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The Winter NAMM Awards: Best New Amps PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 27 January 2009 15:35
By Jim Basara - GJD
In yesterday’s article, we talked about some of the best new guitar offerings that we saw at the NAMM show last weekend.  Today, we’re going to highlight a few new amps.

First up is the new series of high-end amps from Paul Reed Smith.  Paul has clearly been busy this year, launching not only the new acoustic guitars that we highlighted last week, but a new guitar amp series that will certainly get a lot of attention.
 
The new series of amps consists of three models:

Dallas – The “Dallas” model is meant to be reminiscent of classic 6L6 American reverb amps.  It offers and open 3D tone for huge sounding cleans.  The Dallas model leans toward the clean side but moderately overdrives nicely.

Original Sewell – The “Original Sewell” is modeled after 50’s era amps.  It is available in both EL34 and 6L6.  It is geared toward a smooth tone that was crafted to give and expressive, vocal quality to lead work. 

Blue Sierra - The “Blue Sierra” is designed to grab the best of the classic British and American amps.  It offers gain structured for equally great cleans to medium gain overdrive tones.  It is also available in both EL34 and 6L6.

Each of the three models are available in 50 or 100 watt versions.  The amps comes in a 2-12 combo, a 1-12 combo and head/cabinet configurations.  The available cabinets are 2-12 closed back, 2-12 open back, and 4-10 open back.

We got to hear each of the three models and they all sounded really great.  Personally, I would have a difficult time choosing between the Original Sewell and the Blue Sierra.  And, while the sound of these amps is striking, so too is their appearance.  The amps are done up in an aggressive paisley pattern that gives them a very distinct look.  Of course Paul went one step further and donned a matching jacket. 


 
John Suhr – Hedgehog 50

Another amp that really blew me away was the soon-to-be-released Hedgehog 50 by John Suhr.  This really is one of the amp tones that makes you sit up and take notice.  It has a fantastic punch and produces bright even cleans as well as thick, rich overdriven tones.

The Suhr gangs says that the amp was designed for a “bluesy type of feel”, and it is a great blues amp.  But the cleans are so crisp that I suspect the country players are going to eat this amp up as well.

It is a single channel amp with additional Gain and Level settings for the overdrive.  It is a 6L6, 50W aluminum chassis and it is hand-wired.  The basic controls are Volume, Treble, Middle, and Bass.  In addition to the overdrive controls, there are controls for Final Master and Presence.

While the amp produces great classic tones, it is adorned with modern technology as well.  There are programmable switches that control bright, gain boost, mid boost, deep, overdrive, series effects loop or mix effects loop.  The effects loop is instrument or line and it is plug and play.  The kicker is that you can program all the switches into 100 presets, which can be accessed by the footswitch, along with the individual switches.  And the controls are all midi based, so the Hedgehog and easily integrate to your midi-based rig.

A matching 2x12 cabinet is also available and comes with G12-65 speakers.

This is one fantastic sounding amp!


 

 
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