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MF MD HG Electric Guitar Warehouse Sale 8-20-14

Kustom Defender 5H Guitar Amp Head  

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Product #423624

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  • Kustom

    Enjoy authentic, cranked-up tube tone at modest volumes.

    The Kustom Defender 5H Guitar Map head may have you asking if there is anything more fun than a low-wattage all-tube amp head that provides authentic, cranked-up tube tone at modest volume levels. And can you say "simple?"

    The new Defender 5W guitar head has a single knob—volume. But the fun lies in hearing what this knob does as you slowly turn it up. Starting in the counter-clockwise position, you'll move through clean and clear tube tones to progressively dirtier sounds until this little sucker is just plain screaming.

    This "clean-to-mean" response isn't due to any overdrive or distortion circuit, it's just the sound of the Kustom Defender 5H amp's single EL84 power tube moving naturally into increased output distortion. And it's great for cranking up and controlling the action right from your guitar's volume control—no channel switching required. Defender 5H amp head features include one 12AX7 preamp tube, one EL84 power tube and 3 speaker outputs (4, 8, and 16 Ohm).

    Features

    • Volume control
    • 1/4" input
    • Power button
    • One 12AX7 preamp tube
    • One EL84 power tube

    One knob does so much on this 5W head. Order now and get tube sound for a killer price.

     

    Defender 5H Guitar Amp Head Specifications:

    • RMS Wattage: 5 watts
    • Channels: One
    • Tube Preamp: 12AX7
    • Power Tubes: 1 EL84
    • Master Control: Volume
    • Dimensions: 5"H x 12-1/2"W x 7-1/4"D
    • Weight: 7lb.
    Customer Reviews
    Loading....

    Review Snapshot®

    by PowerReviews
    KustomDefender 5H Guitar Amp Head
     
    4.6

    (based on 40 reviews)

    Ratings Distribution

    • 5 Stars

       

      (31)

    • 4 Stars

       

      (6)

    • 3 Stars

       

      (1)

    • 2 Stars

       

      (1)

    • 1 Stars

       

      (1)

    100%

    of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

    Pros

      Cons

        Best Uses

            • Was this a gift?:
            • No (4)

          Most Liked Positive Review

           

          Simply great.

          I bought a 5H locally. It's driving a 12" Celestion Vintage 30 in a closed cab. I'd thought this might result in too much dominance by low-mids, but those doubts were...Read complete review

          I bought a 5H locally. It's driving a 12" Celestion Vintage 30 in a closed cab. I'd thought this might result in too much dominance by low-mids, but those doubts were groundless.

          If you've never run a small all-tube amp before, the 5H takes a little adaptation. With even an underwound single-coil pickup, there's a shocking amount of bark long before you get to half-volume. If most of your experience has been with solid-state amps, turning your guitar down & running up the preamp gain or master volume likely doesn't make a whole lot of difference except adding buzz; when you try a 5H, back down your guitar's volume knob below halfway, then crank the amp volume up to reasonable output. This causes the preamp stage to push the power tube, getting some amazing tone without knocking stuff off the walls. Rather than twiddle the amp's knob all night, a volume pedal (even a passive) could give you instant control over the 5H's dynamic range while keeping your hands on the axe.

          Every guitar I've thrown at the 5H (thus far) sounds great. Low volumes are surprisingly clean for something so simple & inexpensive. When pushed, the noise floor remains low, cleaner than most of my solid-state amps. The natural compression is excellent, with softer playing coming through rich & clear, yet snapping a power chord doesn't make it jarringly loud but induces great breakup. Backing off a guitar's tone knob doesn't easily turn it to mud, with the 5H adding nice coloration.

          I've never before played an amp that offered so much control over feedback. I could readily create rich feedback just by changing my facing to the speaker (closed-back cabs being very directional), experiencing no problems with howls or whistles even from guitars that've given me microphoning problems in the past. I wouldn't go so far as to say the 5H is somehow immune to "rogue tones," but I practically had to wave a guitar an inch from the grille to get any of this.

          Also consider trying different speaker cabs & configs. I'd like to put the 5H through a 4x10 or even a ported 15". When I get done experimenting with the basic potentials, I might plug in an amp-sim box just for more tonal shaping, but I'm in no hurry. Some players have swapped different tubes in, but I'm still experimenting with what the bare-bones amp can do on its own.

