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Test of 16 Guitar Power Amps: Choose Your Rackmount Favourite

The power amp is an integral part of classical guitar amps and its characteristics often significantly affect the dynamics and timbre of the resulting tone, which is also well understood by manufacturers of modelling algorithms who integrate presets emulating the behaviour of power amps equipped with different types of tubes into the corresponding software or IR pulses. The following video test by guitarist, producer and sound engineer Michael Toren presents the sound of a total of 16 rackmount power amps from brands that have helped define the modern guitar sound.

Testing was done using a Warmoth Strat (humbucker – distorted sound), a Warmoth Telecaster (Lollar Gold Foil pickups – clean sound) and the channels of 1/2 Mezzabarba Nirvana preamp, but you can also see the now-iconic Lee Jackson GP-1000 preamps in the footage, ADA MP-1, VHT GP-3, Marshall JMP-1, Engl E580, Soldano SP-77, X-88R or X-99 (Caswell), Mesa Boogie Triaxis, Quad, Rectifier Recording or Studio Preamp, Groove Tubes Trio, Bogner Fish etc. A 4x12 Divided by 13 cabinet was used, fitted with Celestions Greenback and Vintage 30, picked up by a foursome of microphones.

An overview of the power amps tested:

Steavens Tube Base 1002, Lee Jackson SP1000, Groove Tubes Dual 75, H&H V800 Mos-Fet, Fryette LXII, VHT 2/50/2, VHT Classic, VHT 2150 (blue version), Hughes & Kettner VS250, Synergy 50-50, Marshall EL84 20/20, Marshall 9100 Dual Monoblock, Mesa Boogie 20/20, Mesa Boogie 2/90, Mesa Boogie.

Tagy VHT Fryette Marshall mesa boogie Lee Jackson Groove Tubes Hughes & Kettner Synergy Amps Steavens

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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.