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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 -
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