Sunday, December 13, 2009

Meteor Mini Meat - Part One

Recently, I had the opportunity to pick up a Mini Meat boutique harp amp made by Meteor Amplifiers. It's a pretty cool looking medium sized amp covered in red tweed with gold grill cloth. It also sports two 8 inch Weber speakers and one 10 inch Weber speaker. The amp allows the user to swap in 6V6, 5881 or 6L6 power tubes. Depending on which tube is being used a switch needs to be flipped to ensure proper biasing of the tubes.

For the purposes of this review, the amp is using 6V6 power tubes. In this configuration, it is a 20 watt amp. It's roughly about 40 pounds of nasty vintage tone. There are a multitude of vintage tones in this amplifier. As one would expect, it sounds very nice. It's a really good balance of portability, tone, volume and feedback resistance.

Portability - This amp is not as wide as a tweed Bassman, but it is almost as tall. Weighing in at about 40 pounds, it's lighter than a Bassman. It easily fits in the trunk of your average car.

Tone - There are several different tonal options available to the user. The amp features four controls: Volume, Meat, Tone and Presence. Like the full size Meteor amp, this amp has two different channels, Meat and Meatier. The Meat control only works when the amp is plugged into the Meatier channel. It provides additional overdrive and increased bass frequencies. The Tone and Presence controls provide extra treble and cut. It helps to clean up the output of the amp and allows the user to dial in some cool tonal variation.

Volume - With the 6V6's, this amp can hold it's own with a band that is managing it's volume. It's not easily buried, but unless the amp is on a stand or chair, it may not be obvious to the operator that it can be heard in the audience. (More on this later.) In many ways, this amp reminds me of a tweed Bassman, but with better tonal options in it's stock configuration.

Feedback Resistance - Battling feedback is a problem for most people playing amplified harmonica. One of the nicest features of the Mini Meat is very feedback resistant. Feedback doesn't usually set in until the amp is close to the end of the sweep of the volume control. I have not needed to turn it up that loud at this point.

How Does It Sound? - Great so far. It also sounds great and I haven't begun to explore the tonal capabilities of this amplifier. This is a much more complex piece of equipment than my tweed Champ or Harpgear Double Trouble. I expect to provide additional information here as time progresses.

Here are two video clips, one at home,

the second at a local blues jam.

More later...