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Metropoulos Metroplex 100 Watt Amplifier 
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Metropoulos Amps aren't the biggest known name in the industry, but those who know the name know the quality of their products. Known for making replicas of some of the most famous Marshall amps of the 1960s, Metropoulos garnered a reputation for making wonderful reproductions of classic amps that more often than not captured the magic of the best of those amps they were replicating. Earlier this year George Metropoulos finalized and launched his own design into the amp market, the Metroplex. With the Metroplex, Metropoulos have tried to create an amp that captures the tone and feel of the non-master volume Plexis of the late 60s in a master volume format with a host of features not found in the originals or replicas. Combined with the build quality George is known for and his attention to detail, the Metroplex has a lot of potential in its corner. On an aside note, this review will also encompass the most recent modifications made to the amp by George himself.

Price

$3550 USD.

Features

The amp is designed as a single channel amp with High and Low inputs. Traditional treble, middle, bass and presence controls for the EQ section, a master volume control for output and a pre-amp control for gain. However, the pre-amp gain control is a push-pull control that gives way to a different voicing or mode, if you will. The position for the switch is a lower gain mode when pulled out and higher gain mode when pushed in. The modes are '66 Mode (Think JTM 45/100), '68 Mode (12,000 series) and Modded '68. A 3 way toggle switch allows the user to select the mode combinations available: '66 and '68, '66 and Modded '68, and '68 and Modded '68. The original two voicings of the Metroplex were '68 Mode and Modded '68 Mode. '66 mode was added after much feedback from current owners and fans requesting a cleaner mode. The amp also has a built in Boost circuit activated by a push-pull as well. In addition to adding gain/overdrive the boost mode also has a separate volume control to be used as a solo boost, if need be. The power section of the amp can be run in full-power or in a variac mode that cuts the internal B+ voltage to soften up the sound. A half power switch is on the back that cuts two tubes and increases bias to the remaining two tubes. Top it off with Metro's zero loss effects loop (switchable between -10 db and +4 db), you have a very versatile and powerful amplifier. Also included is a footswitch so you can switch between the two modes selected via the mini-toggle, switch the effects loop on and off and also switch the boost section on and off. This is no small amount of features in this amplifier and all of them are very well thought out.

Sounds

All the features in the world don't amount to much if the amp they're part of doesn't sound very good. I'm happy to report that the Metroplex performs very well in all its voicings. To boot, the sweep of the EQ controls are much more responsive than traditional EQ controls on the original Plexis. It's very easy to find the sweet spots of said controls but a whole lot of fun to tweak. Starting with '66 mode and the gain set at 3-4, you get some nice grind and crunch that's very well defined but still has a cleanliness to it. Single coils and humbuckers do well here. Bringing up the mid control can fill out the crunch a bit more if desired, but the feel and sound of a 45/100 is definitely here. This is a fantastic mode for more bluesier applications, but it's no slouch for rock and roll either. If you're digging for Malcolm Young-esque bark and grind, this is your mode. Rolling back the volume control gives way to cleaner applications, with beautiful sustain and wonderful note bloom. Need it cleaner? Plug into the low input and play away. While this mode was added after the amp went into production, by no means is it an after thought given how authentic it sounds.

'68 mode is the heart of this amp and is based off George's own 1968 Super Lead. The '68 mode is more gainy than the '66 mode and has a bit more sizzle to it as well. This mode gets into heavier rock tones of the day but can still be rolled back nicely via volume control. This is the sound of a cranked plexi if there ever was. Raw, aggressive and dynamic. Hitting an open G chord yields that huge "kerrang" that Marshalls were known for. Leads are a bit easier to play versus 66 mode with more sustain fluidity. Dipping into the variac mode brings some "brown" to the sound for sure and softens up the attack and top end. Modded '68 mode takes the voicing of this mode and pushes it further into high gain territory. In modded mode the amp gains additional gain and slight amount of compression but still retains the vintage feel and rawness of an actual Plexi. This isn't a modern sounding amp with Plexi DNA. This is a vintage sounding amp with modern features.

The gain pot has a lot of gain going but it's very usable across the board. Likewise, the sweep of the EQ controls allow for some excellent sound combinations that a standard Plexi wouldn't have. At the same time, these aren't exact reproductions of those amps and some of the nuances of balancing the normal and brilliant channels of a 4 hole amplifier just isn't a part of this amp. That being said, the feel and authenticity are there in spades and what the amp may lack in smaller nuances it makes up for elsewhere.

