The compact amp market continues to expand as new releases by Carvin,
Hughes & Kettner, and Mesa/Boogie add to the list of small, tube-powered heads that have been
popping up over the last few years. Ranging from 15 watts to as much as 50 watts, mini amps have a
natural appeal for many players who want an easy-to-carry rig for club dates, rehearsals, and studio
work. Mini-amps can be quite sophisticated too, offering features such as footswitchable channels,
power-reduction and voicing switches, effects loops, and many of the other functions that big amps
typically have. Paired with a small cabinet carrying one or more 10" or 12" speakers, the mini rig
stashes easily and can often be slung over your shoulder in a padded carry bag.
On deck this month are the Carvin V3M, Hughes & Kettner Tubemeister 18, and the Mesa/
Boogie Mini Rectifier Twenty-Five. These amps definitely come at the mini equation from different
angles, though they all use the popular EL84 for power and have a complement of 12AX7s in
their preamp stages.
The guitars used for these tests included an Epiphone Nighthawk, Fender Stratocaster and Telecaster,
a Gibson Custom Historic 1959 Les Paul, and a PRS SC58.
This roundup also includes a sidebar comparison of two pocket-sized solid-state amps: the Electro-
Harmonix 44 Magnum and the Traynor QuarterHorse.
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