Combos suit those wanting some crunch at bedroom level or serious players seeking all-tube tone and high levels of volume…
The solid state versus valve debate continues, but there's enough here to suit those on both sides of the fence.
Roland (01792 702701)
Roland has just launched its GA-212 and GA-112 combos. Unlike modelling amps that set out to recreate the sound of multiple vintage classics, the GA series leverages Roland’s COSM technology to create newly voiced amps with versatile, expressive tones and simple, intuitive operation. The new models aim to provide a playing experience characteristic of top-level tube designs, with all the advantages of modern digital processing.
Equipped with two custom-designed 12-inch speakers, the GA-212 provides 200 Watts, while the 100 Watt GA-112 sports a single 12-inch.
Each one features a versatile, multi-voice tone engine with a wide range of sounds, from clean to crunch to mega-gain. Operation is easy and intuitive, with Drive and Volume knobs, standard tone controls (Bass, Mid, Treble, Presence) and switches for voicing, gain boost, and mid boost.
Users can store four custom sound settings and recall them with front-panel switches or the optional GA-FC Foot Controller. The amps’ knobs feature LED indicators that show the current settings when a preset is recalled, which is a pretty handy feature for dark stages.
Marshall (01908 375411)
Marshall is releasing (at eleven week intervals) a series of five limited one-Watt amps to celebrate its 50th anniversary this year. Each one will mark one of the firm’s five decades in business. The JTM1-C mirrors the first amps built in the sixties and this was followed by the seventies-styled JMP1-C eleven weeks later. The latest release is the eighties-styled JCM1-C, which is just out. September will see the launch of the DSL1-C, marking the nineties and lastly, the JVM1-C in November.
Yamaha (01908 366700)
Yamaha’s THR is available in two models – the THR10 (£299) and THR5 (£198). Each uses Virtual Circuit Modelling (VCM), which delivers realistic tube tone and feel and both also come complete with Steinburg's Cubase AI6 professional recording software. The THR10 also offers three additional channels for bass, acoustic and flat sources.
Peavey (01536 461234)
The 6505 Plus 112 combo harnesses the full gain and legendary tone of the Peavey 6505 Series. It has five select 12AX7 preamp tubes and a pair of 6L6GC power-amp tubes, while patented circuitry such as Peavey's Resonance control tweaks the tone. Both the Lead and Rhythm channels feature an independent three-band EQ, pre/post gain controls and Presence,as well as Resonance adjustment. The Rhythm channel also includes a footswitchable Crunch boost.
Classic Series all-tube amps span the tonal landscape from vintage to contemporary. They feature three 12AX7 and four EL84 tubes, plus a three-band EQ, footswitchable dual channels, presence control and reverb. They are available in Classic 30 112, Classic 50 212 and Classic 50 410.
Vypyr Series modelling guitar amplifiers are based on a combination of powerful 32-bit, floating-point SHARC processors and patented TransTube analog circuitry.
They feature 24 amp channel models – both the clean and distorted channels of 12 popular amps for the first time anywhere – plus 11 editable preamp ‘stomp box’ effects and 11 editable post-amp ‘rack’ effects with dual-parameter control. Players can use up to five effects simultaneously. When used with the optional Peavey Sanpera II foot controller, the possibilities further expand from 12 in-amp presets to 400 programmable presets, with an on-board looper and more.
Orange (020 8905 2828)
The Orange TH30C combo offers the perfect balance between power and portability and is ideal for regular gigging. It’s small and light enough to be portable while also offering a phenomenal tonal range for use in the studio environment. The combo features a 12″ Celestion G12H-30 speaker and a choice of clean or dirty channels, retailing for around £764.94.
Laney (Headstock - 0121 508 6666)
Laney’s newest combo addition is the Ironheart IRT60-212. The standout feature of the range is the Watts control in the master section, which allows you to really screw down the output of the IRT60-212’s 2 x 6L6 to less than one Watt, which is ideal for getting the full-blown sound at bedroom levels.
The Ironheart range featured heavily at this year’s Download Festival with the likes of Fozzy, Killswitch Engage and The Prodigy. Not forgetting that the main stage played host to Black Sabbath and Laney’s new Tony Iommi signature amp.
“We are really pleased with the sales performance of Ironheart. It shares similar DNA to the new TI100 Tony Iommi Model, so it’s in esteemed company and the players out there seem to really embrace it,” says Laney brand manager Paul Oldfield. “It’s great to see the players commenting in the forums and posting videos from all over the world, really enthusing about the amp. It’s massively versatile, we’ve made sure the combo incorporates all the Ironheart features that have made it a stand out success, without any compromise whatsoever.”
Albion (IAG - 01480 447707)
As well as the already popular TCT35C, Albion now has stock of the AG40DFX .
Retailing at £379, the Steve Grindrod designed 40-Watt 1x12” hybrid guitar combo has a high voltage FET/valve preamp; twin footswitchable channels with shared three-band EQ and a 16 program digital effects system. Also available is the TCT35C, a twin channel 1x12” combo. It offers 35 Watts RMS into eight or 16ohms, four 12AX7 and two 6L6 valves; a large magnet 80-Watt 12” Albion made loudspeaker and a two-way footswitch (included). It retails for around £649.
Lastly, the GS15C single channel four voice 1x12” combo offers 20 Watts RMS into an eight/16 ohm load powered by three 12AX7 and two 6V6G valves. A two-way footswitch is included.
