44 Magnum Power Amp review by Electro-Harmonix

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  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Features: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 9 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.7 (7 votes)
Electro-Harmonix: 44 Magnum Power Amp
1

Price paid: $ 144

Purchased from: ebay

Sound — 10
I'm using this with my Warmoth tele (it has a single humbucker in the bridge, a HighOrder Pickups A5 T-top replica, which is wired straight to the output jack) and I'm sending the signal into a Seismic Audio 'Cube' 1x12 (cheap, but sounds good and suits my needs) loaded with a WGS Retro 30 speaker. Since this is made by EHX, it's not just a clean power amp, it acts like a tube power section and overdrives when you crank it up (actually, with my guitar it starts to overdrive at about 9:30). It will go from a nice and punchy clean to the edge of breakup and all the way to a medium crunch, all the while being very, very touch sensitive and responsive to your playing. The overdriven sound of this thing reminds me of an old Fender Musicmaster bass amp I had a while back. It's a fun sound to play with, something I'm not used to. Every time I turn it up I have the urge to play AC/DC all day. But on to the question everyone's probably thinking of, does it handle pedals? The answer is yes, and quite well (of course, EHX being a huge pedal manufacturer, it would just be silly for them to make a power amp that didn't handle pedals). I've run a Mad Professor Stone Grey distortion through it, as well as a Danelectro Cool Cat Transparent Overdrive and both sound wonderful through it. I will warn folks though, if you have a bright guitar this little amp can get BRIGHT. I toyed with the idea of getting an EQ pedal to rectify this, but I figure in a live setting it will be very articulate and probably help my sound cut through the mix. I have had no noise issues, and unless you've got a house (or you're playing a gig at a place) with grounding issues I doubt you'll have any noise issues either. I do suspect this will either be a sound that people love, or just plain don't like. Thankfully I'm in the love category. It just works for me.

Overall Impression — 9
I think this little guy is a great idea, and that EHX has wonderfully executed it. I like to play whatever's in my head at the moment, and while this amp on it's own won't do much other than rock or dirty jazz, the ability to throw a great Drive pedal or any other effect in front of it (please, don't put any effects after it, you'll kill them) you can get pretty much any sound out of it you'd like. I think this thing provides a wonderful option for folks who don't have the cash for a tube amp but need the basic tone of one. It's light weight, small, and sounds absolutely fantastic for the price! I'd definitely replace the thing in a heartbeat, and my wife wouldn't even be mad about it!

Reliability & Durability — 9
EHX has been around for a long stinkin' time and I don't know of any crazy issues they've ever had off hand. I've had this for a couple of months and I often play it very loud (much to my wife's lament) with no problems. I've never noticed it getting HOT or making any noises after extended playing times. Even if it did have any issues after a few years of playing, the darn thing only costs $144!!

Features — 8
I realize that this thing is in a pedal-sized enclosure. And that it's probably already been said, but this is no effect pedal, IT'S A POWER AMP. It has a super-simple feature set. A volume knob and a bright/normal switch. I was skeptical at first, not sure whether a '44 watt' amp such as this would be loud enough for a band setting, but I was pleasantly surprised at the volume. In other words, it's pretty freakin' loud. About the only thing I could wish for would be a more versatile EQ, but life goes on. It's simple, has a wonderful taper to the volume and the bright switch is useful if you have a dark sounding guitar. Granted this is all just my humble half-cent of an opinion, but I like it.

5 comments sorted by best / new / date

    rv_phoenix
    My opinion would be to put a tube pre-amp pedal in the first position in your pedalboard, then the stompboxes, and at the end of it this stunning device. The pre-amp pedal will mellow the tone and will cooperate with the pickups in a much better way, then the signal path will lead the sound to the effects pedals, thus allowing the power amp to operate at its best. You better check the input/output impedances first, before buying the pre-amp. If you can get a pre-amp with the same output impedance as EHX's input impedance, you'll have a clean signal path all the way down. And you'll get the best out of this little monster.
    Strangeman86
    rv_phoenix wrote: My opinion would be to put a tube pre-amp pedal in the first position in your pedalboard, then the stompboxes, and at the end of it this stunning device. The pre-amp pedal will mellow the tone and will cooperate with the pickups in a much better way, then the signal path will lead the sound to the effects pedals, thus allowing the power amp to operate at its best. You better check the input/output impedances first, before buying the pre-amp. If you can get a pre-amp with the same output impedance as EHX's input impedance, you'll have a clean signal path all the way down. And you'll get the best out of this little monster.
    Sound advice my friend.
    Strangeman86
    If you're talking to me, I'd love to post a clip or two, however I have no way to adequately record my sound. Terribly sorry.