Europe's Strat King prepares Amp1 nanotube amp for release
By Paul Ridden
April 15, 2014
Toneheads will doubtless already be familiar with Thomas Blug. In 2004, Fender held a competition in Europe to find the regal ruler of its iconic Stratocaster to celebrate the guitar's 50th birthday. The German fret master took the crown, and has been known as the Strat King ever since. He's also known for his mammoth tone, something he's brought to the recently-revealed Amp1 in buckets. The 100 W signature boutique tube amp is also small enough to fit on a pedalboard or throw in a gigbag.
A new addition to the guitarist's BluGuitar product line, the Amp1 was designed to be used just like any other amp head, and sports 8 and 16 Ohm speaker outputs. You can pop it on top of your favorite cabs, but its 245 x 68 x 192 mm (9.6 x 2.7 x 7.6 in) dimensions and weight of 1.2 kg (2 lb) make it a good fit for sitting next to your stomps in a stage or studio pedalboard setup (much like Demeter's Mighty Minnie we covered last year, though less bulked out and lighter).
The Amp1 is built around a brand new 100-watt Class D amplifier with integrated nanotube technology at the output stage for sweet big rig vintage tube tones in a compact form factor, and the quality of the tone won't suffer at lower volumes thanks to the inclusion of PowerSoak technology. The analog amp offers four expressive output channels, three of which can be adjusted for preferred tonal character. Some extra gain can be added to each channel courtesy of the boost function selected by stomping on one of three illuminated footswitches up top, with players having the option to add some creamy tone or adjustable distortion into the mix. A digital reverb control that's modeled on a classic spring reverb also features.
An instrument input to the rear of the unit is joined by a 100-240 V power port, FX loop send and return jacks (with the user able to select parallel or serial configurations), a dedicated output for direct recording and a jack for MIDI control via an optional adapter. The included headphone output features its own guitar amp cabinet emulator circuit, and can also be used to connect the Amp1 to a mixing desk. Users can choose to engage a built-in noise gate with a switch to the side, opting for either soft or metal modes.
For direct control over expanded Amp1 functionality, BluGuitar is also launching the Remote1, which makes nine footswitches available and features its own MIDI out port to allow the device to act as a switch/controller for MIDI-capable external effects units. A player's favorites settings can be stored in four banks with nine presets.
The Amp1 is open for pre-order now, and is set for release in June for a recommended retail price of €649 (about US$895). The Remote1 will retail for €349. The Strat King's YouTube channel has one or two videos of the Amp1 in action.
Product page: Amp1