The Paycheck 15 is a surprisingly loud, handwired, 6V6-powered boutique amp
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|Clips recorded with a 2009 Fender American Stratocaster into a Vox 2x12 extension cab with Celestion Blue Alnico speakers.|
Pay It Forward
While affordability was one of the most important guiding philosophies behind the Paycheck line, Jule made sure to retain the qualities players typically associate with high-end boutique amplifiers. With that in mind, the Paycheck 15 is hand-built in Santa Cruz, California with point-to-point wiring and an all-tube design. It also utilizes different components in certain parts of the circuitry to set itself apart from the pack—in this case, Russian 6SL7 octal tubes in the preamp gain stages, rather than the more commonly used 12AX7 tube type. Jule claims that the 6SL7 has more kick and musicality than a standard 12AX7. If you’re worried that replacing a 6SL7 tube would require sleuthing for a vintage, NOS piece, have no fear—the 6SL7 tube is currently being manufactured under the watchful eye of Electro-Harmonix, and is available under both the Sovtek and Tung-Sol reissue brands. The phase inverter and EQ driver positions are driven by a 12AT7 and 12AX7, respectively. And two 6V6 output tubes—coupled with a 5Y3 tube rectifier—handled the output section.
Boutique design values aren’t limited to what’s under the hood. The amp is exceptionally well built. Even though its top grille seemed to make the head larger than it needed to be, the quality of the powder-coated chassis, symmetrical transformer and tube layout and circuit wiring was top notch. It was hard for me to find any cosmetic flaws anywhere, although I found myself wishing for a handle on the top of the amp on several occasions.
The Paycheck 15 was certainly designed with simplicity in mind. A three-band EQ section, coupled with a simple master volume setup, controls the tone-shaping functions. A Presence control is nestled between Master Volume and Treble knobs, and the far right side of the front panel houses a small Overdrive mode switch that engaged an additional Overdrive knob. The rear panel features a simple effects loop with two Level controls, which is a nice design consideration. While there was a wide, smooth sweep without any dead or ineffective positions in each potentiometer, they didn’t all have the same feel when I moved them between their minimum and maximum positions. The equalization knobs felt tight and had a pleasing amount of resistance, but the presence control had a considerably looser feel. It didn’t affect the mechanical workings of the amplifier, but it showed a small sign of lack of build consistency between each component.
Once You’ve Had The Best…
For a 15-watt amp, the Paycheck 15 can really hang with some of its higher-wattage brethren. The amp is capable of very high levels of volume, which I found out running it into Vox AC30 2x12 extension cabinet with Celestion Alnico Blue speakers. Using a 2008 Fender American Telecaster, I was able to achieve some very pleasing clean tones that were full of spank and punch. At times, the Paycheck seemed to perform way beyond its wattage rating—especially given the amp’s very noticeable volume jump with the master volume at around the 10 o’clock position.
A few explorations of that territory suggested that the Paycheck 15 really liked to be cranked, so I kicked in the drive channel and plugged in a 2009 Gibson Les Paul Studio. One of the coolest things about the drive channel design in this amp was how the clean preamp and drive channel preamp controls worked in tandem with one another. Pushing the clean channel preamp control up higher added body and girth, while the drive channel preamp control added a touch of filthy grit at its highest settings. The amp’s high amount of overdrive certainly didn’t hide any of my playing mistakes by drenching them in saturation, however. The tonal response of the Paycheck 15 is honest, accurate, and pretty transparent. It has enough gain to pull off ‘80s-era metal, but without the soft mid voicing that heavier players usually gravitate toward. Instead of focused gallop riffing, it’s really better for high-gain jazz-fusion lead work. The Paycheck 15 had all of the right ingredients for that cocktail, with a very immediate pick attack, tight, full lows, and a round, detailed midrange that sits out front and present.
Jule’s Paycheck 15 is a great amp for studio cats and bar gigs. The amp’s power and response puts makes the Paycheck a surprisingly capable tool for the stage—a category where not too many true small-wattage tube amps can hang. While it can pull of some great high-gain tones, the Paycheck really excels in the range between clean and mid-gain, while great definition lets its inherently strong midrange and low end shine through. The Paycheck 15 is a player’s amp, in the classic sense of the term, and at just under 1200 bucks it gives you a lot of boutique features and quality at a price in line with offerings from some volume manufacturers—a combination that’s rare even in this high era of small-batch, small-builder, small-wattage amps.
you’re after a smooth, punchy-sounding amplifier that excels in both studio and stage environments.
you need a super-clean voice or extremely high gain.
Direct $1185 - Jule Amps - juleamps.com
Kick off the holiday season by shopping for the guitar player in your life at Guitar Center! Now through December 24th 2022, save on exclusive instruments, accessories, apparel, and more with hundreds of items at their lowest prices of the year.
