IF YOU ARE A FAN OF TUBE AMPLIFIERS, THE L.A. AMP
Show that took place on the first weekend in October was definitely the
place to be to check out the latest gear from dozens of companies. The
sixth annual event, which was held at the Airtel Plaza hotel in Van Nuys,
California (adjacent to the Van Nuys airport where a very famous scene
in the 1942 movie Casablanca was filmed), included not only many of the
top boutique amp outfits, but also some larger companies such as Egnater,
Fender, Line 6, PRS, and Vox. There were also a number of manufacturers
showing guitars, stompboxes, pickups, speakers, amp components,
The Amp Show is a fantastic way to try out lots of different amps—
many of which would be impossible to find in stores—but bring along
some quality ear plugs because all the action (aside from the panel discussions)
takes place in adjoining rooms on the lower floor, and the roar
of amplifiers being played at high volume throughout the day is significant
to say the least.
The L.A. Amp show does a great service for guitarists by providing
a unique opportunity to see, hear, and play a huge variety
of amplifiers and other gear, and talk directly to the people
who make these things. Whether you spend the whole weekend
here or just drop by for a few hours, you’ll come away
from this event knowing much more about your amplification
options, and that’s probably the best reason to put the L.A.
Amp Show on your calendar for next year.
BC Audio showed the new Amplifier No. 8, which offers 25 watts of
class A power, an octal tube preamp, and a unique Drive circuit that is
designed to provide singing sustain and rich-sounding clean tones
without switching channels. As BC founder Bruce Clement states, “A
common problem with many high-gain amps is that they don’t have
good clean and semi-dirty sounds. The Drive circuit of Amplifier No.
8 solves this problem in a simple and effective way.”
The ZenTone 7 from Backline Engineering
is a 7-watt amp that can
store all of its control settings in
64 user definable memory slots
for instant access via its
included footswitch or by
MIDI. You can select
between three different
preamp gain structures
Featuring faster processing and
more memory than the Fractal
Audio Axe-FX Standard, the Axe-FX
Ultra offers 70 different high-grade
models of vintage and modern tube
amps, 70 effects, and 39 cabinet
simulations along with ten microphone
models. An extensive array of
other features and functions are
packed into this compact unit.
This is the rear side of
a very custom amp
made by Mark Sampson,
two completely separate
sections, each of which
is driving a pair of
custom 12" speakers.
There are some 25
tubes in this over-thetop
combo, which also
features a built-in
tuner and the ability to
tilt back on its wheels
for increased sonic
The Jet City 20 is designed by Mike Soldano, one
of three partners in this new company. Powered
by two EL84 output tubes, the model 20 is a single-
channel mid-gain amp based on the Soldano
Atomic 16. Jet City also showed the model 100
head, a two-channel design based on the Soldano
SLO 100. Mike Soldano says that Jet City is planning
to debut more models soon, including a
50-watt head and different combo options.
The Bludotone Hi-Plains Drifter offers 150
watts of pummeling power and features reverb
with send and return level controls, 6-position
Hi and Low filter controls, FET and Normal
inputs, and a footswitchable preamp boost
function. Prices start at $5,750.
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