The THR100HD is Yamaha’s flagship digital modeling amplifier, though apparently it was designed to be as similar to an analog amp as possible. You won’t find an LCD, or menu-driven programming, or even presets in the usual sense—and there are only five amp models, selected with a rotary switch on the front panel. Those five models are really good, however, covering the essential bases, and may be tweaked and modified to approximate most any classic or modern amp tone. For example, “Modern” is a high-gain American sound, “Lead” a medium-gain British sound, “Crunch” a low-gain British sound, “Clean” is a vintage American sound, and “Solid” is a squeaky clean solid-state sound. But those amp types may be coupled with emulations of 6V6, EL84, KT88, 6L6GC, or EL34 power tubes, and you can choose between Class A and Class AB design, essentially altering their tonal DNA. Additionally, the THR100HD’s super-versatile tone controls offer tremendous tone-crafting capabilities, and kicking in the adjustable Boost changes the character of the models dramatically.
What is more, the “Dual” part of the THR100HD’s full name refers to the fact that there are actually two identical amplifiers housed within its enclosure—and the two amps may be combined or used independently. You can use a switch on the front panel or the included footswitch to toggle between them like a conventional channel-switching amp, or combine them together to create complex layered tones. The two amps may also be used together as a stereo amp, or as two entirely separate amps.
Additionally, because the two amplifiers may be used independently with separate cabs (or separate sides of a stereo cab such as the Yamaha THRC212), you can run two different setups simultaneously, allowing, say, two guitarists to play through a single THR100HD. Along with the speaker outputs (switchable to 4Ω, 8Ω, or 16Ω and 25, 50, or 100 watts), there are XLR direct outputs with software speaker emulation, as well as a 1/8" headphone jack, and a USB port—which brings us to the free THR HD Utility app. The app provides access to dozens of very different-sounding speaker-emulation IRs, which include mic type and placement in addition to speaker cab type, any of which may be imported into the amps.
And while reverb is the THR100HD’s only onboard effect (set to Spring by default), within the app you can select Plate, Room, or Hall, all of which sound quite good; and you can choose between White Drive, Green Drive, and Amber Drive Boost types, as well. The app also accesses an effective Noise Gate with three threshold settings and a switch for configuring the effects loop in serial or parallel.
I was very impressed with the sounds I got from the THR100HD, whether playing a mid-’70s Fender Stratocaster, a 1969 Gibson Les Paul Custom, or a 2004 PRS Custom 24 Brazilian. The Clean amp type produced warm, fat, vibrant tones that were not only a joy on their own, but also worked beautifully with all manner of effects, including overdrive, distortion, and fuzz pedals. And although the natural choices of power tube types were 6V6 and 6L6GC, the other three options also produced nice results.
Crunch behaved similarly, but with a bit more hair. It responded exceptionally well to playing dynamics, and also cleaned up much like a good tube amp when I rolled back the guitar’s volume control. Lead conjured the vintage Marshall vibe, and, when cranked, easily moved into and beyond “modded” territory. Modern delivered a decidedly higher-gain take on distortion, combining lots of lows with high-end sizzle. Both models were jam-packed with tube-like compression and sustain. Solid also sounded great when playing funk chords and African-style riffs, and evoked the majesty of a Roland JC-120 when combined with a stereo chorus. Of course, these are just general descriptions and don’t take into account the extremely wide range of sounds achievable using the tone controls and power tube options—let alone the diverse speaker emulations when utilizing the direct outputs.
The Yamaha THRC212 is the flagship matching cab for the THR100HD head and all of my testing was done using it. The closed-back cab is constructed from heavy-duty plywood and contains Eminence Legend and Tonker speakers, which sound quite different but make a compelling combo. It is switchable between Mono and Stereo/Dual Mono modes and can handle up to 300 watts (150 per side).
It proved to be the perfect mate for the amp. The combination of the THR100HD Dual Amplifier and the THRC212 cab sounds spectacular and provides more than enough oomph for most gigs. Its minimalist approach to modeling should appeal to guitarists seeking some digital diversity while not straying far from the familiarity of the analog realm.
PRICE $799 street
CONTROLS Amp Type, Booster, Gain, Master, Bass, Middle, Treble, Presence, Reverb, Volume, Power Section I and II
POWER 100 watts solid-state
AMP MODELS 5
EXTRAS 5-button footswitch. Free Utility app.
WEIGHT 9.2 lbs
KUDOS Intuitive controls. Versatile EQ. Inspiring tones. Good value.
CONCERNS No presets.
PRICE $499 street
SPEAKERS 12" Eminence Legend 1218, 12" Eminence Tonker
POWER HANDLING 300 watts (150 watts x 2)
DIMENSIONS 27.59" (W), 18.54" (H), 11.85" (D)
WEIGHT 53 lbs
KUDOS Sounds great and pairs beautifully with the THR100H.