Unlocking The Power Of Custom Amplifiers - Your Own Boutique Amp Shop

Unlocking The Power Of Custom Amplifiers - Your Own Boutique Amp Shop

September 27, 2022By tom.gilbert@positivegrid.com BigCommerce 0 Comment

In the last twenty years, the boutique guitar amplifier market has absolutely exploded, and at this point it seems like a new amp company pops up every few months, vying for guitarists’ attention with their own personal take on guitar amplifier design.

But where do all of these companies come from? Are there really that many new and fresh ideas in amp circuit design left to explore? Where do all of these companies start out?

The answer is much like you would expect, in that most guys that start boutique amplifier companies have a strong background in amp repair or circuit tinkering, and they create their first designs mixing and matching components from classic amplifier circuits. It can take many forms - some might start out by mating two separate circuits together (maybe a blackface preamp with a crunchy British power section), where some others might take a popular circuit and use it as-is, only modifying small things to refine their idea of what it should sound like - or some might try simply changing the tubes in a classic circuit to something more exotic to see what happens.

Does it make a difference? In a word, absolutely! Even small tweaks to the tone stack (eq circuit) of an amp can have a major impact in how the midrange response works, and tubes and transformers can do cool things when they’re employed for uses they weren’t originally designed for (but they can do uncool things too!). Many boutique companies sell amplifiers that are very similar to existing designs, but the circuits have been tweaked to fit the company’s sonic point of view, and the look of the actual hardware amp is as they would prefer it.

So great. You either need thirty years experience and a full electronics shop, or $3000+ for one of these boutique amps. Or do you? What if you could do all of this stuff yourself, and even if you weren’t all that technologically inclined you could somehow get access to all of these boutique amps other people have created?

You can, actually, with BIAS MINI!

Underneath the hood of this tiny powerhouse lies a full component emulation engine that you can control via software. With the swipe of your finger, you can swap out tubes in the preamp and power amp modules, change the tonestacks and try different transformers. You can filter the signal before or after it gets to the preamp tubes just like you would do in real life, and you can play with the bias values for each module.

Part of the real genius is that you can do all of this without having to know a single thing about amp design. Unlike the real world, there is no danger of death from electric shock, deafness from mismatched parts causing shrieks and wails, or burned fingers from soldering irons. There are no values to learn or things to remember - the design of the software follows a “no menus” philosophy, so you can think of it a bit like a sonic guitar coloring book: just push stuff, swap stuff and move things around until it sounds the way you want it to. If that’s not working for you, you check out all of the presets both for the full amp and the individual amp components.

Finally, BIAS MINI can also connect to the ToneCloud, which provides access to thousands more custom amps created by some of the greatest guitarists, recording studios and other fellow guitarists. You can simply search for the kind of tone you’re looking for, so it’s a win-win situation for all parties involved: your fingers and ears, your guitar jones and your wallet. Instead of buying two $3000+ boutique amps that are very similar other than a few tweaks, get all of those variations plus a thousand more with BIAS MINI. It’s a total guitar no-brainer.

For more info, check out https://www.positivegrid.com/bias-head-mini-guitar/

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