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Amplifiers

The DacMagic XS USB headphone amp from Cambridge Audio

It doesn't seem too long ago that a quality headphones amplifier was the size of a chunky paperback novel, and would occupy so much space in a laptop bag that it would probably get left behind more often than not. Now the UK's Cambridge Audio has managed to squeeze a high-end digital-to-analog (DAC) converter and headphone amp into a device that's smaller than a matchbox.  Read More

The Mighty Minnie hybrid single channel guitar amp

There are times when packing a full rig for a small venue tour is just not practical and sacrifices have to be made. When the topic of being forced to use awful-sounding back line amp rentals came up in a conversation between slide guitar master Sonny Landreth and veteran amp maker James Demeter, an idea for an amp small enough to mount on a pedal board began to take shape in the latter's mind. The Mighty Minnie hybrid single channel guitar amp that resulted is now being made available through Demeter's Custom Shop.  Read More

The Trash Amps Jam speaker/amplifier

We’ve seen big glass speakers and we’ve seen smaller models, but Trash Amps’ Jam takes the whole glass speaker thing down to a new level – it’s a speaker and amplifier, housed in a Mason jar.  Read More

STMicrosystem's new stereo digital audio amplifier

If you can find one, the new STA333IS digital audio chip and power amplifier from STMicroelectronics (STM) offers a quick and easy solution for converting digital audio into a 10 watt/channel stereo for anything from a boom box to a backyard sound system. Don't misunderstand, they currently are at distributors, selling for about one US dollar apiece. The problem is literally finding the chips. At about one-eighth the volume of a grain of rice and weighing only a few milligrams, drop one on a carpet and its gone for good.  Read More

Peavey is now shipping three Vypyr VIP amps featuring variable instrument input

While Peavey regularly releases electric guitars, like the excellent AT-200 for example, it's perhaps best known for its amplifiers. Five years after unleashing its Vypyr line of modeling amps, the company debuted three new additions at NAMM earlier this year. The first to sport a variable instrument input technology that allows them to be used for bass, acoustic or electric guitars, the Vypyr VIP amps are now shipping.  Read More

Freshly unpacked and ready for testing – the Yamaha THR10C home/studio amp with Virtual Ci...

Though ready and willing to take full advantage of all that the digital tone modeling revolution has to offer, like many guitar gearheads, I fall back on my trusty tube amps and analog stomps when it's time to get serious. Color me intrigued, however, when Yamaha's two-strong THR Series solid state combo amps hit the shelves at the beginning of last year – featuring the company's Virtual Circuitry Modelling (VCM) technology for authentic-sounding tone, even at low volume. Three new models made a U.S. debut at the Winter NAMM Show back in January 2013, and I've been discovering exactly what VCM tubes sound like with the THR10C solid state boutique home/studio amp.  Read More

Amp in a Can is a portable guitar amplifier housed in recycled cardboard tubing

OK, I admit to cheating a little bit with the title. The Amp in a Can is not really a tube (valve) amp at all, but rather a cheap and cheerful portable guitar amp housed in cardboard tubing that weighs less than 200 g (7 oz).  Read More

Michael Ibrahim, creator of the Flex SmartAmp

Ever since its inception, the digital or "modeling" guitar amplifier has caused a great deal of debate amongst players. On one hand, a digital amp gives you versatility, with a multitude of emulated amp "models" and tones that can be dialed up within seconds. A regular vacuum tube amp is far less versatile, but purists will argue that the warm tube-sound it produces can never be replicated by digital modeling. In an effort to bridge the divide between the two, MI Audio has created the Flex SmartAmp, a tube-driven, analog guitar amplifier that can be digitally controlled using an iDevice.  Read More

BassNation Audio has released the BlackBox speaker system, which can be used with any devi...

Like the just-released Hanwell from Marshall, the BlackBox speaker system from BassNation Audio has the look of a guitar amp but delivers its quality audio amplification payload for a fraction of the price. Any device sporting either a 3.5-mm jack or RCA phono outputs can be used as an audio source (TVs, games consoles, smartphones and music players, for example), and multiple units can be stacked on top of each other for increased volume ... and some extra points in the cool department.  Read More

A prominent docking bay on top adjusts to fit most models of iPods, iPhones, and iPads

Home audio developer, NYNE, has revealed an all-in-one docking tower for iPods and iPads that promises to play music from a wide variety of sources and includes a convenient new feature for musicians. Aside from connecting to other devices using the typical Bluetooth, USB, and 3.5-mm connections, the NH-6500 speaker also converts into a functional guitar amp with the addition of a guitar control.  Read More

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