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Kustom MOD-L 20 - The dullest amp ever?

Kustom MOD-L 20 - The dullest amp ever?  ·  Source: Kustom

Kustom Amps has billed its new MOD-L20 as “the world’s easiest to use modelling amplifier”. But this could also be dullest, depending on your point of view. Is this new 20-Watt modelling amplifier worth your attention? Let’s take a closer look.

Kustom MOD-L20

I have to say that on paper the new Kustom MOD-L20 20-Watt modelling combo looks as dull as dishwater and not an attractive proposition at all. The product page for this new combo lists 24 different amplifier models, along with 24 bit digital reverbs, delays and modulated effects and EQs, cabinet simulators and something called ‘signal enhancing conditioning’. But nowhere does it mention any kind of adjustment, user presets or the ability to edit any of the onboard sounds.

Kustom control panel, with literally no controls

Kustom control panel, with literally no controls

No Control?

As far as I can tell, there is an input for your guitar, a headphone out jack and a single Volume and Amp Select dial, for accessing any of the 24 amp/effect presets – and that is it. If this is all you get, it is functionally a very limited product. Especially in today’s world of budget modelling amps, software and pedals. Yes, you can push the Amp Select dial and it accesses a tuner, but that is about it – although that function isn’t mentioned in the user manual. I wonder why this product even exists. Wouldn’t not making this amp have been a better move?

Kustom MOD-L 20

Kustom MOD-L 20


The Kustom Mod-L20 is 20-watt practise amp you can use it in your office or at home for a quick practise. But unless they are giving it away for about £30 or £40, I cannot see the point of this product. Surely even if the 24 basic sounds are good, not being able to adjust them will become frustrating sooner or later. This product needs some killer tones for anyone to notice it in this already overcrowded marketplace.


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by Jef

24 responses to “Is the Kustom MOD-L20 the dullest modelling amplifier of the year?”

  1. It may be “dull” to someone who like to fiddle and “tweek” but it’s also a 20 w amp at the same street price ($99.99) as an even more basic 10w Peavey combo with no modelling or effects and $30 cheaper than the street price of a 20w Line 6 or Fender combo and $50 cheaper than the street price of a Peavey 20w combo. And the price (which includes dealer markup/profit) reflects that it is being sold thru music stores and not customer direct like stuff from Thomann, Monoprice etc. so you can’t fairly compare stuff from them or from brands that just basically sell direct on the internet. And no, “not making” this amp wouldn’t have been a “better move” as a large reason for this amp (and “second tier” brands like Kustom etc. in general) is to offer a product line (amps, guitars, whatever) that can be offered to “brick and mortar” music stores (especially smaller ones) that don’t have or can’t get “major” brands/lines like Fender, Peavey, Line 6, or whatever and need stuff to sell. And of course there’s the reality that the majority of buyers/users of these small inexpensive amps never get past the factory presets anyway.

  2. Jef says:

    Possibly, but then you see products like the Mooer Hornet Modelling amp, which offers so much more for a similar price point and it is also a ‘second tier’ brand, which you can get in smaller bricks and mortar stores. I just think that in todays already crowded marketplace for cheap modelling amps, that this Kustom MOD L-20 offers very little substance for users.

  3. William Paxson says:

    The Mooer has 15W (3/4 the power) and only a 6.5″ speaker which pretty much relegates it to the bedroom where the Kustom is just powerful enough that you could get by jamming with others. Also I’ve never seen a Mooer in a music store in the US (or hardly any other Mooer products for that matter) and buying one off of Reverb the cheapest I saw was about $40 more delivered that the delivered (Musicians Friend etc.) or in store local street price of the Kustom. And the 8″ speaker of the Custom is going to give you a bigger basic sound. And Kustom has established distribution here in the US.

    • Josiah says:

      I am so sorry you have never left the town you live in because I have traveled the nation and seen Mooer products in several stores, I don’t understand why you are defending a product that is utterly useless when compared to competitively priced well made products made by reputable international brands.

      • Jef says:

        It’s just Williams point of view, not really defending it. We often discuss products here in the comments section and I take his point. Just here in the UK there are way more modelling amps available for this price point, with far better features. I just used the Mooer as an example of one of them. But my viewpoint is that this Kustom offers nothing exciting and that I think it is very dull.

