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Topics - joecool85

Guitar News / Boss Katana - Gen 3 Released
June 25, 2024, 03:08:07 PM
Last month Boss released the new Gen 3 version of the ever-popular Katana amp series.  Consisting of general model updates, this seems like a decent amp still but nothing to toss your old Gen 2 model out for.
Boss has expanded it's famous Katana line of amps to include a new headphone amp that fits easily into your pants pocket, enter the Katana:Go.  This is an interesting take on the headphone amp market and something that stands along with Fender's Mustang Micro amplifier in that it is a digital amplifier with multiple models, effects, and features.  One of the neat features with the Katana:Go is the app that you can use in Android or iOS to modify settings and saved presets.  You can also use this little guy as a USB C recording interface.

MSRP is $119 USD and they are available now.
There was a whole lot of stuff at NAMM, but most of it had to due with guitars, tube amps, or digital amps.  We did get a little bit focused on solid state gear though!

Blackstar has updated their ID:Core amps with the new v4 series. The new updates include: USB C connection, power reduction feature, and "other minor improvements to models".  While the power reduction is nice, the biggest thing for me here is the USB C hookup - finally!
Pricing is 219, 249, and 279 British pounds for the ID:Core 10, 20, and 40 respectively.


Vox has updated their AmPlug series with the new AmPlug 3 range of headphone amps.  These new Amplug models have minor enhancements to each model and Vox has also adjusted the on-board effects to take advantage of "wide stereo" sound.

Pricing looks to be same as before, $49.99 USD.
Amplifier Discussion / Mobile surge and RF protection
January 25, 2024, 02:30:54 PM
I had a spare Isoblok I wasn't using, so I removed the built in plug and put in an IEC jack.
With Axe FX being around for 17 years, Fender has finally decided it's time for them to jump into the arena.  Being that Fender is a very traditional company, this isn't very surprising.  That said, this isn't just a little toe dipping into the water, this is a big SPLASH!  The Tone Master Pro is a full-on modeler featuring an 8 core processor, over 100 amps models, 60 second stereo looper, 7 inch digital display, and built in 4x4 USB audio interface.

MSRP is $1,699.99 USD.  With this price, it is definitely for the gigging musician rather than hobbyist.

Fender has also released two full response self-powered cabs that are made to pair to this.  The Tone Master FR-10 and FR-12, both with 1,000w of class D power.
Brian Wampler has released his new take on the Bad Monkey overdrive - actually, two versions!  The Triumph Overdrive and the Phenom Distortion are 3 band EQ, toggle switch, crunch machines and apparently Josh Scott (JHS) loves them.

These pedals are listed for $99 USD.
TC Electronic has released three new pedals that they say mimic three of the most sought after tube amplifiers of the 1960's.

Here is the trio:

DC30 - Modeled after the 1965 Vox AC30 Top Boost

Combo Deluxe 65' - Modeled after the 1965 Fender Blackface Reverb Deluxe

JIMS 45 - Modeled after a 1965 Marshall JTM45

The DC30 and JIMS 45 come with additional boost footswitch while the Combo Deluxe 65' comes with a switchable reverb.  All three units have in, out, and DI with cab sim.

These pedals are currently retailing for $149 USD on most online merchant sites.
Hotone, known in these parts for their nano amp series mini heads, has released the Ampero Mini.  This is a small pedal-sized modeling amplifier with a touch screen interface and two stomp switches.  Using two 24 bit DSP chips, this little guy can utilize as many as 9 effects simultaneously.  It comes with 199 effects, 52 amps and 50 cabinets available. You can also change microphone type and position simulation.  Lastly, it includes 100 drum loops to use as backing, and has a built in stereo looper effect allowing for as much as 100 seconds of mono or 50 seconds of stereo loop!

These new little modeling platforms will be coming in 6 colors and selling for around $290 USD.  If you're into modeling amps and don't have the money for some of the fancy ones - this may be your next jam!
Fellow electronics enthusiast Paul Marossy (of fame) has done a 3 part series on The Honey well as a bonus fourth video.

Thanks for the honest thoughts on this Paul, great job on the videos as well!

Part 1: Scratch Building the "Honey Amp"

Part 2: The "Honey Amp" - Sounds

Part 3: The "Honey Amp" - Waveform Study

Bonus video:
Mooer has released two new digital amps with two different takes on functionality.  The Mooer SD30i follows the concept driven by Spark.  Basic onboard controls, and deeper control through an app on your mobile device.  The Hornet 05i brings things to a whole other level of simplicity in the hardware, only allowing a physical volume knob (which doubles as the on/off).  All other changes to amp settings on the Hornet are made through an app only.

While I love simplicity, I personally don't care for being tied to a mobile device any time I want to make a change other than volume.  They may have taken it a bit too far in that direction.

