A smaller, portable version of Bogner’s legendary Ecstasy amp? Really? How’s that work?
Well, if you play electric guitar primarily or switch between electric and acoustic in your
gigging world, this is some nice big…err, small news. Or if you want another option to get your sound without carrying a 40-pound head around, read on.
First off, this is not a clean amp. However, it can go from a nice, practical overdrive to
gnarly crunch, and that range is a big part of its charm. It’s an inspiration machine without necessarily relying on a bunch of pedals for your core tone. It’s highly portable (easy to carry with one arm) and has universal power (24v included), which means it can travel anywhere in the world. And travel it does—it’s just over one foot in length and about five inches high.
For controls, it has gain, master volume, and a plethora of EQ and clipping options to tailor your sound. A 3 band EQ, presence, variac, which determines the preamps headroom and response (think of it as a sag function taking the voltage down), a variety of extra switches like Pre EQ, which offers mellower and more aggressive settings for driving the amp’s high end, and gain clipping. In practice, that means it behaves like a regular bright and brighter switch. The mid-EQ switch allows you to boost or cut the midrange of your signal depending on whether you’re playing lead or rhythm or perhaps where the guitar fits best in an already crowded mix. Pretty cool. You really can tailor your sound with this head just about any way you wish.
Besides playing at home, practicing on the road and other obvious uses, it could probably handle small club gigs as well. It’s that powerful, but of course, it depends on the cabinet (there are two speaker outputs on the back). It definitely would be a great backup rig in case your main one goes down. With a proper load box, you could even use this directly into your DAW to record. With so many free impulse response cabinets on the web, you’d have a lethal combination that way, especially if you live in a small apartment where space is a premium and you prefer not to annoy your neighbors.
One of my favorite features is the effect loop on the back of the unit. Who offers that in
a device this small? Put your pedalboard there or just your reverb and delay like most
power users and away you go.
How does it sound? Pretty dang massive actually. I really doubt anybody who wasn’t looking could tell that you weren’t playing a pricey, full-size head. It can even get righteously fuzzy full-on, but I was very impressed by the lower to mid-gain bluesy tone you can achieve with the Ecstasy mini. Certainly in John Mayer territory anyway.
If you’re a solo singer-songwriter who does switch between electric and acoustic, this could be your jam without breaking the bank or adding a lot more to carry around with you. At a $329 street price, it’s kind of a no-brainer. Will it replace your original full Bogner Ecstasy? Of course not, but at a fraction of the price, you get something really workable, easy to use, easy to carry and no tube maintenance.