          The 5H has far more raw power than you'd expect from a "5 watt" amp -- it's certainly not a "practice amp." With a good bridge humbucker (a stock "EMG Designed," hardly powerful), I couldn't get the 5H's knob past 9 o'clock while standing within 20 feet -- it was just too bloody loud (albeit great-sounding). I never thought I'd find an amp at this price that could have a decent chance of holding its own with a band; in situations where it could get overpowered, I'd probably be miking even a 100-watt amp anyway.
          Oh, my... that sound harsh. But c'mon -- there AREN'T any features!! Input jack, output jack, on/off switch, Volume knob. Okay, it looks nice in low-light conditions, with the blue status light & the orange tubes, but I'm not sure that's a "feature."
          Solid as a rock. I get the feeling I could throw this thing off a tall building, replace the two busted tubes, & it'd not only power up immediately but sound great. It's a small, solid metal box. The top-mounted handle is a bit silly, & a grab handle on the side might make more sense, but that's hardly a deal-breaker.
          You're getting an amp that sure sounds like it's worth far more than the price. If it turns out to not be what suits you, you can probably resell it -- how many amps can you say that about?

          VS

          Most Liked Negative Review

           

          Too good to be true

          This amp was exactly what I was looking for as a back up to a tiny terror - low watt tube amp, simple controls, and amazing price. My main guitar is an SG...Read complete review

          This amp was exactly what I was looking for as a back up to a tiny terror - low watt tube amp, simple controls, and amazing price. My main guitar is an SG with Dimarzio 36anniv PAF's - I run that through an M9 straight into the front end of my amps, mic the amps and run my sound through a PA. There are two major problems that I am having with this amp - 1.) There is an audible squeal/hum thing going on that is very noticeable and I can't get rid of. 2.) High output pickups make this thing distort on the lowest possible volume. These 2 problems make the amp pretty much unusable for me - good thing it's so dang cheap! It does get a nice chime like tube sound behind the squealing but you will need some sort of equalizer or the treble on this thing will melt your brain!

          Reviewed by 40 customers

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          4.0

          nice tones

          By Thogus

          from ohio

          Pros

          • cheap
          • fun
          • LOUD

          Cons

            Best Uses

              Comments about Kustom Defender 5H Guitar Amp Head:

              Great amp. I wasn't expecting much for a cheap 5 watt head. I have owned a few ( epi jr, jet pico, fender champs). This head definitely has its own sound. A little mids and high forward. But when cranked fits right in the mix.

              • Was this a gift?:
              • No

              Comment on this review

               
              5.0

              Simply cool

              By Neil Fogerty

              from twixt here and there

              Pros

              • Inexpensive
              • pretty loud
              • Simple
              • Sounds Great

              Cons

              • Slots In Top Too Numerous
              • Stock Tubes Stink
              • Too Many Screws In Cover

              Best Uses

              • Guitar amp
              • Light Duty Gigging
              • Practice

              Comments about Kustom Defender 5H Guitar Amp Head:

              Wanted a low watt amp and found these,price was right so I bought one.I've got a pile of tubes from a different amp and did the switcharoos when it arrived.Stock tubes were lame,ended up w/rca 12ax7 and a JJ el83.Sounds pretty awesome now,MIM Strat,about 2/3 throttle through a 4x12 cab full of Carvins.It doen't seem to like my pedals but it sounds good w/o them.Tell ya what,I like it,wish I could buy about 10 of 'em.Don't toss yer picks on top of it,vent slots swallow 'em whole(see too many cover screws).

              • Was this a gift?:
              • No

              Comment on this review

               
              5.0

              Dynamight in a very small package.

              By Grandpa

              from Northeast Florida Coast

              Pros

              • Small Portable Light

              Cons

                Best Uses

                • Practice Small Venues

                Comments about Kustom Defender 5H Guitar Amp Head:

                My intention was to build a 5W tube amp from a kit. Most all cost over $200+ when you are finished, them hope it works properly. Then I ran across the Kustom 5H Defender. After listening to some videos on your tube, I was convinced, and ordered one. I connected it to the 2/10 8 OHM cab that I just finished, and turned on the power while connected to one of the FrankenTele in built. Super sweet at low volume, no effects. At half power, you know you are in a room with a beast. On full power, with the guitar vol. backed off, it goes into distorted crunch on my single coil. With 2 humbuckers your in major distortion zone, think AC/DC. It is impressive and that is without any pedals. One word description-LOUD.

                • Was this a gift?:
                • No

                Comment on this review

                 
                4.0

                Wow! 5 Watts can get loud!!!

                By bucknhour

                from pittsburgh, pa

                Pros

                • Good Tube Sound
                • Inexpensive
                • Mod-able

                Cons

                  Best Uses

                  • Basement Practices
                  • Mod-ing
                  • Practice Small Clubs
                  • Recording
                  • Small clubs
                  • With Pedals
                  • With Second Amp

                  Comments about Kustom Defender 5H Guitar Amp Head:

                  Amazing tiny 5 watt tube amp, especially if you do mods, ie. adding a gain or tone pot, fx loop, etc. I chose this amp over the 20w Micro Terror because of cost and it's only tube is preamp. The 5H has both a preamp and an output power tube. Yes, it can get loud, good enough for basement band practices and small clubs, better when miked of course. I ran it thru a new 10" 50w Jensen Mod speaker and surprisingly loouudd! Amazing for a 5w amp! Then two classic Celestion 12" 70w, loud and fuller! I wonder what a 4x12 sounds like! Remember tho, if you play a small club, volume will drop over short distance cuz it is only pushing 5w. It's a great little amp to experiment and have fun with, and you can't beat the price. Warm up your soldering iron and search for Kustom 5H mods. Could buy two!

