Should You Bring a Backup Amp? A Discussion of More Portable Alternatives

Should You Bring a Backup Amp? A Discussion of More Portable Alternatives

December 04, 2019 9 Comments

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!MACH100 100W Stereo Pedal Amplifier

The MACH100 100W Stereo Pedal Amplifier

 

With so many portable options, it’s easier than ever to come to the gig extra prepared.



9 Responses

Donald Conti
Donald Conti

June 05, 2020

I am guessing the Active DI box through the PA would be the preferred “back-up”amp for Bass?

Rob
Rob

June 05, 2020

I have seen the pedal amp. It’s a great idea for a backup amp. you could carry it in your pocket. Then again let’s say I have a few drinks with the Band. And looking like every other pedal on my board, I plug it into the front of my V3mc. Or the grand kids plug it into an amp. I think I like my amps amp sized. I could get a backup if you still made Amp’s.

Chad Meaux
Chad Meaux

June 05, 2020

Would love a bass version of this pedal amp. Agree that it would have to have more power though (300-500w perhaps). Lemme know. I’d love to take it for a spin.

Big Dik
Big Dik

June 05, 2020

I used to bring a back-up guitar, just in case a string broke. I guess it depends on the gig. If it’s important, go the extra mile. Cover your ass.

Bill
Bill

June 05, 2020

I always carry a 150 watt, 4 channel PA head that can be used by just about anyone with an extra bottom or monitor Cost me like $150 and has saved a few over the last 2 decades. Do what works.

Steve Dallman
Steve Dallman

March 23, 2020

I bring backups. I bring an 8 channel Class D PA head, with two 600 watt power amps. That’s my utility head. I also bring a Sansamp for guitar in case the guitar player’s amp goes down. That can go straight to the PA. I have a spare bass head…class D and pretty small, and an older Crate Power Block which is a great backup guitar amp.

Daniel McGrath
Daniel McGrath

December 11, 2019

I NEVER LEFT WITHOUT A BACKUP AMP!!! i melted a bunch down while at a gig and was glad to have a backup..prepare for the worse,, hope for the best!!

TJ
TJ

December 11, 2019

Like the idea. Is there a good back up option for a bass?

VicFusci
VicFusci

December 11, 2019

I am anxiously awaiting a bass version of this pedal. I always carry a backup up, but a pedal amp like this would be great, You’d have to up the wattage a bit, but would not need the stereo capability (although Rickenbacker players might want that).

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