The Little Monster is the latest release from Matchless Amplifiers, a boutique company known for hand building road-worthy, Class A amps for discerning musicians, and the same visionaries behind
The Little Monster is the latest release from Matchless Amplifiers, a boutique company known for hand building road-worthy, Class A amps for discerning musicians, and the same visionaries behind designs like the HC-30 and the Clubman. With the announcement of the Little Monster and the Baby - a cleaner, less rock-oriented version set to be released in the coming months - Matchless clearly has its sights set on the small combo market. While previous designs from the company featured higher wattages and larger body frames, these new, smaller models are poised to carry Matchless into the low-wattage/super portable game. Both amps will be situated on the low-end of the company''s price scale, but have the potential to be the coolest products in the Matchless line. With a retail price set around $1799 - one to two thousand less than their other models - the Little Monster is sure to introduce a new, quieter group of players to the world of boutique design.
The Little Monster is aptly named, packing a huge punch in a diminutive frame. But before we get to how the amp sounds, we should talk about how it looks. This combo looks like something from a fifties recording studio crossed with the radio from a 22nd century spaceship. The moon-shaped grill in the middle of the monster''s face has a distinct look that will surely end up being its trademark. From a design standpoint, its ability to appear both modern and retro is aesthetically impressive. The fact that it almost looks like a piece of furniture when sitting in the living room will not be lost on any home-owning gearhead. If you have the foresight to choose the right color, your significant other might not even nag you if the Little Monster is occasionally found outside of your gear room.
Likewise, the control panel keeps things simple and smooth, with Volume, Treble, Bass and Master Volume controls. It also has High and Low input jacks, with the Low only really useful when used to daisy chain to another amp.
The first thing you notice when you plug the Little Monster in is the sound''s hugeness. Obviously this amp won''t be competing with a high-powered Marshall stack any time soon, but considering the wattage, it produces an incredibly powerful sound - it''s apparent from the get-go that the Little Monster was conceived as a rock amp.
When coupled with a Les Paul, this little guy sounds like a truck bearing down on you at breakneck speed – power chords and crunchy rhythms reveal this amp’s true rock pedigree. Most impressive is that it does this with just nine watts, producing a wide, full sound with surprisingly rich tone. The Little Monster has a robust sound that starts as an open-back, Voxish overdrive, and produces a tighter, closed back, Marshall-like response as it is pushed harder.
With a Tele or a Strat, you would expect to lose some of the bass, but surprisingly, that doesn’t happen here – by simply boosting the Treble and turning down the Bass, you can achieve a cleaner, chimey tone. Of course, because you are only working with nine watts, you won’t hear a drastic difference from knob adjustments – if you want more bass, you may want to run a Gibson through it. But if you’re a versatile player and know how to use the volume knob on your guitar, odds are you will be able to find the sound you’re after.
One of the amp''s best features is the Master Volume circuit. The Little Monster can produce a serious rock crunch at very low volumes with the Volume knob cranked and the Master turned way down. You''ll obviously lose some of the spread at a low volume, but this can be extremely useful when recording in home studios. Once the Master Volume is turned up past ten o''clock, the amp starts some tasty break-up, but always at a manageable volume.
Keep in mind that because of the low wattage, you will not have as much headroom as Matchless’ more powerful models – but that’s a small price to pay for rock n’ roll infamy. This amp is a great choice for small clubs or any performing situation where stage volume is an issue. By mic’ing the cab, you can still get a big rock sound without prompting the lead singer to scream at you to turn it all down.
On the tech side, the Little Monster is powered by one EL84 tube, driven by two 12AX7s, and features a 5AR4 bottle for rectifier chores. The 1x12 version comes with a Celestion G12H-30 speaker; a dual 8” version is also available, which includes one Jensen C8R and one P8R, giving you a mix of ceramic and Alnico tones. Whatever configuration you decide to go with, the combo produces massive sound from an overhead compartment-worthy 16”x18”x10” frame, and its hand-built, point-to-point construction feels incredibly solid.
The Final Mojo
All in all, the Little Monster is a great buy for anyone loving big, saturated tones, but not the ear drum-rattling sound pressure levels. This is a powerhouse rock amp in a small, portable package – versatile enough for most rock and pop applications, and full of that famous Matchless mojo. But buyer beware – this monster bites!
you want a great sounding, portable Class A rock amp that can be cranked anywhere.
you need an am pwith tons of headroom.