Vox (Korg UK - 01908 304601)
Vox kicked off its line of guitar amplifiers back in '57. It took only a few years for the AC15 and AC30 to become instant legends, defining the sound of the British Invasion for the UK and the world.
Today the company offers the famous AC15 and AC30 models in various guises, ranging from the AC15/30 Custom models (including a special Blue Limited edition model this summer), to the Hand Wired Series with turret board construction.
The line up features a number of other AC-inspired combo amp ranges to suit different budgets and playing styles, including the Valve Reactor models. The Valvetronix+ range, available in a number of speaker/output power configurations, uses patented Valve Reactor technology. The VT+ responds just like a valve amp, while at the same time gives the flexibility and portability of a solid state amp. For the guitarist that wants a compact practice amp, the classically styled Vox MINI-3 features digital amp modelling and a variety of different effects.
In more recent years, Vox introduced the AGA series, designed for the acoustic guitarist. The top of the range AGA150 utilises a Bang & Olufsen power amp module, delivering a clean and powerful sound.
Mesa (Westside - 0141 248 4812)
The TA-30 Transatlantic is the big brother to the TA-15 and maintains the same stylistic footprint of its sibling, while offering more power, tube reverb and a new effects loop. The two channels have five switchable voice modes between them and plenty of power to take this amp into the pro gigging arena. Available in 1x12 (£1,899) to 2x12 (£1,999) combos.
Deeply rooted in the Best of British lineage, the Electra Dyne takes modified English gain sounds and sorts them into LO and HIGH regions. These two choices are combined with a retro-minded, American-voiced clean channel, linked to one mini-toggle that gives you three of the most classic sounds in rock n roll on one switch. There are two versions – 1x12 (£2,199) and 2x12 (£2,299).
Tanglewood (01937 841122)
The T6 is a compact amp from acoustic guitar specialist Tanglewood. It has 60 Watts RMS, true digital reference effects, and has all the requisite inputs and outputs for every professional application.
Kustom (JHS - 0113 286 5381)
Kustom's range of guitar amps has something to suit every player, from the KG Series of combos, heads and cabs, through to the Defender valve line and the Acoustic series. Rugged, affordable and heavy on tones.
Fishman (JHS - 0113 286 5381)
New in the range is the Loudbox Artist (£649), which features 120 Watts of ultra-clean, bi-amplified acoustic power and and a host of practical features for onstage use. Meanwhile, the portable Loudbox Mini (£459) features 60 Watts of power.
Finally, the Fishman Solo Performance System (£1,349) is perfect for buskers, as it features 200 Watts of power, weighs only 11.5kg, sets up in 60 seconds and comes with a handy wheeled bag.
Carlsbro (JHS - 0113 286 5381)
Now with JHS, spearheading the Carlsbro lineup is the Tube Series, with the classic 50 Top DC Head (£399) and matching 4x12 vintage cab (£499). Also available are the VAC Tube Series of combo amps (from £349); the Stinger Series (from £199); the Kickstart (ideal for beginners at £69.99), the Sherwood acoustic series (from £289) and the Stingray (£99 for 15 Watts up to £179 for 45 Watts) series, for budding metalheads.
Hiwatt (Strings & Things - 01273 440442)
The Hiwatt Custom 50W combo is ideal for smaller venues, offering the classic Hiwatt sound without over-powering the audience.
It features a dual channel pre-amp with high and low sensitivity inputs and normal and bright options on each, volume controls for each channel and a master volume, coupled with a three-band EQ.
It has two EL34 valves at the power stage and either four ECC83’s or three ECC83 and one ECC81 at the pre-amp stage, plus switchable four, eight and 16 ohm impedences and voltage selectors from 120V to 240V. It comes with a pair of specially designed Fane speakers.
Randall (Sound Technology - 01462 480000)
In celebration of its 40th anniversary, Randall has launched the updated modern interpretation of the venerable RG80, the RG8040 Combo. The RG8040 is a solid state amplifier with footswitchable reverb, DI output on the rear panel, two channels with independent volume and gain controls, footswitchable channel switching boost, bass boost and mid cut, headphone output and MP3 input. It retails at around £259.
Designed with Nuno Bettencourt and partner Peter King, the NBKing 112 Nuno Bettencourt Signature Combo (£1,219) combines classic regal looks with modern circuitry to reproduce the tone of the Extreme guitarist. A classic two-channel amp with three modes of operation, you can instantly select via the MIDI channel switching a sparkling Clean channel or an Overdrive for any vintage to modern high gain rhythm tones and a Solo mode for harmonic sustain.
Ampeg (Loud Technologies - 01494 557398)
Ampeg's GVT52-112 guitar combo is powerful, with a huge range of tones from clean with reverb to tube-soaked gain with attitude. The dual-channel, dual-power (50W/25W) design with Baxandall EQ provides true flexibility, while 12AX7/6L6 tubes and a 12-inch Celestion speaker deliver pure American tone in a vintage Ampeg look. Straight up tone. It retails for around £840.
Fender (01342 331700)
The 50-Watt Machete combo (£2,014) boasts a completely new high-gain channel, a clean channel that can be pushed into aggressive territory and an onboard digital reverb. Its 12” Celestion speaker delivers full, rich response and it also includes a midrange notch control and an XLR output with switchable speaker muting and cabinet emulation.
Meanwhile, the Pawn Shop Special series of lunchbox amps has the 13-watt Excelsior for £298.80 and the two-Watt Greta for £202.80.
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