TheGroundZero, on april 19, 2013 2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Price paid: $ 299
Purchased from: Sweetwater/ebay
Features: This is one of the three new offerings from Yamaha in it's THR series of solid state practice amps. It gives you 5 high gain amp models + 3 clean models to base everything from. It sports two 3 1/2" speakers (Don't let this fool you. More on this later). It has the standard gain/bass/mid/treble/volume controls along with effect and delay/reverb controls. The effect and delay/reverb controls are split as you turn them. For example, the effect knob from 0 to 1/4 turn is chorus with increasing intensity, from 1/4 to 1/2 turn is flange, becoming progressively deeper, and so on. These controls are ok for "on the fly" tweaks while you're playing around, but the THR Editor is where the effects really shine. You can dig deep into the parameters of each effect, plus you get additional compressor and noise gate. All highly tweakable.
You can save up to 100 custom patches/settings to the editor and store 5 of them directly to the amp for quick access. This is plenty considering this is meant to be a practice amp. You don't need every possible patch you'd use for a gig. It also comes with a USB cable, AC power, and a 3.5mm stereo cable for connection to any audio device (mp3/pc, whatever). There are Guitar and Aux controls allowing you to mix your guitar/aux signal together. It can also be powered with 8 AA batteries. I picked up some rechargeable Energizers and I'm going on 5 hours of play on the first charge so far. It comes bundled with Cubase AI software. I won't get into that, as it's an entirely different product. // 9
Sound: First things first. This little amp sounds ten times bigger than it's size! Yamaha employs "extended stereo imaging" to make the sound surround you. It really does give a huge spacious effect, and I was pleasantly surprised at the volume you can get. I was not expecting near the volume it's capable of. It's deceptively loud for it's size. I mainly play a Jackson DKMG, Charvel 1A, and Fender Telecaster. These are the guitars I've used with this amp.
The lows are really impressive, almost booming, full lows. Mids are strong, and obviously there's no shortage of high end should you choose to dial that in. It's certainly not going to compete with a good 2x12 or 4x12, but that's not it's purpose. Remember, it's a small practice amp. As far as the modeling goes, it has five basic high gain models. Power I, Power II, Brown I, Brown II, and Southern High. The Power models are supposedly based around Engl heads, Brown around EVH obviously, and Southern High around American metal sound.
I admittedly have no experience with Engl firsthand, so I won't speculate on the similarity. What I can tell you, is the Power models have a more organic, kind of loose bottom end sound, with nice full mids, and everything from a little dirt to full on high gain. I actually think these channels Shine with a moderate, but not massive amount of gain. Kind of a heavy Foo Fighters sound.
The Brown models go for that infamous EVH brown sound. I have to say, Brown II totally nails it. Think "VH" or "VH II" albums. I absolutely love this model, being an early VH fan. Brown I is a little thinner with more focus on mids and highs. Both have more than enough gain on tap.
The Southern High model has more of a '90s metal sound to it. Tighter bottom end for jackhammer or machine gun riffs. I got pretty good Megadeth ("Rust In Peace"), early Metallica type sounds from it. You can get close to a Dime (Pantera) scooped sound from it, although I'm not a huge fan of playing with that sound, even though I love Pantera. It just never worked for my own playing. It has enough gain to satisfy every rock/metal taste I think, as do all the gain channels.
The three clean channels are basic. You get Clean, Bass, and Flat. I personally like the Bass model, as it gives a good full clean tone. Clean model is not as big sounding, and Flat model is, well, pretty flat sounding. The effects are all fairly well done. They are extremely tweakable through the THR Editor. You have reverb, delay, chorus, flange, phaser, and tremolo on the amp itself. You can add compression and a noise gate through the editor. Of course. Being solid state, it sounds as good at very low volumes as it does louder.
