A direct-recording preamp—and a true 20-watt head.
A direct recording preamp and a proper 2 x 6V6 combo. Built-in Two Notes cabinet emulations. Innovative design. Works beautifully with gain pedals and ambient effects.
Shallow depth of field on clean, dry tones.
Ease of Use:
How’s this for a cool idea? An all-tube preamp with a nice assortment of built-in cabinet emulations for direct recording. But’s it’s also a 20-watt amp head fueled by two 6V6 power tubes and capable of driving speaker cabinets. And oh—it’s roughly the size of a toaster and weighs about as much as your guitar. Yup, that pretty much describes the D20 from Canada’s Revv Amplification. It’s an ingenious concept, expertly realized, and enhanced by many clever and useful features.
The amp’s front panel controls are straightforward: gain, treble/mid/bass, and master volume. The gain control employs a push/pull pot, with hotter, more distorted sounds in the out position. There’s also a headphone-out jack with a level control, a switch to lower the amp’s power from 20 to 4 watts, and a rotary switch to select one of six onboard cabinet emulations. (More on those in a moment.)
To use the D20 without a cabinet, you connect to a DAW or mixing desk via the rear-panel XLR out. There’s also a standard 1/4" jack for connecting a cab. The D20 is a reactive load box, so you don’t need to connect any speakers. But if you do, you can drive a cab and record your direct signal simultaneously. The rear panel also includes a mono effects loop (buffered and in series), a USB jack for installing and editing speaker emulations via computer, and external terminals for biasing the power tubes without disassembling the chassis. There’s also an old-school MIDI-in jack for remotely switching cab emulations.
Damn, the Torpedo!
According to Revv, the D20 is the first amplifier to integrate Two Notes’ Torpedo cabinet emulation software. Torpedo products, which combine speaker cabinet impulse responses with power amp and room emulations, have acquired a fervid following among metal and hard rock players. The D20 offers a sort of “Torpedo light,” with six emulations (rather than Torpedo’s usual 32) selectable via that front-panel switch.
There are no onboard controls to adjust the Torpedo sounds, but you can edit their parameters using a free Two Notes app. You can also purchase additional cabinet IRs through the app, and store up to 128 of them within the D20. But you can still only access six of them without connecting to a computer or MIDI controller.
Revv It Up
My audio clips demo the D20 in its various roles. For Clip 1, I recorded direct and dry, with no downstream sweetening. I play six clean-toned phrases—one for each cab-emulation preset. Any reverb you hear is part of the Torpedo emulation. In Clip 2 I do the same, with the amp gain knob at higher settings in its hot position. To my ear, the tones are realistically amp-like, but they sound a bit two-dimensional compared to a well-miked cabinet. (I’ve had similar reactions to the other micro-format amps I’ve reviewed.) Still, I can imagine them working in a mix context.
The tone controls have relatively wide ranges, and you sometimes encounter excessively woofy or prickly sounds. It’s easy to compensate for this, but don’t be surprised if you use the tone controls more aggressively than usual.
Wet and Wild
The D20 has ample headroom. Ambient effects retain their detail. Chords and notes are well-defined, even when goosing the input with fuzz and distortion pedals. For audio Clip 3 I patched a Eventide Rose pedal into the effect loop. The complex reverbs and delays come across clearly, and there’s a nice sense of space, even as heard here in mono. (My test instrument is a DIY guitar with vintage-output humbuckers.)
In Clip 4, I add a couple of homemade overdrive and fuzz pedals. Notes and chords have strong definition and aggressive attack, even at ultra-high gain settings. In Clip 5, I connect the D20 to a cabinet and mike one of its 50-watt Celestion Creamback speakers with a Royer R-121 ribbon mic. It sounds an awful lot like the direct sounds—testimony to the realism of the Torpedo emulations.
A light but sturdy aluminum shell protects the amp’s components while restricting its weight to a mere nine pounds. The tubes, Hammond power transformer, and Classic Tone output transformer protrude from the chassis as on traditional amps. Inside is a circuit board housing both conventional passive components and the Torpedo processors. Everything looks solid and reliable.
