.
About the author:
My gear: Fender HSS Stratocaster, Dunlop Dimebag Darrel Cry Baby From Hell, BOSS MD-2 MegaDistortion, DS-1 Distortion, TR-2 Tremelo, CH-1 SUPERChorus, and DD-20 Giga Delay, with a Raven RG200 amp and a Line 6 Spider III 15 watt when needed.
Check out my band, T.R.B., at http://www.myspace.com/teearebee
You can follow George on Twitter (@TeeAreBee)
The Raven RG200 Combo Amp can be purchased for $349.99 at Musician’s Friend