The Mooer SD30i is a 30w amp with 2 x 4" speakers while the Hornet 05i is a 5w amp with 2" speaker.

Retail price for the SD30i is currently about $370 USD.  The Hornet 05i is substantially less expensive at about $140 USD.
Honey Amp / Honey Amp Covering the World
April 24, 2023, 03:00:32 PM
As we run low on stock of Honey Amp kits (currently no more kits with speakers, and limited PCB and PCB w/parts kits), I have taken the time to look through where these have shipped.  We have shipped kits to 12 countries, with 22 states in the USA being represented.  Not bad!

I'm currently gearing up for working on the second version, Honey B.

Thank you to everyone who has watched the videos, shared opinions, purchased kits, and built these fun little amps - it's been a blast!
Vox has released new versions of the popular MV50 (not technically solid state as it uses nutube technology, but close) as well as the new Brian May amPlug (completely solid state).  Both units claim to have the "Brian May sound" and from the clips I've heard, they deliver in spades.  Definitely worth a look if you are a Queen fan, or really anyone who loves the cranked AC30 sound.

MSRP for the MV40 is $249 USD while the amPlug comes in at just $59 USD.
Blackstar has released another amp in the Amped series, the Amped 3.  Boasting 3 channels, reverb, 100 watts of power, and more gain than either the original Amped 1 or Amped 2, this might be for you if you're looking for heavy tones powered completely from your board.

If you are a gigging musician, this could be for you.  Otherwise it may be out of your price range.  Preorder is currently available at $599 USD.
Laney has put together a new pedalboard amp featuring two channels and a boost circuit.  Dubbed the Ironheart Loudpedal, this new Laney amp provides 60 watts of power running through a shared three band EQ and the aforementioned two channels.

MSRP is $299 USD.
Positive Grid has released the Spark Go.  This is a 5 watt version of it's popular Spark Mini.  It swaps the knobs for a few push buttons, and drops to a single speaker configuration.  All of the usability is basically the same though, including USB recording output and all of the effects and amp models controlled from your mobile device as per usual for the Spark series.  It's also a whole lot cheaper coming in at only $149 USD.
Blackstar has released the new Debut 50R.  This is a 50 watt, 1x12" combo, two channel, practice and gigging amp.  They use mosfet design to give the amplifier "tube like" sound.  I'm not sure I would call it "tube like", but it does sound nice in the clips.

MSRP is $249 USD - not bad for what you're getting here!
Cor-Tek, current owner of DOD, has decided it would be a good idea to bring back some vintage gear.  Enter Tom Cram, inventor of the DOD 250 and a lot of other circuits, and here we are - the reissue!  The company claims they will be releasing as many as nine more old pedals.

Marshall has reissued their famous Guv'nor, Blues Breaker, Drivemaster and Shredmaster pedals.  These pedals are notable for me due to the Gov'nor's ability to run as an effective preamp in front of any solid state power amp stage.  The others are well-loved though and definitely deserve a solid look.

Street price is $249.99 USD for the Marshall pedals and a more modest $109.99 for the DOD 250.
Less than 6 months after releasing the AMPED 1, Blackstar has released the AMPED 2.  Like it's predecessor, the AMPED 2 features a 100w power amp to drive your speaker cab loud enough for gigging.  You can flip the attenuator switch and bring things down to bedroom level with ease though, which is quite fantastic.

Honestly, the sounds are pretty impressive.  The price is either a bargain or a total ripoff, depending on which side of the aisle you stand on.  Current MSRP is $649 USD.

PMTVUK does a great rundown:

MusicRadar release article:
Boss has released the Katana 50 MkII EX, Katana Artist MkII Head, and the Katana Waza 2x12 cab.

Boss Katana gear is widely accepted as amazing, and I'm sure this will be no different.  Pricing for the US has not been released yet.
Honey Amp / Honey Amp - The tone stack
November 23, 2022, 12:20:35 PM
The Honey Amp's tone stack is a modified BMP tone stack that was carefully adjusted to match the frequency sweep as closely as possible to the original Vox AC30 Top Boost circuit.  This gives a pronounced mid frequency dip throughout the sweep, while still being able to raise bass and lower treble, or lower bass and raise treble.  With the knob in the center position on the Honey Amp it is similar to a Vox with the Treble cranked and the Bass at roughly 7/10.  With the knob all the way counter clockwise, it is similar to the Vox at noon on both knobs (most folks don't turn down past this anyway from what I understand).  Lastly, with the tone on the Honey Amp turned fully clockwise, it resembles a Vox pretty much cranked on both knobs, and also with a treble booster in front.

Using the excellent "TSC in the web" calculator, you can see this live:

Honey Amp BMP:


This circuit is meant to be customized, changed, tweaked, and modified which is why I am sharing this information here.  If you find values that suit your taste better, please share, we're always interested in new changes!

As for me, I think I may "soften" the treble side of things for the next version of the circuit.