Fender Mustang III Modelling Amp
Fender are pretty good at what they do best and have been for a long time now – building industry-standard valve amps and classic electric guitars by the thousand. But time, as the Rolling Stones astutely pointed out, waits for no-one, and, to quote another legend and survivor of the ’60s, the times they are a-changing. ...more
Four Acoustic Guitar Amps Compared
Imagine walking into a room with four people; three gentlemen in tweed jackets with leather elbow patches and a lady in a red dress. Who would you strike up a conversation with? This was the image that came to one student’s mind when asked to review the four acoustic guitar amps on offer here. Once a year, under the guidance of myself, SAE degree students have the privilege of reviewing new and exciting equipment for the readers of NZ Musician magazine. This year, we have looked at four solutions to the eternal conundrum that is acoustic guitar amplification.
Every guitarist will at some stage face the challenge of amplifying the beloved acoustic; so it can be heard over the drums and instruments in an otherwise electric band, or over the background noise at a street corner or in a cafe. Retaining the characteristic sound while not ending up with squealing feedback through the speakers can be a real challenge.
To be fair, the prices of the four amplifiers on review here range from just over $300 to just under $1300, so their vastly different features and qualities have to be viewed with this in mind. So, let’s plug in and get started.
Ibanez Tube Screamer Amplifier & Cabinet
Long gone are the days when Ibanez products were regarded with a certain degree of disdain by professional guitarists, dismissed as knock-offs aimed at the bedroom musician. Now when Ibanez comes to the table with something new, you better sit up and take notice, and if memory serves me correctly, this shift in perception seems to have started around the time they introduced a little green three-knobbed box called the Tube Screamer.
Laney Combo Amps Cub 10 & Cub 12R
While Laney Amplification may have grown up in the long shadows cast by legendary British marques Marshall, Vox, and to a lesser extent Orange and Hiwatt, they’ve nevertheless been consistently building a comprehensive array of robust, elegantly simple and decidedly British valve amps since 1967. Many early model Laneys are still in use today and becoming more collectable by the year. ...more
Peavey Vypyr Tube 60 Modelling Amp
Hybrid seems to be my word-du-jour of late, what with test driving a hybrid guitar, the Fender Acoustasonic Telecaster in the last issue, and this month a new hybrid amp from Peavey, the Vypyr Tube 60 coming under the microscope.
Bassman TV Panel Series 15 Combo Amp
When it comes to music gear, retro is still what’s hot, and in the finest Fender tradition they’ve gone and done it again with their ’50s styled Bassman TV series.
The range consists of 150 watt 1x10 and 1x12 models plus a 1x15 and 2x10, both of which are rated at 350 watts. I’ve been lucky enough to trial the 1x15 which has a single 15" Celestion 4-ohm speaker mounted behind a dark brown fabric screen – hence the TV appearance. ...more
Bugera 333XL Guitar Combo
What a great few months it's been for getting my hands on new amp product to review. It wasn't long ago that the sublime Engl Classic 50 combo was rattling the windows of my music room, then last issue I put the toneful Blackstar Artisan 30 under the microscope. This issue we're once again looking at an all-valve combo, this one hailing from Bugera, ...more
Blackstar Artisan 30 Guitar Amplifier
The safe money says that when two top amplifier designers - Ian Robinson and Bruce Keir (the brains behind the AVT and Mode 4) - defected from Marshall to found their own company, they had a pretty solid take on how to establish Blackstar in the fiercely competitive high-end guitar amplification business, long before they severed those purse-strings.
Firstly, as a new company they haven't spread themselves too thin, with 15 and 30 watt combo models and a 100 watt head and twin cabinets. ...more
Peavey Tour Series 700 Bass Ampilfier
According to company founder and CEO Hartley Peavey, the goal of Peavey is to “build good guitars, amps and PA systems at a fair and reasonable price”. Accordingly the brand, which has been around since 1965, is most commonly associated with guitars, guitar amps and PA amplifiers. While they make a variety of bass combo amps commonly found in school music departments, they are not known for their stand alone bass amplifiers. ...more
Marshall Vintage Modern 100 Watt Head and 4x12 Cabinet
As the demand for vintage guitar equipment and its modern facsimiles continues unabated, Marshall Amplification, the company that needs no introduction, have lately been re-issuing a number of their classic amp models to an adoring and insatiable legion of fans, both young and vintage. ...more
Vox Valvetronix AD30VT-XL Combo Amp
...The XL range is geared toward the modern rock player, with a decidedly hot-rodded bag of tricks on board. ...more
ENG Powerball Tube Amplifier
ENGL is a new player on the amplification scene, and a brand that I've been very keen to try out since I spotted one of the German company's rugged-looking rigs at Mainline Music late last year... ...more
Four Portable PAs Compared
If you produce sounds and noises with the primary objective to be heard by others you are either a boy racer or a musician. Hopefully since you are reading this magazine you belong to the latter group. I was asked to review a small selection number of compact public address systems to foster the informed pursuit of this objective. To this end, four sound systems arrived for evaluation, all at different price points ranging upwards from the budget Fender Passport to HK Audio's Lucas XT, Yorkville's eXcursion 1000 and FBT's expansive Amico Sound System. So, without getting too technical, here's the scoop: ...more
Peavey Max Bass Combo 115
Bloody hell, this is a heavy little beastie... Beads of sweat stream down my face as I load this bass amp into my car on an uber-tropical Auckland day. ...more
AXL Rocktone RK212R
It's everywhere these days, that little gold oval sticker bearing the legend 'Made in China', a label long associated with fireworks, or cheap knock offs and things destined to be outlived by the sticker itself. ...more
Ashdown MAG300 Bass Combo
Ashdown are a UK company specialising in guitar amplification. ...more
Fishman Loudbox Acoustic Instrument Amplifier
Music is a language, and like any living language is continually changing. One change in the early half of the 20th century was when guitarists began playing in ensembles. ...more
Adrenalinn: Filter FX + Amp Modelling + Drum Box
To say that Roger Linn changed modern music forever maybe sounds a little grandiose. But when you consider the fact that he was the guy responsible for inventing the first user-friendly digital drum machine – the legendary LinnDrum back in the '80s – then you've certainly got to give this canny Californian some credit.
An Exploration of Pre-amplifiers
Back in the August/September (Fur Patrol) issue we took a look at four 'budget priced' good sounding pre-amps that would be dandy in any home studio. As promised then, in this issue we'll look at five of the bigger boys in the pre-amp game.
Marshall Mode Four Guitar Amp + Stack Options
'Marshall stack'. Now there's a turn of phrase to quicken a rock guitarist's pulse.