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more... GearAmpsEffectsReviewsMiscClass DLow-WattLunchboxFebruary 2010Electro-Harmonix

Electro-Harmonix 22 Caliber Power Amp Review

Once again we travel to the Oz-like land that is Electro-Harmonix. This company has been around since I was a kid, making stompboxes, quirky little battery amps and such. The first chorus pedal I ever heard was their Clone Theory box; it seemed like a miracle at the time. They also made the first guitar synth box I heard that wasn’t dependent on some kind of special guitar or pickup. They make a whole bunch of unusual things and I think more effects makers are trying to come up with things other than just another distortion box. Now, in my 40th year of being a guitar idiot, I am going to just go ahead and say those weirdos at EH got it goin’ on.

A Wee Little Amp
This is another odd little item that when the guys at PG handed it to me, I thought, “Oh boy, here we go… wacko-city.” The 22 Caliber is a small-sized stomp box with an 18V power supply that’s almost as big as it is. It’s not a box that runs on batteries, so you have to use the power supply. To me that suggests they should build it in, yes? Anyway, that’s just a nitpick. Obviously, there is no way this thing can work… right? Class D 22 watts in a little stompbox, no way?

Well, it does actually work. The 22 Caliber has a Volume knob and a Bright switch, end of story. I plugged it in to a Redstone Audio single 8" cab and an Egnater Tourmaster 2x12 (not at the same time), and not only does it work, the darn thing is loud. The tone tended to be on the bright side even without the Bright switch on. The switch is subtle, but it does add the expected top end. While bright, there really is no lack of low end, and overall the sound is quite balanced. The 22 Caliber has a surprising amount of headroom and stayed clean way louder than I would’ve expected it to. When it’s really cranked it does break up, but not in a way I found thoroughly appealing. Again, I started with the idea that there was no way this thing could do what it claimed. I was wrong.

What Do I Do with It?
This was a bit perplexing to me, and I had to think about what the possible applications for this might be. One idea would be a no-brainer: just keep one in your gig bag as a backup in case your main amp dies on the gig… could be a gig saver. For the musician who likes to travel light, you could just slap this puppy on your pedalboard with a little preamp and a reverb (or whatever you use), carry a little cab, and you’d be all set. For a street price of $99 this is a darn handy and clever little invention.
Buy if...
you want a powerful and very small power amp.
Skip if...
you live for your combo amp, and it will never fail.
Rating...
4.0 

MSRP $132 - Electro-Harmonix - ehx.com