I've plugged my laptop into it a jammed along with some iTunes stuff as well as YouTube backing tracks. It does a good job of mixing and handling both. It doesn't get muddy at all. There is no EQ on the auxiliary input, so you may have to tweak your source EQ to your taste. The only thing I would ask for here, is a touch more range(or possibly different frequency) on the bass/mid/high controls. Not bad as is though. I'll add here, if you're not mostly into heavy rock or metal, one of the other THR models may better suit you. // 8
Reliability & Durability: This is NOT a gigging amp. It's a practice amp in the true sense. It's good for setting on a table next to you, or setting on the couch. It has a mostly metal chassis, with thick plastic sides. It appears to be fairly well built. I Imagine you'd have to get pretty rough with it to damage it. I would feel comfortable traveling with it with a little padding in a suitcase, or just throwing it in the backseat or trunk of a car. I'm going to give it a 7 based on speculation, as I haven't had it long enough to give an honest review on durability. // 7
Overall Impression: Ok, to the bottom line. I have my big guns (Fender Twin, 100watt ADA MP-1 based, midi controlled rack system with 4x12 Laney cab), I have my garage, bedroom, basement Jam amps (pedal board + Vox AC-15 or Jet City JCA20H and two 1x12Cabs), and now I have this little gem (THR10X) I can set anywhere and practice/play. The THR10X exceeded my expectations in just about every category. The sound is Way Huge for it's size. I was totally blown away by this. I mostly play heavy rock to metal. Nothing heavier than Pantera, Megadeth, typical '80s and '90s metal. For me, this amp is perfect. I love that I can just pick it up and play anywhere in (or out) the house. It's very convenient. I also love that I can plug it up and do some deep tweaking when I want.
The only complaint, if you would call it that, is I'd like a little more contrast on the control labels. They're a little hard to read in dim light. I know them by location now, but it bugged me a little at first. I would absolutely buy another one of these if it were stolen.
Video from YouTube:
snshami, on november 01, 2013 1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Features: This amp will change your preconceived notions about many things. Firstly about the how tubes are needed for good tone and the second about how you need a certain size of speakers and their enclosure(s) to get a nice sound. I wont bore you with all the specs and all. If you are reading this you will have no doubt worked them out. What I will tell you is what you will experience. First of all the amp is very very small. It is smaller than it looks. I would say about the size of a loaf of supermarket bread. It looks very nice and classy. I had a chance to compare the cream coloured THR10 with this dark night sky blue THR10C. Both look nice. The THR10 looks more vintage. This looks more classy. The handle is fixed. It would be nice if it was foldable because it takes away from the sleekness of the shape. It also makes the amp look like a lunchbox or a toolkit. The steel body is very well made. The amp feels very light but not to the point of feeling cheap.
It has an amazing bunch of features and one doesn't feel like there should be more. There are of course things that could have been better. A recessed USB jack would have helped because the cable sticks out a bit too much in the rear. It would have been nice to have had a metronome and an ability to play loops including drum loops but that is being greedy. One more thing I really would like it to have an Android app like the iPhone app so half the worlds population does not miss out on the really great features that the app provides. // 10
Sound: The sound is the most surprising thing of all. It's not perfect but it is pretty amazing. First of all it has the best modelling I have ever heard on anything. That includes a Boss ME70, Vox VT30, Roland Micro Cube, Marshall MG2FX, Roland Cube 30X, a Korg Pandora Mini (that one was the most disappointing)and Blackstar HT-1.
It is also the nicest sounding small amp on the planet. At low volumes the sound is pretty much perfect only at higher volumes it does not have the deep bass that my Marshall DSL40C has. I have played several guitars through this and its clean is lush and clear and expansive. The overdrive is layered and textured like you wouldn't think possible.
What this amp also can of course do is play sound from a laptop or an MP3 player. Its sound in this area is really nice. Again this is at low volumes. At higher volumes it lacks that deep bass, which is to be expected. I believe this unit will benefit from good isolation and I plan to put it on a little stand with with speaker spikes to isolate it from the study desk surface. Still do not be put off. Last night I was playing Satriani through it and was in another room around 30 meters away and the sound was clear and beautiful. The effects sound really very nice as well. // 10
Reliability & Durability: I would trust Yamaha anytime. They are a very reputable company with a great track record. I have never had anything break or fail that had a Yamaha badge on it. I don't think this will either. Like I said before the unit feels sturdy and strong. Not overbuilt but not flimsy either. Of course if you want it to look good then you need to take care of it. It's not a Roland Cube. Having said that its tough enough for staying on the desk or for taking around to a friend's house for a little jam session. I plan to buy a felt lined bag for that purpose. // 10
Overall Impression: I play all sorts of music, from rock, to metal to blues and even acoustic guitar. While my main amp is a Marshall DSL40C, this one has a nice place in my life. I have had too many amps to count and have sold most of them. The Marshall and this one will stay. The funny thing is I was actually looking for small mini sized monitors for my laptop in the $180 price range but then I stumbled across this and thought for $100 more the extra features will be a bonus. Reading the reviews I never thought it would sound as good as I did and till the day I auditioned it in the store I was planning on going to a plan B, which was the mini monitors. The minutes I turned it on I was hooked. Oh I did try the THR10 and didn't like the sounds on it that much. It seems like Yamaha worked harder on this model because the sounds are just a bit more special especially for the higher gain settings.
