Laney Lionheart

The time has come for me to buy a new amp and it looks like its going to be the new "Laney Lionheart L20h" head.
I've had enough of unreliable, single preamp combos, and have decided to go all out and get a class A, all valve set up.

I was wondering if anyone else has any comments about the amp? any advice for/against buying it etc? or any advice on what kind of cab would be good with it for getting a grungy/alternative rock, kind of sound.

Feel free to have a chat about any knowledge you may have of this head, i know its not been around for long, but from what i've read its very very good for its price tag


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Hi Nick, welcome in :)

I hadn't even heard of their Lionheart (had to look it up) but I am a valve-sniffing anal-retentive, so you're welcome to read my ops.

Looking at the spec (I can't find an opened-up, see the guts pic anywhere) there seems to be a lot going for it. The only cautionary point is that I think they're pushing it a bit with the "handwired, boutique" labeling to justify a not-inconsiderable £450+ price. That phrase, to me, suggests that the major components are mounted on a turret board and wired together by a human using solder. In fact, the Lionheart uses a printed circuit board. Nothing wrong with a well-designed PCB (better than some spaghetti "handwired" amp designed by idiots) but there's no denying that the PCB makes it vastly cheaper to manufacture.

With the parallel EL84 setup (and it really is Class A, not just biased a bit Class A-ish) it suggests to me the sound will lean more to the chimey Vox AC30 rather than dirtier Marshall territory. Some alternatives worth considering before you commit to the Lionheart. The Vox AC30CC1 costs about the same as the L20H and comes with a very decent 12" speaker. The CC2, with 2x12"s, is only slightly more. Laney's matching 2x12" cab, don't forget, pushes the whole Laney price towards £900. This puts it against the Marshall 18W RI, which is a lot more basic than the Laney (it sticks closely to the 1974x original) but the Marshall is a true handwire.

The Marshall is also more of a cathode-biased push-pull design - hence it can make 18W out of just two EL84s whereas the Laney's 20W requires four. The Marshall will "crunch" more as it's dialled up. I have several WEM Dominators (the design that Marshall pinched wholesale) and I do like their "ministack" sound; even from a single 12".

There's another suggestion to try before deciding and that's the Orange Rocker 30. I like the idea of the "vol control only" clean channel and, as it uses 2xEL34 valves, it should be good for that bigger-Brit amp sound. £615 but, again, it's a combo with a decent 12" speaker. If you go for the 20H, the matching 212T cab is worth trying. I think a 4x12" is overkill with that sort of output.

Just a few ideas. Wait for Lee_UK to pitch in with his ops. He knows a lot more than I about the merits of various speaker drivers for guitar and is very well versed in AC30s. Hope some of this is useful :)

hey bass

cheers for coming by, i was beginning to think nobody would reply!

anyway sound advice but i've had quite a few combos and i find them frankly awful. the other guitarist in my band has an AC30CC2X 212 and i dont like it that much, i wanted something with no effects, just reverb and 2 chanels. the laney l20h is perfect. its got the effects loop which i'd be looking to use a crybaby, boss cs3, boss ds1, boss ds2, line6 mm4, big muff and a boss tu2 in line chromatic tuner.

Forgetting about tone for a minute, what kind of cab would i be looking at for best results with this head? a 2x12?
and i'm deffinitely not getting the laney cab, its too much for me!


As a bass player, I have a definite bias towards head+cab so I sympathize with you. What I did like about the Laney was the "old tech" pre and power amp design but with the new-tech features such as the easy channel switching and FX loop. Seeing as they're important to you, it does make the Lionheart more of a proposition.

As for the cab, I confess I'm not the skilled guitarist to make a lot of comments. I still say that, for this kind of output, 1x12" or 2x12" is as much as necessary. We all read that "plugging my 5W valve amp into an external 4x12 really makes a HUGE difference" stuff and, sure, going from a single 8" driver to a 4x12" will sound different. With me (and the band's proper guitarist) going from 2x12" to 4x12" just isn't worth the lug for 15-30W output. I often search "speaker cab" or "speaker cabinet" on Fleeb and see some interesting stuff with nice, vintage drivers going for silly money. Always worth a look.

Yeah am looking an orange 2x12 cab to use with it.

Its stupid, i've seen many mini heads around or below 20w being used with full 4x12 cabs.

Remember I mentioned that you can find nice speakers at silly money? Here's an example:

Because they're old PA cabs they might not fetch much but those are Fane 122 drivers in there, and they can fetch a lot of money. Have a pair of them housed in a 2x12 cab for a 80W, 8ohm cab and sell the other six. Probably make a profit.

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