“20 watts, four Galaxies, IR equipped”: Soldano’s Astro 20 is a tech-ed up tube amp that offers another dimension (or rather three of them) for high gain tone

Soldano Astro 20
(Image credit: Soldano)

Renowned tube amp firm Soldano has debuted the Astro 20 – a 20-watt tube head and combo that features a number of contemporary touches, in the form of a USB connection, IR cabinet simulation, and new Galaxy tone modes.

At the core of the amp is an old school tube circuit, featuring four 12AX7 preamp tubes and two 6V6 power amp tubes. It’s a three-channel setup, offering a choice of Clean, Overdrive 1, and Overdrive 2 channels. 

Further optionality comes in the form of the Astro 20's new Galaxy modes. The clean channel always corresponds with the Green Galaxy – a sound described as “a high-headroom circuit reminiscent of classic American combo amps. It ranges from crystal clean to slightly pushed crunchy tones.”

Then there’s a three-position Bright switch, offering treble boost options and a single tone knob.

Move over to the Overdrive channels and you have a shared three-band EQ, plus independent gain and volume controls for each channel. There are then three Galaxy modes to choose from, each of which can be applied to either Overdrive channel. 

The Blue Galaxy is all about fat, blues-inspired rock and hard rock tones, the Purple Galaxy steps it up on the gain front, while the Red Galaxy is more in keeping with Soldano’s traditional high gain sounds, but can be driven much further – into what the firm is labeling “a new, phenomenal high-gain universe.” 

As such, you can have two different variants of the same Galaxy loaded up across each Overdrive channel, with their own volume and gain settings, enabling it to act as a boost or gain stage – or choose a completely different flavor between the two. 

Over on the far right of the amp, a Star system-style indicator light helps you to keep track of which mode you’re in with a corresponding LED color. Then there’s a master volume, master presence and a depth switch.

You can also load and assign IRs to all three channels using the accompanying Soldano Editor software and store up to 128 MIDI presets – a function that really comes into its own with the included four-button MIDI footswitch.

Finally, the whole thing can operate in cabless mode, enabling you to use it with headphone for recording or practice, or go direct to the desk in live scenarios. 

The Astro 20 is available for $1,999 for the head and $2,299 for (the Celestion Greenback-equipped) combo option, which, in 2023, feels like good value for any USA-made tube amp – let alone one with this amount of flexibility and functionality and an included four-way MIDI footswitch. 

For more information, head to Soldano

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Matt Parker

Matt is a staff writer for GuitarWorld.com. Before that he spent 10 years as a freelance music journalist, interviewing artists for the likes of Total Guitar, Guitarist, Guitar World, MusicRadar, NME.com, DJ Mag and Electronic Sound. In 2020, he launched CreativeMoney.co.uk, which aims to share the ideas that make creative lifestyles more sustainable. He plays guitar, but should not be allowed near your delay pedals.