NAMM 2012: 10 Of The Best Guitar Amps

28th Jan 2012 | 03:01

NAMM 2012: 10 Of The Best Guitar Amps
Vox AC4C1-BL Custom Series

The web has the habit of making an already chaotic event even harder to keep up with, so we’ve taken the liberty of putting together a series of round-ups of our favourite announcements from the show. First up, we look at the new guitar amps unveiled at NAMM 2012...

Vox AC4C1-BL Custom Series

MSRP: £299

They say:

“The Vox AC30's Top Boost sound has fascinated guitarists around the world for over fifty years. Capable of massive crunch or the clean, classic 'chime', this Top Boost tone is the essence of Vox's identity. The AC4C1-BL now delivers the Vox AC30’s unbeatable Top Boost sound in a portable, compact body.”

We say:

That blue vinyl covering is seriously desirable and if it succeeds in transferring the AC30’s Top Boost tone into a more manageable box (both physically and financially), Vox could be on to a real winner here.

Essential tech specs:

Four-watt valve mini combo with one EL84 output tube and two 12AX7 preamp tubes, 10-inch Celestion speaker, ‘historic’ 1963-style blue vinyl covering and retro Bakelite handle.

Vox AC4C1-BL Custom Series press release

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NAMM 2012: 10 Of The Best Guitar Amps
Engl Retro Tube 100

Engl Retro Tube 100

MSRP: unconfirmed

They say:

“Take a step into a world of some of the most amazing tones Engl has ever created and journey into vintage soundscapes… 100 watts of retro tube power. It’s so organic, it’s almost alive.”

We say:

The German firm is making a bold attempt to break out of its mould as a ‘metal-only’ brand with the Retro Tube 100. The front panels are swappable, too, meaning that if you don’t like the finish, it’s easy to change it.

Essential tech specs:

Two-channel 100-watt valve head with four EL34 output tubes, four ECC83 preamp tubes, FX loop, noise gate, boost switch and three-band EQ.

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NAMM 2012: 10 Of The Best Guitar Amps
Fender Pawn Shop Special Greta

Fender Pawn Shop Special Greta

MSRP: £202.80

They say:

“Housed in the playfully diminutive form of a vintage tabletop radio, the Pawn Shop Special Greta model is quite possibly the most unusual Fender tube amp ever.”

We say:

It looks great, it’s affordable and it’s a canny move from Fender – an amp that you can proudly display in your living room. Unless you think roses are for gurlz…

Essential tech specs:

Two-watt valve mini combo with an 12AT7 output tube,12AX7 preamp tube, four inch speaker, VU-meter, quarter-inch jack line-in and out, plus a 3.5mm aux-in (for MP3 players) and external speaker connection.

Fender Pawn Shop Special Greta press release
Fender Pawn Shop Special Greta video demo

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NAMM 2012: 10 Of The Best Guitar Amps
Orange Signature #4 Jim Root Terror

Orange Signature #4 Jim Root Terror

MSRP: unconfirmed

They say:

“The Signature #4 Jim Root Terror Head is modelled after the dirty channel on the same amp that Jim Root plays in the studio and on the road: the Orange Rockerverb 100. This all-tube, 15-watt amp is capable of far more than high gain rock and metal though.”

We say:

Similar to the Vox AC4C1-BL, the Slipknot man’s new signature model should offer a neat way for fans to faithfully emulate Root’s tone without forking out for a full Rockerverb. We reckon we’ll see lots more amps ‘inspired’ by this idea.

Essential tech specs:

15-watt valve head with three-band EQ, 12AT7 tube-driven FX Loop, one 16ohm and two eight-ohm speaker outputs, switchable Between 15 and seven watts

Orange Signature #4 Jim Root Terror video demo

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NAMM 2012: 10 Of The Best Guitar Amps
Fender Pawn Shop Special Excelsior

Fender Pawn Shop Special Excelsior

MSRP: £298.80

They say:

“One of the most distinctive tube combo amps produced in Fender history, the alluringly refined Pawn Shop Special Excelsior harbours tones from polite, to raw and raucous… with a marked air of cold-war cool.”

We say:

Delightfully loony (it’s got a custom-voiced “accordion” circuit!), we’re not sure that the Excelsior will fly off the shelves in the same way we expect the Greta too, but it will certainly appeal to G.A.S. sufferers on a budget.