We’ve compiled this year’s best deals in the 2022 Holiday Gift Guide presented by Guitar Center.
Mystery Stocking is coming soon! Sign up for PG Perks below so you don't miss it.
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About Mystery Stocking
Each year, Premier Guitar likes to put out these mystery boxes as a part of bringing some fun to the holiday season. Remember, this is supposed to be a fun holiday treat! If the contents of this box will ruin your holiday, deplete the last of your bank account, or end your ability to see the good in humanity, it may not be for you.
- This year's Mystery Stocking will cost $44.95. ($39.95 + $5 Flat shipping)
- Each box will be guaranteed to contain $40 or more in value.
- US only. (Sorry World.)
- Make sure your shipping address is correct.
- Have your credit card ready to go before you refresh the page. Paypal is not available. Autofill may not fill in your information.
- There will be NO REFUNDS given.
- There has been a huge demand for these in the past. We really did sell out in less than 4 minutes last year. When they are gone, they are gone.
- One per household, one per person.
Q: What's in the Mystery Stocking?
A: It wouldn't be much of a surprise if we told you, now would it?
Q: Will I definitely get my money worth?
Q: Can I return it if I don't like it?
A: Nope. All sales final.
Q: What if I live outside the US?
A: Sorry, US only.
Q. How much is it?
A. $39.95 Plus $5 shipping
Q. When will it ship?
A. On or before December 10, 2022.
Q. What form of payment do you accept?
A. Credit cards only. Sorry, no Paypal for this.
Q. Can I ship to a different location than my billing address?
Q. I tried last year and didn't get one. Will I get one this year?
A. There is an overwhelming demand for Mystery Stocking. Be sure you have a fast internet connection and be ready when they go on sale. Last year we sold out in 3 min 33 seconds.
Q. I want to buy 5. How can I buy 5?
A. You can't. This year, we're limiting to one per household, so more people can get in on the fun!
Featuring the Adaptive Circuitry recently introduced on their Halcyon Green Overdrive, Origin Effects have brought us a pedal with a character all of its own and a new flavor of drive.
Origin Effects introduce the new M-EQ DRIVER mid booster & drive pedal. Based on a vintage Pultec studio EQ, this unique pedal offers a range of mid-focused tones, from a subtle mid boost to thick, resonant overdrive. Featuring the Adaptive Circuitry recently introduced on their Halcyon Green Overdrive, Origin Effects have brought us a pedal with a character all of its own and a new flavor of drive.
A choice of three mid-range frequencies ensures that you can boost just the right part of your guitar signal and, when pushed harder, can elicit a range of saturation from a classic “mid-hump” overdrive to fierce “cocked wah” distortion. Thanks to the Adaptive Circuitry, the high-end roll-off of the Cut control is reduced as the pedal cleans up. This allows for a smooth transition from warm overdrive to bright clean tones in response to playing dynamics or guitar volume knob changes.
Introducing... M-EQ DRIVER || Mid Booster & Drive
Built-in the UK to the highest standards, the M-EQ DRIVER continues the Origin Effects tradition of vintage, studio-inspired tones in modern guitar pedals. The Origin Effects M-EQ DRIVER is available now from Origin Effects dealers worldwide.
RRP: 259 GBP (Inc VAT) / 319 USD (Ex TAX)
For more information, please visit origineffects.com.
The new finish, according to Lava Music, is “inspired by the beauty of the golden hour,” a shining time just before sunset and after sunrise when photographers covet to capture stunning pictures.
With bright and warm golden hues, the new finish adds a brilliant metallic glow to the surface of Lava ME 3, complementing its AirSonic 2 carbon fiber unibody which features L3 Preamp with FreeBoost 2.0, delivers industry-leading sounds by breakthrough acoustic technologies, and houses a multi-touch display powered by Lava-developed HILAVA system.
Speaking of the HILAVA system, Lava Music also added four new effects: Nebula, Desert Rose, Cassette, and Edge of Breakup. As unique as their names sound, they are very much different from what we normally know about effects. Programmed into the HILAVA system, each of the four is powered by the company’s latest ArctanDrive algorithm and incorporates effects like Pitch Shift, Delay, and Reverb. And every one of those incorporated sub-effects comes with various parameters that players can adjust to design unique, overdriven sounds by just tapping on the multi-touch display. That said, those effects enable users to play with overdriven tone on an acoustic-electric guitar without even plugging in any external gear.
LAVA ME 3 | Now in Golden Hour | LAVA MUSIC
Lava Me 3 in Golden Hour is now available starting from $999 on LAVA MUSIC, Amazon, and local guitar dealerships near you.
For more information, please visit store.lavamusic.com.