Paul Reed Smith enters the heavy rock amp arena with a 100-watt beast.
Paul Reed Smith’s tube amplifiers, like the company’s guitars, walk a fascinating line between tradition and mold-breaking innovation. They’ve found favor among tone connoisseurs like Warren Haynes and David Grissom—players who like fat, classic sounds somewhere between clean and gritty. But PRS’s new hand-wired, 100-watt Archon was designed to court metal and hard rock guitarists. It’s capable of both punishing distortion and big clean tones, and it marks an impressive debut in the tough-to-crack world of heavy amplification.
Lord of this World
The Archon (from the Greek term for “ruler”) is clad in PRS’s striking “stealth” design, which combines black vinyl with a flamed maple faceplate stained with a transparent charcoal finish. The aluminum chassis, knobs, and mesh ventilation grates are also black, highlighting Smith’s golden John Hancock on the faceplate. It’s beautiful to behold, especially when perched atop the matching solid pine, finger-jointed 2x12 cab with its Celestion Vintage 30 speakers. (PRS recommends pairing the amp with their closed-back birch 4x12 for even bigger tones.)
The amp boasts first-rate components: chassis-mounted Belton tube sockets, high-quality shielded wiring, handwired boards, and Alpha pots mounted on the front panel. It employs six 12AX7s in the preamp section and four 6L6GCs in the power section. The output is switchable between 50 and 100 watts. An external trim pot and handy multimeter contacts make it easy to adjust tube bias without disassembly. With two speaker outs and selectable ohmage (4, 8 or 16), you can pair the head with a variety of speaker cabinets.
The amp’s clean and dirty channels each have dedicated bass, midrange, treble, preamp gain, master volume, and bright boost controls. The clean tone of a high-gain amp is sometimes treated as an afterthought, so it’s nice that the Archon makes it easy to dial out dirt. Master depth and presence controls provide even more tone-sculpting power. It’s a bummer that there’s no onboard reverb, though there is a serial effect loop for external effects. A two-button footswitch for channel and effects loop switching is included.
By Demons Be Driven
With all controls at noon and bright boost on, I could clearly hear every nuance of my pick slicing across the strings. Notes sustained evenly and impressively, each with tremendous punch. Blindfolded, I might have thought I was playing through a 4x12 cabinet.
Easing my pick attack for clean arpeggios made mids and lows and feel looser and wider, while snappy Jerry Reed-style fingerpicking highlighted how tight and responsive the amp can be at the same settings. One of the Archon’s greatest strengths is its ability to get so many tonal variations via pick-attack variation, from subtle blues lead work to driving, Stones-style rhythms to warm jazz progressions.
After such a beautiful array of clean tones, it’s a bit shocking to hear the amp’s hell-raising overdrive channel for the first time. Its power, dynamic responsiveness, and capacity for detail are impressive.Tones have a cool three-dimensional vibe that sometimes feels like two different amps working in perfect harmony.
Chunky fifths played through the Les Paul’s bridge pickup yielded a tremendous roar with thick, woody mids, round highs, and a deep, drum-tight low end. The low-end response softened slightly when I switched to playing low-register Clutch riffs, creating a fat, robust tone that felt like a cross between a Mesa Dual Rectifier’s larger-than-life delivery and a fluid, midrangy Marshall. Cranking the master volume to 11 o’clock was like waking a dangerous beast. Here the amp is blisteringly loud, and the low end feels like a medicine ball to the ribs. Thanks to the responsive EQ and presence controls, I never encountered the abrasive buzz-saw sound prevalent among many high-gain amps.
The overdrive channel is remarkably flexible. Setting the controls at noon with the gain knob at 11 o’clock produces modern hard rock tones perfect for drop-tuned Tool and Alice in Chains riffs. Raising the presence and treble knobs while dipping the midrange to nine o’clock provided fast low-end response well suited to old-school Metallica-style thrash. Boosting the mids while pulling back lows and highs is perfect for barreling ’70s/’80’s British metal. The amp’s brawny midrange makes it slightly trickier to achieve the razor-like edge needed for some extreme forms of modern metal, but the amp handles low B, A, and even G tunings exceptionally well, never sacrificing tightness or detail, even within full chords.
The Archon has such ludicrous amounts of gain on tap that you don’t need to do much dialing to obtain enormous tones. If you’re willing to make the power amp sweat a bit, you’ll find that many of the Archon’s tightest and heaviest tones don’t require preamp saturation.
Paul Reed Smith sets the bar high with the Archon. Its exceptional build, outstanding cleans colors, and ruthless but defined overdrive position it among the today’s top hard rock and metal amps. It’s rare that an amp capable of such brutal overdrive can generate such deep, detailed clean sounds. This may not be the only amp that performs so capably at both extremes, but it’s one of the best.
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.
DiMarzio, Inc. announces the Relentless P (DP299), the Relentless J Bridge (DP301), Relentless J Neck (DP300), and the Relentless J Pair (DP302) for 4 string basses.
DiMarzio, Inc. announces the release of the Relentless P (DP299), the Relentless J Bridge (DP301), Relentless J Neck (DP300), and the Relentless J Pair (DP302) for 4 string basses. The new Relentless P and Relentless J series pickups feature the Relentless cover designed in collaboration with Billy Sheehan.
As with the Relentless pickups, we removed all the hard edges from the standard P Bass and standard J Basspickups, and added an arch to the top of the pickups to bring the sensing coils and pole pieces closer to the strings. These improvements increase the dynamic range and make active circuitry unnecessary.
The Relentless P and Relentless J pickups incorporate Neodymium magnets and produce 70 percent more output than traditional passive pickups, and they’re dead quiet due to the incorporation of metal covers and foil-shielded cables. To dial in (or fine-tune) the individual string output, the Relentless P and Relentless J include eight adjustable pole pieces. These pickups also have a broad magnetic field so you can even bend notes without volume dropout.
DiMarzio’s extra shielding makes the Relentless P and Relentless J better for both recording and stage performances. We’ve mounted them onto robust .09375” thick circuit board base plates to eliminate the annoying protruding mounting screws — ultimately creating a more comfortable and consistent foundation to rest your fingers on.
The new Relentless P steps beyond the traditional P-Bass sound and can only be described as massive. It has more of everything: more volume, beefier lows, a growling midrange, and crispy highs with better individual string definition.
The Relentless J incorporates a new invention, (patent pending) parallelogram-shaped coils, offering an expanded mid-range punch, snappy highs, precise lows, and a new dimension to the sound of the Relentless series pickups.
Relentless P and Relentless J pickups will breathe new life into any bass, increase playability, and work well for any style of music from Motown to metal.
DiMarzio’s Relentless P, Relentless J Bridge, Relentless J Neck, and Relentless J pair are made in the U.S.A. and may now be ordered for immediate delivery.
Suggested List Price for the Relentless P is $169.00 (MAP $119.99).
Suggested List Price for the Relentless J Bridge and Relentless J neck is $155.00 (MAP $109.99).
Suggested List Price for the Relentless J Pair is $296.00 (MAP 209.99).
For more information, please visit our website at dimarzio.com.
Mystery Stocking is coming soon! Sign up for PG Perks below so you don't miss it.
Sign up for PG Perks on the form below to make sure you don't miss the launch announcement!
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.