MATCHLESS DC30 AMPLIFIER
For gear heads, musos and musical engineers the words ‘boutique manufacturer’ are part and parcel of their everyday vernacular. We see them regularly attached to new companies and products – stamped on everything from guitars and amps, to pedals and cables – often as a signifier for ingenuity, quality and care in make. Yet there existed a time when these notions of boutique innovation and excellence were only beginning to materialise. For amps this was in the early ‘90s and coincided with the launch of LA manufacturer Matchless Amplifiers. With their very first design – the Vox AC30-inspired DC-30 – they nailed classic British tones and, as such, put boutique production on the map. To this day the DC-30 still stands at the forefront of their meticulously refined range, a product of superb craftsmanship, time and effort.
SUPRO 1600 SUPREME
Once upon a time there was a guitar player. Having cut his teeth playing in a few notable blues and R&B bands around London, it came time for this particular guitarist to form his own group and stamp his name on music history forever. And so he did, that band holing away for months at a time turning lead into gold gradually until it was ready to put that alchemy on tape. When the time came, inspired by the heroes of Chicago’s South side blues scene, he plugged his ’52 Telecaster into an old tube combo amp and turned music history on it’s head. That player was Jimmy Page; the record was Led Zeppelin’s 1st and that amp was a Supro.
Kemper Profiler Workstation w/ Remote
Modeling effects is hardly a new idea; companies have been trying to replicate the nuances of tonal triumphs for decades, case in point the swelling market for clones of prized overdrive pedals. For years the use of professional digital imitators carried a stigma of philistinism around with it, largely due to manufacturers’ inability to overcome the indelible effect that digitization has on fidelity. It seems like players are realising the potential inherent in some of the more top of the line examples and utilising them in live touring rigs. Cue the rise of Axe-FX as one of the most divisive names in today’s riff game, and the engineers at Kemper have certainly come nipping at its binary heels.
VHT Special 12/20RT Combo
A lot of the time the pantheon of modern guitar amplification feels like a classroom full of kids on red cordial. There’s a lot of jumping around, vying for attention with flashy colours and loud noises, but very few willing to sit quietly and get to work. I get the distinct impression that the Special 12/20RT is an attempt at the latter, a clean slate designed to let come what may.
Peavey Mini Heads
It’s been a long time since the heady days of the rock and roll in the ‘80s. Bandanas, leather chaps and all that hairspray are now the bastion of novelty cock-rockers who’s bands pay tribute to that glorious era when names like Peavey, Jackson and Kramer we’re the be-all and end-all of sonic revelry. The once proud companies that provided backline for gargantuan stadium fillers like Ratt and Warrant have for all intents and purposes taken a back seat to bigger and newer names in the amp game; popular opinion has shifted toward the boutique and the vintage and left those shred lords to antiquity. Far from wallowing in obsolescence however, it seems the brains behind Peavey Amplification have simply been lying in wait, honing their craft, patiently poised and ready for their time to rise again.
Acus Sound Engineering Acoustic Guitar Amplifiers
There are plenty of guitar amplifiers available on the market, many offering all sorts of features. Some are designed with a specific sound in mind, while others run the gamut of style and genre. They all have their place in the wonderful world of amplification, but that does not mean that they’re all made equal. The fact is there are specially designed amplifiers for acoustic guitars that also don’t do justice to the instruments they are intending to represent. That’s why an Italian family company has strived to deliver a quality of amplification worthy of the fine acoustic instrument it is working with. Let me introduce you to Acus Sound Engineering.
Fractal Audio Systems Axe-Fx II XL+
It’s almost easier to list the players who don’t use a Fractal Audio Axe-Fx than to name those who do. This two-rackspace unit has become utterly ubiquitous in studios and onstage. Periphery base their sound around it while guitarists like Steve Vai and Dream Theater’s John Petrucci like to use it for its effects alone, integrating it within a physical amp rig. Whatever way you wish to use it, the Axe-Fx is able to accommodate it. And that’s where the new Axe-Fx II XL+ comes in – as players find more and more unique ways to use the Axe-Fx, so too has the system evolved.
Jet City Custom 22 Head & 24SVe 2x12 Cab
Say what you will about their foreign policy, health care system, celebrity obsession and love affair with machines that kill; if there’s one thing the Americans know how to do well it’s rock ‘n’ roll. Somewhere between Robert Johnson unintentionally changing the face of music forever and half of Metallica playing ‘The Star Spangled Banner’ in an ice hockey rink there lies an indelible and seemingly innate ability in the vast majority of patriots to not only understand how to make a rock-box sing, but also how to make other people enjoy it as much as the maker. When it comes to American instruments there is a self-propagated heritage and prestige that few nations, other than the British of course, can hold a candle to. Jet City and their ever-growing catalogue of brawny builds are relative newcomers in the pantheon of Yankee engineering, but in that seven or so years they’ve kicked up enough dust to turn some lofty heads. Fireworks go off, tri-coloured streamers sail to the ground and into the ring comes The Custom 22.