Maybe this is a sign that I read far too many gear feature lists, but I can’t get over the way Quilter lists the wattage rating in the specs for their Tone Block 200 miniature solid-state amplifier. It goes from “0 – 200 Watts.” Really? It starts at zero? That’s certainly more desirable than an amp that just starts at the top and stays there, although Spinal Tap would certainly disagree.
Okay, now with that snark out of my system, let’s look unsarcastically at the rest of the features crammed into this little loudness box. Well, the fact that it’s little is the real defining feature. A decade ago, the idea of a tiny pedalboard, small enough to carry on a plane, that contained your entire tone-generating chain including your amplification… it was a pipe dream. Lately, well, I’m still usually skeptical, but at least less so. While I’ve never been blown away by the sound of any existing micro amps, they’re rising in popularity. The Deftones’ Stephen Carpenter, for example, was caught on video using an Electro Harmonix 22 Caliber (now discontinued and replaced by the 44 Magnum) in this Premier Guitar Rig Rundown, for example. I was also fascinated by Hemotypsis gutiarist Masaki Murashita’s amp on a pedalboard, featuring an ISP Theta preamp pedal and Stealth micro 180-watt power amp.
The Quilter Tone Block 200 is along those lines, but in the clips its tonal character is much more appealing. While I’d laugh in your face if you asked me if I’d rather plug into one of these or a Soldano SLO100, well like I said you can’t shove a 100-watt tube head into a travel bag now can you? Between this unit and Taurus’ Stomp Head line, the idea of small portable rigs, at least as plan B (or plan C) backup/flying solutions, is becoming far more appealing.
- 0 – 200 Watts of real world power with calibrated power markings
- Gain, Master and Contour controls
- 1/4″ high impedance input
- Dual 1/4″ Mono outputs for variable loads 16 to 4 ohms
- Proprietary direct out
- 4 Pounds
- 8 3/8″W x 3″H x 7 1/2″D
- Ultra Compact (Roughly the size of a double wide effects pedal)
- Universal power supply. (Take it anywhere in the world without need for transformers or switches.)
- Locking power cable