I wanted to share my surprise regarding this amp.
I’m sure some of you will be saying “well of course!”, but others may not really understand, like I didn’t.
I have used only modeling processors and amps since I started playing. I began with a raspberry pi computer running it through a surround sound system meant for computer gaming, graduated to a Spark rudimentary modeling amp, then to a Line6 Helix with PowerCab speaker. You see, all digital modeling stuff through speakers not ideal for guitar sound. I have a question on the forums about the PowerCab that I recently updated into more of a review here: NGD: Line6 PowerCab, questioning if it is working properly
A few months ago, I bought a Fender “cabinet” that had formerly been a combo amp. The amp had been stripped out as non-repairable and the cabinet was in the junk pile. I figured I would design an amp some time and use that cabinet (1x12 speaker) with my design. I haven’t designed my amp yet, but saw the HOTONE amp price down to $62, so made an impulse purchase.
The amp is about the size of a pedal. Taller, but otherwise pretty close. It is rated at 5W. It is marketed as a “Tweed” sound. I am able to fill my room with plenty of sound for practice. The tone knobs have a wide range and I can get clean to a heavy crunch, but not quite into metal distortion. I like fairly clean, bluesy sounds, so this amp suits my tastes well.
The surprise is the way this amp with the speaker sounds in the room. I don’t have a very good description of it, but it sounds like it NOT recorded. The modeling setup seems to have a non-distinct presence by comparison. Individual notes are more clear and volume dynamics is far easier to control. I did not expect any of this. It really feels enjoyable to play through and makes my playing (and mistakes!) really stand out.
I now have some idea what people mean when they claim that an amp will be different than a modeler. It will be interesting to see if I can figure out how to get my modeler to duplicate the clarity and dynamics I notice from the little amp!