Check out Revv Amps D20—a clean, 20-watt (reducible to 4) 6V6 output section and powerful Two Notes cab-sim capabilities make this 9-pound head (demo'd by Joey Landreth) both a great pedal platform and a conveniently portable gigging amp.
The Revv D20 is the world's first Two notes Torpedo-Embedded amplifier. This means not only is it a great-sounding Canadian-made 20 watt tube amplifier - you can play it anywhere without a cabinet while getting authentic tube tones straight into headphones, recording interface, powered speakers, or mixing desk. The Revv D20 is the perfect clean/crunch amp to pair with your favorite pedals, and brings modern convenience to an organic, compact, affordable tube package.
A 44-watt power amp in a pedal-sized box
|Download Example 1|
Gibson 1 - Gibson SG, Bridge Pickup, Volume 9 o'clock, Bright ON
|Download Example 2|
Gibson 2 - Gibson SG, Neck Pickup, Volume 12 o'clock, Bright ON
|Download Example 3|
Gibson 3 - Gibson SG, Both Pickups, Volume Dimed, Bright ON
|Download Example 4|
Gibson 4 - Boss DS-1, Drop-B tuned Gibson SG, Neck Pickup, Volume 12 o'clock, Bright ON
|Download Example 5|
Fender 1 - Fender Strat, Bridge Pickup, Volume 10 o'clock, Bright OFF
|All clips recorded into an Emperor solid birch 4x12" with |
Weber C1265s using a Shure SM57.
Electro-Harmonix is a constant source
of innovation. And their effects—
from classics like the Memory Man to the
Big Muff to the more radical and recent
POG—have a reputation for inspiring creativity
and pushing the envelope of what is
possible with a guitar and a few pedals.
With the release of the 44 Magnum, a
44-watt power amp in a pedal-sized box,
Electro-Harmonix is aiming at a considerably
more utilitarian target. Nevertheless,
they’ve hit a bull’s-eye. The 44 Magnum
ranks as one of the most practical pieces
of gear for the gigging guitarist released by
anyone over the last several years. It has
potential in the studio and the practice
space, and it can work as both a backup
amp and compact front-line amp for certain
players—all for the same money you’d
pay for a typical high-quality pedal.
Packs a Punch
The 44 Magnum comes in the same ultra-small
pedal box as the Magnum’s little brother,
the 22 Caliber, and such effects pedals as
the Freeze and the Nano Clone. The unit
weighs about the same as a similarly sized
effects unit, though it does require a fairly
hefty 24-VDC adapter with an inline transformer
(this is included with the device).
Because the 44 Magnum is a power
amp, its output must be connected directly
to a speaker. But EHX had the foresight
to dummy-proof the unit to some extent,
and if you power it up without connecting
it to a speaker load first, the Magnum will
automatically disable, saving itself from an
eventual meltdown. To restart the Magnum,
you simply remove it from power, connect
a load, and reintroduce power. The optimal
configuration is with an 8Ω cabinet, but
the Magnum will push a 16Ω speaker too.
It’s deceiving and dangerous to think of
this thing as a pedal, and it’s a bit scary to
think of the poor bloke who will eventually
plug this thing into his delay pedal.
You read it here, you’ll read it on the
pedal, and you’ll read it about four times
in the manual—don’t plug it into anything
but a speaker cabinet or otherwise appropriate
load. The damage to your gear can
The 44 Magnum’s control set is as
simple as they come. Like any non-master
volume amp, a single Volume knob takes
the 44 Magnum from quiet and clear all
the way up to loud, growling, and saturated.
The only other control is a 2-position
toggle for Normal or Bright operation—a
feature not unlike the Bright switch on
many vintage Fender amplifiers.
If It Walks Like an Amp …
I tried the 44 Magnum out with an 8Ω
Emperor 4x12 cabinet, a Gibson SG, and a
Fender Stratocaster. With the Gibson piped
through the 44 Magnum in Normal mode
at low volume, the amp generated a full,
if dark, sound with both neck and bridge
pickups. At around 10 o’clock I started
to hear pleasing hints of true power-amp
compression. And even at this relatively low
setting, the pedal was already kicking out
enough volume for a practice session or a
gig on a small stage.
