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Amplifiers

Travel-friendly guitars like the Backpacker from Martin are all fine and dandy if you're into acoustic playing but those of us who prefer electric portability will likely need to seek out something like Traveler's Speedster or Bob Wiley's Ministar. The problem with the latter choice is also having to lug around an amp and cables in order to be heard. Stanford graduates Andrew Penrose and Ari Atkins have developed a go-anywhere electric guitar called the Unlimited that features a built-in, battery-powered amplifier and smartphone-controlled digital effects. Read More
Almost two years ago I reported being very impressed by the sound sculpturing capabilities of the Zo Personal Subwoofer. digiZoid has now released version 2, and brought some significant upgrades to the pocket-friendly headphone amp. With so many quality dedicated digital music players (the Cowon C2 or the Colorfly C4, for instance) and high end smartphones already offering pretty decent audio reproduction, is it worth laying out extra cash for sonic enhancement technology that sits between device and earphones? I've been giving a review unit a good testing over the last week or so in an attempt to answer that very question. Read More
The first OPC from Orange Amps was made available in August 2010 and we've been closely following its development ever since. The bundled musician-related software has remained pretty much the same since launch but the musician's computer was given a serious hardware upgrade towards the close of 2011, and it's the new Core i7 system which I've been getting to know over the past few weeks. I've also managed to discuss some of the finer details with the driving force behind the OPC, and its lead developer, Charlie Cooper. Read More
Whether it's an old-fashioned typewriter input for tablet computers, digital cameras made to look like 35mm film classics, or custom e-bikes with a touch of vintage styling - retro-now is most definitely in. If you want a guitar amplifier to fit right in with all your nostalgia-oozing new tech, Fender's Pawn Shop Special models are here to help. The diminutive Greta is styled liked an old tabletop radio, and the more powerful Excelsior is described as one of the distinctive tube combo amps in the company's history. Read More
While it's true that we've seen some gorgeous examples of modern amplification at Gizmag over the years, there's still something very pleasing to the eye about those that proudly display their tube circuit credentials, like the JoyVirtue TM-6 Tube-Amp AV Center. It's not just about looks, though. In spite of many, many advances in audio reproduction technology, enthusiasts still demand the warmth that vacuum tubes seem to give to an audio signal. One of the first tube amps I ever heard was an MC275 from McIntosh Laboratory way back in the mists of a misspent youth. The company is now celebrating the Golden Anniversary of its iconic amp with a very limited edition release. Read More
Griffin Technology has given visitors to CES 2012 a quick preview of a new audio amplifier that uses Apple's Airport Express to offer untethered digital playback from iTunes through existing non-powered speakers. The low profile amp captures streaming audio from any AirPlay-enabled source, decodes it and then sends the lossless, amplified sound through the speakers. Read More
The combined computer and guitar amp introduced by Orange Amps last year - and which subsequently found itself being used in a successful Guinness World Record attempt by fingerboard speed king Tiago Della Vega - has just had some of its internals upgraded, and been given a bit a price cut, too. The Windows 7 OPC is now available with up to Core i7 processing power and 8GB of DDR3 RAM, USB 3.0 port connectivity and hundred of dollars worth of bundled music-related software. Read More
Have you been looking for a speaker system for your iPhone? How about a giant megaphone instead? Not unlike the Horn Stand Amplifier on steroids, the appropriately named "Megaphone," is a giant horn that will amplify the sound from your iPhone in a way that's bound to turn at least a few heads. Essentially just a giant megaphone, the horn's design amplifies the sound from your phone rather than a speaker system, with the actual volume control being taken care of on your handset rather than on the horn. Read More
Actually it's two US$5,000 amps because these rather spectacular looking beasts are mono-blocks. They are two completely separate, but matched, mono amplifiers. Now it's no secret that the world of audiophile hi-fi sound systems can be a place of strange voodoo and esoterica - where the Law of Diminishing Returns becomes a way of life for deluded males of a certain age (never women it seems) but let's check our cynicism at the door for the moment. There is something interesting going on here and it may just turn out that at $10,000 for the pair, these amps are a (relative) bargain. Read More
Since the late 90s, the holy grail of music technology companies like Line 6 and others has been to digitally re-create guitar amplifiers so that hundreds of iconic tones could be stored in one box and used in the studio or live. Unfortunately, the dynamic behavior and feel of a tube amp is an extremely complex system to understand and while many thousands of guitar amp modellers have been sold due to the sheer convenience, they could not be said to be entirely convincing. In September, a new product called the Kemper Profiling Amp will hit the streets that aims to do away with that complexity and within 30 seconds perfectly re-create any guitar amplifier. Read More
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