Reviewed: Supro 1605R amplifier
Low-wattage amps are becoming more and more popular every year, thanks to their ease of portability and developments in sound. But can small amps really encompass the width, depth and versatility of their larger siblings? The Supro 1605R aims to answer that question, and does a mighty fine job of it too. In fact, this may just be one of the best low-watt amplifiers on the market today. Supro amps were iconic in the early ‘60s, and are now enjoying something of a renaissance.
REVIEWED: VOX VX50 AMP SERIES
Vox really seem to have made a push in the last few years, offering more and more models across a range of instruments alongside their classic guitar models (AC and the like). Modeling amps and effects, portable practice amps and their incorporation of their Nutube technology have seen them gain much momentum. Their MV50 range garnered much interest recently thanks to its small design and use of the aforementioned Nutube, and the VX50 looks like an extension of that thinking.
REVIEWED: ISP TECHNOLOGIES STEALTH ULTRA-LITE POWER AMP
As the free world becomes an increasingly smaller place, our ability to keep on rocking in it as Neil Young intended is limited only by our ability to enter in the first place. Long gone are the days when a container load of capacitors and transistors is required to get any and every job done. Simultaneously, the internet’s wholesale decimation of the dinosaur labels that dictated rock and roll history has meant that even acts whose star is rising are required to do much of their own heavy lifting on show day. The word ‘downsizing’ has become a big part of touring musicians’ lexicons, and I can only imagine the number of times the question, ‘What if I could just go straight into the PA?’ have been uttered in the past few years. ISP Technologies have the answer in their Stealth Ultra-lite power amp.
Reviewed: Strauss Street Box Busker Amplifier
Back on the scene for the last few years, Strauss have released a range of heads and combos, mostly in classic low wattage valve type configurations, resurrecting a part of Australian music heritage. Branching off to cater for some additional musical situations, they have recently announced the arrival of the Street Box rechargeable busker amp. With portability in mind, this little fella could be a grab and go for outdoor work or interesting logistical setups where power and typical arrangements aren’t possible.
Reviewed: Fender Monterey and Newport Bluetooth Speakers
Imagine what it must be like being the biggest instrument manufacturer in the world. Not only are you the progenitor of one of the biggest paradigm shifts in music history, but you’ve also consistently raised the benchmark for quality builds and ingenious design for decades. You’ve just launched yet another successful and sought after series of instruments that smokes the competition and you’re looking for a little fun project to keep things interesting. What’s a huge instrument company to do? The answer lies in the satellite interests that keep your loyal army of propeller heads frothing. Why do these people play guitar? Because of their love of music. What do they do with music other than play it? Listen to it. What’s the newest and most innovative way to listen to music to emerge in recent years? Enter Fender’s new Monterey and Newport Bluetooth Speaker systems.
REVIEWED: VOX AMPLIFIERS BC108 1x8” SPEAKER CABINET
Vox have been synonymous with more than a few famous guitarists throughout the years. The legacy has continued on, and many still worship the AC30 and its various brethren. Along with their distinctive tones, Vox have always had a refined classic look to boot. Following in the ‘mini’ styling that is seemingly everywhere in the guitar world of late, Vox have released the BC108 speaker cab. Designed as a companion for the MV50 head, it is intended to be small, compact and portable yet still capable of handling a bit of ruckus.
REVIEWED: DV MARK EVO 1 GUITAR MODELING HEAD
As with all of DV Mark’s builds, the walk through of the front face of the Evo 1 is as simple as they come. All of the models contained within this powerful 250-watt steel box are personalised by a simple three-way EQ stage. You have at your behest two independent high and low gain channels coupled with both active and passive input stages and a tuner/mute switch for simple, rack style chromatic tuning. You can drive the front and back end of either channel as hard or as soft as you like with the input and output controls sailing through to a shared master volume holding everything to the same standard and the boost knob will send your solos sailing no matter which side of the road you’re riding on. All in all it is a perfectly usable amp; not unlike the mainstays of the DV Mark catalogue.
REVIEWED: FENDER ACOUSTIC 100 AMPLIFIER
Nothing is more intimate than the relationship between a guitar player and their favourite, well-worn acoustic. The two are pressed close at the torso, sewn together by the vibration that one coerces from the strings of the other, the former hunched over the latter like a mother cradling her child. For most of us, this is the image of what it was like to fall in love with the instrument in the first place. Eventually, that romantic entanglement is augmented by the all too human desire to make oneself known, and the idea of performance comes flitting through the window. While there are ways and means of using electric guitar amps for projection purposes, most of which only get you to turd polish territory, the specificity of an acoustic focused amplification system has for a long time been the best option outside of relying on beat up, old house DI boxes.