Impressions: NY (NJ) Amp Show

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by wrxplayer, May 10, 2008.

  1. wrxplayer

    wrxplayer Supporting Member

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    I just returned from spending a couple of hours at the amp show. Didn't check out everything by a long shot, but here are some of my impressions from what I saw and heard (note I did not look at any of the larger amps there so my refelctions are only relate to combos):

    1. Best in Show: VVT (Vintage Vacuum Tube Amps -www.vvtamps.com). One amp in particuar here - a combo retailing for $3500 I'm told - was simply spectacular. Oddly, the amp's not on the company's website. Jim, the owner, was bright, knowledgeable, and friendly as well.

    2. Best priced combo - Valvetech's "The Amp" (http://valvetechamps.com/theamp.htm) Super little amp and priced really competitively at under $1200. Rob is another owner/builder who seems like a great guy to do business with.

    3. Back to basics: Port City Amps "12". Volume, tone, and excellent sound only. Slightly over $900 in combo form. http://www.portcityamps.com/twelve.html

    4. Most overpriced amp: Fender's '57 Amp (MSRP $4000 - http://www.fender.com/products//search.php?partno=8150600000). Looks cool and sounded pretty good but for that money should come with a reissue '57 Strat and a night at the Plaza Hotel.

    5. Most disappointing (tie):

    a) Industrial Amps - (www.industrialamps.com) I am one of the few who have one of these. I really like my amp (mine's an Overdrive 15) and don't know of anything like it that is appreciably better. I would love to see the company succeed. But there was little traffic to the room. It's a shame they didn't have players and or fanatical boutique builders on hand to promote their goods and help bring attendees in for a test drive.

    b) Goodsell Amps - I really wanted to check one of their amps out. Walked passed their room and saw a picture of a stunning blond on the door, enticing me further. But the door was closed. And was closed the two other times I stopped by to check out their goods. This all in the prime 11-1:30 time slot in the middle of the show. Too bad.

    6. A little something extra award: The display in the entrance from www.gzguitars.com. These are basically one-of-a-kind hand painted and finished Fenders (for the most part). Really nice to look at and pricing was suprisingly decent.

    Other impressions?
     
  2. Gasp100

    Gasp100 Silver Supporting Member

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    I should have gone... oh well. Is this Rob's VAC25 of which you speak? (I know, his website is confusing and he doesn't really name the amp on the site but I believe that is his "flagship" if you will. I owned one, sold it and miss it more every day. UNLESS -- it's something new
    :confused:

    2. Best priced combo - Valvetech's "The Amp" (http://valvetechamps.com/theamp.htm) Super little amp and priced really competitively at under $1200. Rob is another owner/builder who seems like a great guy to do business with.
     
  3. wrxplayer

    wrxplayer Supporting Member

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    Nope. The one that appears on the main page of the website called only "The Amp." It's red on the website.
     
  4. bluetweed

    bluetweed Supporting Member

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    The show was a real disappointment to me compared from last year! a lot less traffic, it just seemed like no one really cared this year, maybe it was just me. I thought the new goodsell sounded pretty grating the few times I heard it. A lot of the real prime builders that were there last year were absent this year. It might just be the economy???
     
  5. dewman

    dewman Gold Supporting Member

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  6. gearitis

    gearitis Gold Supporting Member

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    Was Mark Cameron there?
     
  7. wrxplayer

    wrxplayer Supporting Member

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    His amps were. Not sure if he was; room was too crowded for me.

    BTW, for those who were there and hit the Fender room, was that GE Smith marketing the goods? Sure looked like him.
     
  8. MikeMcK

    MikeMcK Member

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    First impression of mine was that I was wondering how many of the people walking around were regulars here...

    I only played through a few amps, but one of my favorites was also from Rob at Valvetech. It turns out that a mutual friend of ours (since deceased) ordered the very first Hayseed 30. The one I played through sounded phenomenal.

    Also stopped by Andy Fuchs' room. All his stuff sounded great, of course. The guy who played just before me was an excellent jazz player who owns the TrainWreck called "Francesca". I'm not as up on amps as most of you guys, but having heard so much about it I thought it was cool that it was owned by someone who can really play well.

    Another one I liked was the Liverpool take by Tonic amps. Really seemed to do everything well... extremely responsive without the "ghost notes" some Liverpool clones seem to have.

    To answer someone's question, I wouldn't have known who Mark Cameron was until someone posted pictures here, but yes, he was there. He had his own room and also spent a lot of time playing in the Bogner room.
     
  9. trap

    trap Supporting Member

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    well at least i feel better about missing it! i'm going to treat myself to a trip to marks place aka pure 64, and then to black creek guitars. LOL ! by the way was black creek there representing two rock?
     
  10. trisonic

    trisonic Member

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    I just got back - no bad amps at show.
    If doors were shut I found knocking had the desired result, usually as the doors seemed to close and lock at their own volition. With Goodsell I believe there was just one guy there?
    MacDaddy took lots of photos so I'll wait but my favourite amps (actually for sale) were:

    Sommatone "Earl Slick" model at 2 but Number 1 was:

    Paul Sanchez' "The Bronx" from Red Iron Amps complete with the strongest chassis I've seen on any amp anywhere, Mesquite wood box and the most beautiful rich, gainy, tone from a pair of 6550's and just three knobs in total. Superlative rock tone and all for $1750.00!
    Good things come from Austin, TX, indeed......more anon.