In conclusion I will just say this: you should really try it the next time you are in your favourite guitar store. You might just fall in love the way I did. // 10
2Crosser, on september 08, 2014 1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Features: My particular little unit was made last year (2013) in China. The thing is, it comes with exactly the right amount of features, and everything you have heard about those features is true. Let me go through these for you:
Eight channel/amp settings:
Before we begin: the following channels/settings emulate the circuitry style and response of the stereotype amps they are named after, and not the direct amplifiers themselves.
- Power - this is confirmed (Andertons review) to be styled after the circuitry of an Engl Powerball. The 1 setting sounds like Channel 2 with the Lo - Gain setting on, while the 2 setting sounds like channel 3 with the Hi - Gain setting on. Do not take this one lightly just because it is the "lowest gain setting" on this amp, because you can still get metal tones out of these channels.
- Brown 1 - the signature sound of Eddie Van Halen's Marshall stacks with the sh*t cranked out of them. Put all the knobs to full and nail his early sound. I think this sounds like a modern hot - rodded JCM2000 TSL100 head through a 1960A cabinet cranked to full on the 'Lead' channel.
- Brown 2 - this sounds like E.V.H.'s sound while he was with Peavey. Put the Phaser on to the lowest setting to nail that signature "Phase 90" sound. Think a bit more in the way of a Peavey 6505+.
- Southern Hi - this is purposefully made to sound like a solid - state version of a Mesa Boogie Triple Rectifier to blend and merge the Dimebag sound with the high - gain Rammstein/Metallica sound. It does a fairly good job of this, but it sounds either a bit too quiet or a bit too loud with all of the Gain and Master up in my opinion, but it may just be me trying to crank the highest gain setting on the amplifier.
- Clean - this is the same as the Deluxe on the THR10C. Think a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe on the 'Clean' channel with the 'Bright' switch on. It puts too much low - end on this sound, so pretty much the 0 setting on the bass will be somewhere around 3 on the actual thing. More about this later.
- Bass - this is modelled after an "all - tube design with dynamic bass response." I guess this means circuitry, because too many amps spring to mind straight away that fit the bill. Does a good job, and a bass through it sounds even a bit "bassier" than what it should. You can also get mildly distorted bass sounds out of this setting. It sounds fairly interesting with guitar, much like the 4x10 cabinet setting on the regular THR10, but with no fuzz and instead the gain sounds like power tube saturation instead of actual distortion, and there is less of it.
- Flat - contrary to common belief, this does not kill the equalisation. Instead, it attempts to purify the signal, and allows one to mess with the other effects freely. This should be used with acoustic guitars (not the Acoustic setting on the other THRs as that is a mic simulator), and other non - guitar sources (yes, it is all right to do that, the speakers are not actual guitar speakers - they are more of your P.C./P.A. high fidelity type speakers designed by the respective department at Yamaha). It is important to note that your auxiliary input will always sound as if it is being put through this setting.
Next up are the knobs themselves:
- "Master" - this should be re - named "Channel" as it responds just like what a channel volume knob on a tube amp does.
- Gain - self explanatory (adds more volume saturation on the Flat setting).
- Standard 3 - band E.Q.
- Chorus - sounds just like a MXR Stereo Chorus to me (though a bit more limited, even using the software).
- Flanger - no specific pedal springs to mind, though the word 'Boss' does. Very good quality.
- Phaser - Phase 90. Nuff' said.
- Tremolo - I am not very familiar with many tremolos at all, though it does sound like Vox AC30's built - in one to me.
- Reverb - sounds fairly authentic, although even the highest Hall setting still does not cut for extreme setting Arena or Church tones.
- Delay - plain and simple digital delay, and sounds like one. The tap - tempo is reserved solely for this.
- Delay/reverb - uses a slightly reduced version of a Hall reverb with the delay. Turning the knob clockwise adds both depth and mix levels to the reverb, and more time to the delay. The delay is locked at a ~55% mix/feedback ratio. A bit hard to nail the tones you might want from this, but the software helps a lot.
- Compressor/Cabinet simulation/Noise Gate (Editor only) - very good effects with lots of options that will help with sound shaping.
NOTE: the effects indeed are "studio quality," and are just a little bit worse than their real life counterparts.
- Guitar - this is the actual "Master" knob, as it controls the total output volume coming in from the 1/4 inch Input jack.
- Auxiliary - this controls the output volume coming in from the 1/8 inch Aux input jack. This will only ever reach about 1/3rd of your maximum instrument volume, and it responds to the channel selection to try to compensate for the frequencies you are occupying i.e. if you switched from Power I to Power II it would add more low end to the sound and make it just a tad little bit louder. Use with Clean for classical and perfectly clean music, Flat for pop and rap, Bass for blues and jazz (do not ask how this works, I do not know, it just does), Power I for heavy blues and lighter rock, Brown I for heavy rock and such, and of course, Southern Hi for Metal and harder for the best results.
