Hands-On Review:Power and Flexibility to Create Amazing Tones
Amp modeling has been around long enough to pass through the fad phase, work out the bugs, and make it into the sonic holsters of many guitar-slinging sharpshooters. Yamaha's DG-Series amps give you the best of all worlds: cool tone and hot new technology. At the heart of every DG-Series guitar amp and pre-amp is Yamaha's Electric Circuit Modeling (ECM). Combined with a sizzling chip developed by Yamaha's engineers for the revolutionary O2R digital mixing console, the DG amps provide the power necessary to create warm, realistic tube tone.
More than tube-tone wannabes
The DG-Series amps produce rich, natural-sounding tones full of warm, glowing bouquets of sound, precision-powered attack, and deadly dynamic response. These amps and combos don't just model, they dish out all the subtle nuances and sonic details that give your sound enough life to get up and dance around the hall. You know what I mean.
Unlike many modeling amps that emulate specific classic amps, the DG-Series has no specifically identified amp models. The DG-Series amp types are selected from one of eight choices on the front panel. These eight presets provide the raw tonal material for you to begin your sound creation. The user-interface is familiar and easy to use. The gain, master, treble, high mid, low mid, bass, and presence controls make shaping your tone as easy as dialing in the sound on your stereo.
When you find the magical mystery tone, there is plenty of memory to store it for your next solo. 128 memory locations in all give you room for custom sounds of every persuasion. From deep-down gutsy blues tones to the shivering space of transitive nightfalls, the DG-Series makes it easy to create the tones of your most musical dreams and store them for instant recall.
A trio of combos for every occasion
Musician's Friend offers three combos that cover all your basic needs and more. There is a 60W 1x12, 80W 1x12, and 100W 2x12. For practice and small venues, the DG60-112 gives you tons of great tone in a totally portable package. It features two independent channels, each equipped with a full complement of tone controls. Two eight-position knobs, one for each channel, give you easy access to the preset amp types. A digitally simulated spring reverb lets you color your sound with some natural ambiance when necessary. There's even an obligatory headphone line-out for practicing without speaker volume. A 60W amplifier drives a single 12" Eminence speaker. Very tight.
Yamaha's DG80-112 and DG100-212 pump up the power, features, and flexibility. A complete digital signal processing section features three reverb types: spring, hall, and plate. A digital tape echo is activated by pressing the mode switch. This temporarily converts the bass, presence, and reverb knobs into time, feedback, and level controls for the echo. Hit the mode switch again and the knobs automatically revert to their original positions.
Modeling amp shoot-out winner
The editors of Guitar Player Magazine put the Yamaha DG80-112 up against some of the most popular modeling amps around and it outperformed all the competition. The DG80-112 differed from the others in several ways, including its motorized knobs and the absence of specifically identified amp models.
Both the DG80 and DG100 produce crisp, warm tones with incredible complexity and depth in clean and distorted modes. They have an amazing tube feel, and extreme distortion tones clean up fast when you lower the gain. The DG80 comes loaded with a Celestion G12H100 speaker. The DG100 features two Celestion Vintage 30 speakers for unbelievably accurate reproduction of rich tube tone. These amps are real dynamos in the studio, too. Extreme lead tones grind from their direct outs like they were coming from the heart of tube city.
These amps have more than enough muscle to hold their own with a full band You can't press a button and instantly imitate a famous stack, but the DG-Series is better equipped to recreate vintage sounds than many modeling amps. And the DG's presets are no slouches. From exceptionally crisp and detailed shimmering re-verb flavor to hard core vibe of a souped-up monster, DG presets offer vintage tones.
If combos aren't your cup of cappuccino, Yamaha also offers the DG130H head that combines the DG pre-amp, complete with digital effects section, with a 130W power amp. And if it's a stack you're after, Yamaha's S412V speaker enclosure with four Celestion Vintage 30 speakers matches perfectly with the DG130H head for the ultimate in classic tone.