MSRP $1799 - Matless Amplifiers - matchlessamplifiers.com
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Created in collaboration with legendary guitarist George Lynch of Dokken and Lynch Mob fame, the Mr.Scary Mod adds an adjustable tube gain stage and an onboard Deep control, which together are designed to enable an amp to have increased sustain while still retaining note definition and dynamics.
LegendaryTones, LLC today announced production availability of its new Mr. Scary Mod, a 100% pure tube module designed to instantly and easily expand the capabilities of many classic amplifiers with additional gain and tone shaping. Created in collaboration with legendary guitarist George Lynch of Dokken and Lynch Mob fame, the Mr.Scary Mod adds an adjustable tube gain stage and an onboard Deep control, which together are designed to enable an amp to have increased sustain while still retaining note definition and dynamics.
Originally released as the Lynch Mod in February 2021, the updated Mr. Scary Mod features the same core circuit as the Lynch Mod but is now equipped with a revised tube mix combo per George’s preference as well as a facelift in a newly redesigned electro-galvanized steel enclosure. As with the Lynch Mod, each run will be limited and the first run in Pumpkin Orange with Black hardware is limited to just 150 pieces worldwide.
The Mr. Scary Mod adds an adjustable tube gain stage on top of the cathode follower position, keeping note definition and articulation while further increasing sustain. Each Mr. Scary mod is meticulously built by hand in the USA, one at a time, and tuned using high-grade components. Equipped with a single ECC81 (12AT7) in the first position and ECC83 (12AX7) in the second, the Mr. Scary Mod can clean up beautifully when rolling down your guitar’s volume, and still adds scorching gain when you roll it back up. This is a gain stage that’s been tuned and approved by the ears of the maestro George Lynch himself.
“The Mr. Scary Mod excels with dynamics and is incredibly touch-responsive, allowing me to shift from playing clear, lightly compressed cleans to full-out aggressive sustain and distortion –and control it all simply by varying my guitar’s volume control and picking,” said GeorgeLynch. “In many ways, it’s an old-school approach, but it’s also so much more natural and expressive in addition to being musically fulfilling when you can play both the guitar and amp dynamically together this way.”
The Mr. Scary Mod installs in minutes, is safe and effective to use, and requires no special tools or re-biasing of the amplifier. Simply insert the module into the cathode follower preamp position of compatible amplifiers (includes Marshall 2203/2204/1959/1987 circuits) and
immediately get the benefit of enjoying a hot-rodded amp that delivers all the pure harmonic character that comes with an added pure tube gain stage. The handmade in the USA Mr. Scary Mod is now available to order for $319.
For more information, please visit legendarytones.com.
October Audio has miniaturized their NVMBR Gain pedal to create two mini versions of this beautifully organic-sounding circuit – including an always-on gain device.
The NVMBR Gain is a nonlinear amp that transitions gracefully from clean boost to overdriven tones. Volume increases from just over unity to about 10db before soft-clipping drive appears for another 5db of boost. Its extraordinary ease of use is matched by outstanding versatility: you can use it as a clean boost, push a stubborn amp into overdrive or create a just-breaking-up sound at any amp volume.
October Audio’s new family of mini NVMBR Gain pedals includes a switchable version that allows you to bypass the effect: one option features brand logo pedal graphics, while the other sports a fun “Witch Finger” graphic with a Davies knob as the“fingernail”.
The second version in the new lineup is an always-on device featuring the Witch Finger graphic and Davies knob, with the same NVMBR Gain circuit that lies at the core of the switchable version.
- Knob controls gain and clipping simultaneously
- Stunning silver hammertone finish
- Switchable versions are true-bypass, available with classic or witch finger graphics
- Authentic Davies knobs, including the “fingernail”
- 9V center negative power supply required
- Dimensions: 3.63 x 1.50 x 1.88 in
Witch Finger (always on NVMBR Gain) demo
All October Audio pedals are assembled in Richmond, VA, and available for purchase directly through the online shop. Street price is $109 for NVMBR Gain footswitch versions and $89 for the always-on device.
For more information, please visit octoberaudio.com.