Monday, 17 August 2015

Yamaha THR10 v2

I guess I'm getting old, because I bought my "third" amp as Yamaha calls it. THR is a modeling amp with five amp models and also extra models for bass, acoustic and flat inputs. Guitar models range from clean to modern gain. It's pretty much everything you need from gain ranges unless you require more high gain models in which case there is 10X version of THR.

There are lot of nice things to say about THR. I like the way how gain ranges from almost clean to dirty in all amp models. It gives you different kind of options for clean and clean-ish sounds, you don't have to settle for one 'clean' model. Also, the master volume knob is emulating the real master volume which gives vast amount of ways to interact between gain and master. Then there is the actual guitar output volume so you can listen the result with the volume level you want.

THR has two small (tiny) speakers with surprisingly nice sound quality. The only problem is that with small speakers you start to get speaker distortion with higher volume which may or may not be something you want. For me it sounds like it's just making distortion sounds little bit mushy. Then again THR has quite amount of volume so you don't need to break the sound to hear it. Sadly THR has no external speaker outputs which would have been really cool.

I have placed THR in my studio setup, because I found out that you can get nice sound from the headphone output to line in of the mixer. Some people have complained they don't get nice sound that way, so they have to use the USB interface of THR. The way the preamp of my mixer (Alesis) works makes the sound useful, because you don't need to use gain in the mixer at all to get sound levels you can hear. I also tried THR directly in my actual USB interface which is Propellerhead Balance and it sounded really bad (thin). So, the type and quality of the signal chain matters here as well.

THR has also some basic effects, but adjusting them from the front panel is very limited. You can only set the time of delay with tap button and that's it. You can change everything using software, including effects that don't even have knobs in THR itself and save/recall five presets to led type buttons. Even delay and reverb has only one knob so you can only select from delay, delay/reverb, spring and hall. But it's not that bad if you just want to practice or use dry amp models and add effects in DAW.

The EQ is kind of weird, because all knobs (bass, middle, treble) start to have some effect only after half way. Bass doesn't work that well, because tiny speakers can't output it anyway. Middle is also quite passive and treble works more like tone/presence in amps (making the sound worse if you use it too much). Last but not least THR has a very nice tuner which has a clear way to indicate the tuning.

The modeling technology of THR is really convincing in its price range, but this seems to be thing to expect with modern equipment. THR is easy, but in the end it's not a real guitar amp. It's for players like me who just want some kind of sound and quick setup without all that tube amp hassle.