Moving the volume up to noon propelled
me into sweet overdrive territory.
And with the volume at 2 or 3 o’clock, the
Gibson’s humbuckers induced both heavy,
harmonic distortion and singing feedback.
My Stratocaster’s lower-output single-coils
created a subtler saturation, but the signal
was still very cutting, resulting in a juiced,
Marshall Plexi-like tone that was simultaneously
creamy, dark, and slicing. It’s remarkable—
given its size—but the 44 Magnum
really can rock and rock heavily. And the
only limitation of the pedal, at least in
terms of gain range, is that it may not work
well by itself for certain genres of metal,
where extreme volume and preamp gain are
key, or for David Gilmour-style loud-and-clean
I also evaluated the Magnum using a
Boss DS-1, EHX Big Muff, and a Devi
Ever Legend of Fuzz. Here the Magnum’s
Bright switch proved to be a real asset, and
flipping it on helped the distortion pedals’
high frequencies shine through. Like most
guitarists, I generally run these pedals into
the front end of my guitar amp, effectively
funneling one preamp (the pedal) into
another (the amp’s preamp). It’s not often
that you get to hear your favorite distortion
pedals run directly into a power amp, and
it was definitely a sonic treat to experience
the fundamental voice and range of those
pedals so clearly.
There are a ton of potential applications
for the 44 Magnum. Bass players
in smaller, quieter combos can use it to
drive a cabinet. And if you like to travel
as light as possible, but need more kick
than a small-wattage combo can deliver,
the 44 Magnum and a small cabinet are a
cost-effective and super-portable solution.
For my money, though, it’s a great piece
of insurance if you’re a touring or gigging
musician. Throw the tiny 44 Magnum into
your cable bag and you’re done with worrying
about a failed amp forever. It won’t
replace your vintage or boutique tube
amp in terms of sweet tones, mega gain,
or high headroom. But it sure won’t break
your back and, at $145, it won’t break
the bank either. If your go-to amp is an
old-timer with a few quirks, you won’t be
playing Russian roulette onstage with a 44
Magnum in your holster.
you regularly play electric guitar in a live setting and subscribe to Murphy’s Law.
you don’t need anything more portable than your combo, and it hasn’t failed you ... yet.
Street $145 - Electro-Harmonix - ehx.com
A variety of tweakable tones in a small box with a small price tag
Bruce Egnater is famous for his role in pioneering multi-channel amps with cascading preamps—an idea that’s rather ubiquitous now but was the stuff of dreams just a couple of decades ago. Today, he’s building on that notoriety by becoming one of the leading purveyors of affordable, feature-packed tube amps. His latest entrant in the field is the diminutive 15-watt Tweaker head and 112X 1x12 cabinet.
Utilitarian Lunchbox, Hearty Meal
At this point, it’s pretty tough for an amp manufacturer to distinguish itself in the so-called “lunchbox amp” category. Almost every company out there, from boutique to budget outfits, has a pint-sized tube amp—everything from simple-and-sweet designs to heads that cram more knobs and mini-toggles than you thought possible onto a miniscule chassis.
Egnater Amplification has already made its mark in the crowded niche with its popular Rebel 20 and Rebel 30 models—which allow you to morph between 6V6- and EL84-powered tones—but the company has found another way to wow us with the new Tweaker (which is also available as a 1x12 combo).
The Tweaker’s wow factor doesn’t necessarily come from such decidedly boutique features as those in the Rebel (although it does have several tricks up its sleeve). Instead, it comes from sheer bang for buck. The Tweaker is powered by a pair of 6V6 tubes—which is a welcome change for those who feel pip-squeak-sized amps too often skew toward EL84s. And it packs a ton of practical features into its face-slappingly affordable box while still managing to exude a vibe of relative simplicity.
