Five Bitchin’ Amps Spotted at NAMM

A VISIT TO AMP HEAVEN

NAMM is a treasure trove of killer gear including new releases, surprise announcements, and wacky off-the-wall innovations. This year’s show was no exception as I experienced nirvana from the monster name-brand manufacturers to smaller boutique companies, and everything in between. During this journey, I came across FIVE BITCHIN’ AMPS that caught my attention.


FRETTED AMERICANA EVIL ROBOT

The Evil Robot Phil X Custom 214 is a humble, vintage-styled 18W 1×12 combo based on the original Tonemaster Troubador 214 from the late  50’s. Humble, that is, until you power up and release THE EVIL! Controls include two high gain and two low gain inputs, 3-way brightness selector switch, two loudness dials, a tone dial, and intensity and speed controls for vibrato. The transformer is 100% handmade from All-American steel and tone is driven by pure tube goodness.

Check it out at www.frettedamericana.com.


MAD PROFESSOR OLD SCHOOL “11”

Simple is as simple gets. 11 watts through a 10″ speaker driven by one 12AX7, one 6V6, one input, and one knob (push/pull for jazz/rock). ARE YOU MAD??? Yes, the Old School “11” is minimalist in design, but that’s where the beauty lies. Without a lot of extra gunk getting in the way, pure, unadulterated tone is your reward. Perfect for small gigs, recording, and works great with pedals.

Find out more about the Mad Professor at www.mpamp.com.


EGNATER TWEAKER-88 and –40

Following up on their release of the 15W Tweaker head and cab, Egnater has come to market with extensive tweaking delight for all you gear heads with short attention spans and tone-hunting addictions. The new 40W and 88W versions have identical controls (way too many to list here!) with additional boost options per channel included with the 88. All-tube, two-channel, void-free birch plywood construction housed around Celestion speakers (1×12 for the 40W, 2×12 for the 88W). Getting fidgety just reading about it? Go out and get your tweak on!

Visit Egnater at www.EgnaterAmps.com.


65AMPS EMPIRE

“The Unmistakable Sound of a Generation”. That’s the tag line punctuating 65 Amps’ website. After hearing the Empire at NAMM, I’d call it “The Unmistakable Sound of Rich, Ballsy, British Tube Awesomeness”. This 22W head/cab unit is driven by a single 12AX7 and a pair of 6V6’s. Not that ballsy? Think again. Utilizing the highest grade components from tubes to cab material to top notch iron in their transformers, every ounce of quality is milked from the Empire leaving nothing to spare. That translates to efficiency which translates to purity of sound that will keep you rooted in front of your choice of Celestion speakers for hours, if not days. And with classic 65 Amps styling, you’ll look damn good as well.

Check out the boutique tube amp empire that is 65 Amps at www.65amps.com.


ZT AMPLIFIERS GHOST

It’s said that big things come in small packages. ZT has built a solid reputation on this concept and their latest release is no different. Say hello to the Ghost: cute like Casper (gloss white cabinet roughly 8″ cubed), but driven by 50 watts of power and custom ZT-voiced tone to scare away any doubts about this amp as a serious tool. Targeting home and recording use, the Ghost incorporates aux input for mp3 players, external speaker output, headphone/line out with level control, and internal speaker muting for practicing with headphones. Tone, Volume, and Gain make up the output section, providing clean to dirty tones.

Conjure up the spirit of the Ghost by visiting ZT’s website at www.ztamplifiers.com.


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  • I’d love to try the Evil Robot amp. I have a good feeling about that one.

  • Freed

    I must confess to the same delight with Egnator and 65 brands. One worthy mention at this year’s NAMM Show was Carr’s Raleigh, which you may have overlooked because the displayed tiny prototype was a pint-sized seductress whose total height was that of a Showman head–and it contained a 10-inch speaker. This beauty served up maybe 3 watts with a Super or Twin Reverb’s personality. It will set you back a few hundred dollars more than two nights with an L.A. call girl(don’t ask me how I know; ‘never had the money for either vice). But the sound still leaves me tempted by its fruit. I’m just sayin’.

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