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RedSeven Amp Central Review – Possibly The Best Load Box/IR Loader!

Hello there and welcome back to yet another gear review for you! This time we will check out possibly the best-sounding reactive load box/IR loader that is still accessible while coming from a boutique Italian amp manufacturer, RedSeven Amp Central! 

In this review, I will introduce the RedSeven Amplification company and provide you with essential information on Amp Central. On top of that, you will be able to watch and listen to a demo video that I prepared to show you all the built-in Red Seven impulse responses and how the Amp Central sounds and feels.

RedSeven Amplification Company

RedSeven Amplification is a pretty young amp manufacturer in Este, Italy. RedSeven was founded in 2013 under the name Shiva Audio Devices as a repair shop, and pedal manufacturer and some new designs in their mind.

The company was initially focusing on pedals and effects such as The Wave – True Analogue Multichorus with a limited number of 35 pieces.

In 2016, the company shifted its focus to more tube amplifiers and released its first tube amp, Duality. Following that, around 2018, Shiva Audio Devices was no longer using this company name and switched to RedSeven Amplification and showcased their products at the Guitar Show that took place in Padova, Italy.

This bold step from a very young company was very well received and Red Seven decided to up the game with their Duality 100 and Leviathan.

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In 2020, RedSeven also released a tube preamp pedal Leviathan preamp from their legendary Leviathan amp, featuring three 12AX7 tubes with a real high-voltage circuit.

In 2021, during the 42 Gear Street Fest in Germany, they released their first-ever reactive load and IR loader, Amp Central (possibly as the first version). Very recently, the company released a serious amp that focuses on 80s glam/metal sounds, The Dirt.

Check out RedSeven Amplification products on Reverb here

RedSeven Amp Central

As mentioned above, RedSeven released the first version of Amp Central back in 2021. So it’s a pretty recent product. However, according to the official manual, they upgraded it starting from mid-May 2022 (serial number from 22056 and above). Fortunately, I got the newest version directly from them!

RedSeven Amp Central is a resistive/reactive load box and IR loader that comes with a fully analogue highest quality load section and built-in digital impulse response loader.

Red Seven Amp Central Close Up
RedSeven Amp Central – you have it all!

The first time I noticed Amp Central was pretty much as soon as it was released. However, back in those days, I did not have any idea whether I should be going in this direction so I kinda passed it. Later on, I got more interested in valve amps and using them with load boxes and realised that there were a lot of load boxes with different features from many different manufacturers.

Until I saw Mendel bij de Leij’s load box comparison video (below), I did not even think about RedSeven Amp Central as an option, but then I felt like why not? Why not go for an excellent option instead of going for the budget and outdated load boxes?

What is a Load?

Normally, if you want to use your tube amplifier, you need to connect it to a guitar speaker cabinet. If you don’t, you will highly likely damage your tube amps easily. Tube amplifiers need to take a load to operate and the guitar speakers act as the “load“.

However, if you want to use your tube amplifier silently, you need to add a dummy load to the output section of your amp. There are two types of loads in the market, resistive and reactive load.

Reactive vs Resistive Load

The most common and oldest version of these load circuits is known as resistive load. This type of circuit usually consists of resistors to soak up the wattage coming from your amp and convert it to heat. As resistive loads are simple, they are usually way more affordable than reactive loads.

On the other hand, reactive loads have been also on the rise and can be found in many load boxes today. Even affordable options, such as Two Notes Torpedo Captor, reactive load circuits are implemented. Reactive loads are way more complicated and consist of resistors and capacitors to emulate the impedance curve of a speaker.

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However, it’s totally worth it as they make you feel you are playing through real guitar speakers!

Amp Central Features

RedSeven Amp Central is probably the most feature-packed load and IR loader in the market! It features not only a reactive load circuit but also a resistive load circuit as well. It comes with a built-in IR loader and 16 different RedSeven guitar speaker cabinets that belong to their Pro Cabinet series.

RedSeven Amp Central Front
RedSeven Amp Central – built like a tank!

It also has a unique feature, a stereo FX loop! This is pretty rare in load boxes and you will have a hard time finding a similar product in the market.

On top of that, it even features a MIDI I/O so you can simply connect your AmpCentral to a MIDI-enabled guitar amp and synch the channel/IR changes with each other.

Before we dig into more details of RedSeven Amp Central, let’s have a quick look at the tech specs below.

RedSeven Amp Central Tech Specs

Load TypeReactive and Resistive
PowerMaximum 100W
Impedance8 Ohm
Built-in IR LoaderYes
Number of IRs16
Flat/CutYes, Flat or 10Hz cut on XLR / Main output*
Main Output Jacks2 Balanced Output Jacks*
Line OutYes, 1 unfiltered, no IR applied output
Line Out LevelYes, to adjust line out level
XLR OutYes, 2 IR applied outputs
FX LoopStereo FX Loop
Ground LiftYes
USB InputYes, for uploading your IRs
MIDIYes, IN/OUT
Power SupplyIncluded, 24VDC/300mA (negative centre)*
Headphone OutYes, with highest grade built-in headphone amp
Aux INYes, to connect external audio sources

As you can see, AmpCentral is packaged with features! First of all, it comes with both resistive and reactive load circuits which you can select from the front panel with a mini switch. You may wonder why they also added a resistive load circuit when it’s considered a simple and less advanced development.