Essential specs:

13-watt valve combo with two 6V6 output tubes, two 12AX7 preamp tubes, three circuits (“instrument”, “microphone” and “accordion”), bright/dark tone switch and a quarter-inch internal speaker disconnect.

Fender Pawn Shop Special Excelsior press release

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NAMM 2012: 10 Of The Best Guitar Amps
Carvin Legacy 3 VL300

Carvin Legacy 3 VL300

MSRP: unconfirmed

They say:

“The new 100W all-tube 3-channel Legacy 3 guitar amp is the result of countless hours of design and development by Carvin engineers, working closely with Steve Vai, to develop the sound Steve demands and any guitarist can appreciate.”

We say:

Adding an extra (high-gain) channel to its predecessor’s two, along with two FX loops and midi-switching capabilities mean that the Legacy 3 is clearly no vanity project – a truly tailored signature model.

Essential tech specs:

Rack-mountable three channel 100-watt valve head with four EL34 output tubes, 12AX7 preamp tubes, two FX loops (pre- and post-master), midi in and assignable reverb.

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NAMM 2012: 10 Of The Best Guitar Amps
Vox TB18C1

Vox TB18C1

MSRP: £600

They say:

“Vox continues its collaboration with legendary American boutique amp designer Tony Bruno, exploring new tonal territory with the Vox Bruno TB18C1 guitar amplifier.”

We say:

The word is that Vox has given Bruno a freer rein with its latest design and hopefully it’ll represent a significant step towards the holy grail of boutique sound on a production-line budget.

Essential tech specs:

18-watt valve combo with two 6V6 output tubes, two 12AX7 preamp tubes, 12-inch Celestion speaker, built-in reverb, mid boost switch and ‘dark’ switch, which lowers high frequencies.

Vox TB18C1 press release

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NAMM 2012: 10 Of The Best Guitar Amps
Marshall 50th Anniversary JTM1C

Marshall 50th Anniversary JTM1C and JTM1H

MSRP: unconfirmed

They say:

“This duo are the first in a series of five limited edition one-watt, all-valve head and combo pairings – each one paying homage to one of the five decades that Marshall has been in business.”

We say:

A no-brainer. We want one these right now and we won’t be the only ones. They proved extremely popular when unveiled at the show and there’s a JMP1, JCM1, DSL1 and JVM1 all on the way this year.

Essential tech specs:

One-watt valve combo with one ECC82 output tube, two ECC83 (AKA 12AX7) preamp valves, 10-inch Celestion speaker, low power switch (drops output to 0.1 watts), block Marshall logo and eight and 16ohm speaker outputs.

Marshall 50th Anniversary JTM1C video demo

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NAMM 2012: 10 Of The Best Guitar Amps
Baby Budda

Baby Budda

MSRP: $1499.99 (approx. £956)

They say:

“The newest addition to the family, the Baby Budda, encapsulates more than a decade and a half of Budda tone in a dynamic amplifier with an incredibly straightforward format.”

We say:

Surprise! A new lunchbox amp! We’d be getting bored of these by now, but this is a Budda lunchbox amp and, if you happen to be rolling in the benjamins this recession, we can think of much worse ways to part with a thousand sheets.

Essential tech specs:

USA-made 18-watt point-to-point hand-wired valve head with two EL84 output tubes, two 12AX7 preamp tubes, one 5UF rectifier tube, FX loop and slave output (for recording).

More NAMM 2012 news :: More TG galleries

NAMM 2012: 10 Of The Best Guitar Amps
Orange Micro Terror

Orange Micro Terror

MSRP: unconfirmed

They say:

“Building on the winning recipe of the rest of the popular Terror series, the Micro Terror retains the beautiful unpretentious design, delivering a classic Orange sound way bigger than it looks, with a size and weight making it the most portable Terror yet!”

We say:

After its Tiny Terror set the template for the plethora of lunchbox amps unveiled over the past few NAMM shows, Orange looks like it’s going one better

Essential tech specs:

20-watt head with solid-state power output, one 12AX7 preamp tube, 3.5mm aux-in (for MP3 players), headphone output and speaker output.

Orange Micro Terror video demo

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