Review of Laney TI100 Tony Iommi Head
Tony Iommi's association with Laney amplifiers is almost as
legendary as the man himself. Now the amp company that helped him
virtually create the sound of Heavy Metal guitar has released the
Tony Iommi signature TI100 head and cab, updating the existing
signature model with a host a of modern tones and a surprising
amount of versatility. We gave Tom Quayle 666 minutes to review
When I think about Laney amps, the first name that comes to mind
is Tony Iommi. Those legendary power chord riffs just wouldn't be
the same without that signature, crushing metal sound and there's
no denying that it changed the face of music forever. Now Laney has
teamed up with Tony again to release the latest iteration of his
signature amp - the all-valve/tube TI100, complete with matching
4x12 cab. According to Laney's website, Tony was involved at every
stage in the development of this amp, 'representing a significant
advance in Tony's sonic identity whilst still retaining the
aggressive tone that Tony is renowned for'.
The class AB TI100 certainly has all the required specs for
achieving brutal sounds, with its impressive eight ECC83 preamp
tubes (think more distortion than you can shake a stick at!) and
four 6L6 power tubes offering up 100 watts of output through the
signature 4x12 cab. The two identical channels, configured as lead
and rhythm, have independent three-band equalisation with added
power stage Enhance and Presence controls for further tailoring the
low and high end for specific cabs.
Both channels also have independent Drive and Volume controls
and a very useful Pre-Boost dial allowing you to bring in a
pre-gain stage boost for extra saturation without the need for a
separate boost pedal on your pedal board. Round the back of the amp
you'll find all the necessary ins and outs expected from a modern
head, including an FX loop configurable in bypass, insert and
side-chain modes, Line-in and out, footswitch connection port and
various speaker outs in almost any combination you'd ever need. The
included footswitch allows for channel switching and pre-boost
engaging on both channels.
At 21.5kg, the TI100 is a bit of a beast and is built to survive
a nuclear blast with its thick and immensely sturdy housing and
steel front grill. The controls feel solid and responsive and all
the switches have a satisfying clunk to them adding to the overall
quality feel. Two large, textured handles aid lifting of this
behemoth and whilst it is heavy this is an inevitable consequence
of this level of gain and power. The TI412S cab is equally well
built and looks fantastic with its straight baffle design and
matching steel cross grill. Celestion G12H75 speakers match
perfectly with the intended tonal use of the head offering tight
bottom and top end with a 120w maximum power handling.
Laney is renowned for its engineering quality and, as my
colleague Dan Veall found in his recent Bassment review of two
mighty Laney bass systems, the company's engineering standards have
never been better.
Compared to other modern metal heads, the TI100 is a fairly
simple animal, harking back to a pre MIDI and 'four channel
minimum' world and this makes getting great tones very easy indeed.
When I plugged in, I set the rhythm channel with the gain at
minimum and volume fairly high to achieve a clean tone.
Surprisingly, this amp is capable of some great and very dynamic
clean sounds that, thanks to the Enhance and Presence controls,
have plenty of body and chime to them. Even at these low levels of
gain the EQ controls perform well and are very interactive,
offering a good deal of tonal shaping that will be very useful from
venue to venue.
Increasing the gain it became apparent just how much overdrive
this amp is capable of, with insane amounts being born from the
upper ends of each channel. In between the extremes, some very cool
rhythm tones can be achieved, suitable for anything ranging from
light Rock to modern heavy chugging tones. The bottom end is
super-tight and responsive, especially through the TI412S cab
delivering the required kick for modern detuned sounds.
Engaging the pre-boost allows for some truly stunning lead tones
that are saturated to the max and feel like butter to play. This is
a very forgiving, easy playing amp and will really help you to
sound great on stage. With each channel delivering the same sonic
characteristics, you can set the head up as you wish for two
different rhythm tones for example, using the pre-boost to take you
into lead territory, for a clean and rhythm tone, or for two lead
tones with different EQ curves.
The TI100 is certainly a lot more versatile than you'd possibly
imagine and a huge range of tones can be summoned from its eight
pre and four power tubes. The FX loop sounds great too and the
three configurations will allow you to match it to any outboard
gear or pedals you require.
Overall then this is a very impressive amp and comes in at a
price that puts some other manufacturers to shame. Whilst it's a
must for the Tony Iommi fans, other metal-heads or Rock players
really should check out the TI100 as well because it represents a
superbly built, great sounding and looking amp at a supremely
attractive price. Nice one Laney!
Check out the full review inc. video of the Laney T1100 Tony
Iommi amp by Tom Quayle featured in Issue 14 of Guitar
Interactive Magazine (pg