PyP-Bomb Amplifier

Practice amps typically resemble shrunken versions of larger combos, but an entirely new design called the PyP-Bomb ($249 retail/$149 street), sports an enclosure made from—of all things—a PVC pipe tee.
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The rechargeable 18-watt amp features a 4" speaker (protected by a floor drain “grille”) Volume and Tone controls, Input and Output (headphone) jacks, an Aux input for use with a CD/mp3 player or an iPod, and an Acoustic/Electric switch that optimizes the circuitry for either type of instrument. One thing that’s hard to appreciate from the photo is the amp’s translucent control panel, which, backlit with miniature UV bulbs, illuminates in a nice shade of violet when you switch on the juice.

The PyP-Bomb’s sealed internal 12-volt lead/acid battery charges in 2-4 hours, and you can leave the unit connected to its wall-wart charger continuously thanks to “smart” circuitry, which automatically switches to trickle charge when the battery is topped. Auditioned with humbucker and single-coil guitars—as well as a Takamine acoustic equipped with a Cool Tube preamp—the PyP-Bomb sounded full and balanced, and was loud enough for living room rehearsals and/or micro gigs. With humbuckers, the amp produced clear, smooth tones until the Volume was turned past the halfway mark, where a grittier edge began to emerge. Run flat-out, the amp produced about as much grind as a Tube Screamer and offered good dynamic characteristics. The distortion can be a little harsh at high Volume settings, but the well-voiced Tone control lets you smooth out the response pretty well with both passive and active pickups. I had the most fun playing acoustic through this amp, which sounded particularly cool with the Takamine, delivering warm, surprisingly rich tones at impressive volume. Bottom line: If you’re looking for maximum sonic bang in a super-small package, the PyP-Bomb is a great choice.