Name: Electric Amp, USA
Year Established: 2004
Location: Spokane, WA and Kernersville, NC
How did Electric Amp get started and what got you interested in building amplifiers?
Electric Amp was started out of the sheer ambition to make amps and speaker cabinets that capture the spirit of the early tones created by tube amps and construct them in a way that would be stronger in design than any amp I had ever owned or worked on.
Also, to consistently make amplifiers and speaker cabs that would not change format in the way they are built or change the components used to build them. I wanted the Electric Amp Units of 2014 to be still built like the ones we started out with in 2004. To date we have managed to do that. It’s great from a maintenance and service aspect when talking to technicians and customers.
The interest to build tube amps was created by default to continue what I had previously started with MATAMP USA in 1997 and ended in 2005 when I ceased production with the little shop in the United Kingdom. I had specific designs ready to build and just decided to go for it.
What makes Electric Amps different from other boutique amps? Anything in particular that sets your company apart?
Probably the cult following with our GREEN Electric Amp units and the cosmetic customization. People buy our amps without ever playing one because they know the strong affiliation of the tone and volume that Electric Amp USA represents in the recording industry. The Electric Amp “EA RIPPER” Chassis definitely sets our company apart. No other company uses 14 gauge Detroit steel for it’s chassis and 12 gauge roll bars with powder coat finishes. Each amp is built one at a time and when you get your amp unit only two people have touched it and played it. The amps are made to perform. It’s like getting a factory race bike, stripped down and simple. Also, the amps are so easy to service and maintain. No weird little screws in odd spots or mystery to how it to put it up on the bench to service. Amps take a lot of abuse so it was important to build one that is capable of taking abuse from shippers and being on the road. I have been told that they are overkill, but they are just killer. . .
I think that when you pull an Electric Amp, USA unit out of it’s amp sleeve and set it on the bench, just upon sight it sets our company apart.
What type of user controls does your amp provide for the user?
Real straight forward amp front end controls. EA-USA Volume Unit has 6 knobs and is a pure expression of clean tube amplification. EA-USA Master Volume Unit has 7 knobs and is unique in the way the gain [ FUZZ KNOB ] attacks the tubes that permits it to be put at zero without turning off the circuit. The EA-USA Power Unit is a simple 3 knob amp that once you play it makes you wonder why we make amps with more knobs. Recently we released the REVOLUTION UNIT which is a 5 knob amp that recreates 1972 to 1974 in a brilliant fashion.
All of these control configurations are available in 120 watt EL34 and 180 watt KT88 amps. We also do 60 watt and 80 watt versions with GZ34 Rectifiers.
Are there any particular tonal characteristics that you work toward when building an amp?
Most definitely the tone and vibe is that of early Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd. The full big round clean bottom end tones that are super warm represent the foundation of all of the Electric Amp Units. The amps are very versatile from clean Henry Mancini tones to crushing face melting rock and roll.
What was your first impression of Eminence?
My first impression was in 1994 and it was the loudest show I had ever been to. So loud that the Seattle fire department shut down the show due to the volume.
Why did you choose Eminence for your amps?
I first started ordering Eminence speakers in 1997 and had a great experience with the speakers and the customer service. We used a lot of Eminence speakers in the Matamp USA speaker cabinets. Then in 2003 when I started designing cabs for Electric Amp USA I went to Eminence with my ideas and the speaker models from the early 1970’s that I was fond of and was given expert input from Eminence. When we started building cabs in 2004 it was perfect timing as Eminence was launching a whole new line of speakers. Eminence has always provided excellent service and have always treated me with a lot of respect and encouragement.
Which speakers did you go with and why?
We played a specific role in the debut of the Man O’ War and the TONKER because it was designed with the specifications I specifically was after but with higher output capacity. The Electric Amp USA 6×12 has proven to be a very popular cabinet and with the help of Eminence all of our cabs are tuned to accommodate these speakers. It was a perfect match and an All American affiliation that was a bonus. The 12″, 10″ & 15″ speakers
all have proven to be super quality and great sounding. Very rare occasion have I ever had another speaker put into our cabs. I tell the customers that request other speakers that I would rather send them an empty cab then compromise the sound and quality they will experience with our cabs loaded with Eminence. It’s the best choice.
How do you evaluate the speakers you choose?
Back in 2004 I was really up on my speaker specs and the vast tones each company had going on at the time. Since about 1994 I have tested hundreds of new and original vintage speakers. Eminence provided clear data and was willing to bring the new line tailored for my applications. Testing speakers in cabs with various guitars and bass guitars was the final method to making the clear decision. Hours of playing Santo & Johnny songs and my favorite Black Sabbath riffs help determine which speakers sounded best.
Where can people find out more about Electric Amp online?
Our main website is www.ElectricAmp.com and the color logo sites are at www.GreenAmps.com , www.BlackAmps.com , www.WhiteAmp.com and www.PurpleAmps.com . We have a new site in process www.ElectricAmpUSA.com which if time permits will be up and running this year.
Where can your amps be purchased?
All of our gear is sold direct to the customers online. I ceased all dealer and distribution relations in 2004 when Electric Amp, USA started so that each customer could get a direct relationship with their pro audio builder. We were almost out of backorder in 2010, then orders started increasing again creating back order and our extended wait time for gear. Although we still get approached by shop dealers, I still don’t see the need for Electric Amp, USA ever being in any retail environment.