October 2016
more... VideosGearAmpsTube HeadReviewsLow-WattLunchboxOctober 2010Matamp

Matamp Amplification MiniMat II Amp Review

Matamp Amplification MiniMat II Amp Review

Kicking on the boost, I found some great overdriven lead sounds that reminded me of Paul Kossoff’s fat tone with Free. However, even with the boost engaged, the MiniMat II is not a high-gain, fire-breathing beast. In terms of preamp gain, I was reminded of older Supro combo amps.

If you’re a fan of Matamp tone and are looking for a big pristine sound, you’ll need to explore the company’s higher-wattage heads, such as the GT1. The MiniMat II doesn’t have the headroom to produce pristine clean tones at a significant volume. Even playing a Fender American Telecaster, I found it difficult to coax a tone out of the MiniMat II that didn’t have at least a little grit on it.

Cab Experimentation

One thing I’ve noticed playing low-wattage heads is that the cabinet you run them through dramatically affects the overall sound. In fact, with small amps, the cabinet seems to play a larger role in the sonic equation than it does with higher-wattage heads. The Matamp 112S cabinet with the G12M Greenback was a great match for the MiniMat II, because this semi-open cab delivers a warm, expansive tone. But after I plugged the MiniMat into a Krank Revolution Jr. 1x12, the sound became more defined and focused, with greater projection and aggression. This didn’t surprise me, given the Krank’s closed-back design and solid-poplar construction. If you get a chance to test the MiniMat II, I highly recommend experimenting with different cabinets, including Matamp’s closed-back models.

The Verdict

The MiniMat II has an astonishing ability to recreate early-’70s overdrive tones at reasonable volumes. Its lack of versatility might turn off some players, but in fairness, it isn’t designed to be a do-all amplifier. With its attenuator and line out, the MiniMat II is a great amp for recording distorted guitar tones. If you’re in the market for a studio head with a British accent, absolutely give this one a try.

Buy if...
you want to practice or record with great ’70s overdrive tones.
Skip if...
you demand versatility and/or higher volume.

Street $990 - Matamp Amplification - matamp.co.uk

User Reviews And Comments

Your gear experience and opinions are valuable—and powerful. To maximize the usefulness of your review to fellow players, be as thorough as possible in describing your experiences and insights for every ratings category (Tones, Playability, Ease of Use, etc.). Regardless of your overall opinion on a piece of gear, please be respectful and courteous to companies and other reviewers.