Blackstar ID:Core BEAM amp
NAMM 2015: This year was a bit of a quiet one on the amp front, but there are still some highly desirable new noiseboxes on the way over the next 12 months.
We're most excited about Blackstar's ID:Core BEAM and the new Peavey MH models, but at the higher end of the scale the revived Magnatone brand is also doing great things with its 10-watt Lyric combo.
Blackstar ID:Core BEAM
In terms of practicality, the BEAM is hard to beat. It's a guitar, bass and acoustic amp that looks at home on your living room shelf and can also function as a high quality wireless MP3 dock.
There are six electric voices, two bass voices and two acoustic voices packed into the 20-watt box, with 12 programmable patches and even a USB connection for integration with a DAW setup.
Peavey 6505 MH Mini Head
As Tom Jones once sang, it's not unusual to find mini amps at NAMM these days. Nonetheless we're impressed by Peavey's new MH range, which reduces the footprint of the firm's classic amps.
The 6505 MH has the same gain structure and voicing of the full-size edition and also offers an effects loop, XLR output and a USB out.
Peavey Classic 20 MH Mini Head
Another addition to Peavey's MH range, the Classic 20 MH's premise is the same as the 6505+ MH - a classic amp, condensed.
There are 2x EL84 power tubes and 3x 12AX7/ECC83 preamp tubes, with a headphone output and the same attractive tweed covering of its big brother.
Peavey Vypyr Pro 100
We highly rated Peavey's Vypyr VIP 3 back in 2013 and the latest addition to the series, the Vypyr Pro 100 looks very competitive indeed.
There are over 100 different amp, effect and instrument models, multiple power options, onboard tap tempo, tuner and looper and an aux input. And we're barely scratching the surface of the specs list...
Diamond and Soldano have made the unusual move of teaming up and collaboratively designing this two-channel, 100-watt hot-rod head.
It's a mad melding of both firm's aesthetics and sonics and it's great to see two firms working together so well.
Mad Professor Old School 51 RT
Yes, we know the retro-revival is getting a little too common nowadays, but we're willing to save a space on the shelf for the Old School 51 RT from Finnish brand Mad Professor.
It's a 51-watt, single channel amp with built-in reverb and tremolo and a low/high gain input switch and, well, it's just rather attractive, isn't it?
Ashdown Woodsman Series
Expanding its range of acoustic amps, Ashdown unveiled three new models at this year's show, all under the banner of the Woodsman series.
All of the amps have a guitar and a mic channel, EQ controls, built-in reverb and aux-in jacks for connecting an MP3 player. We also love their brown paisley coverings.
Randall Thrasher 50
The Thrasher 50 apes its 120-watt big brother, but with a more manageable 50-watt power rating and is housed in a lighter, smaller cabinet.
Otherwise, this all-tube head should offer similarly aggressive tones to it's heavy sibling and it features the same rugged construction and thoughtful design features, like the dual channel tube boost and Class A loop.
A reissue of the 2555 Silver Jubilee amp that was originally launched in 1987 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the legendary UK firm.
This is the amp favoured by Slash in his heyday and this new version is being built in the UK. Expect a series effects loop, DI output, 3 x ECC83 (12AX7) preamp valves and a 4 x EL34 power valve, plus a choice of 100- or 50-watt output.
The Lyric is a 10-watt combo with 6L6 valves pumping a 10" Jensen speaker. The ultra basic control system consists of just volume and tone knobs and we'd hope that with the lower wattage and simple electronics it's more affordable.