Back in early spring at this year’s re-scheduled NAMM show, Laney bolstered its Ironheart range with the critically-acclaimed Ironheart Loudpedal, a two-channel preamp stompbox with advanced connectivity and a seriously loud 60-watt power stage, all in a package not that much bigger than two packs of playing cards. Now, Laney are continuing the portable power theme with a pair of compact heads you can lift with one finger, the Leadtop and two-channel Dualtop.
Here, we're focussing on the Dualtop, having already put the impressive single-channel Leadtop through its paces during its own review.
Laney’s Dualtop is essentially the brand's critically-acclaimed IRF pedalboard-sized amplifier re-imagined as a compact and very portable twin-channel head. Slightly larger than the Leadtop with the same rugged good looks, the increased real estate of the Dualtop’s front and rear panels is put to good use, with two pairs of gain and master volume knobs governing the clean/crunch and lead channels.
Like the Leadtop, there’s a footswitchable boost function and a shared three-band passive EQ. The Dualtop also gets onboard reverb, in the shape of Laney’s own Black Country Customs Secret Path effect. The lead channel has the same three-way voicing switch as the Leadtop, with Dark, Bright, and Flat options, while the clean/crunch channel offers clean, asymmetric, and symmetric clipping options.
The busier rear panel includes a balanced DI output with a ground lift and two high quality IR presets for 1x12 or 4x12 cabinet simulation, together with a bypass option. The rest of the features are similar to the Leadtop, including a footswitch socket, which takes a standard two-button switch and allows remote control of channel switching and the boost function.
In use, the Dualtop’s extra channel adds extra versatility with the luxury of being able to swap clipping modes for two distinct crunch effects, while Laney’s superb Secret Path digital reverb adds a studio-quality ambience.
It may be intended as a metal head, but alongside the Dualtop’s incendiary lead channel, the clean channel easily covers everything from snappy country to bluesy crunch sounds.
Size and portability are increasingly important factors to consider for many guitarists when buying a new amplifier, and the new Laney Dualtop amp, like its Leadtop sibling, is a great choice: it's ideal for players who want an affordable amp head which can be used anywhere, either at home or on stage.
Both heads offer a wide tonal range that nails modern rock and metal, but with surprising versatility that easily covers many other genres. The Dualtop scores highly here, with a choice of symmetrical or asymmetrical clipping on its clean/crunch channel, a superb foot-switchable lead channel, and the excellent Black Country Custom digital reverb, while the XLR DI out and integrated IR cabinet emulations make it easy to hook up to consoles for live or studio use.
Whichever one you choose, the Leadtop and Dualtop are ideal portable partners for modern players at all levels, from beginner to pro, with impressively low pricing that won’t break the bank.
- PRICE: $429 / £259
- TYPE: Solid-state preamp and power amp
- OUTPUT: 60 watts RMS, switchable to approx 1 watt RMS
- DIMENSIONS: 377mm (w) x 184mm (d) x 178mm (h)
- WEIGHT: 5.7kg / 10.3lbs
- CABINET: MDF sleeve
- CHANNELS: Two
- CONTROLS: Boost level, boost on/off switch, channel on gain, volume, sym/clean/asym slip switch, channel two gain, volume, bright/natural/dark preset voicing switch, bass, middle, treble, reverb level. Ground lift switch, IT select switch, output power select (on rear panel)
- FOOTSWITCH: Two-button footswitch (not supplied) toggles channels and boost function.
- ADDITIONAL FEATURES: Transformer-isolated series effects loop, XLR DI out with ground lift and two custom IR's plus bypass, 60 watt/1 watt power switching, aux in, headphones out
- RANGE OPTIONS: The single-channel Leadtop costs $299/£169.
- CONTACT: Laney