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

Watch the First Look:


Bogner's beastliest amp is made miniature—and still slays.

Excellent sounds in a portable and very affordably priced package.

A footswitchable clean channel and onboard reverb would make it perfect.

$329

Bogner Ecstasy Mini
bogneramplification.com

4.5
5
4.5
4.5

The original Bogner Ecstasy, released in 1992, is iconic in heavy rock circles. Though it was popularized and preferred by rock and metal artists (Steve Vai and Brad Whitford were among famous users), its ability to move from heavy Brit distortion to Fender-like near-clean tones made it appealing beyond hard-edged circles. Even notorious tone scientist Eric Johnson was enamored with its capabilities.

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Intermediate

Beginner

  • Develop a better sense of subdivisions.
  • Understand how to play "over the bar line."
  • Learn to target chord tones in a 12-bar blues.
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Playing in the pocket is the most important thing in music. Just think about how we talk about great music: It's "grooving" or "swinging" or "rocking." Nobody ever says, "I really enjoyed their use of inverted suspended triads," or "their application of large-interval pentatonic sequences was fascinating." So, whether you're playing live or recording, time is everyone's responsibility, and you must develop your ability to play in the pocket.

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