The Revv D20 is an innovative product with many possible applications. To my ear, it’s best-suited for high-gain tones—especially with ambient effects added. The D20 could live on a studio desktop, driving cabinets while serving as a direct recording preamp. It would also be valuable whenever size and weight are issues. It could easily fit into an overhead bin or beneath a seat on a flight. The price is fair too, considering the D20’s North American manufacture and the formidable R&D required to produce this innovative and useful tool.
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Sporting custom artwork etched onto the covers, the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One Humcutters are designed to offer a fat midrange and a smooth top end.
Billy Corgan was looking for something for heavier Smashing Pumpkins songs, so Joe Naylor designed the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One pickup. Sporting custom artwork etched onto the covers, the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One Humcutters have a fat midrange and a smooth top end. This pickup combines the drive and sustain of a humbucker with the percussive attack and string clarity of a P90. Get beefy P90 tone plus amp-pummeling output with the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One.
Patented Railhammer Pickups take passive guitar pickups to a new level with rails under the wound strings lead to tighter lows, and poles under the plain strings offer fatter heights. With increased clarity, the passive pickup’s tone is never sterile.
Railhammer Billy Corgan Signature Z-One Pickup Demo
For more information, please visit railhammer.com.
Designed for utmost comfort and performance, the Vertigo Ultra Bass is Mono’s answer to those who seek the ultimate gigging experience.
Complete with a range of game-changing design features, such as the patent-pending attachable FREERIDE Wheel System, premium water-resistant and reflective materials, shockproof shell structure and improved ergonomic features, the Vertigo Ultra Bass takes gear protection to the next level.
The Vertigo Ultra Bass features:
- Patent-pending FREERIDE Wheel System that allows for wheels to be attached on the case in no time, giving you the option to travel with it seamlessly
- Upgraded materials, including a water-resistant 1680D Ballistic Nylon outer shell, plush inner lining and new reflective trim for maximum backstage and night visibility
- Enhanced protection with a shockproof shell structure and heavy-duty water-resistant YKK zippers for protection from the elements
- Improved ergonomics and functionality including added back support and load-lifting detachable shoulder straps with side release buckles
- Flexible storage options with added space for touring essentials
The Generation Collection of acoustic guitars features the exclusive Gibson Player Port designed to offer a unique and immersive sonic experience.
The G-Bird, the newest addition to the Generation Collection--represents the glorious legacy of the Gibson Hummingbird colliding with modern sonic enhancement through the Gibson Player Port to add a new dimension to the G-Bird sound. The Gibson Player Port allows players to hear more of themselves as the audience hears it. With a tone that is crisp and resonant, all of the Gibson Generation Collection acoustics are designed to be comfortable to hold and play for long periods of time. All Generation Collection guitars feature the Gibson Player Port, slim, lightweight bodies, a flatter fingerboard radius, Walnut back and sides, Sitka spruce tops, and a stunning Natural finish. Additionally, the new G-Bird, and the G-200 and G-Writer are equipped with LR Baggs™ Element Bronze pickup systems which amplify deep bass and crystal-clear highs.
The G-Bird represents the glorious legacy of the Gibson Hummingbird with modern sonic enhancement through the Gibson Player Port adding a new dimension to the G-Bird’s sound. The G-Bird features a stunning solid Sitka spruce top and solid walnut back and sides for the ultimate in crisp, resonant tone. This square-shoulder dreadnought delivers all the rich low end and well-balanced mids and highs the original Hummingbird is famous for. The TUSQ nut and saddle, along with chrome Grover Mini Rotomatic tuners, deliver solid tuning stability so you can spend more time playing instead of tuning. The utile neck, with its easy-playing Advanced Response neck profile, is so comfortable you won’t want to put it down. The G-Bird also comes equipped with an LR Baggs Element Bronze pickup system, so it will always sound as good to your audience as it does to you. The G-Bird also comes equipped with an LR Baggs™ Element Bronze pickup system, so it will always sound as good to your audience as it does to you. The G-Bird is available in Natural finish. A gig bag is included.
