I think that companies are starting to get that most people don’t need 150 watt behemoths anymore. Lots of bands are going full on cab-less on stage, and having a huge amount of wattage is irrelevant for any club with a decent sound system. This has actually been true for many years, and despite some attempts to discredit this practice in the media, it actually makes perfect sense – your 150 watt amp pales in comparison to the 4000 watt PA you’re pumping it through, and it could be 1 watt, or be 0 watts going direct and it hardly matters to the crowd. Some bands are using a combination approach, which is also cool if you like to have some on-stage volume, and Steve Vai actually has dedicated guitar cabs that are wedge-shaped versions of his Legacy cabs because he wants to hear exactly what his tone sounds like without it going through a mic to the board first. Point being, bigger isn’t necessarily better.
In 2014, the lunchbox amp is the hot new shit. Tiny, portable, low-wattage versions of the big boys are blowing up for the exact reason above, and amp companies are more than happy to oblige. Mesa/Boogie, Blackstar, EVH, and Engl have shrunk their high-gain beasts to adorable sizes with great results – I’ve heard that a lot of people PREFER the 5150 III mini to the full size. Plus, it’s a lot easier to cook the power tubes into overdrive when there’s only 2.
Well, Paul Reed Smith may have only just recently joined the amp game after making drool-worthy guitars for many years, and only joined the high-gain crew with an impressive first entry in the Archon this year, but this hasn’t stopped them from also shrinky-dinks-esizing their amp. Behold, the Archon 25:
I’m all about it. Especially with a good clean channel, a high gain combo with the option to power a larger cab is very enticing for anyone who lives somewhere that a Triple Rec will destroy your neighbors. And the Archon’s tight metal tones seem to translate extremely well to the smaller format, so no fear there.
They’ve made the shrinkage possible by replacing the 6L6s with 5881 power tubes, and still features a tone stack for each channel. It can be switched to half power for an even LOWER wattage of 13 watts, and drives a Celestion G12-75T. No word yet on the price.
Check out the official rundown on the PRS website.