april 2015

Few—if any—100-watt heads pack this much power into such a convenient and portable format.

Demeter’s Mighty Minnie is a pedalboard-mountable head that was originally designed for slide wizard Sonny Landreth to take to gigs where he couldn’t bring full-sized amps. But don’t dismiss it as a micro amp because of its size. At 10" x 7" x 4.5" and 100 watts into 8 ohms (180 into 4 ohms), the TGA-1-180D could be the answer to many players’ backline woes. It features a point-to-point-wired tube preamp, class-D power amp, 3-band EQ, and gain and master controls, the latter being a push-pull knob that engages a 20 dB pad for higher gain at lower levels.

When I played the TGA-1 through a 65Amps 2x12 cab at band rehearsal, my Strat felt right at home with the loud and punchy Bassman-style clean tones. There was plenty of headroom and the robust tones were a perfect canvas for my dirt pedals. As I pushed the gain past 2 o' clock, a warm, British-style dirt appeared. Although the TGA-1 might lack the bells and whistles in some full-size 100-watt heads, it makes up for it in convenience, power, and versatility.

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Oliver Ackermann started his pedal company, Death by Audio, by taking custom orders for anything, and then forcing himself to figure out how to build it.
Photo by Igor Vidyashev / Atlas Icons

Oliver Ackermann plays mad scientist with his band, A Place to Bury Strangers, and his pedal company, Death by Audio.

Brooklyn-based band A Place to Bury Strangers creates gnarly, outlandish, ear-crushing mayhem. Their guitarist, Oliver Ackermann, keeps his volume just north of 11 while engaging in such stage antics as guitar smashing, mid-air instrument collisions, and unnatural string removal. He chains pedals together and generates multiple layers of self-oscillating chaos.

But there’s a method to the madness. Ackermann is chasing a specific aesthetic, one he started cultivating in high school. That sensibility also informs his pedal-building business, Death By Audio. It could be described as controlled anarchy.

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