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Leon - Mon, August 30, 2021 - 00:01

Preamps, IR Loaders and Effects From AMT Electronics

Founded in Omsk, Siberia, by musician and electrical engineer Sergey Marichev, AMT Electronics is one of the few Russian brands that have managed to successfully establish themselves in the global music accessories market, a feat that the manufacturer owes to an innovative approach backed by the sound quality and craftsmanship of its products. AMT is now back on the market with a number of years of proven and newer effects, preamps or IR emulators in pedal format, which feature, among other things, a relatively reasonable price.

Guitarists, bassists, and other musicians can choose from AMT's first and second generation Legend series of compact flexible preamps, models from the related Bricks X-Lead / X-Clean series, or the SS11-A, SS11-B tube preamps, complemented by the similarly designed SS-20 version. There are also wah pedals WH-1, expression pedals EX-50, distortion pedals from Drive Mini edition, a pair of Pangaea convolution emulators, Pangaea Ultima multi-effect, advanced DI box Reincarnator RD-2, or signal switcher TS-2.

The Bricks X-Lead / X-Clean collection is represented by the R/S-Lead, Vt-Lead, F-Clean, D-Lead, B-Lead, and P-Lead models, where the first letter in the name denotes the sound model, so in these cases it is possible to choose from versions providing the character of Mesa Rectifier/Soldano, VHT, Fender, Diezel, Bogner Uberschall, or Peavey 5150/6505. The basis of the circuit is a single 12AX7/ECC83 tube and the controls consist of volume, gain, and three-band EQ.

In a more extensive chain, the individual preamps can also be connected in serial mode using the Ctrl A/B minijack sockets. Activating a pedal effect thus automatically bypasses the other preamps (true bypass) without the need for special switches, a practical and elegant way to achieve different sounds on stage and in the studio with minimal tapping on the pedalboard.

The classic semiconductor-based Legend series consists of F1 (Fender Twin), E1 (Engl Fireball) or V1 (Vox) versions, while the more modern "twin" series with a clean channel based on Fender amps includes D2 versions with a distortion branch inspired by Diezel high-gain amplifiers, E2 (Engl), M2 (Marshall JCM800), O2 (Orange), P2 (Peavey), R2 (Mesa Boogie Rectifier), S2 (Soldano) and Vt2 (Fryette formerly VHT). The boxes are equipped with a three-band equalizer, Drive Level, Drive Gain, Clean Level potentiometers and a Clean Boost button that boosts the signal by +8 dB.

The Legend 2 variants have a trio of outputs that allow you to use the pedal as a standard guitar effect placed in front of the amp (Drive Out)—in this mode, the clean channel function is provided by the amplifier, as a preamp connected to a power amp (Preamp Out), or to use the cabinet simulation output (Cab. Sim. Out) to send the signal to a mixer or recording device. All three outputs can be used simultaneously.

The flagships of AMT pedal preamps are the three-channel SS11-A Classic and SS11-B Modern models with two 12AX7/ECC83 tubes, dual independent equalizers, Bright and T. Shift functions, and send and return effect loops. The A version offers more traditional distortion, while the B version is optimized for more modern-sounding aggressive high gain. The Clean and Crunch channels are identical on both preamps.

Similarly designed is the three-channel SS-20 model, which differs by the presence of only one 12AX7/ECC83 triode, the Crunch and Lead branches have separate gain controls, which can be additionally influenced by a slide switch on the Crunch, and again there is an effects loop plus a speaker emulator output.

AMT Drive Mini Series overdrive/distortion units include the B-Drive (Bogner), E-Drive (Engl), P-Drive (Peavey) and S-Drive (Soldano) solid-state distortion units. The simple controls consist of volume, gain, and tone dials. A Voice slider changes the expressiveness of the center bands for a richer sonic palette.

The EX-50 expression pedal and WH-1 wah-wah will please not only owners of smaller pedalboards with its versatility—the passive EX-50 features two TS, TRS outputs for controlling two devices simultaneously, and an Inverted/Normal mode switch to ensure seamless operation with effects with different polarization of the exp. input. The Wah WH-1 boasts an optically controlled JFET circuit, true bypass modem, adjustable foot pedal resistance, and a switch selecting frequency modes from 0.2 – 1 kHz, 0.3 – 1.5 kHz, 0.4 – 2 kHz.

Both the robust desktop AMT Pangaea CP-100 and the simpler pedal version Pangaea VC-16 Virgin Cab are increasingly popular IR loaders and speaker simulators, equipped with an attenuator, so they can be plugged directly into the speaker output of the amplifier, including tube amplifiers, where a second Thru or Y cable must be used for emulation. The numbers in the model names indicate the number of preset slots, and the 12 V adapter is used for power supply.

The Pangaea Ultima U-2 complements the AMT Bricks range with a multi-effect that essentially serves as a platform for the selected firmware. The IR CabSim Fx firmware is loaded into the box from the factory, containing speaker simulation, analog/digital three-channel preamp, nine types of virtual end amps, noise gate, compressor, equalizer, hi/low pass filters, delay or reverb to each preset, tuner, and metronome.

You can also connect a variety of switches to the pedal - up to two two-channel footswitches, an expression pedal, MIDI. Via USB you can turn this firmware into a powerful modulation multi-effect with Modulation FX section, stereo IR speaker emulator, Stereo Delay and Stereo Reverb effects and Pre/Post effects processor (PRE section: Noise Gate, Compressor, Phaser, Resonance Filter, Flanger, POST section: IR cabsim, Parametric Pre/Post EQ, Hi/Low pass filters + Presence, Delay/Reverb).

Tagy AMT Electronics

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For Insounder, I am mainly responsible for the news section and articles covering the gear of well-known musicians. I have been playing guitar in various bands for years and I also teach this beautiful instrument.