The boost function and effects loop both work well and are wonderful features to have. With the boost function, as stated earlier, you get not only additional gain via a FET circuit (adjustable by its own control on the front panel as well), but also additional volume to use as a lead boost via a separate "Boost Volume" control. Inside the chassis of the amp, the board for the boost circuit has two trim pots for adjusting bass and treble response/rolloff when the boost is engaged, giving further control of the tonal impact the boost circuit has. The effects loop is fantastic. Metropoulos has been selling their effects loop as a kit for years and its renowned for its transparency. That same loop is here in this amp and works as well as you'd expect it to. The front end of the amp also takes pedals very well, like an old Plexi should!

The amp is very responsive to differing pickups and guitars and really allows each instrument to shine through in its own right. And versatility is really only a roll of the volume and tone knobs away. Even though the amp is a single channel amp, with the modes and boost being foot switchable you have a lot of versatility at hand. With the right EQ and gain settings, how well matched the volume between the modes is, it's easy to use the amp as a multi-channel amp and bring in solo boosting as well. Overall the amp can handle blues, country, rock and even 80s metal.

A note about speaker selection: I've used this amp with a variety of speakers. George himself voiced the amp around the current Celestion Creamback H 75 watt speakers. I have used this amp with those, Chinese G12M Greenbacks, G12T-75s, G12-65s and Vintage 30s. Out of all the speakers I've tried, my favorites have been the Creambacks and Greenbacks, with the 65s close behind. I was not a fan of Vintage 30s with this amplifier.

Build Quality

Aesthetically the amp is gorgeous. The knobs feel right and not loose. Jacks are well mounted and also not loose. Internally the amp has very robust PCB components as well as George's incredibly clean and neat wiring. Original Plexis weren't wired this well. Solder joints look great and components are rugged. The transformers used here are Heyboer reproductions of Plexi era transformers. A lot of this amp is made with parts developed and sourced in Michigan (my home state) and with the exception of tubes, the whole amp is made in the USA.

Overall

Overall, to me, this is an amazing amp. If you're looking for a gold mine of authentic plexi tones, this is definitely one to consider. It sounds great, it does the sounds it set out to do, and it's Metropoulos's splash in the amp market of their own design. At the same time, it may not be for every one and the price can be off putting. And even if you have the funds there are quite a few boutique manufacturers that are offering their own take on the Plexi tone. That being said, if you're looking for an amp that captures not just the vibe of the vintage plexis but the raw girth and even raspiness of some of them, this is it. When the amp was just the '68 and Modded Mode, the tones were enough for me to justify it. Now with the added 3rd mode it's harder than ever to not recommend this amp for the old school Marshall fan. It also helps that George Metropoulos is a great guy to talk to and has been nothing but helpful with this amp. Easily some of the best customer service I've had. Which goes hand in hand with one of the best amps I've ever had.

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Murdoch wrote:
Play a scale, he hears, "GOD I BET MY DICK TASTES AMAZING, I WISH I COULD FIND OUT!!"




Charvels, Jackons, Fenders, Gibsons, Heritages and a Peavey
Metropoulos Metro-Plex
Egnater Seminar Boutikit 50 Watt Head
Avatar Vintage 2x12 w/ Creamback H75s
Marshall JCM 2000 DSL 100
Marshall 1960A w/ G12T75s


Wed Dec 09, 2015 8:45 am
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The Metroplex sounds 99.999% the same as his '68 (which is super close to VH's serial number wise) when you put them in the same room with eachother.

It loves 25W greenbacks and is probably my favorite Marshall style amp ever.

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I run Destroy All Guitars.

Good deals with: Bloodnail,


Wed Dec 09, 2015 11:29 am
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Le_Marteau wrote:
The Metroplex sounds 99.999% the same as his '68 (which is super close to VH's serial number wise) when you put them in the same room with eachother.


It really does. Me buying the amp came about visiting his shop and playing both his 68 and the prototype Metroplex before production. What was really cool was bridging the low input of the Metroplex into the high input of his 68 and playing both together.

_________________
Murdoch wrote:
Play a scale, he hears, "GOD I BET MY DICK TASTES AMAZING, I WISH I COULD FIND OUT!!"




Charvels, Jackons, Fenders, Gibsons, Heritages and a Peavey
Metropoulos Metro-Plex
Egnater Seminar Boutikit 50 Watt Head
Avatar Vintage 2x12 w/ Creamback H75s
Marshall JCM 2000 DSL 100
Marshall 1960A w/ G12T75s


Wed Dec 09, 2015 11:39 am
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Did you get to try his Yaron?

