unlike other amplifiers, the 50W EVH 5150 mk III is designed very differently from its 100W counterpart - being much more compact than its bigger brother... the obvious advantage in handling and weight has always been balanced by a not really trivial issue: shared controls among channel 1/green (clean) and 2/blue (crunch) - that limited the amp to just two usable channels, mainly (but not only) because of the huge volume difference between clean and crunch.
this latest version solved the issue brilliantly with the use of dual coaxial controls for gain and volume - the eq is still shared but it's not a major issue.
so this amp has 3 perfectly usable channels, all selectable via the included footswitch.
- the green channel (clean) can sound very clean or slightly crunchy, depending on the gain settings.
- the blue channel (crunch) goes from a bluesy distortion to full heavy metal - many thrash and death metal players prefer to boost the blue channel with an overdrive rather than using the lead channel, so there's plenty of gain and an aggressive voice.
- the red channel is ridiculously gainy - there's no need EVER to go after 2 o clock - and doesn't really need a boost (but the classic high mid spike of the tube screamer works perfectly with it) because is both heavy and tight. i don't think that anyone really needs to read a description of the 5150 III tone, but it's raw and present, cuts perfectly through any mix... it just sounds right without any need for extensive tweaking.
as i wrote above the green and blue channel have independent controls for gain and volume, but share the same 3band eq.
the red channel has its own controls, there's no master volume but a master control for presence and resonance (the latter is on the back of the amp)
there's a footswitchable fx loop, a midi input, pre and phones outputs, 2 cabinet outputs with a switch to control the impedance.
the only missing feature is a separate eq for the first 2 channels (i don't really need it, but for someone it could be an issue) and i'd have really liked some form of LED lighting inside the case, totally unnecessary, obviously, but it would have looked cool!