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Monday, June 10, 2013

The Barracuda by Satellite Amplifiers,... (Review)

Reviewed By: Jac Harrison
Purchased from: Manufacturer
Street Price: $1,850.00 USD + Shipping 

Satellite Amplifiers is the manufacturer of boutique, hand-crafted, all-tube guitar amplifiers and effects based out of San Diego, CA.

This Barracuda model is based around a pair of Gold Lion KT66's power tubes with (2) Sovteck 12AX7WBs, a solid state rectifier, custom wound Mercury Magnetics transformers, fixed bias, high and low inputs with extended frequency response pushing 45 watts through (1) Celestion Creamback 12" and (1) Celestion Alnico Gold 12"  

Amp Weight: 
Amp Head 30lbs 
Speaker Cab 50lbs

Guitar used:
Reliability & Durability:
Satellite Amplifiers have a great reputation for making well built amplifiers. I was only able to play this amp for less than a half hour at the NY Amp Show, but I'm confident that it would hold up in any studio and/or at a venue without fail.

I have had the pleasure of visiting the Satellite Amplifiers booth at a few guitar/amp shows over the last few years -- and two things have never changed. Adam Grimm's (CEO and founder of Satellite Amplifiers) passion for tone -- and the quality of the amps he builds. Every successful amp builder has their niche/specialty that separates them from the pack. I believe that Adam's niche is creating tone as it would have come from the factory at a particular time -- then tweaking it to give it a modern edge. To me -- the only way to explain this is if the amp builders of yesteryears had access to today's technology while retaining their passion and love for the art of making amplifiers for the purpose making music before making a financial profit. When speaking with Adam you can really tell that his heart is in his products -- and that he takes his company personally.

Jimi Hendrix playing a Satellite  on 6/1/13 @ the NY Amp Show
Besides his passion for his product -- Adam makes an amazing amp. Most amplifier company's have an artist list of current touring/gigging musicians that have endorsed their product by allowing the manufacturer of the amplifier to state publicly that they use their product as a professional musician. This is a very common practice in the music industry and in theory when you go to see this artist live at a venue, they should be using the amp that they have endorsed. Well... that's not always the case -- but with Satellite Amplifiers I have found it to be. I have seen Adam's amps on stage many times 
when going to a venue (as talent or a fan) and the endorsed artist have only said wonderful things about his/her amp (unprompted). It is a sign of a quality product when an artist at a show speaks highly about their gear to you because they know that you are a guitarist -- before they try to sell you a CD or a tee shirt.

So to the review -- This amp is a time capsule from 1969. The simplistic design with just (1) volume and (1) tone knob allows the end user to achieve (1) sound -- Jimmy Hendrix 1969. This amp has a full warm round sound with immediate tube saturation that is controllable via guitar volume knob (just like an old Marshall). I was able to roll my guitars volume back and play clean with the amp volume on 11 -- and achieve that unmistakable vintage harmonically rich overdrive with controllable feedback that can hold a single note for days when wide open.  In my opinion -- this is an amplifier that any rock musician would love to own.

My advice:
If you are a rock guitarist that is looking for that unmistakable vintage rock sound -- you need to play this amp (Just stay away from the brown acid)

Satellite Amplifiers®
1322 Gertrude St.
San Diego, CA 92110
(P) 619 275-2255

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Posted 6/2013
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