Hello and welcome to my review of the ENGL Metalmaster 20 Head, I bought this amp together with a ENGL E212VB Pro Cab.
The layout of this amp is very simple and the knobs respond very well to position changes.
The clean gain shapes the sound from a pristine clean sound to a saturated more blues/rock/twangy sound depending how you set the EQ.
The intensity of the clean gain at 10 is more or less equal to the lead gain at 1.
The lead gain pushes the sound further into hard rock and eventually heavy metal.
I was able to dial in the settings on the amp fast and with ease and I got a amazing tone right away.
The main feature of the ENGL Metalmaster 20 is the mid scoop.
Like Marco Wriedt said, it sounds brutal!
This is one of the reasons why I like the sound of this amp so much.
The bottom and the highs become more profound, it tightens up the sound and to me it almost sounds like a boost pedal that's engaged if you have it active on the lead channel.
This doesn't add any gain but you hear some kind of extra hiss if I can call it that.
If you use it on the clean channel it makes the sound more sparkly.
Another feature is the power soak and for me this was a necessary feature since atm I play at home 99% of the time.
I have to say that this amp is very loud and even with the power soak on 1 watt I don't put the the master volume past 2 when playing the lead channel in the evening or at night.
If you are living in a apartment then this might even be too loud at night, bear in mind that I'm playing through a 2x12 and this is the only cab I own so I cannot make a comparison.
There is another option and that is the balanced line out, it's supposed to have a speaker simulation but it doesn't sound nearly as good as running the amp through a real cab.
Still, if you want to play quietly without bothering anyone then this is a viable option.
The only feature I really miss is a build in noise gate.
This is a metal amp and a noise gate is pretty mandatory for playing metal.
Having the gain boost option of the Metalmaster 40 on this version of the amp would have been nice too.
The amp sounds quite bright and there is a destinct difference in sound if you compare the clean and the lead channel on similar gain levels.
The clean channel sounds a lot warmer than the lead channel with the same EQ settings.
Like I said before the knobs are very responsive and however you set the EQ, the amp stays very tight, even on max gain.
It doesn't become muddy at all.
It's very clear and you can really hear all the notes ring is you play a chord or the pick attack when playing riffs, it's extremely articulate!
Once you crank up the volume the sound is just amazing, very organic and powerful.
For those who are wondering if this amp is loud enough for rehearsals or gigs, In my opinion yes, yes it is.
The highest I set the master volume to is between 3 and 4 @ 20 watts and it was very loud.
If the volume scales evenly then I can't imagine what master volume 10 would be like...
The clean channel is a different thing, it's not gonna be loud enough if you keep the clean gain low.
But honestly if that's a concern you probably should buy a different amp.
ENGL is one of the top brands in the business and it shows.
Both the amp and the cab are very well build and look fantastic, they share the same exact design so not only sonically but also visually they compliment each other perfectly.
I'm extremely satisfied with this amp and I highly recommend it as well as the pro cab.
It's easy to use and sound amazing right out of the box!
Also I want to thank the good people @ Thomann for the excellent customer service and shipping.
Both the amp and the cab were securely packaged with multiple layers of protection.
Special foam for the amp an cardboard layers around the edges for the cab, very nice!