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Monday, June 3, 2013

The GAGA 90 by Milbert Amplifiers, The Swiss army knife of all-tube guitar amplifiers... (review)

Reviewed By: Jac Harrison
Purchased from: Manufacturer
Street Price: $3,750.00 USD + Shipping 

Milbert Amplifers is the manufacturer of boutique, hand-crafted, interchangeable all-tube guitar amplifiers.

This GAGA 90 model offers adjustable headroom from 1 - 90 watt(s) via a rotary face-plate knob with the ability for the player to plug-and-play over 30 tube types at any configuration with Auto-Everything™, automatic bias & standby, Blow-Proof Output™ with the ability to drive any speaker, universal mains/world power ready and on-board P3® phantom power for pedals and active pickups. 

Amp Casing: 
Avabile in a Mojotone 18 watt case or the Milbert inside and out at just 10 lbs.


Guitar used:

Reliability & Durability:
This amp seems to be well made. I played it for less than a half hour at the NY Amp Show, but there was no issues including hum or hiss. 

This amp is cool in so many ways! To start, you build your tone and get to change it whenever and wherever you want. Now there are a ton of amps with built in "amp modeling" that can give you the ability to achieve that "almost tone" and the "almost characteristics" of a many different styles of guitar amplifiers -- but we all know that they are never correct, and they lack the warmth you get get from tubes. The good folks at Milbert Amplifiers have taken that concept of having one amplifier that can perform as many different amplifiers -- and they did it correctly. 

Now there is nothing digital about this amp, but for this review I used the term "amp modeling" to better explain how this amp is designed to be used. To sum it up -- you can run any tube combination, at any configuration, with any speaker, without understanding how to build an amp -- all you need to know is how you want your amp to sound at that moment. For example -- if you are a gigging guitarist -- you may be in more than one band playing a different styles of music per night. Lets say in your Thursday night band you play Texas blues and need an amp with 6L6's and a gold-back and for your Saturday night band you play rock and need an amp with EL84's and a green-back. For those of us that care about how we sound on stage, we could spend ten's of thousands of dollars getting an amplifier for each sound. This Milbert GAGA 90 has solved that problem. To sum-it-up, you will only need to buy one amp head at $3,750 -- saving us guitarists thousands of dollars. They even put out a 30 and 60 watt version of the amp head with a lower price tag -- just without the universal mains/world power ready option.

The way this works is in three simple steps. 

1) When the amp is cool (not hot) you pullout the tubes and put the others in.

2) You then adjust the overhead to the correct wattage for your speaker configuration via a rotary knob on the amps face-plate. 

3) You plugin and play.  

Besides the versatility of being able to have any tube configuration that you can dream up -- this amp also has an on-board P3 system. The P3 system allows you to power your pedal board and/or active pickups via instrument cable. This eliminates the need for any DC power supply cables and nine volt batteries -- but the best part is since you are using your amp to power your gear and not a separate power supply -- there is never any 60 cycle hum or outlet noise. 

To sum this all up -- you can get the sound of any amp you want with real tubes, without the fear of 60 cycle hum or outlet noise and the amp weighs in at 10 lbs. Do I really need to say anything else? 

My advice:

If you subject yourself and your audience's ears to an amp with "amp modeling  this is the next step up for you. If you need more then one amp but can not or will not pay for multiple amps -- this is your fix. Go play a Milbert.  

Milbert Amplifers
(P) 301 963-9355

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Posted 6/2013
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