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I caught up with Yamaha's Julian Ward to discuss their new THR amps, designed as a home-use option for modern guitarists.
The THR has been something I've been particularly excited about seeing in the flesh, it looks genuinely boutique and sounds great on the recordings I've heard on the interwebs.
As you will hear from the video above, it really does sound great – bearing in mind that what you are hearing on the video is being picked up exclusively from a small radio mic clipped on to Julian's shirt.
Mr Ward said himself, NAMM is not the greatest place to be able to hear the full capabilities of the amp, due to the sheer disonant ambience of a thousand musical instruments being played in the background. But I'm putting my neck out, and I'm saying that from what I've heard, it has some of the best analog modelling in the industry.
What you have in the THR 10 is a 3-band EQ, gain and master knobs (they are partnered as they would be on a tube amp, both affect the actual level of audible gain), 5 voicings (from clean, right up to hi-gain), Aux in, USB out, separate controls from the guitar and aux volumes, and a headphones out.
When I talk about voicings, you probably imagine the voicings on cheaper digital-based modelling amps. You know that scratchy hi-gain distortion you get from affordable modelling amps, and the unresponsive emulation of tubes breaking up? Ignore that pretense, it really doesn't apply to the THR. The MAP will be below £300, and for that you are getting a crunch, overdrive, and distortion tone that sounds and responds like something that would set you back three times that amount.
The value-for-money is obscene, and I know it sounds like I'm raving on a bit, but the praise doesn't stop at the tone. Another reason I love it is because it just looks like something you'd want to have in your home, and more importantly, something that your partner wouldn't mind having on your mantlepiece. It's pretty damn sexy. I'd probably spend more time looking at the amp than I would at my girlfriend... yeah, I said it.
Finally, the USB connectivity opens this up to an entirely different market. It comes with Cubase, which as most people will know is a fantastic program for learning the ropes of DAW production. The THR acts as an interface, so you can run your speakers out of it, and there will be almost no latency (obviously there is always a tiny amount of latency) when you record your guitar.
It's perfect for those teenage whizz-kids who want to record their stuff at home, or even just jam along to backing tracks. You can get all of these features in other amplifiers, but you can't get them all in the same tiny little place, for the price that Yamaha are projecting.
If my excitable prose hasn't persauded you, then check out the video!
For something so small, this thing is going to be huge.