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Matamp Amplification Spirit 1x8 Combo Amp Review

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Matamp Amplification Spirit 1x8 Combo Amp Review

A Spirit From the Sky
Download Example 1
Full Gain
Download Example 2
Half Max Gain
Clips recorded with a 2008 Gibson Les Paul Studio
Small tube amplification has gone from a footnote in history to a lasting trend in the guitar industry. This craze has led to some really cool and innovate products from companies large and small, including Great Britain-based Matamp, who has had great success with their MiniMat low-wattage tube amps. Known for their bigger amps that are hugely popular with the modern stoner rock crowd, Matamp has proven that they’re more than capable of crafting a smaller, more traditional amp that harkens back to the old days of rock and country. This culmination of ideas and admiration of classic sounds is a new, limited edition amplifier dubbed the Spirit.

The Spirit’s charming tweed 1x8 cabinet was the inspiration for the amp to begin with. Matamp was able to secure 100 unused 1x8 tweed cabinets from Japan, which were constructed back in the 1980s. The old-school look and texture of the cabinets helped plant a seed in the engineers’ heads for the Spirit’s circuit. This idea became the mixture of the fat, brawling sounds of old tweed combos with Matamp’s unique tonal signature. Since they were only able to acquire 100 cabinets, only 100 Spirits exist.

A Ghost Out of Its Shell
In a world where players now have limitless amplification options that borderline on nearly infinite sounds and features, the Spirit is about as barebones as it can get. The diminutive 1x8 combo utilizes a single-channel, Class A design that recalls the classic era of small tube-powered practice amps from the 1950s. The non-master volume combo has only two controls, one for volume and the other for tone manipulation. Despite being only four watts, the Spirit features a volume attenuator, conveniently located on the underside of the chassis. The circuitry inside the chassis is a marvel to look at, with true point-to-point, hand-wired components, expertly soldered and bent to perfect angles. The entire amplification circuit is powered by a single ECC83 tube in the preamp section and a lone 6V6GT in the output section. All of this feeds a solitary Jensen C8R 8” speaker.
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