                  Comment on this review

                  (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                   
                  4.0

                  Raw monster

                  Pros

                  • Great Breakup
                  • LOUD
                  • price
                  • Simple
                  • Tons Of Gain

                  Cons

                  • Harsh If Not Tweaked
                  • Loud
                  • Simple

                  Best Uses

                  • Gigs
                  • Loud Practice

                  Comments about Kustom Defender 5H Guitar Amp Head:

                  This thing breaks up a lot at about 9 o'clock. A ton at 12 o'clock and is pretty hairy when dimed. This amp is MUCH too loud for home practice unless you live alone in the woods or hate your neighbors. Tone is a bit harsh and guitar tone controls alone do not remedy this. An eq in front of it helps a ton. (A TON.) I wired up an L-pad attenuator to mine for cheap. Not only does this bring it down to manageable levels but bleeds of a bit of treble and really warms it up. I really like this amp. I've had an Epi Jr and a V5 and got rid of both of them. This one I'm keeping.

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                  • No

                  Comment on this review

                  (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                   
                  5.0

                  Picky About The Speakers It Likes...

                  Comments about Kustom Defender 5H Guitar Amp Head:

                  Overall - I give this amp a "9."
                  This amp is a darling but it is very picky about the speakers "it likes."
                  I hooked it up to a 4ohm-10" Jensen and a 12" Jensen (both custom-made closed back beechwood cabs) and both sounded like total crap.
                  I hooked it up to a 12" Celestion (80 watt) in an open back enclosure and it sounded really good.
                  I hooked it up to a 4x12" Marshall cab (cheap MG cab) and it sounded great, though a lttle dark when played clean.
                  The clean headroom on this amp is a very small window. To play it really clean it needs to be barely up. To play it slightly clean you can turn it up a bit and back off the volume on your guitar.
                  The amp will get seriously overdriven and quite easily. This is probably the biggest selling point for many novice players: "Wow, listen to that thing rock!" - but, you need to experiment with the right settings...crank it up, back off guitar volume...find the sweet spot, etc. This amp does only a couple things well, but well it does! It is a keeper and yet, another distinct species in the myriad of small wattage tube guitar amps. For the price.. I'm happy! I am sure if you want to tame it down a bit for more clean headroom you can replace the 12AX7 preamp tube with a 12AU7 or something similar...and using a better quality/more expensive tube will do it wonders.
                  Make sure you hook it up to the speakers "it likes" and you will be very happy. I suggest a higher watt 12" CelestionOpen back or Marshall 4x12 cab. The Vox 12" TV cab sounded like total crap, so make sure you don't use Jensens or the cheap Vox 12".
                  I am giving this amp Features a rating of 9 - because anybody who is buying an all-tube class A amp with only one knob (Volume) should know what they are getting into. The reason for the 9 is for the three speaker outputs giving you the option of hooking it up to either a 4, 8, or 16 ohm speaker/cab. I would have given it a "10" if it had a Preamp Line Output ...which it does not.
                  Sturdy metal chassis that is well vented to allow heat to escape. The tubes are mounted 'upright' which allows the tube sockets to not get so hot and need replacement prematurely. The input and output jacks are metal but are soldered directly to the mini circuit board(s) inside the amp. Nice detachable standard A/C power cable, easy to replace if lost of damaged. Illuminated 'rocker-type' power switch that glows a cool blue when powered on.
                  I own 12 all-tube amps. Fender, VHT, Kustom, Epi Valve Jr., Vox, Blackstar, and pound for pound dollarwise this is a great little amp at 'eighty-four.ninety-nine.' I am unsure if this is a clearance price or a regular price because I bought mine on an advertise special and the price never dropped. I would go so far as to pay "one hundred & nineteen" for this amp. This amp proves itself to be a terrific price when compared to other similar amps in the market. The Blackstar is triple the cost and so are the hand-wired VHT amps...both excellent. I sold my Epi Valve Jr. long ago (which was mod friendly) and the Vox 4TV is a little boxy sounding with only a single 16 ohm speaker output.

