Reviewed: Kemper Amplification Profiler
Modeling effects are hardly a new idea. Companies have been trying to replicate the nuances of tonal triumphs for decades, a case in point being the swelling market for clones of prized overdrive pedals. For years the use of professional digital imitators carried a stigma of philistinism around with it, largely due to manufacturers’ inability to overcome the indelible effect that digitisation has on fidelity. It seems like players are realising the potential inherent in some of the more top of the line examples and utilising them in live touring rigs. Cue the rise of Axe-FX as one of the most divisive names in today’s riff game, and the engineers at Kemper have certainly come nipping at its binary heels.
Reviewed: Vox MVX150C1 Combo and MVX150H Head and Cab
Is there a way to be everything to everyone? Is it possible to please every comer no matter what his or her particular predilection may be? Is there even a point trying or is it simply too much to ask? These are the basic questions behind much of the research and development that has poured into the design and manufacture of most, if not all of the musical instrument, effect and amplification products available on the market today.
Reviewed: Vox AC30 S1 Amplifier
As it’s defined by the Oxford Dictionary, in physics singularity is the “point at which a function takes an infinite value, especially in space–time when matter is infinitely dense, such as at the center of a black hole.” Taken more figuratively it is the position that a thing takes of absolute self hood, where any given object is the most condensed version of itself, leaving little to no room for accoutrements, addendum or paraphernalia; the one and only source of its own characteristic.
Reviewed: Fishman Loudbox Mini Charge Amplifier
If sales of battery powered amps and loop pedals are any indication, Bourke Street Mall must be nearing a 1:1 ratio of buskers to change-throwers by now. With the high voltage guitar heroes of yesteryear giving way to their spongier, more sensitive Sheeran-esque descendants, it seems like every player and their dog wants to take to the streets to profess undying love for a childhood sweetheart through song. For the longest time, Roland’s CUBE Street range has been the go-to for those not able to live off the grid, but these days there are more contenders to the throne than ever before. Fishman has been the pickup and preamp choice for discerning acoustic players almost since their genesis. Its line of Loudbox acoustic amplifiers has risen through the ranks thanks mainly to its unprecedented attention to sound quality, and throwing the Loudbox Mini Charge hat into the busking ring could well see them knock the black, angled box off the top spot.
Reviewed: Vox MV50 High Gain and Boutique Mini Heads
It almost feels like a magic trick. You feel deceived. God, it even has the Vox logo emblazoned on the front panel. But how could it be? That logo is the frontispiece atop one of the heaviest, British, class A tube amps in history. This runt is the distant cousin of an AC30? Gobbledygook. How could one fathom that something so tiny could emanate from the same spring of power and glory, envisioned by the same minds that ear-splittingly amplified some of the biggest names in rock history? It just should not be, but it is. Oh, but it is!
Reviewed: Positive Grid BIAS MINI Bass and Guitar Head
One of the most exquisite experiences known to humankind is the process of having an item of clothing tailored to fit your body. Often subconsciously we express so much of ourselves with the choices we make in our dress before venturing out into the wild each morning. Some people take more pride in their appearance than others that’s for sure, and if the old adage ‘clothes maketh the man’ is anything to go by, those of us who do take that care have a distinct head start over those who lackadaisically slap on any old garb. All ‘what side does sir dress on’ jokes aside, when you don a vestment that fits you and you alone and the fabric and colour suit your mood exactly, you feel it in your soul. You walk taller, address situations more confidently, and you take things in stride that would usually get under your skin. Interestingly enough, this peacock instinct rings just as true in the gear world. From the colour and wear of the finish of your favourite vintage Strat to the height of your stack, there are more variations on the theme of musical self expression than in most other facets of existence.
Reviewed: Fender Blues Junior IV Amp
What a weird and contradictory world the amp world can be. As a young player idolising people on the cover of Kerrang or NME or Mixdown itself, you are quickly lead to believe that in order to achieve tonal enlightenment you must have a monolithic wall of stacks behind you; however, at one time or another we all learn the horrible truth. Like finding out that your parents… gulp… enjoy sex, some of the loudest, filthiest and most stadium filling sounds in recorded history squeeze their way into existence from shockingly tiny amps. Half of Led Zeppelin’s back catalogue was farted out of a knocked about old, low wattage Supro box and bands today render vibrations binary in single channel interfaces before they even attempt to push any air whatsoever. The myth of Tonehenge is more akin to a Spinal Tap joke than a hard and fast rule, and this is why Fender’s Blues Junior remains one of the most loved amps of all time.
Reviewed: Marshall Origin Amplifier Series
These days, the guitar amp market seems littered with amps and simulators that can do anything your heart desires. With the introduction of amp modeling and digital technology, never has it been easier to have a one stop shop for all of the coveted sounds you want to recreate. That’s all well and good, but sometimes it’s an absolute delight to take your rig back to the studs and go back to where it all began. That seems to be Marshall Amps’ ethos with the new Origin line of amplifiers, their new range based on the look and sound of their JTM and Super Lead amps. Classic look, classic sound, but with little hints of modern updates that make for ease of use and a damn great time.