Don't let the size or price-tag of the "Specialist" deceive you. This amp absolutely embraces both single coils and humbuckers and will deliver spanky and snappy cleans all the way through to blistering classic hard rock and metal. What's even better is that it does it all with a quality of tone that rivals amps 6 and 7 times its price.
"I predict a frenzy over this amp, as never before have I seen or heard a tube amp this good at such an inexpensive price and in such an easy to use package."--Cliff Cultreri (DAG)
The guitar amplifier built most often by At Mars Amplification is The Specialist. This amp is driven by a pair of 6V6 power tubes with the power supply rectified by the 5Y3 rectifier tube. The front end normally uses a 12AT7 and 12AX7 for the preamp and driver/phase inverter. However, both of these tubes can be substituted with any tube from the 12AU7 family to provide a variety of gain structures based on your preferences. The Specialist is a cathode biased amp and puts out about 15 watts. The combination of the cathode bias and it's uncommon phase inverter makes the amp very touch sensitive. Although normally the amp starts to dirty up at about “3” on the dial, adjusting your pick attack or rolling back your volume knob can take the amp from dirty to clean without the use of a stomp box. The amp responds to how hard or soft your pick attack is, so you can control the amount of distortion with just your fingers and the strings of the guitar.
Although this amp might be considered low power at 15 watts, it is not a practice or bedroom amp. It can be surprisingly loud, especially with efficient speakers. Running the amp half way open is the kind of fun that makes your ears ring. All chassis have eight ohm speaker taps and many have a 16 ohm tap as well, allowing you to run a variety of different speaker configurations.