Tube amplifiers are preferred by guitar aficionados and serious audiophiles the world over. The old-school vacuum tubes provide a warm, rich sound that most contemporary technologies just can’t duplicate. However, tubes come with a downside: in addition to being big and heavy, they generally only work like they’re supposed to when you crank ’em to 11. But you can’t shred on your axe at maximum volume in your apartment and you can’t blast your classic Coltrane records at the office.
Fortunately, the enterprising folks over at Yamaha have found a solution. The THR5 ($200) is a small and affordable tube-style amp for the guitar player and music lover alike.
Guitar players are in for a real treat. Incorporating modern technology, the THR5 mimics the fuller tone of a classic tube amp while offering effects like tremolo, delay, chorus, phaser, flanger and three different types of reverb. Five channels allow you to select between classic clean tube, crunch, lead, bright and a more modern sound. You’ll never struggle to tune up again with the built-in chromatic tuner.
But even if only about 20 percent of that last paragraph made sense to you, this amp is a boon to non-shredding music lovers, too. You can also listen to your favorite tracks with the same type of tone prized by guitar players. The THR 5 allows connectivity via standard auxiliary cables as well as a USB cable. Quickly and easily connect your old record player or just an iPod and see why people prefer tubes to newer audio technologies.
It also looks cool, runs on both battery and AC power, and weighs less than five pounds. Oh, and how about that trippy orange glow? Get it here.