Category Archives: Other Stuff

EF86 Vox AC15

I’ve recently become interested in guitar amps that use a pentode input stage. Compared to a triode, such as a 12AX7, a pentode usually will have much more gain but the drawback is they can be noisy.
What I’v noticed is the pentodes seem to lend themselves to playing full guitar chords. Where an overdriven 12AX7 seem to work well with 5ths, a pentode handles more complex chords better to my ear. I believe it has to do with the even order harmonics that pentodes produce so well.

Here is a demo of an AC15 that has a nice comparison of the EF86 pentode channel and the top boost channel that uses more traditional 12AX7s.

Find a Bass Combo Amp

We’re mostly focused on guitar amps here but we realize that not everyone plays guitar, for example, bass players and they also need amplification. For bass players we’ve started a buying guide called

There are a few mid sized amps featured there now and plan to add more in the future. We’d like to add some smaller practice amps, under 25 watts, as well as some larger amps.

Check it out here.

Playing Your Guitar Through Computer Speakers

Popular Mechanics has an article about how to play your electric guitar through computer speakers. The main issue is that guitar pickups are not powerful enough on their own to drive the small amp in computer speakers so you need something to boost the signal. The problem is buying something to boost the signal is probably not much cheaper than buying a practice amp.

Maybe you already have something that you can use for a “preamp”…The article is a bit interesting and cane be found here.


New Patent for Solid State Amplifier Design

Jason Sannar has received a patent for his design that emulates tube amp distortion using a solid state design. While this claim is not exactly original, who knows, maybe he finally did it.

A Mid-Valley industrial designer has received a US patent for a guitar amplifier that is lightweight and affordable yet has the sound of traditional tube-type amplifiers…

…The EM-1 utilizes a solid-state circuit board, unlike traditional amps, which use vacuum tubes. It weighs only 12 pounds, relieving guitar players from having to lug around large, heavy tube-amplifiers.

“They still use tubes today because musicians like the sound — tube amps have a very distinct sound,” Sannar said. “But they’re expensive, they’re delicate, the tubes can break. The problem with solid state is it doesn’t have the same warm sound as a tube amp.

“So Jim came up with a new type of solid-state circuitry to mimic the sound of a tube amplifier, with tube-like distortion, which guitar players want. Fender even tried to do it and fell short.”

Read more:

In other news, dog bites man.

Yamaha’s THR Amps Receive Award

I haven’t checked out Yamaha’s THR amps but I’ve seen them get a lot of positive press.


At the 2013 Musikmesse trade show, Yamaha received a prestigious Musikmesse International Press Award for the new THR Series amplifiers in the Guitar Amp Combo category. For this award, more than 100 magazines from all over the world voted for the best musical instruments and audio equipment of 2012/2013 in more than 40 categories.
The THR lineup, the first hi-fi stereo amps to offer realistic multi-effects and classic amp modeling, are designed to serve as a guitarist’s third amp, after their stage setup and practice rig. Winners of a design award, the THR amps look as good as they sound.

Stereo amps, in general, seem like an under served market. I’m not sure what they mean by “third amp, after their stage setup and practice rig”. I suppose it means the playing for enjoyment amp which is important.

Read the full article here.

Here’s a nice video demo of the Yamaha THR. I like the AC/DC section at about 3:50.