                  Comment on this review

                  (0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                   
                  5.0

                  Buy It Now

                  By Martin Crane

                  from San Francisco, CA

                  Ask me a question

                  Comments about Kustom Defender 5H Guitar Amp Head:

                  My first amp was a '60s Fender Super Reverb. I like this better.
                  Buy it. Now.

                  When Kustom decides to stop making this, you'll see them on eBay for $200 plus.

                  Read all the reviews, and you'll know why.

                  Buy it. Now.
                  As good as anything else coming out of China.
                  This purchase is a no-brainer... the sound is fantastic.

                  Comment on this review

                  (0 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                   
                  1.0

                  For the money

                  By BKWDRUMMER

                  from Sa TX

                  Comments about Kustom Defender 5H Guitar Amp Head:

                  Overall, if your looking for a nice tube sound and can get tone by using your guitars features.
                  This head is well woth the money, go for it!!!!
                  It's good bang for the buck! CRANK it ALL the way up & get them tubes burning. Then adjust your geetar's volume/tone knob to get a nice tube sound!!
                  I bought the cab too, it's ok I guess...I would pass on it, if given the chance again. Not worth packing back up though.
                  Mine had some minor scratches/markings, Musicians friend was quick to fix the problem.
                  Kustom needs to BUILD IN THE USA....as do the others! Yea right?
                  What can you say? Class A tube head under $85 bucks shipped, I spend that much at the bar last night...again!

                  Comment on this review

                  (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                   
                  5.0

                  Tube tone on low dough. Kustom 5H

                  Comments about Kustom Defender 5H Guitar Amp Head:

                  This gets a 10 on overall rating. I bought my son a Kustom Tube 12 a few years ago, and I use it occasionally when I'm in looking for a different flavor. I am familiar with "Kustom tone" because of playing this 12 watt amp. It's hybrid though with only a 12AX7 for preamp and solid state output. I'm a tube purist/freak and while this amp does a nice job, all tube is better. My main amp is a Soldano Hot Rod 50 with the aforementioned Jet City 4x12 cab, good for sessions with other live guitars and drums and such, but way overkill for general "bedroom" practice. I had a Jet City 1x12 around and when I found the 5H I thought this would be a great set up for general practice. I was not wrong. As I mentioned earlier, if you rely on channel switching for clean to crunch tones you may not get the functionality of this amp. Set the amp volume to your level of crunch and manipulate the guitar volume for all levels of OD/distortion. It's really quite incredible what this little 5 watt amp will dish out. I'm definitely spoiled by Soldano tone, so I experimented with tube swapping to get a tone close to it. While the stock Chinese tubes aren't terrible, they are "crispy" and don't allow for singing sustain. After trying many combinations of tubes I have around I settled on a Tube Amp Doctor (TAD) for output and a Groove Tube for preamp. While it won't quite get the bass frequencies of the Soldano (and I A/B'd them side by side) it gets very, VERY close in other frequencies. I generally run the 5H at 2/3's to 3/4's volume. You can turn it all the way up for insane, over-the-top distortion with this tube combination, but I have very little use for full crank on the amp other than just experimentation. I have not yet run any pedals into it as I don't normally use effects. Pick dynamics and the right amount of crunch is all I need. This amp does it well.
                  The volume knob works great! And, uhhh.....3 speaker input choices is sweet as well. I can plug into my Jet City 1x12 16ohm cab, my beat up old 4ohm 4x12 Crate cab or Jet City 4x12 cab with variable impedance. I'd much rather have a 3-way toggle (on, off, standby) with pilot light rather than a lit rocker switch (on, off) but maybe a upgrade/mod down the road if the rocker fails. It gets a 9 for that nit-pick.

                  Also, if you're a channel-switcher, this amp may not be your cup o' tea. But if you're accustomed to using your guitar volume to regulate crunch this amp is spot on for that functionality. Set the amp volume to your desired level of "well done" and off you go!
                  Well, unfortunately, it's made in China. And it's likely it's made in China to keep costs down. It's also likely I wouldn't have bought it if it were made in USA and 3 times the price (or more). Believe me, I'd MUCH rather have a USA made amp for this price, but we all know that is a pipe dream. No rating here because it seems sturdy and well constructed but I don't want to drag the overall rating down by assigning a "0" simply because of where it's made. Of course, time will also tell what quality will be like in the long run.
                  A no-brainer here. At least without getting into a political rant. Class A tube tone at this price? Out of this world value.

                  Comment on this review

                  (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                   
                  5.0

                  Straight tube power

                  By Swellbone

                  from texas

                  Comments about Kustom Defender 5H Guitar Amp Head:

                  No frills. Sounds great with my old Marshall cab. It gets nice and crunchy. I just orderd a variety of tubes to try out, but the tubes that come with it seen pretty clear to me. This thing gets freaking loud BTW.

                  I've had it a few months and it still works...

                  Comment on this review

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