ENGL Amps are a German boutique amplifier builder that debuted their Savage 120 in 1985. Their amplifiers are highly sought after on the used market and are prized by many for their tight and precise sound. The ENGL Invader is no different here. They were one of the first brands to integrate MIDI into tube amps, and have continued to innovate ever since. Let’s see how their 150 watt monster Invader holds up!


My Invader 150 is from 2007.  The gain structure and switching allow for a lot of tonal options. Its also the only ENGL to have independent Equalization for each channel. It is a four channel amp, so that’s a big deal.

Aside from the channels being voiced very differently, there’s a bevy of switching, including Hi-Gain toggles and Bright switches, and Presence and Resonance knobs. The A & B Master Volumes expand your options even further.

It features their “Power Tube Monitoring System” which lets you know if you have a bad tube. With this, the amp can actually function even with one faulty tube. Simply a great quality of life feature.

Like all ENGLs, the Invader has a built in gate, and this one is very high quality.  No tone suck when set properly.

What I really like about ENGL is that each of their amps has an effects loop with a dry to wet knob. This makes dialing in tones with a large board a lot easier. Even better, the Invader 150 has two loops. This makes switching between difference landscapes a breeze… or, even more of a breeze rather, since the amp already has hugely convenient MIDI switching.

The amp has EL34 power tubes and ECC83 preamp tubes.


The clean channel has a very spanky yet smooth clean tone. Definitely has a Hi-Fi feel to it, so if you like your cleans a little looser and rough around the edges (think Mesa-style) this could be off-putting at first. However, if you want it to have a little bit of an AC/DC grit to it, you can engage the Hi-Gain button to add some girth.

Channel 2 is the “crunch” channel. It can be a great rhythm channel with the Hi-Gain Button and the Bright Switch engaged. Paired with the Green master volume, it has rich high-mids when striking huge chords. I would argue that it sounds pretty close to a Marshall JMP, which means it’s a pretty saggy channel but it works well in a mix. Definitely a good in-between sound for any style of rock music.

The third channel is what one expects when they hear “ENGL.” Truly punishing high gain that I use for a huge portion of my playing. Lots of amps have great metal sounds, but this is something else. It’s rich and articulate almost to a fault. You can hear every note, but you can hear every note. There’s definitely nothing to hide behind when playing this amp. When the Hi-Gain Button is off, it’s very thick and chunky, and when it’s on, you get more gain than you could ever need. We’re talking fully saturated with the gain at noon.

Finally, channel 4 is more of a soloing high gain channel, with a lot of mids on tap. It takes effects really well, and when paired with a reverb or delay pedal, the tone really comes to life. A good way to put it is that it has a lot of depth, but it can definitely take some getting used to compared to the plugg-and-play third channel. Here, you’re going to want to tweak everything this amp has: EQ, Master Volumes, the Hi-Gain Switch, the noise gate, and the mix on the effects loops.
Build Quality

The only flaw is the way this amp hurts your wallet. At $3,150 new and almost $4k with taxes and shipping, this amp is a serious investment. I say that because unlike cheaper and readily available amps, most boutique amplifiers really hold their value in the used markets.

If you’ll allow me to play to the stereotype for a moment, Germans are famous for their shocking attention to detail. Simply look at BMW or Teuffel Guitars. This amp is no exception. As I said,  my amp is from 2007 and I haven’t encountered a single problem. I haven’t even changed the tubes yet.

Aside from being built like a tank, it’s cosmetically beautiful. The front panel is instantly recognizable and the blue lights are pure class. The semi-exposed tube look that’s really popular right now is executed flawlessly.

Final verdict.

This amp is for someone looking for the utmost versatility, quality, and ease of use. There is no compromise to be found anywhere on this amp.

Tone is a very personal thing, and someone more accustomed to bassier, more rough around the edges tone may feel more comfortable on a different amp, but with patience will still be able to dial in a tone they like.

The ENGL Invader is the best ENGL has to offer on all fronts, and if you’re looking to spend the money, you will be satisfied.

Features- 5/5
Tone- 5/5
Build Quality- 5/5

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This article written by community contributor Chris Ray Tarpley.

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