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User reviews on Acoustic-Electric Guitar Amplifier products

Django Reinhardt's amp ! (Stimer - M10)

By Le Renifleur, 20/01/2016
As rare as it is pricey, this myth of an amp was the one Django Reinhardt was using by the end of his (too short) career.

A bit of history*

« Jean Guen made his first guitar pickups and amplifiers in 1974, the year he jointly founded a radio device build & repair shop in Courbevoie (near Paris) with a friend. The Stimer brand was born in 1947. Yves Guen was hired circa 1948 as a wiring specialist when Jean's friend and associate left the venture. That very year, the very first industrial pickup was released: the Stimer ST48! », told me French AudioFanzine member "Super Potiron", a real specialist in the history of French guitar amplification pioneers.

According to Christian Guen (Yves's son) on his website, Yves Guen « met with Django Reinhardt, the famous guitarist, and both men decided to work together on a pickup project. Creating a pickup for Django was a fabulous endeavour. »

At the same period, the Guen brothers created and built tube amps, also in the Stimer brand : the 6-watt M6, 8-watt M8 and 12-watt M12. The M10 is a 10-watt variation which appeared in 1953. The Nuance was released by the end of 1955 or early 1956.

Django Reinhardt made Stimer famous when he used their pickups and amps and made advertisements for them. Gypsy players soon adopted the brand, as did a lot of jazzmen in the post-war era: Les Paul, Henri Crolla, Marcel Bianchi, Maurice Ferret, René Chaput, Barney Kessel...

« From 1946 to 1957, Stimer pickups and amplifiers were all built in Courbevoie », Super Potiron says. After the Guen brothers split ways in 1958, Yves kept the Stimer brand going, still in the Paris area (in Maison-Laffite then Sartrouville) until his death in 1986.

Technical aspects

It's a 10W, A/B class, full-tube amp with an EZ80 rectifier tube, a pair of 6AQ5, a 12AX7 and a 6AT6. The speaker with included output transformer is a 22cm wide Vega or Gé-Go depending on the availability. The amp has two distinct inputs and an additional phono-dedicated input. Please note than unless you have the original ST48, you'll need an adapter to plug a female jack on the original screw plug so as to use it with nowaday's standard connectors.

The sound

A very distinctive sound that evokes the 1950s-60s Paris of guinguettes and so on. For a more precise idea, go to the Media section and watch the video of gypsy jazz player Christophe Lartilleux, who uses a M10.

The price

This is where it hurts. For a few years, M12 remakes have been available with jack connectors for approximately €1,500... An original M10 will cost you slightly more, but you'll have to add another few hundreds for a complete overhaul as high tension condensers don't tend to age well at all.
But after all, its "Django's amp"!



* Edited on 01/20/16
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Harley Benton AC PRO 60 (Harley Benton - AC PRO 60)

By superloco, 24/10/2017
Un piccolo grande amplificatore. Lo uso per farci un po' di tutto. Chitarra manouche, chitarra jazz, sonorizzare ambienti medi grazie al fatto che avendo altoparlante bassi e tweeter il suono è abbastanza HiFi.
Dotato di due canali e ingresso RCA è molto versatile ad un prezzo contenuto.
Consigliatissimo speriamo duri nel tempo. Ricorda tantissimo il Tanglewood ;-) )
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Cheap and efficient (Laney - LA35C)

By Taussac Nicolas, 24/12/2017
I bought it to complement a cheap rig for a few gigs as a guitar/voice duet. I’ve used it with a Cort AF510E and had the opportunity to hear a martin junior and a seagull played on it during gigs where we shared gears.

That’s an honest amp which can be compared to Marshall’s 50W acoustic model, but it’s more practical as it can be tilted, allowing to use it as a stage monitor when the venue has its own sound system. The sound is transparent, you get what you give. Perhaps with less lows at a high level compared with the 60W model, but the sound is true to the guitar. The sound volume is enough for playing in a bar with a 15-20 attendance, beyond it tends to be limites (but in such situations there’s often a sound system).

Regarding its effects, the spring reverb is not bad and suits both the guitar and vocals. Sadly it only offers a common setting, which can be inadequate if you don’t have an external vocal preamp. The anti-feedback feature does the job, nothing particular to say about it (except how practical it is). The chorus would have used a footswitch, as it sounds good but you have to switch it on or off on the amp, which can be a problem. The EQ is rather noisy, with a bachground noise that can be heard as soon as you turn it on when you don’t play (not really disturbing, but unpleasant when you’re in the amp’s axis, while less perceptible when you move away). However, it’s not a problem when playing.
The DI does the job with no background noise. I only add a compressor before it to make the sound thicker and it works wonder.

In the end, it’s a cheap amp that sounds transparent (both for the guitar and voice), and nice to play small venues or as a stage monitor on bigger ones. Perhaps not the most adequate choice for a beginner as it’s rather powerful, but in the end, for such a price, if you can move mountains you can move molehills ;-)

PS : I just wanted to mention that the amp has no master volume, so the voice and guitar volumes are used as gain settings for the preamp that sends the signal into the power amp which default level will be full-on. It’s nice to know, as this induces a small background noise even at a very low volume, but the noise won’t turn up with the volume. It may also be the cause for the EQ’s background noise (short version is, you have the noise of a similar amp that would be maxed without being able to lower the master volume to reduce the noise). For such a price, nothing too horrible. ;-)
A demo of the amp used with a Cort AF510E is available here (no other effect, only compression, the rest such as the reverb comes from the guitar and amp, flat EQ setting and signal through the line out):

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News Acoustic-Electric Guitar Amplifier

[MUSIKMESSE] Schertler Unico 250w

Published on 04/08/16
Schertler has unveiled a new version of its acoustic amplifier Unico, with more power, more channels and a new subwoofer.

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