Awhile back, we discussed gigging items you should bring backups for, and that included a backup amp. However, amps aren’t lightweight and portable like cables, accessories, or even an extra guitar or bass. In most cases, lugging a backup amp means another trip back to the car and one more thing to carry in and out of the venue (unless you have roadies, of course!). For that reason, many gigging musicians choose to forgo the backup amp and place their faith in their main amp.
However, there are a few more portable options that can get you through the gig if your main amp decides to quit. You can use a preamp pedal such as the VLD1 to go straight to the board in case of an amp failure. This unit utilizes real preamp tubes and a cabinet voicing circuit to simulate a miked up guitar cab, which will keep your tone lively and dynamic when sent through the PA. This setup might even be preferable if you are traveling light or if space is at a premium in the venue or van. An added bonus is that the VLD1 is modeled after an actual amplifier and operates under the same conditions, with four gain stages and a tube-driven EQ section.
While it may not approximate the sound of your amp as well as a preamp pedal would, a good DI box is an old standby. If you rely more on your effects pedals for your tone rather than your amplifier, a DI box is a suitable option for getting out of a pinch. However, the sound might be a little sterile and harsh for some due to the lack of speaker simulation.
For a best-of-all-worlds solution, the new MACH100 100-watt Stereo Pedal Amplifier fits the bill. This product puts a high-powered amp in a compact, pedalboard friendly form factor. A stereo two-channel amplifier can drive two guitar cabinets with 16, 8, or 4 ohm impedances, which makes it the ideal stand-in for your favorite guitar head. There’s even a line-in jack to provide backing tracks via your preferred audio device, making this an indispensable component of your live rig. Operation is simple via a single level knob and a convenient mute switch. All you need to do is hook up your preamp of choice and let it rip!
With so many portable options, it’s easier than ever to come to the gig extra prepared.
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