      • William Paxson says:

        And I am SO sorry you don’t know a single thing about what I have or have not done or where I’ve been. And here in the US I’ve seen exactly 1 store that stocked Mooer products (pedals) and they went out of business. And here in the Midwestern US I suspect only 1 out of 10 first time or amateur buyers have even heard of Mooer as opposed to Kustom which counts for a lot especially with the smaller stores who are buying products to primarily sell to their local market (yes, that is still done). And it’s also curious that none of the major big box stores here in the US (GC, Sweetwater, etc.) stock the Mooer amp while the Kustom amp is offered by the GC consortium of stores (thet must not think the amp is “utterly useless” or unsellable or maybe they know a bit more about the business than you do). And the fact that Kustom is distributed by a long time established distributor (Hanser Group-formerly Davitt & Hanser Music Distributors) whom many stores may already be doing business with. And the competition being 30-50% more is not exactly my idea of being “competitively priced” but then I had a quarter century of experience selling stuff like this.

  4. JB says:

    Is it not obvious to everyone by now that this website belongs to Thomann? It’s interesting and sad that “Jef” is reviewing a product that Thomann does NOT carry currently. There are NO modeling amplifiers with similar specs or that sound this good in this price range. Would you prefer to buy a solid state “beginner amp” with two sounds for that price or something that SOUNDS great? It’s not meant for gigging. It’s meant for someone starting out to have an amp that is affordable and sounds good. Also, I’ve started to see this amp everywhere in Europe EXCEPT on Thomann…so that says a lot too. If you’re going to say something bad about an amp why don’t you at least have your facts (and prices vs specs) straight? This is a great amp for the price! I bought one for my son and he is very happy with it. (and I like the way it looks).

    • Jef says:

      I just gave my opinion on this amp, as I see it. I have not reviewed it. For me, personally it doesn’t offer anything interesting and I think it is dull. As for Thomann, we are part of their affiliate program and we state that whenever we link to a product from a news article. However, we are editorially independent. Which means, I say what I like and sometimes it ruffles peoples feathers. Plus, I can talk about any equipment whether it is on Thomann or not. I get your view and I don’t disagree with your take on this amp. I still think this amp is very dull and offers very little for the price point, so my money would be spent elsewhere.

      • Paul Smith says:

        Hi Jef… how can you review an amp that you have not actually tested? You’ve never had a physical sample of the Kustom amp, so your review is somewhat subjective. If you would like to do a real review I would be happy to provide the amplifier for you to try out. Surely your subscribers deserve an honest review of the products you feature?

        • Jef says:

          Hi Paul, nowhere does it say review within this article. And as always the clue is in the name of the site. So that will be gear & news, which so this is my opinion on the ‘news’ of one very boring sounding amp. One that has a video demo which is also very, very dull. Simple opinion ‘news’ piece and based on my perception of this boring little amp. If they want to send me one, then I can review it, but I doubt they would do that. We are a news site and when I do review equipment, it will state clearly in the article that I have reviewed it. Otherwise, it will just be my opinion on a new piece of gear.

          • Jack Tripper says:

            Well given that you have passed a “verdict” (your word) on this product, that’s a “review” whether you use that word or not.

          • Jef says:

            Yeah my opinion is it sounds awful and is dull. You can quote me on that.

      • JB says:

        Hey Jeff, you’re opinion about a piece of gear that you contributed purposely IS a review or an editorial. If it was news it would have to be based on fact. Yours is based solely on your opinion of something you haven’t seen or played. From your review: “As far as I can tell, there is an input for your guitar”… AND “This product needs some killer tones for anyone to notice it in this already overcrowded marketplace” which makes it quite obvious that you have never even seen the amp in person none the less to have played it. Writing a “review” or whatever you want to call it specifically for publication means you had every intention of it being seen and influencing people. I think it is very irresponsible to go out of your way to comment about any product in a negative light if you have NOT EVEN SEEN OR PLAYED IT. To me this gives you no credibility in regards to anything you write, good or bad, in the future. I hope that you and everyone at this website will conduct themselves more responsibly. I hope they don’t send you one to “review” since for some reason you’re highly biased against this already.

        • Jef says:

          Yes, my opinion is that it sounds very dull in their own Pre-Set Preview demo, and the video of it is uninspiring to me. I doubt I could recommend it to anyone. That is definitely my opinion and I have certainly not ‘reviewed’ it. I’m just so irresponsible for having an opinion and sharing it. I’ll never write that I like something, if I think it is bad and I really do think this is a dull little amp.

  5. Tony says:

    Jef is a fucking hack.

  6. Tony says:

    I wasn’t calling you an asshole (though you clearly are).

    The point I was making was that you very likely have an asshole, like an opinion, because everyone does.

    So your opinion is worthless.

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