Friday, August 15, 2008
Little Lanilei Amp
So I got my 1/4-watt tube amp, the Songworks Little Lanilei all-tube amp. It's only a quarter of a watt, although that's not as little power as one might intuit, given the inverse square ratio of wattage to "volume" level. I can probably hit peaks of 90dB SPL (A) on the thing at one meter. I could check, I have an SPL meter right here... but nah. It just sounds good.
The sound of the amplifier is quite impressive. My Les Paul immediately perked up when plugged into it. It's like the amp is voiced for the Les Paul. The Les Paul "opens up" and the range of its timbre expands considerably when plugged in. It makes me want to play a whole lot.
My "Blattocaster" is a bit different. It took a bit of tweaking the (surprisingly many) controls on the Little Lanilei to make that custom-made guitar sing just right. The secret is to not have the output volume quite all the way up on the amp when using that guitar (which is something I've noticed on amp emulators, so that's actually a "plus" for amp emulators). But the Blattocaster always takes a bit of work, and it's always rewarding. Once you set up the Little Lanilie then the amp really performs -- it doles out that incredibly wide tonal range this custom guitar gives, with a timbre which is interactive and responsive.
There's only a 6" speaker in the thing and although it sounds pretty good and has good low end for a 6", I'm thinking I need a bit more. So maybe I'll plug it into my Fender Twin Reverb. And if I'm going to do that, why don't I replace one of the junky non-Fender replacement speakers in my Twin with a 12" Alnico speaker? (Well, one reason is that I'd be spending about as much on the speaker as I just did on the amplifier, still it might be worthwhile.)
It took 6 months to take delivery on this custom handmade amp, but it's worth it. (Just as it's worth it to have custom handmade guitars). You can't use the amp alone on stage if you're playing with a drummer, but it's perfect for me for recording and playing live where we put our backline in some acoustically isolated place.