Kinsman, a new amplifier manufacturer distributed by John Hornby Skewes, has announced its debut with a range of eight affordable solid-state guitar amplifiers - four a-piece for guitar and bass players.
The top-of-the-range Kinsman K100GFX (RRP £299) is a two channel, 100-watt combo amplifier with two 12-inch speakers, a dedicated three-band EQ for each channel and eight built-in 24-bit digital effects, including reverb, echo and chorus. The amp also features a balanced XLR output, a speaker output, a headphone jack and a CD/Tape/iPod input.
The K50GFX (RRP £169) has many of the same features, but is reduced to a single 12-inch speaker, a 50-watt output and shared EQ across the two channels. The rest of the range is made up by the K25GFX (RRP £129), a 25-watt combo with an eight-inch speaker and K15GFX (RRP £69.99), which is a 15-watt combo with a six-inch speaker and a reduced palette of effects (just reverb and delay).
On the bass side, the headliner is the K100B (RRP £279), which features a sizeable 15-inch speaker, a six-band EQ, built-in limiter and, like the K100GFX, eight digital effects, an XLR output, a speaker output, a headphone jack and a CD/Tape input. The range then runs through the K50B (RRP £169) and K25B (RRP £89.99), both of which feature EQ and CD/Tape inputs, down to the K15B (RRP £64.99) practice amp.
Opinion-time... It's a crowded and competitive marketplace at the Kinsman price point and we can't help but feel that the specifications here are a little outdated. The trend for affordable amps of late has been to go one of two ways: fun, but limited valve combos (such as the Blackstar HT1 or Fender Greta), or bells-and-whistles 'do-everything' digital boxes that cleverly emulate a huge range of amps and effects (for instance, the Yamaha TH range or the Fender G-DEC).
The prices are extremely competitive though, given that you can probably knock 20 to 30 per cent of the RRP by the time it hits the street, so provided that they perform well for the money, there may be room in the amp family for a fellow Kinsman.