Dime D100 Head Review
The Dime D100 Head is a signature 120 watt amp head from Dime Amplification, but it’s a little different to your standard signature amp…
Nothing is ever quite ‘standard’ when it comes to Dimebag, and this amp is no exception! The truth is that he never actually played through this amp in his lifetime; he wasn’t consulted on the design process at any point…
In fact, Dimebag has never seen this amp head in his life!
So, how is it his signature model? Well, he may sadly no longer be with us, but his guitar tech and the designer of his original amp (the Randall RG100ES) are. What better to recreate his legendary tone than the man who designed his original amps, and his guitar tech?
Incidentally, Grady Champion– Dime’s guitar tech for 13 years- was more than just the guy setting up his guitars. He would actually work backstage with Dime’s EQ settings, adjusting them at different points during the gig.
So, this guy knows his stuff when it comes to tone!
Dime’s Original Amp
As I mentioned, Dime’s original amp was the Randall RG100ES. These amps were produced in the 80s, and are no longer sold. You’ll have to scour Ebay for any remaining copies, which is a shame because- by all accounts- this was a very very good amp indeed!
So, when designing the Dime D100 head, they brought in Gary Sundra– the original designer of Dime’s favourite amp. It then went through a rigorous testing phase with guitar tech Grady, before being tweaked again by Sundra.
The amp wouldn’t begin production until both Grady Champion and Gary Sundra were happy with the tone. So, although Dime had no direct input in the development of the Dime D100 head, it has been approved by the Dime Estate.
Considering the man is no longer with us, this might be the best modern equivalent available. We will never know what Dime himself thought of the amp, but we can be fairly sure he’d approve.
- 120 Watts (rms @ 4 ohms)
- 80 Watts (rms @ 8 ohms)
- Two Channels
- 4-Band EQ
- Boost Switch (for added gain)
- Dual Effects Loops
- Line Out
- FS1 Footswitch Included
- Dime’s Famous Tone
- 11″H x 29.25″W x 9.75″D, 39 lbs
- Also available in White, Red or Purple Finishes
Key features of this amp include the Bass, Mid, Treble, Presence controls, centred at 50Hz, 600Hz, 12kHz and 15kHz respectively. This means the presence control is set fairly high, at 15Khz, but Dime’s tone did contain a lot of treble!
Also, both channels and their separate effects loops can be used simultaneously. This is a confusing idea at first, and may take some adjusting. However, this feature allows the Dime D100 head to produce a layered clean/distortion sound, which thickens up and clarifies the tone a bit more.
What We liked…
Obviously, trying to emulate the tone of a guitar legend who is no longer with us is going to be controversial. Well, any piece of equipment that claims to accurately mimic another, more famous piece of equipment is going to be controversial, really.
This amp was clearly designed to get Dime’s signature tone, and it does come pretty close to that. The reason I say ‘pretty close’, is because the distortion seems just a bit fizzy to me. If you want to get even closer to the sound of the man, you’ll need to also use the same effects pedals as Dime himself used.
Then, you’ll probably want to put it through a D412 speaker cabinet. This features custom designed Eminence speakers, and is made to perfectly compliment this amp head.
I’m a huge fan of Dimebag myself, and own one of his other ‘signature’ models, the Randall Warhead X2. Compared to that amp, the distortion from the Dime D100 head sounds a little less tight. You’ll probably want to fix this with a boost pedal in front of the head to tighten it up a bit.
That isn’t an overall bad thing, though. Especially when you consider the price of this amp! I mean, it’s not cheap, but it won’t require you to sell your house, either.
When using the second channel with the boost engaged, the tone of this amp is great for heavy metal (as you would expect). There is plenty of chuggy low end, and- of course- that biting treble for those whammy bar squeals!
You’ll also like the easy-to-use controls, although it could do with having a channel switch on the amp. The only way to switch channels on this amp is through the footswitch, which is a bit strange.
What We didn’t like…
The 120 watt and 80 watt features offer a nice versatility, just make sure you can plug in to a 4Oohm cab if you’re playing with a drummer. Drums are loud and so you’ll probably be needing the full 120 watts of power!
The fizziness of the distortion is another drawback. As I said, you can get over this by adding a boost pedal before going into the amp. These are normally placed before any other effects to enhance the signal from your guitar and get a tighter sound.
However, this is not a massive drawback, and- by all accounts- the distortion on the Dime D100 is very very similar to the RG100ES. Which stands to reason, because that’s the amp it’s trying to emulate.
The idea of blending both channels is also a bit weird. It’s a cool idea to be able to blend both clean and distortion channels, but I just don’t see where you would use it. Usually you want either clean, or distortion, right?
Also, the reverb isn’t great. It feels more like an after-thought.
Conclusions about the Dime D100 Head
The Dime D100 Head is a very well built and solid amp head, it’s just a shame about the foot-switch (which is plastic). It accurately emulates the sound of the amp that Dime used himself- which doesn’t include the extra effects that he used to get his tone.
So, if you want a decent metal amp, this amp will do the job. If you’re a die-hard Dimebag or Pantera fan, get this amp and couple it up with the matching cabs, and Dimebag signature effects (including an EQ pedal and his signature Wah). Then plug in the Dean from Hell, and you’re ready to go!