Now available in the UK, the Russian-made Yerasov GTA15 may look a little like a 1970s catalogue practice amp, but underneath the skin, it's a serious tone tool with a pair of JJ EL84s powering a Jensen C10Q loudspeaker.
Inside the tough steel chassis, there's a decent-quality non-through-plated circuit board, with low- noise metal film resistors and Wima film decoupling capacitors - arguably the best you can buy. Hand-wired ceramic valve bases are bolted to the chassis, and the board layout and wiring is superb.
Controls couldn't be simpler, comprising volume and tone, fed by separate inputs for guitar or line-level devices such as multi-effects floorboards.
The Yerasov's noise performance beats most of the valve amps we've tested in the last decade, with practically inaudible hum and hiss at lower volume levels. Combined with the excellent Jensen C10Q loudspeaker, this makes it a superb recording tool. Used with a PAF-loaded Les Paul, the amp stays clean up until around 10 o'clock.
Beyond this, the GTA15's smooth creamy overdrive progressively takes over. Depending on the guitar you use, it may be a little too warm; however, for the relatively bright tone of a PAF-style humbucker or single coils, it's superb, with a deluge of harmonic overtones accompanying power chords, and a bloom that flatters single-note soloing, making it ideal for classic rock and blues when cranked.
The Yerasov is a real 'stealth' boutique amp, with portability, great tone, excellent build quality and superb low-noise performance. If you think the styling is a little austere, then close your eyes, listen to the sound and reflect on the price.
You're getting a top-quality hand-made valve amp for the cost of a mass-produced solid-state product. The line inputs make it ideal for floorboard users, too - a pair of GTA15s would make a portable and powerful stereo rig. Definitely one to watch out for.