- THR Editor: In - depth control of every parameter but the Chorus and Tremolo, allowing you to store an unlimited amount of presets on your computer (until you run out of hard drive space). Saving presets is kind of gimmicky: first, you have to save to library and then you have to File> Save As> (overwrite the previous library file or create a new one), just to save the preset(s). This occupies about 50KB of H.D.D. space for a full 100 patch library. To save the presets with the options not available on the amp (such as cabinet simulation) to the amp's direct five presets, just hold the preset button down while you have it connected to the computer and have the preset you want to save selected.
- Cubase AI6: Steinberg's software. Lacks some features, but has everything you need to record directly in high quality. Fairly easy to use. Setup and using it with the unit is a bit complicated though, and is personalised to every computer, not just the different operating systems it was designed for. While you are recording you can also cancel the stereo of the amplifier for mono tracks by holding the tap - tempo/tuner button.
This unit includes all of the cords and cables you need for all of the connections, except for the 8 AA batteries. When you are using it with power plugged in while it has batteries inside and you unplug it, it switches to battery power without even disrupting the signal (I think I may have heard a little fuzz one of the five times I did this), but it needs to restart after you just plug it straight back in, and I do not think it is safe doing the latter.
The tuner is superb. It is sensitive enough for live rehearsal situations, but not sensitive enough to force your O.C.D. to force you to tune your guitar perfectly, and is simple to use. It also kills your volume. The unit is a bit larger and much heavier than what I thought. It is about 1.5 decent supermarket bread loafs in size, and weighs 4.5 kilograms with the batteries inside.
Last but not least is the styling. The opinions on this differ, but the THR10X is made to look like a World War 2 era Japanese military portable radio. The writing does look really good, but it is a bit hard to see in darker environments.
Sorry for the ridiculously long section, but this thing does have a lot of features that need in - depth explanation. Some things could be improved just a little bit, but the sheer amount of the features and their value for money forces me to give this a 10. // 10
Sound: The one thing this amp does for sure is prove that you do not need tubes, an expensive amp & effects, or a lot of volume & big speakers to sound good. Since this amplifier was designed to be portable, I believe it was also designed to sound good everywhere. It also nails the response of tube amps, and even plays as if the rectifier was tube on the emulated channels (except for Southern Hi).
You see, I think if someone is eying the THR series, I think they should go for this one, because you cannot put more gain onto something that does not inherently have it without some other piece of equipment, but you can clean up even the most distorted tones. I recommend trying the Southern Hi setting with the gain at 9 o'clock, Master at 12, and your guitar volume at 3. It will still sound solid - state, compressed and tight, but it will be clean until you start hitting your strings hard.
With all of this, the #1 problem is that the unit has too much low - end in my opinion. While metalheads need this kind of low - end response, it is hard to clean up most sounds, especially clean ones. However, it is doable and not too much of a complaint. The enclosure might be part of the problem. // 9
Reliability & Durability: This thing is built better than a T-34 combat tank, and this is coming from a Russian. The only thing that might ever happen to you is that your batteries run out. Apart from that, you can put your life on the line for this little unit. The front and top are solid steel, while the bottom, rear, sides and knobs are made out of a very sturdy plastic. I would not recommend dropping this thing though, but I have kicked it around a little to find a single scratch on the metal below the front as it is visible dead on. It is not meant for live play, but other amplifier manufacturers should look at this as a textbook reliability example in my honest opinion. // 10
Overall Impression: I mainly play your heavier distorted stuff such as heavy rock and lighter metal, but from time to time I go to either extreme because I have only been playing for around 4 years and I am still learning. This amp is a perfect match for me as its main focus is the same as mine, but at the same time it is able to produce authentic tones that are out of my interest range.
Although I do not own any other good gear save for my guitar (it can be found on my profile page), I have tried all of the gear mentioned above in the past few months to see the general direction I need to take in upgrading my equipment and sound. While I was at it, I compared it to a Blackstar TVP:30 and the Vox VT40+, which as you can see, I found this one better than either because of the portability and the durability.
Lastly, there are a couple of features missing that would have made this a great package that I would not mind paying a bit more for: an Android App (THR Session), a metronome with drum loops, a built - in looper, and the ability to lock the total unit volume in a preset.
P.S. There is no way this would ever get stolen (yes, yes, it is worth the second, and the third, and even the fourth investment etc.). // 9