gear award 2014

Its circuit is encased in epoxy to deter copycats. Are its organics really that orgasmic?

Greer Amps could hardly be called single minded. The little company out of Athens, Georgia, builds an impressive and extensive line of amplifiers and pedals for a company its size. It is, however, a very focused company in that it specializes in overdrive and distortion in just about every conceivable flavor. Its latest offering, the Lightspeed Organic Overdrive, is a deceptively simple design that’s rich and responsive, with tones that range from clean boost to complex raunch.

Substance and a Little Style
The Lightspeed doesn’t get by on glitz. The enclosure is unpainted, its only adornment being an engraved faceplate held in place by the same nuts and washers securing the knobs and footswitch. Yet it has a rugged, elegant charm reminiscent of circa-1930s industrial design. The loudness knob is, of course, the output level control, while drive controls the gain and the “freq.” EQ control emphasizes high mids or bass presence, depending on which side of noon you twist it.

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A scaled-down version of the popular audio interface and plug-in host.

Universal Audio’s rack-mountable Apollo audio interface was an hit upon its 2012 release. Its stellar preamps, lucid design, and innovative software were perfect fits for project studios requiring great-sounding components and flexible operation, but not a vast number of preamps. (The original Apollo has four, plus additional analog and digital line inputs.)

I was an early adopter—Apollo replaced two more cumbersome systems in my home studio. Two years later I have nothing but praise for the device. My only beef: I wanted a smaller version for mobile work.

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