For nearly 30 years, Carl Martin has been held in high regard for their impressive line-up of analog guitar pedals. Indeed, players such as Johnny Marr, Joe Bonamassa and Brian Ray are all known to have stomped on a Carl Martin box or two over the years.
Many will recall Carl Martin’s first release in ’93, the Hot Drive’n Boost (which is now on its third iteration), as well as other modern classics of theirs like the PlexiTone and the Compressor-Limiter,
Now the Danish firm has moved into the floor amp world with the Ampster – a fully analog, tube-driven guitar amp/speaker simulator designed to either compliment your favorite amplifier or, possibly, replace it altogether.
It’s a refreshing option for those players looking at alternatives to DSP-based units. And with zero latency, Carl Martin promises the Ampster “reacts to your playing in the same way your full-size amp does, giving you the same organic feel.”
“It’s for people that want to keep their signal pure and not spend time running through menus,” said Carl Martin’s head honcho, Søren Jongberg. “My main focus right now is to give people a solid alternative to digital modelling.”
With no menu in sight the Ampster sports the kind of standard Marshall model 2203/2204-style controls that most players will be able to get to grips with instantly, namely: Master, Presence, Bass, Middle, Treble and Gain.
These controls are augmented by a very handy Mute stompswitch and a Cabinet stompswitch that toggles between 2x12 open- and 4x12 closed-back options.
Connections include a regular 1/4-inch Input and a regular amp output labelled Link. Additionally, an XLR output provides a balanced DI signal while a standard effects loop has also been added for extra flexibility. You can even hook it up to a controller via the Remote jack if required.
Priced $299, the Carl Martin Ampster is far more than just a regular ‘Marshall-in-a-box’ pedal. It’s been years in the making and is shipping now.
For more information visit the Carl Martin website (opens in new tab).
Rod Brakes is a music writer with an expertise in all things guitar-related. Having spent many years at the coalface as a guitar dealer and tech, Rod's more recent work as a journalist covering artists, industry pros and gear includes writing hundreds of articles and features for the likes of Guitarist, Total Guitar, Guitar World, Guitar Player and MusicRadar, as well as contributions for specialist books, blogs and social media. He is also a lifelong musician.
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