In Focus: Hotone Ampero Mini

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In Focus: Hotone Ampero Mini

Hotone Mini
Words by Rob Gee

They say good things come in small packages.

When Hotone effects pedals first hit the market, midway through the last decade, we were all challenged to try and argue otherwise, as these cool little units redefined any pre-notioned ideas regarding the kind of real estate required of the modern pedalboard, with no compromise at the sonic level. If tiny stomp boxes weren’t enough, the brand then took this concept and applied it further afield, shrinking the concept of the multi-effects board with the release of the original Ampero. Well, now Hotone have upped the ante again by, you guessed it, shrinking that concept down even more so- and with that, let me introduce you to the new Hotone Ampero Mini, a multi effects unit that packs an insane amount of versatility into a remarkably diminutive physique. 

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Hotone Ampero Mini

Coming in at about the size of a typical paperback novel, and roughly the same weight too, the Hotone Ampero Mini is really the “go anywhere” small footprint effects unit you’ve been waiting for.

The front panel of the Ampero Mini is simple to navigate with just two buttons, allowing you to scroll back and forth through the 198 presets, of which 99 are user assignable. But, how do you adjust anything with just two buttons? A touch screen of course!

No one wants to spend their entire rehearsal session menu scrolling, so the Ampero Mini is designed to give you quick access to the best sounds at the press of a button. Holding both down engages the looper function, which is simple in its own right, but  a nice addition. However, the Ampero Mini’s bread and butter is undoubtedly its amplifier sounds, and given the bevy of super realistic, highly usable guitar sounds in such a small unit, is alone the cost of entry.

Without getting too bogged down by the abbreviations and technical terms, Hotone have implemented a bunch of advancements to bring life to their amp modelling algorithms. I think the best way to sum it all up, is that the company has placed their focus on dynamic response in an extremely intimate and haptic manner that can be felt as well as heard.

Traditionally, one of the biggest criticisms of modellers has been in their often static appraisal of transient response, speaker movement and its relationship to musical performance. Hotone have worked tirelessly to ensure their amp models breathe and churn like the real thing.When you dig into the strings, it doesn’t just reproduce the same sound louder, rather it responds in a way that is both organic and musical, offering a level of expression beyond what you would normally expect in a unit like this. The Ampero Mini instinctively knows how the amplifier, and the cabinet, would behave in that instance, and faithfully recreates the tone and behaviour of the amp in line with one’s performance. 

Hotone Ampero Mini touchscreen

The touchscreen is easy to navigate, allowing you to deep dive into a range of settings in every patch. You can adjust EQ, effects, amplifier settings, microphone positioning and much more. So, you’re going to have a ball spending a bit of time at home building the sounds that you want to work with. And that’s half the fun of these multi-effects boards. For those who just want to get straight into it, the factory presets are nothing to be sneezed at either. There are plenty of amazing sounds in there ready to go, right out of the box. And with the ability to load third party IR patches, you can bring the sounds of other amplifiers and cabinets into your Ampero Mini, truly customising your device. As a building block, every Ampero Mini starts with plenty to offer, but can grow in tone and character as you work with it more. It’s almost like this little unit can do just about anything in the studio, at home or on stage. 

Acoustic Guitar modeller

With that, the thought of having to bring an extra guitar to a gig for that one acoustic song in a set is often enough to have that song removed from the set list. But, the Ampero Mini has that covered with a built-in acoustic simulator that actually works. It’s not like many of the early acoustic models in other effects boards that just apply a harsh EQ setting and some reverb. The Ampero Mini acoustic simulations use advanced algorithms to take the signal from your electric guitar and transform it into the sound of an acoustic. Dynamic response changes how the instrument sounds, as is the case on any acoustic instrument. The string noise is there, along with the sound of air being moved, just like a microphone in front of an acoustic guitar. It even has settings for nylon string guitars. But, it can’t widen the fretboard on your instrument, or flatten the radius. There’s only so far an emulation can go.

On top of all this, there is a built-in drum machine, because, well, why not! And a USB-C connection for editing IRs, as well as managing, editing, and loading effects via the free software editor. Further, this USB connection acts as an audio interface, so you can record with the Ampero Mini sounds directly into your computer. There is almost no end to what this little box of tricks offers. But most importantly, it is all about the tone.

So, if you’re looking for a huge range of sound, with realistic replication of amplifier and instrument response, you could invest in a lot of gear and lug it all around. Or, you could take the simple approach and pack it all into one little box: the Ampero Mini. This lightweight, compact unit offers so much more than scrolling through presets. The ability to harness quality amplifiers, cabinets and instrument emulation has now become even simpler. Don’t be surprised if the guitarist in your band turns up with nothing but a guitar and this little box for your next rehearsal. 

For local enquiries, visit Amber Technology.