I don’t know the answer exactly, but from what I heard on the internet, some people claim that not all the amps may sound and feel great with reactive load. So in case you find traditional resistive load feel better, you always have the option to switch to this. This is a rare feature for load boxes in the market.

Amp Central like most load boxes can handle up to 100W of power at 8 Ohm. So if you have a more powerful amp, be careful. It also features a Flat/Cut switch on the front panel that you can cut around 10Hz or just leave it on flat to have the flattest sound. Note that this switch only impacts XLR and main output jacks, not the line out.

RedSeven also decided to implement a line-out section with a separate volume control. This is very useful because you can use this line out and record an unfiltered, pure amp signal and then add IRs on top of this signal in your DAW. If you also combine this with a DI box (just like I do!), you will get the best recording scenario!

You can play your tube amp with the built-in IR loader through your studio monitors, and send a parallel DI signal to your DAW along with the line-out signal. And then you can just play with these separate signals, add IRs or reamp with whatever you prefer!

RedSeven Amp Central Back
RedSeven Amp Central – packed with all the I/O you ever need!

It comes with 16 different RedSeven IRs which you can replace with your own using a standard USB cable (Cable not included). On top of that, you even have MIDI implementation which is a great feature on an IR loader and load box in my opinion. I haven’t tested this feature yet.

But I think you can just connect your Amp Central to your tube amplifier (most of the amps today have MIDI anyway) and then synch them. So when you switch a channel and a mode, it also triggers Amp Central to switch presets. I think this is extremely useful for live situations!

Beware that the features I have marked with an asterisk in the tech specs table are the ones just implemented with the new version since mid-May 2022 (serial number 22056 and above).

RedSeven Amp Central Power Supply
Comes with a 24V adapter (new version only!) and multiple plugs!

AmpCentral also comes with an audiophile quality (improved with the new version) headphone amp so you can play your tube amps using the headphones out and also play along with your favourite tracks using the aux input on the front panel.

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It also features a stereo FX loop which is unique in such product designs. Most of the time your amps come with an FX loop but some vintage amps don’t have this. So you can simply add an FX loop to your amp without any modifications!

RedSeven Amp Central IR List

RedSeven Amp Central comes with a high-quality IR loader and 16 RedSeven IRs. According to the manual, these IRs belong to their Pro Cab series 4×12 cabinets featuring legendary speakers. The IR format is a standard wave file (.wav), mono in 24bit, 48kHz and limited to 20ms.

Amp Central IRs Mic Placement

Let’s have a quick look at the IR list below.

BANK PRESET Speaker MIC 1 MIC 2 PLACEMENT
11Celestion™ Vintage 3057414A
12Celestion™ Vintage 3057414B
13Celestion™ Vintage 3057121A
14Celestion™ Vintage 3057121B
21Celestion™ G12M2557414A
22Celestion™ G12M2557414B
23Celestion™ G12M2557121A
24Celestion™ G12M2557121B
31Celestion™ G12H3057414A
32Celestion™ G12H3057414B
33Celestion™ G12H3057121A
34Celestion™ G12H3057121B
41Celestion™ G12 Nodimyum57414A
42Celestion™ G12 Nodimyum57414B
43Celestion™ G12 Nodimyum57121A
44Celestion™ G12 Nodimyum57121B

RedSeven Amp Central Review

As I mentioned in the beginning, I believe AmpCentral is possibly the best value load box/IR loader in the market when you consider its price tag and tons of features that are pretty rare to find in any competitor product.

As RedSeven is a very young, small boutique manufacturer of tube amps, preamps and pedals, it’s not always easy to find their products online via their distributor network. I live in Bratislava and immediately started searching for any dealers in here but there was none.

RedSeven Amp Central Box
Comes in a nicely branded box!

After having attempted to contact some of their dealers online in nearby countries and not receiving any responses, I gave up and directly contacted them. Luca Baratello who is the founder of RedSeven responded to me swiftly and helped me with my order. At the time of ordering and sending the payment, they were still manufacturing a batch of Amp Centrals for customers.

Before I got my AmpCentral, I already received my Marshall JVM410H and Two Notes Torpedo Captor (just for comparison), so I could already start playing my amp. But after I received my parcel, I immediately wanted to try my AmpCentral and completely blow away with the first notes!

Check out my Two Notes Torpedo Captor review here

RedSeven Key Ring
RedSeven Key Ring as a gift, thank you!

It sounds and feels magnificent! As you may know, I have been using software amps, plugins with IRs, and tube preamps with IR loaders for a long time and I thought playing through tube amps with IRs and power amp simulation was the ultimate level for amateur players like me.

However, when I switched to the Marshall JVM410H and AmpCentral combination, I felt really happy and satisfied with the feel. It is definitely not the same and absolutely a better sensation than the other options!

I was always watching videos on YouTube of guitar players who were ranting about this type of combination and always distanced myself as this would cost me a lot more. But when I think about the choice I have made with gear, I don’t think it’s more expensive because the joy is very different than other options.