    Best, Pete.
     
  11. FFTT

    FFTT Member

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    I've been trying to tell people how great the VVT Amps are for quite some time now.

    Really glad to hear you had a chance to check them out.

    People look at the web page galleries of many small-medium sized
    custom amp builders assuming that what they see is all that's available.

    This is the greatest benefit of working with a small builder.
    You can have the amp custom built and custom voiced exactly
    the way you want it in most cases.
     
  12. Sam Evans

    Sam Evans Compliance Officer Gold Supporting Member

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    That amp is the ****.
     
  13. trisonic

    trisonic Member

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    Too freakin' right, Sam - it's a steal at that price.....such tone.

    Best, Pete.
     
  14. wsaraceni

    wsaraceni Member

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    thats a real shame. it seems as if premier guitar was walking around taking videos and interviews and when they did that they were closing the door. normally every time i saw a door shut, 5 mins later it would be open.

    i say it was a shame because the goodsell was the highlight of the show for me. i loved all 3 of the amps of his i tried. the goodsell 7 with the 2 watt switch is by far the perfect at home amp in my opinion. in 2 watt mode it still sounded great. and with a 12" speaker, it doesnt sound small
     
  15. Jahn

    Jahn Listens to Johnny Marr, plays like John Denver Supporting Member

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    Ugh, stuck in Delaware for Mother's day. Good to read some impressions though, keep em comin'!
     
  16. Peppy

    Peppy Member

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    So the Fender "looks cool and sounded pretty good" and the VVT "was simply spectacular". So...both are good and both aren't inexpensive. Not understanding then why the Fender can't be priced as it is (let's face it, that's list...who pays such?) and yet the VVT can, when the VVT isn't "cheap" either. Also, how much discount can you get on the VVT vs. the Fender...I've seen that Fender go new for $2300. For $2300 you're not getting the night at the Plaza, much less the reissue Strat.
     
  17. rhinocaster

    rhinocaster Supporting Member

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    I owned one of those limited edition Fenders for a short while. I was fantastic. I bought it used for $1,700 and really wish that I had the space to keep it. Given the price of high end amps now, I found the used price to be quite reasonable.

    Then again, I find the current Fender 5E3 custom shop circuit to be one of my favorites.
     
  18. mmasters

    mmasters Senior Member

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    I got there late so only had about 3 hours to walk around. Would definitely spend a whole day there if I went again as I feel I only got to see about 1/3 of what was there. Another thing I would do next time is bring a guitar strap, a number of guys did and they just went from room to room that way. Good stuff!

    Some thoughts in no particular order. Really liked Reignhardt amps for that Marshall sound (though I had brought a strat, next time I will have to bring a good humbucking guitar). He has a new high gain prototype that sounds killer. Played Fuch's and Bludotone, nice dumble like sounds. Tonic amps were cool - a trainwreck like amp, loud! Definitely need a humbucking guitar for that one. Wanted to check out ARK amps though they were busy with other people and same with Cameron (I think some people spent the whole show in that room!) Would have liked to have checked out Sammatone but wasn't able to get to them before the end. Really wanted to check out Two Rock but they weren't there.

    Oh I checked out the goodsell S17 mark III (though I already have a S17), great package. While noodling around some guitar magazine came in and had me demo it for youtube. I hope those guys got good footage of all the amps there that I missed!
     
  19. mad dog

    mad dog Silver Supporting Member

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    I was there for a bit today. Not feeling great, so didn't stick for long, didn't plug into all that many. Of those I did try, the Sommotone roaring 40 sticks in my mind. I could live with that one for sure. (The builder is a very nice guy as well.) Same goes for Goodsell stuff. I liked the 17 watters with reverb, interesting sounds. Had never even seen a Brown Note, plugged into his 18 watter Voxy sort of head, man that thing sounded excellent. I'd love to try his 4xEL84 version.
     
  20. iim7v7im7

    iim7v7im7 Member

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    Hi,

    My impressions not having attended one of these events before:

    Positive: There are MANY high quality amplifiers today made by small boutique builders capable of producing great tones. I thought the hotel was a good site to hold the event at (layout wise).

    Negative: I arrived at 10:30 AM a half hour after the show began and about 1/3rd of the exhibitors were not set up (very unprofessional, but consistent with the musical genre). Secondly, there seemed to be an "in" crowd that both dominated the time of the exhibitors and the use of their amplifiers. Additionally, the volume that many "customers" were playing at was deafening given the small size of the exhibitor rooms. I was in a number of booths and seemed to have difficulty getting much attention (not all some were quite helpful). I only could spend a total of 90 minutes at the show. The hotel layout was atrium based with the first two floors being devoted to exhibitors. I cannot imagine being a guest at that hotel this weekend. I apologize for seeming a bit negative, but I really felt as if it was a social for boutique builders and a small crowd that regularly orbits in their sphere and not a "show".

    Like I said, I had not been to one of these before. It was great to see the technology in a single forum but I wish that the exhibitors traeted it more like a sales and marketing opportunity vs. a social.

    Respectfully,

    Bob
     

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