A handwired Harvard post-graduate.



Terrific tweed-style tones. Bargain price for a good handwired amp.

Trem circuit produces pops/clicks at higher depth settings.

$1,163 street (as reviewed with Weber alnico 12A125A speaker)

Winfield Amps Tremor


Ease of Use:


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Another year, another dazzling parade of pedals, guitars, amps, modelers, and accessories that made our noggins spin.


Fractal Audio Systems AX8

Fractal Audio System’s rackmount Axe-Fx units awakened many players to the possibilities of digitally modeled amps, cabinets, and effects. The AX8 puts Fractal’s realistic modeling technology into the pedalboard format and provides plenty of juice for most applications. The ruggedly built unit sounds stellar, and if you invest the effort to get acquainted with this open-ended device, you’re likely to be inspired.

$1,299 street

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This year’s Premier Gear Award winners are, as usual, an eclectic set—full of old-school vintage homage, leading-edge digital developments, and imaginative meetings of those worlds. Dig in and dig it as we revisit the gear that fired the enthusiasm and wonder of our editors and contributors in 2017.

A classy, well-crafted, and creatively recombinant distillate of classic Vox and Fender sounds.

The 2-channel, 15-watt, 1x12 Winfield Dust Devil is a beguiling piece of gear in the most complementary sense of the word. Outwardly, it looks rooted in the Fender firmament. (Indeed, it would be hard for any player with a sensitivity to style or sound signifiers to plug in without expecting some version of tweed Deluxe growl and squish.) Yet the twin EL84 heart of the Winfield Dust Devil is mostly Vox derived.

Dig deeper and the surprises become even more manifold. Channel 1, for instance, mates a Top Boost AC15-inspired power and preamp section with a blackface-style tone stack to create what Winfield calls the American-style channel. Yet channel 1 is much brighter and Vox-y sounding than the allegedly “British” channel 2, which sounds positively tweed-like by comparison.

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