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November 10, 2009

The Woodstock Amp

I recently got a very interesting low wattage amp. This a hand-built, Class A boutique amp built by TT Amplification, and it is available to a very reasonable price. The amp delivers about 5 to 7.5 watts output and is plenty loud if you want it to.

The amp has toggle switches for on/off and for on/standby. There is 5K to 7K switch on the back, which only changes the amount of available headroom by changing the input impedance. It does not change the output wattage of the amp, that remains constant. There is also a speaker out and a chicken style know lets you switch between 4, 8 and 16 ohms. I have to say it is very nice to have this option. On the front, you have a volume knob and a tone knob.

Woodstock amp
Woodstock amp

The Woodstock amp has a single-ended output section, so it is true Class A. The amp is point to point wired by hand; there are no circuit or turret boards being used. It is both simple and elegant. It looks cool too!

After having tried this amp for a few days now, both with and without pedals, I have to say I am very impressed. I will soon put up some demos so you can hear for yourself. In the meantime, I'll tell you my impressions.

First of all, the clean tone is very rich and has nice bottom end. It's sort of a Blackface tone but with richer mid-range. Very touch sensitive and it brings out the tone of the guitar you are playing nicely. I have played many low wattage amps, and many of them sound a bit thin, because they don't generate enough bottom end, which results in a flat sound. The Woodstock amp sounds more like an 18 or perhaps 30 watt amp in this regard - much more oomph.

Secondly, since it is a Class A amp, I expected a fair amount hum and noise. I nearly dropped my jaw when I cranked up the amp and heard no hum. What!? Was it broken? I hit a chord and LOUD IT WAS, yet hardly any hum or noise! Truly remarkable. I can't understand how that's even possible, but it sure is a very useful feature - the quietness of the amp.

Thirdly, the amp takes pedals well. I have tried 4-5 different kind of gain pedals, and it strikes me that each pedal sounds very different from any of the other pedals. If I am not crazy, I think this amp brings out the true sound of a pedal better than my other amps. I need to test this more, but this is my first thought. For example, I can often get a tubescreamer type of sound with my SD-9 in other amps, but with the Woodstock, the SD-9 sounds very different from my tube screamer I have plugged in next to it. If this assumption is truly correct, you can be sure that your overdrive pedal WILL sound quite a bit different than your distortion pedal, etc.

Other things to note. The amp starts to overdrive when you go beyond 2 o'clock. It's a nice, compressed and dynamic slightly overdriven tone. A great tube amp tone to base your overall sound around. If you crank it all the way, the amp goes a little over the top and it starts to sound a little muffled and unclear. I like the amp best between 9 o'clock and 3 o'clock. There is quite a bit of volume difference too between those two settings. I can easily do smaller gigs with this amp without any problems. I can also be played at low volume for practicing, but I find it sounds best when the amp is pushed up a little bit more.

In summary, a very fine amp indeed, and if you are interested in great sounding small amp heads, you definitely need to look at this amp. It works great for blues, country and it can rock and heavier tones easily if you add a gain pedal. The amp takes any kind pedal very well indeed.

Video

So what does it sound like? Well, I have prepared a couple of videos so you can hear for yourself. The first clip is using a 2x12 Avatar speaker cabinet with Eminence Wizards. I am using my Suhr Classic and a few different gain pedals as well, so you can hear how the amp sounds with and without pedals.

On the 2nd video clip, I am using a 1x10 Mack open back speaker cabinet, which has an Eminence Ragin Cajun in it.

Features

The website for the Woodstock Amplifier is http://www.ttamplification.com

By Robert Renman - www.dolphinstreet.com

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Posted by Robert Renman on November 10, 2009

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