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Amp gimmicks that work


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Just thinking - what amp gimmicks that dont have any real effect on the sound - actually make you want to buy the amp, or think it's cool?

Along the lines of:

VU meter

Striking leds etc

Ultra violet light

 etc

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7 hours ago, TheGreek said:

A decent compressor - a la Trace Elliot - I can't see why amps don't have built in tuners.

Yup. The Trace Dual compressor. Better still, the "sound balance" control that sat in the middle.

Footswitchable mute/ Tuner out -Useful for tuning silently on stage without giving it away by running over to your amp. 

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i'd like an LED input level meter, preferably blue LEDs, with some extra LEDs in a different colour at the end of scale to indicate clipping.

i wouldn't buy an amp just for that, but if i had an amp that did that, i'd smile every time i turned it on and set the gain.

Edited by Witch Hazel
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My markbass lmt500 has loads of features but the most useful has been the really good sounding di with knob to adjust the level on the front. It’s got me out of a hole many many times, whether live or recording. 

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Amp gimmicks that don't work:

Have you tried to read the positions of the knobs on Peavey's 'Trace Elliot' green backlit stuff in the dark? There's a reason Trace put the UV light out front of the green markings, so you could see it in the dark!

Edited by Downunderwonder
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17 minutes ago, Downunderwonder said:

Amp gimmicks that don't work:

Have you tried to read the positions of the knobs on Peavey's 'Trace Elliot' green backlit stuff in the dark? There's a reason Trace put the UV light out front of the green markings, so you could see it in the dark!

Agreed. The OP asked for gimmicks that don't really affect the sound that DO work. Compressors, mute switches, tuner outs, etc are quite useful features, not gimmicks. The Trace Elliot UV light is a brilliant gimmick that did work and I dont know of any other manufacturer that has ever copied it.

From a 100 yards away on a dark stage, if the amp was glowing green, you knew it was a Trace Elliot. 

Edited by Sparky Mark
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17 minutes ago, Sparky Mark said:

Agreed. The OP asked for gimmicks that don't really affect the sound that DO work. Compressors, mute switches, tuner outs, etc are quite useful features, not gimmicks. The Trace Elliot UV light is a brilliant gimmick that did work and I dont know of any other manufacturer that has ever copied it.

From a 100 yards away on a dark stage, if the amp was glowing green, you knew it was a Trace Elliot. 

Yeh, that's more what I was thinking of - things that make an amp stand out - trace's UV a great example - but are mainly aesthetic. Tuners etc are good because i suppose they can look cool in led form on the amp. Peak lights like on mixers, a big whacking lit up 10 sliders for eq etc etc

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The Genz Benz Streamliner blue LEDs intended to light up the front panel window were an example of an aesthetic gimmick that backfired. For some reason many Streamliners developed a fault where the LEDs didn't light up which didn't affect the sound but certainly persuaded me not to buy one.

Edited by Sparky Mark
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6 hours ago, Sparky Mark said:

The Genz Benz Streamliner blue LEDs intended to light up the front panel window were an example of an aesthetic gimmick that backfired. For some reason many Streamliners developed a fault where the LEDs didn't light up which didn't affect the sound but certainly persuaded me not to buy one.

I have an irrational dislike of blue LED lighting, it just makes me think of tacky 2000s nightclub decor and the like. So I'd cheerfully have one with the LEDs dead!

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20 minutes ago, Lozz196 said:

On my Ashdown RM500 when on mute the background light on the VU meter is a different colour. 

Yes - love that! That's a great visual aid.

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I like mute buttons and clip lights. Actually the more lights the better for me, lots of lights. 

I used to have a rack mounted compressor as part of my set up, and only used one of the two channels. I still used to turn the dials to the point where the lights came on on the unused channel. LOTS OF LIGHTS!!!! Audiences think you're professional if you've got lots of lights on your gear...it's true.

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3 hours ago, Beer of the Bass said:

I have an irrational dislike of blue LED lighting, it just makes me think of tacky 2000s nightclub decor and the like. So I'd cheerfully have one with the LEDs dead!

Yeah, but if they couldn't make simple LEDs work reliably that doesn't bode well for other aspects in my book. A perfectly good design compromised by a tacky marketing gimmick (IMO of course; YMMV).

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