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Good deals with: Bloodnail,


Wed Dec 09, 2015 11:58 am
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GABmiral
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Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2013 6:27 am
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So. Much. Want.

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Telephant wrote:
Fuck yeah sounds bad ass to me!!! You really need a trashy rock band dude. This shit is glorious. I would totes chug whiskey and punch somebodies girlfriend in the front of row of this show. Zero fucks! :lol:


Wed Dec 09, 2015 12:15 pm
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Le_Marteau wrote:
Did you get to try his Yaron?


Of course I did :thu: That's a killer guitar. I've been to his shop a few times now. George is a great host and just a cool down to earth guy to talk with. The fact that he makes killer amps and knows his stuff just makes him cooler.

_________________
Murdoch wrote:
Play a scale, he hears, "GOD I BET MY DICK TASTES AMAZING, I WISH I COULD FIND OUT!!"




Charvels, Jackons, Fenders, Gibsons, Heritages and a Peavey
Metropoulos Metro-Plex
Egnater Seminar Boutikit 50 Watt Head
Avatar Vintage 2x12 w/ Creamback H75s
Marshall JCM 2000 DSL 100
Marshall 1960A w/ G12T75s


Wed Dec 09, 2015 1:08 pm
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Joined: Mon Nov 30, 2015 2:48 pm
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Location: L.A.
-Waiting to see if George does a 50w version. I'm a fan of the smaller head box.


Wed Dec 09, 2015 1:11 pm
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TurboPablo wrote:
So. Much. Want.



I wish I lived by more of you guys so I could bring it to an amp fest or something.

_________________
Murdoch wrote:
Play a scale, he hears, "GOD I BET MY DICK TASTES AMAZING, I WISH I COULD FIND OUT!!"




Charvels, Jackons, Fenders, Gibsons, Heritages and a Peavey
Metropoulos Metro-Plex
Egnater Seminar Boutikit 50 Watt Head
Avatar Vintage 2x12 w/ Creamback H75s
Marshall JCM 2000 DSL 100
Marshall 1960A w/ G12T75s


Wed Dec 09, 2015 1:12 pm
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GABmiral
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greatmutah wrote:
TurboPablo wrote:
So. Much. Want.



I wish I lived by more of you guys so I could bring it to an amp fest or something.


Oh my fuck, would I love a go with that monster. Single coils and set it to kill with a clean boost in line for extra slaughter.

_________________
Telephant wrote:
Fuck yeah sounds bad ass to me!!! You really need a trashy rock band dude. This shit is glorious. I would totes chug whiskey and punch somebodies girlfriend in the front of row of this show. Zero fucks! :lol:


Wed Dec 09, 2015 1:14 pm
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5ive wrote:
-Waiting to see if George does a 50w version. I'm a fan of the smaller head box.


He's working on something. I don't think it'll be smaller than a JTM 45 style head box but he's definitely got something in the works.

_________________
Murdoch wrote:
Play a scale, he hears, "GOD I BET MY DICK TASTES AMAZING, I WISH I COULD FIND OUT!!"




Charvels, Jackons, Fenders, Gibsons, Heritages and a Peavey
Metropoulos Metro-Plex
Egnater Seminar Boutikit 50 Watt Head
Avatar Vintage 2x12 w/ Creamback H75s
Marshall JCM 2000 DSL 100
Marshall 1960A w/ G12T75s


Wed Dec 09, 2015 1:15 pm
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Joined: Mon Nov 30, 2015 2:48 pm
Posts: 49
Location: L.A.
greatmutah wrote:
5ive wrote:
-Waiting to see if George does a 50w version. I'm a fan of the smaller head box.


He's working on something. I don't think it'll be smaller than a JTM 45 style head box but he's definitely got something in the works.


Yeah, Wouldn't imagine him going any smaller than a JTM45 sized box.


Wed Dec 09, 2015 1:25 pm
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Protip: It's probably not going to be a 50 watter, The Metro does have a half power switch but the huge headshell is sort of necessary.

We've sold more Metroplexes than any other amp this year, for great players it's a grail amp, it's nowhere near as forgiving as a BE100 or those amps.

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I run Destroy All Guitars.

Good deals with: Bloodnail,


Wed Dec 09, 2015 1:27 pm
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