Modeled after Gibson’s pioneering small-body parlor acoustic guitars from the 1930’s, the G-00 is a top choice for blues and fingerstyle guitar performances. Despite its more compact size, the G-00 achieves a full, balanced sound. The G-00 fills any room with rich tones-which players can hear like never before, with the exclusive Gibson Player Port. Like all models in the Gibson Generation Collection, the G-00 is handcrafted in Bozeman, Montana, by the same highly--skilled craftspeople who make all Gibson acoustic guitars. The G-00 features a beautiful solid Sitka spruce top and solid Walnut back and sides for tone that sounds crisp and resonant. The slightly thinner G-00 parlor-sized body is exceptionally comfortable to hold and play. The TUSQ nut and saddle along with the Grover Mini Rotomatic tuners, deliver solid tuning stability so you can spend more time playing instead of tuning, and the utile neck with its easy-playing neck profile is so comfortable you won’t want to put it down. The G-00 is available in Natural finish. A gig bag is included.
The G-45, a round-shouldered jumbo, adds the Gibson Player Port to its famous “Workhorse” J-45 style body, which is Gibson’s best-selling acoustic guitar of all time. On the G-45, players can now hear more clearly than ever how this beloved guitar responds to every style and technique of playing. Powerful one moment and soft the next, the G-45 delivers all sounds with incredible dynamic range in an elegant, medium body size. The G-45 is part of the Gibson Generation Collection and like all models in this collection, it is handcrafted in Bozeman, MT, by the same highly skilled craftspeople who make all Gibson acoustics. It features a solid Sitka spruce top and solid Walnut back and sides for tone that sounds crisp and resonant. The G-45 features a slightly thinner round shoulder body is exceptionally comfortable to hold and play. The TUSQ nut and saddle, along with the Grover Mini Rotomatic tuners deliver solid tuning stability, so you can spend more time playing instead of tuning, and the utile neck with its easy-playing neck profile is so comfortable you won’t want to put it down. The G-45 is available in Natural finish. A gig bag is included.
Gibson’s impressive range of square-shouldered guitars have become an expressive standard for rock, pop, folk, and country artists. The G-Writer is known for its wide range of sounds, from gutsy and loud, to soft and sweet; they are superb for all styles and shine, whether strumming chords or fingering intricate solos. The G-Writer comes ready for the stage or studio with an LR Baggs Element Bronze pickup system and the ear-opening Gibson Player Port. The G-Writer is part of the Gibson Generation Collection and like all models in this collection, it is handcrafted in Bozeman, MT, by the same highly skilled craftspeople who make all Gibson acoustics. It features a solid Sitka spruce top and solid Walnut back and sides for tone that sounds crisp and resonant. The G-Writer features a slightly thinner cutaway body, is more comfortable to play and provides effortless access to the upper frets. The TUSQ nut and saddle, along with the Grover Mini Rotomatic tuners deliver solid tuning stability, so you can spend more time playing instead of tuning, and the utile neck with its easy-playing neck profile is so comfortable you won’t want to put it down. The G-Writer is available in Natural finish. A gig bag is also included.
Gibson built its first “Super Jumbo” SJ-200 as a custom order for country and western singer and film star Ray Whitley, who desired a big, loud, and deep flat-top over which to croon. The SJ-200 quickly became a staple of cowboy singers and horseback troubadours, and then country music, 60’s folk stars, and onto every acoustic guitar genre that has followed. Ray would be proud to hear the booming sound from the Gibson Player Port on the new G-200, which comes ready for the stage or studio with a LR Baggs Element Bronze pickup system. Like all models in the Gibson Generation Collection, the G-200 is handcrafted in Bozeman, MT, by the same highly--skilled craftspeople who make all Gibson acoustics. The G-200 features a beautiful solid Sitka spruce top and solid Walnut back and sides for tone that sounds crisp and resonant. The slightly thinner G-200 cutaway jumbo body is exceptionally comfortable to hold and provides excellent access to the upper frets. The TUSQ nut and saddle, along with the Grover Mini Rotomatic tuners, deliver solid tuning stability so you can spend more time playing instead of tuning, and the utile neck with its easy-playing neck profile is so comfortable you won’t want to put it down. The G-200 is available in Natural finish. A gig bag is also included.
G-Bird | Generation Collection
For more information, please visit gibson.com.