Amp Central helped me shift my focus on gear towards more guitars and amps rather than chasing digital or hybrid solutions all day long.

In order to provide you with a nice demo, I prepared a very long demo (no talking) showing you all the IRs in different settings. I used my EHX 720 looper to play and record multiple loops featuring my Fender USA Stratocaster Standard, Ibanez RG565, Ibanez AR300 and Schecter Hellraiser Hybrid PT-7. Then I sent these loops to my Marshall JVM410H via relevant channels and recorded this video below.

It may be boring for some, but I’m sure you will be able to hear every detail about Amp Central‘s excellent reactive load and their sweet IRs!

I also added a section at the end of the video to demo Flat/Cut and Reactive/Resistive Load modes to show you all the options RedSeven Amp Central offers! Hope you like it, let me know if you prefer hearing Amp Central in a different setting.

RedSeven Amp Central Review & Sound Demo (no talking)

Some Improvement Ideas

There are a couple of points that can be improved on Amp Central though. I have spent pretty much all my available time playing my electrics for the last 4 months with my lovely RedSeven Amp Central and my Marshall JVM410H.

Naturally, I started identifying some improvement points, let’s have a look!

Doesn’t remember the last setting

The first and most noticeable is that the IR loader does not remember your last choice. This can be annoying initially but not a huge deal breaker for me. While you are exploring the possibilities with your amp and the AmpCentral, you tend to try all the options and sometimes you land on a great combination.

You play for hours and then switch off everything. When you go back to your AmpCentral and turn it on, the last chosen IR is not there anymore, it starts from bank 0, preset 0 again. So you need to remember the IR you have picked up and don’t be surprised.

Big & Dark Knobs

Apart from that, these big knobs on the front panel are really cool, however, it’s difficult to see the actual position of these knobs. I would definitely make it glow-in-the-dark style indicators or at least make those indicators colourful. 🙂  The Virtual Cabinet knob also is not perfectly aligned with the circular print on the unit and rotates a bit wobbly. But it functions without any issues.

Setting up the input

Also, according to the manual, we should set the input level carefully and not reach 6 dB as indicated on the front panel and it should slightly hit 0 dB.

However, we have also another level labelled as DAC and the input level knob on the front panel can be hardly adjusted up to 9 o’clock. So I wonder why we have this broad headroom to adjust but we are told not to. I’m sure there’s a technical explanation for this but it just adds a bit more complexity.

As suggested in the manual, one should not really attempt to clip all these indicators instead, adjust their amp at normal playing levels and back down a bit and stay in the green! 🙂

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Lack of Phantom Power

Additionally, just like Two Notes Torpedo Captor features, it would be great to have phantom power so one would not need a power supply. But I’m not sure if this is feasible on such a great-sounding unit. However, I must say I’m really impressed with the phantom power feature on the Captor. It’s a breeze to use it without needing a power supply.

USB 2.0 still?

RedSeven Amp Central also comes with a big old USB 2.0 port and does not come without a USB cable. This USB cable is also known as a standard printer cable. You either need to buy one or try to find one in your drawer. I was lucky to have a couple of them, but only one printer cable was functioning. I would definitely upgrade this to a more modern USB port.

More RedSeven IRs!

Factory IRs sound great in my opinion, but I would still prefer to have access to Red Seven’s future IR releases. Maybe they can provide such an option for Amp Central one day.

Concerning IR length, even though there are discussions around there claiming that 20ms is enough to cover everything, I would still prefer to have an edge with such a boutique device, maybe up to 200ms. However, the leading manufacturers in this reactive load/IR loader product segment usually implement this IR length (around 20ms) in their products.

RedSeven Amp Central has absolutely had a positive impact on my relationship with my guitars! I have found myself playing and enjoying my electric guitars more and more every day and spending a lot more time playing rather than thinking about my next piece of equipment.

If you are following my guitar reviews on YouTube, you may have noticed that I have been posting a lot more guitar reviews featuring my Marshall JVM410H and using only RedSeven Amp Central!

Hopefully, one day RedSeven Amp Central will be available at every online store. I believe Amp Central is one of the best value, featured-packed and excellent-sounding reactive loads in the market at the moment!

Where to Buy RedSeven Amp Central?

As I mentioned, RedSeven Amp Central is not available at every online music store. There are loads of RedSeven dealers on their website, but while I was trying to contact these small companies, none of them even responded to me! It’s best to directly contact RedSeven and get your Amp Central as quickly as possible.

Guys at RedSeven are pretty quick to respond and they deliver! You can also take a chance and sometimes browse through Reverb ads. There are sometimes used Amp Centrals on Reverb, but you should know that this is a rare situation as no one wants to sell their Amp Central!

Also, watch out if you want to purchase the newest version as I did! Most dealers that I contacted were still listing old specs and I was curious what version I would receive in case I placed my order. No one replied! 🙁

I hope you have enjoyed this review article and the multimedia materials I produced for you. Thanks for visiting my blog and supporting me so far! I will hopefully see you in the next review here!

Osman Cenan Çiğil – cigilovic.com


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