It’s only 2.5 watts, but this pedal-sized amp could save the day.


Recorded using a Fano Omni GF6 with an Avatar 12” cabinet miked with a Royer R-121 feeding an Apogee Duet going into Studio One with no EQ-ing, compression, or effects.
Clip 1: Bright switch on, volume at 10 o’clock
Clip 2: Bright switch off, volume at 3 o’clock

 

Ratings

Pros:
Expansive palette of voices. Great dynamic range. Impressive low-end resonance and sustain. Slinky playability. Tuning stable. Virtually indestructible.

Cons:
Not enough volume, but hey … it’s only 2.5 watts.

Street:
$63

Electro-Harmonix 5MM
ehx.com


Tones:


Ease of Use:


Build/Design:


Value:
 

Is a fits-in-your-hand, pedalboard-sized amp the missing piece of your rig puzzle? At this point, you’d be crazy not to have something that could either lighten a taxing load-in or save your bacon when a tube goes down. The 5MM from EHX is a fully functioning 2.5-watt power amp that’s dead-simple to use. It features a single volume knob and a bright/normal switch that works wonders with both single-coils and humbuckers. Just a heads up: This is not a guitar pedal. Don’t try to put it anywhere except the end of your signal chain and don’t plug it into anything other than a passive guitar cab.

I grabbed a closed-back 10" Avatar cab to use for testing. Straight in, the 5MM didn’t have loads of headroom. If you’re a loud-and-clean amp player who needs a more robust core tone, then you might want to check out higher-powered options.

Full up, the 5MM had a slightly lo-fi crunch that I wouldn’t necessarily call bedroom volume, but it could struggle onstage with an over-caffeinated drummer.

Even with lower-output single-coils, breakup started to happen around 10 o’clock and the volume maxed out at around 1 o’clock. Full up, the 5MM had a slightly lo-fi crunch that I wouldn’t necessarily call bedroom volume, but it could struggle onstage with an over-caffeinated drummer.

Since it’s solely a power amp, you’d likely want to run the 5MM along with your favorite preamp, EQ, or dirt box. Adding a Fulltone Full-Drive 2 to the mix shaped the gain quite favorably. Plus, the bright setting gave some extra clarity to my Lollar Special T pickups. Just remember, the guitar cab you choose also adds to the EQ puzzle. Would I roll up to a country gig with only the 5MM in my pocket? Probably not, but for only $63 bones you almost can’t afford not to have one around.

Test Gear: Schroeder Chopper TL, Fender Modern Player Jaguar, Fulltone Full-Drive 2, Avatar cabinet

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