REVIEWED: LINE 6 SPIDER V 240HC HEAD AND V412 CABINET
Love them or hate them, Line 6 made the first strides towards breaking digital ground in the effects world. Stompbox modelers like the DL4 opened up worlds of opportunities for guitarists across the spectrum and brought the limitlessness of DAW bound plug-in capabilities out of the box, arguably for the first time. Other companies swiftly followed suit and the modeling amplifier age came to pass. As we all know, this is one of the most spirited arguments at the tonal round table, but there is no denying the leaps and bounds that either side has made in the years since this fledgling idea took flight. Today the race to sound as real as possible is as hotly contested as ever and Line 6 take it to the stage with the Spider V 240HC and its partner in crime, the V412 cabinet.
REVIEWED: JET CITY CUSTOM 5 AMPLIFIER HEAD
America is not a nation famous for downsizing. From the luxury sedans of the 50’s and 60’s to the serving sizes of today it seems that everything is bigger not only in Texas but across the whole country. On the flip side, bucking the trend is in their blood, so it stands to reason that several American manufacturers are leading the charge in the lower wattage amplifier game. Several issues ago I reviewed Peavey’s range of 20watt versions of their most notable builds and was suitably impressed, so I was wringing my hands with glee when the Jet City Custom 5 came waltzing my way.
REVIEWED: BADCAT UNLEASH V2 ATTENUATOR AND REAMP UNIT
As we delve deeper and deeper into the mammoth stockpile of weapons of mass tonal destruction, we uncover new and unusual combinations of need and want that deserve resolution, no matter how small the target market. Things like fuzz pedals with phase circuits built in, permanently cocked wahs, buffers, noise suppressors and any number of other left of center ideas litter the fringes of Tone Town like marauders at the castle walls. Some have proven themselves worthy of board space, others not so much, but occasionally an idea comes to life that is handy in ways that none of us necessarily expected to need. Enter the Unleash V2, a re-amp unit come attenuator come speaker simulation unit so useful it’ll just about play the song for you.
REVIEWED: FENDER MUSTANG GT40 & GT100 GUITAR AMPLIFIERS
Redesigned and revamped, the new Mustang range of solid state amps come to the table with tech-savy amplifiers produced for the modern age. As with its predecessors, the Mustang GT series is loaded with a wide selection of amp models, effects and tone presets. The major difference this time round is the addition of Bluetooth and WiFi capabilities.
REVIEWED: POSITIVE GRID BIAS HEAD 600W MODELING AMP
We may not eat food in pill form or hoon around in hover-cars just yet, but we are well and truly living on the cusp of, if not smack bang in the belly of the future. There are people making music on computers that sounds like blips and bloops just like The Jetsons guessed, and we’re video calling each other on a regular basis just to tell each other that we’re minutes away on the tram. Fred and Wilma would be quaking in their loincloths if they knew half the things we can do these days. The advent of the internet and its expansion to the seemingly limitless world of hands-free technology has made it so that just about anything and everything you could possibly wish for is a swipe, click or tap away.
MARSHALL ASTORIA SERIES COMBO AMPS
For some, the best way to move forward is to first take a good, look at what’s behind you. That way you end up with a clear, objective view of your mistakes and/or take stock and garner confidence from a job well done. This concept is part of the reason why many people look to the classic, antique and vintage for tonal inspiration and why even the Goliaths of musical engineering faithfully recreate some of their oldest designs for generation after generation. Marshall Amplification has never been shy of their rich history and the new Astoria Series is a prime example of them using the past as a guiding light into the future.
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.