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For user reviews of TheAirtightGarage amps, you can check out Harmony-Central. A direct link to TheAirtightGarage reviews is right here.
Here are excerpts from reviews and auditions of TheAirtightGarage amplifiers and equipment.Hunter Perrin
owns a redpepper and was kind enough to send in his comments about three gigs with the redpepper. "played 3 times over the weekend with the grestch through the red pepper: 1. house party (guitar / congas / drum set / vocals) set the amp through the low input and kept volume at 9:00 tone at 1:00 guitar provided plenty of warm low end and kept the bass-less musicians from sounding thin 2. 200-seat jazz club (drum set / congas / electric bass / acoustic guitar / lap steel / trumpet / vocals) set the amp through the high input and kept volume at 12:00 tone at 1:00 great rock rhythm sound (neck pickup) and for solos, reached down and cranked volume to 3:00. Sat really well in the mix for rhythm, and--when boosted--made for a great thick lead tone. 3. outdoor block party (drum set / congas / electric bass / acoustic guitar / trumpet / vocals) set the amp through the high input and kept volume at 12:00 tone at 1:00 sounded great for all of the styles (garage rock tunes / r &b / country / instrumentals / latin) leant my guitar to a friend while i went for a beer and he played a bb king song and was nailing the sweet bb tone. my favorite part about it is it's simplicity. I usually run my fender eq's at about 12:00 and try to get the tone just at breakup point with the volume. i'll then use a pedal to boost for volume and one to provide more distortion. With the red pepper, the eq is set so tastefully that it sounds great anywhere i put it, but i really like crackin' it just aove 12:00 to give it a little clarity with regard to the highs."Terry Huval
had a chance to borrow a Tonebuster115 and use it in a live setting with his fiddles and lap steel. Here is the review he sent to TheAirtightGarage, verbatim, printed with permission.
"From the first time I saw the Betsy Tonebuster 115 amp with its golden vintage appearance, then picked it up to surprisingly find out how light it was, then played my first notes and immediately heard the clarity of each note, and then finally finished the gig having experienced how powerful and clean the sound is - I knew this was a very special amplifier.
Upon looking at the amp for the first time, I was impressed with the workmanship and "freshness" of the amp. Being made out of cypress, the amp was very light for a tube amp of 50 watts plus. I have always been partial to a 15" speaker for both my non-pedal steel guitar and my fiddle, and this Jensen P15N impressed me with both its power and clear sound.
One of the things I immediately noticed was how each note I played, especially on the steel guitar, stood on its own, without the mushy tone I have heard so often with other amplifiers. The controls were easy to set and the tone differences I experienced with slight adjustments of the controls were incremental. That made it so easy to set the amplifier. The mid-range tone shift provides even more flexibility, although I did not need that type of adjustment for my instruments and tastes.
As the gig went on (and the band got a little louder!), I increased the volume to some pretty high levels. To my amazement, the sound remained clean and clear with no sign of breakup. The warm compression from the tubes was just right for the type of music I was playing. The amp's tonal flexibility was readily apparent as I switched from fiddle to steel and back again, with only needing minor adjustments to get the sounds I wanted.
Even my band members turned often to comment on how good the amp sounded. To get those kinds of unsolicited comments from stage musicians who are not even playing through the amp is very notable.
I really enjoyed the "test drive". The Betsy Tonebuster 115 amp is truly a very fine amplifier in all respects and is without a doubt the best sounding (and best looking) amp I've ever played through."
On Dec 19th, 2004, TheAirtightGarage was pleased to have Joshua Murrell
personally visit "the Garage". He brought along four of his favorite guitars and jammed on the Betsy Tonebuster and the Emily.
First a condensed background on Mr. Murrell. Joshua Murrell was a manufacturer technician for countless companies (including Fender, Marshall, Roland, Peavey, etc) for many years. He has worked intimately with music for many years in recording studios, in the design and construction of guitars (even working for a local composite guitar company) and even has custom guitars built by himself, and by large manufacturers. He is a voting member of the NARAS (www.grammy.com), and is currently playing with the Jazz and Blues band Blue Merlot (www.BlueMerlot.com).
The four guitars he brought were the following: Burns Brian May (standard), a 1972 Gibson Custom L5S with Bartolini pickups, a shortscale humbucker Samick with 1957 Framus neck pickup and a Fender standard stratocaster. All four guitars were played at length trough the Tonebuster and the Emily to get a feel for the amps and their response to different guitars and pickup combinations.
Notes from Josh on the Tonebuster:
"The clarity of the L5S on the tonebuster is so defined that the acoustics and the irregularities of the guitar come through with precision. I have never heard that on any other guitar amplifier. It only occurs when I have a guitar plugged right into a board and listen with studio monitors or headphones. All other guitar amplifiers loose that precision, and this one does not. The sonic footprint is better than any other amp I have ever heard off axis. The tone is retained and the amp is not "beamy" like other amps." Josh mentioned that I should warn potential buyers that the amp has such clarity and accuracy that players should really check their setup when using the tonebuster, as it will "reveal everything that is coming into it".
Notes from Josh on the Emily:
Like others who have played the Emily, Josh could not stop playing it, and had much to say about the sound and its size: "Take your Fender and throw it out the window. The Emily does not bark like other small amps, it has a very rich, nice voice and works extremely well with single coil pickups. The tone is very well balanced between rock, blues and country. It is broad enough to use the tone control and the controls on a guitar to sit where you want to sit. You can hit all three venues easily just using the tone and guitar pickups through the normal channel. The bright channel can then take you to pop and funk. Tip: Back off one-half on tone and end up with the same sound as the normal channel through the bright channel, that way you can go where you want to tone wise with just one channel!. It is so well balanced that you can go where you want to and in the end you are never stuck with an obnoxious tone."
When asked what Josh thought of the amps in comparison to others he has played he said, "The other deluxe style amps sound very barky, and only sound good with certain kinds of pickups and guitars. The Emily does not have this problem. The Tonebuster has more power, it is cleaner and more defined than other amps. The sonic footprint of it is smooth, bigger and sounds more pleasant, with a huge soundstage in front of and behind the amplifier. It sounds good anywhere when you walk around in front of and behind it."