The world of music has changed and the world of guitar playing has changed along with it. It is becoming normal to not see the full guitar rigs of the 70’s 80’s and 90’s, and just see guitar players with minimal systems to achieve their signature sounds.
Introducing the Carl Martin Ampster…. from the company that has shone the single analog light down that deep digital tunnel. The Ampster, a single tube driven amp/speaker simulator that can either supplement your amp, or replace it. A fully analog unit with controls that are the same as your amplifier with the addition of a mute switch, a speaker selection switch and a voicing switch. What’s more important, the Ampster reacts to your playing in the same way your full size amp does, giving you the same organic feel with zero latency!
The Ampster is housed in a solid metal box with the standard EQ (Bass Middle Treble), pre and post volume/gain controls (Master & Gain) plus a Presence Control. There is a Mute Switch for obvious reasons and a Cabinet Switch with an LED Indicator light ( Red for a 2x12 Open Backed Cab, and Green for a 4x12 Closed Back Cab).
On the back of the pedal you will find a Ground Lift and a Voicing Switch (a subtle low end cap controlled voicing adjustment). Input, Link (output to your amp) Balanced DI (XLR output to go to a mixing or recording console), a Send and Return for those specific effects that shouldn’t be in front of the amp, a Remote Input (cabinet sim) for use with digital or analog effect controllers like the Carl Martin Octaswitch ‘The Strip’, and your standard 9v 1A power input. It couldn’t be simpler!
Plug your guitar straight in, or plug your pedal board into the input jack, choose your output, and open your ears to a surprisingly big round clean sound. By adjusting the Gain, you can get a hint of that decidedly British Overdrive sound for which Carl Martin has become so well known, depending of course on the guitar and pickup configuartion. Our test players have fallen in love, telling us the Ampster reacts just like their standard amps, organic and responsive to your playing style or attack. In fact, the Ampster sounds just like a full size amp, but it fits on your pedalboard. Take a look at the videos…we are certain you will want to take the Ampster for a test drive!
Price EU incl. VAT 299.00 €
Price USA/Non EU $299.00
David Gallagher (USA) User.
Just thought I'd give you a quick update on the Ampster! I received it on Fri, 4/8, and then took the plunge and used it at a gig on Sat. (pics attached.)
Overall, VERY cool! I am quite impressed with the tone and the build quality. (I'd expect nothing else from Carl Martin and that is why I wasn't too worried about ordering sight unseen/unheard.)
I've been on the list for a Fractal for a while but in the meantime, have been using a Simplifier for a direct option. I haven't been that happy with the results and honestly would much rather use my amp (Bogner Shiva.) However, silent stages are taking hold and more and more bars/clubs are curbing higher volume.
I'm still undecided if I will pursue the Fractal but for the time being, the Ampster IS my solution. I love the tone and the feel. I used the 4x12 cab sim for most of the night as the 2x12 really takes some eq adjustments. (I didn't have space for my Plexitone so dug out a Weehbo JCM Drive Ltd that I had hardly used. Not bad but the Plexitone has a more Marshall kerrang to it, I think.) Anyway, great sounding unit and I like how simple and straightforward it is.
Guitar.com (UK) April 2022
One of the best things about the Ampster is how immediate it feels. The controls are easy to get to grips with, making dialling in a wide range of tones nigh-on instantaneous. Driven by a single preamp tube, it reacts remarkably well to dynamic picking styles – in the midst of extended playing, you might well forget that the sound is coming from the PA and not your regular amplifier.
As a standalone unit, the Ampster works very well. Keep the master volume high and the gain low and spanky clean tones abound; crank the gain knob and you’ll unlock some tasty Marshall-style crunch. With the four EQ controls there’s plenty of scope for different flavours of tone. Where this thing really shines, though, is at the end of a chain of pedals.
When we combined it with a Rat-type distortion and a clean boost we got pummeling rock tones that sustained for days, pushing into feedback just like the real deal. Dialling in some shimmer reverb and a healthy dose of old-school chorus via the effects loop proved similarly fruitful, celestial sounds filling the room from our studio monitors.
Guitarist (UK) May 2022
We tried the Ampster out with drive and delay pedals into a small mixing console and were impressed by the convincing cab emulations and warm, amp-like tones. The simple controls are quick to dial in and fun to use, and it’s also impressively free of noise, making it a great choice for studios.
With more and more players using pedalboards to get their sound, the Ampster could turn out to be the vital missing link, adding a quality console connection so you can run your guitar into an amp, a desk or both and mix the signal for the best overall result.
Audiotechnology.com (AUS) Oct. 2022
The Ampster behaves much like a Fender Twin, having a similar responsive interaction when picking notes. It also has enough clean headroom on the input to handle densely processed signals without sounding choked. The Presence control dials in the quack nicely, adding to the performance feedback, and the Bass, Middle, and Treble of the EQ section seem well tuned in a pleasingly additive and musical way — without clouding, or detracting from each other.
With a clean guitar tone the Gain is able to dial in a gentle grit. Carl Martin’s press release suggests a “decidedly British overdrive”, hinting at a Marshall likeness. This becomes more evident once the 12AX7 sees hotter signals from pedals that can push a bit of gain. Overall, it has a nice, round low-end response, with nothing woolly or muddy sticking out. It is responsive, with a smooth picking attack that has a bright, crisp, character that is never brittle.
With its pedalboard-friendly enclosure and some well-considered control elements, the Ampster is a straightforward piece of kit that reveals a surprising range of tonal variation.
Legendary Johnny Marr with his beloved Fender Jaguar, and his small very portable board with the Carl Martin Ampster as his main tube amp going direct to FOH.
With this board Mr. Marr can bring his Jaguar and pedalboard onboard the plane as hand luggage, all he needs to his gigs, and thrill thousands of people worldwide.