The front panel features, from left to right, Power and Standby switches, a Vintage/Modern mini toggle, a Master knob, a US/AC/Brit voicing mini toggle, a three-band EQ section, a Hot/Clean mini toggle, a Gain knob, Bright/Normal and Tight/Deep mini toggles, and a single 1/4" input. Around back, it’s even simpler: Send and Return jacks for the buffered effects loop, an Impedance switch (4, 8, or 16 ohms), two speaker jacks, a three-position voltage selector (100, 115, 230), and a standard IEC power jack. The matching Egnater 112X cabinet features a semi-open design, a 12-inch Celestion G12H-30 speaker, and input and output jacks (for daisy-chaining to another cab). The 112X features a soft, utilitarian rubber handle, while the Tweaker head has a leather handle that gets the job done but feels somewhat flimsy. Both enclosures lack metal corner protectors, but they do have tall, soft rubber feet for excellent shock absorption.
Watch the video review on page 2...
Tweak to Your Heart’s Content
Although the Tweaker is stocked with several mini toggles that open up a myriad of tonal options, dialing in a usable sound is usually as simple as plugging in. I ran the amp through its paces with several test guitars, including a Tele with alnico 3 single-coils, a Reverend Pete Anderson hollowbody with P-90s, and a Schecter Ultra III with mini humbuckers. With each guitar, I found it nearly impossible to dial in a sound I couldn’t use.
The most logical place to begin tonal experimentation is with the US/AC/Brit voicing toggle, which alters the amp’s tone stack for Fender-, Vox-, and Marshall-style tones, respectively. Some players may lament that this feature isn’t footswitchable, but that would doubtless bump the price up significantly. My take is that Egnater designed the amp to please a wide swath of players who love plug-and-play simplicity but don’t plan to switch sounds a lot. That makes the Tweaker a great choice for both home recordists and players like me who’d rather find a sweet spot, then change up tones manually with tweaks to playing attack or the guitar’s volume knob.
Although I consistently gravitated back to the warm, well-rounded US voicing—which was great for everything from old-school rock to indie tones, rockabilly, and bluesy wailing—the AC and Brit voicings were also stellar. In all three, the Vintage/Modern toggle yielded looser, more lived-in tones in the former position, and a little more articulation and definition in the latter.
With the Hot/Clean toggle flicked up to Hot, each tone-stack setting served up enough gain for any flavor of hard rock and all but the doomiest of metal. I preferred Hot/Clean set to Clean overall—and particularly in the US voicing—for the more expansive range and reactivity to pick dynamics. And in that particular setup I could use my fingers and a light touch to get fat, thumping jazz sounds using the Reverend’s neck pickup, or dig in with a pick and any of the guitars’ bridge pickups for varying levels of toothy gain—from bristling Brian Setzer-like tones (think “Rumble in Brighton”) to raucous J. Mascis flavors.
I vacillated between preferences on the Bright/Normal toggle. The Tele’s bridge pickup liked Normal best because it avoided infamous ice-pick tones. But when I attenuated the trebles, Bright really brought out the AC30-type flavors in the AC voicing.
The Tight/Deep switch was great for moving between different types of guitars. At first, I liked Deep because it gave each guitar more oomph, but I also found that Tight yielded delightfully taut tones when used with the Tele’s bridge pickup to dish up spanky, hybrid-picked country giblets. And I don’t need to tell you how cool it was to be able to go from country-fried to a classic Marshall-style “brown” sound (think “Back in Black”) by simply flicking over to Brit voicing and Vintage mode!
Like most heads in the lunchbox space, the Tweaker doesn’t have reverb, but the effects loop enables you to patch in your favorite outboard unit without muddying up your signal’s front end. (I used a Strymon Blue Sky Reverberator to add sloshing dimension. In the US voicing, it was like having a delicious old Deluxe Reverb.) Volume-wise, the amp has plenty of power to hang with a fairly loud band, as long as you’ve got the Gain at or past noon and the Master set toward its upper limits.
When you factor in the Egnater Tweaker’s flexibility, impeccable variety of tones, and rock-bottom price, it’s almost laughable to fault it for anything. That’s not to say it doesn’t have its limits (for instance, its treble response can’t match the sweet smoothness of, say, a stellar boutique amp), but we’re talking about an amp that opens the door to a ton of authentic tube tones you can use in the studio or live—and at about the same price as amps we used to laugh at in the ’80s. And that makes this amp a steal. Case closed.
you need a slew of quality tube tones for very few bones.
you’ve got money to burn on multiple amps that specialize in various tonal flavors.
Street $399 (head) $249 (cab) - Egnater Custom Amplification - egnateramps.com