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View Full Version : Excellent new amp for uke - Gerald Ross



Gerald Ross
10-27-2013, 07:11 AM
Just picked up an amazing amp for the uke or acoustic guitar. I got it at Elderly Instruments this morning. The Yamaha THR5A. I already own a THR10 but was blown away by the 5A. The 10 emulates famous electric guitar amplifiers (Fender, Marshall etc.) while the 5A emulates microphones (condenser, dynamic, tube). The 5A sounds incredible with my uke, guitar and even electric lap steel. Best of all it's 2 pounds lighter, 4" shorter than the 10. It only weighs 4 pounds. Fit's in my suitcase when I fly!


http://www.acousticguitar.com/Gear/Reviews/Yamaha-THR5A-Review

Lori
10-27-2013, 07:41 PM
Thanks for the link. It looks very interesting. The fake tube glow is kind of friendly and fun.

–Lori

PhilUSAFRet
10-27-2013, 11:59 PM
Thanks for sharing.

consitter
10-28-2013, 12:16 AM
Just picked up an amazing amp for the uke or acoustic guitar. I got it at Elderly Instruments this morning. The Yamaha THR5A. I already own a THR10 but was blown away by the 5A. The 10 emulates famous electric guitar amplifiers (Fender, Marshall etc.) while the 5A emulates microphones (condenser, dynamic, tube). The 5A sounds incredible with my uke, guitar and even electric lap steel. Best of all it's 2 pounds lighter, 4" shorter than the 10. It only weighs 4 pounds. Fit's in my suitcase when I fly!


http://www.acousticguitar.com/Gear/Reviews/Yamaha-THR5A-Review

To Mr. Ross....

Would it be worth selling my Roland AC-33 to purchase this?

coolkayaker1
10-28-2013, 12:19 AM
Does it cost a lot of dough, Gerald?

consitter
10-28-2013, 12:28 AM
Does it cost a lot of dough, Gerald?

I looked it up...$200

teruterubouzu
10-28-2013, 12:52 AM
Ooh, this is nice. I think you just made my Christmas shopping a little easier.

Fred Leask
10-28-2013, 02:18 AM
I own one of these amps and I agree with Gerald it is indeed an excellent amp.

Barbablanca
10-28-2013, 02:49 AM
I was in the market for a small acoustic amp. This looks like it fits the bill nicely, thanks.

Has anyone who owns one tried passing the signal on to a bigger amp (using the Yamaha amp as a pre-amp)?
I am thinking of a situation in which you could use it on stage and pass its output into the mixer. Is that possible? Effective?

Kayak Jim
10-28-2013, 02:59 AM
From the linked review in Acoustic Guitar it seems it's a "bedroom, living room or studio" amp, not powerful enough for busking, or performance.

FiL
10-28-2013, 03:06 AM
I was in the market for a small acoustic amp. This looks like it fits the bill nicely, thanks.

Has anyone who owns one tried passing the signal on to a bigger amp (using the Yamaha amp as a pre-amp)?
I am thinking of a situation in which you could use it on stage and pass its output into the mixer. Is that possible? Effective?

There is no XLR output.

- FiL

Barbablanca
10-28-2013, 03:31 AM
I noticed that, but I was wondering if anyone had used the phones output connected to an amp. Or is that not advisable?

Gerald Ross
10-28-2013, 06:59 AM
I've never tried the headphone output jack as a line-out or even a headphone :) So I can't answer the question.

In terms of volume, the THR5A is plenty loud for around-the-house and small acoustic jam sessions. By itself in a loud amplified setting (bandstand, concert) it cannot compete with a drum set, electric guitar and bass, brass etc. But, last summer I played in Bethesda, MD at the Strathmore Uke/Guitar summit. At the outdoor concert (about 2000 people in the audience) I used a THR10 (same wattage, speakers, etc. as the THR5A) - the sound person placed a microphone in front of the THR10, fed the signal through the sound board and it sounded like a huge amp and filled the entire concert area with clean undistorted sound.

Someone asked, "should I sell my Roland AC-33?" The AC-33 has bigger speakers and functions better on batteries.

There is a battery issue with the THR5A and all THR amps when running solely on battery power. The entire amp will shut off if you turn the volume up too high or if you hit a particularily loud note or chord. Yamaha knows about this flaw in design and refuses to do anything about it. Because of this I only use the amp plugged into AC. The THR amps function fine on AC - no shut offs. Roland battery powered amps do not have this problem.

Gerald Ross
10-30-2013, 10:26 AM
Update on battery issue.

Two nights ago I installed 8 fresh AA batteries. The amp worked beautifully at all volumes. I say I have about 3-4 hours of playing time on these cells and the am is still going strong. I did some research and most people use eneloop rechargeables with these amps. Eneloops are supposed to last much longer and are cheaper in the long run (rechargeable). I have a set of 8 heading my way via FedEx. Will report back my results.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/995692-REG/sanyo_hr_mqn10a4n_eneloop_xx_aa_battery.html

bonesigh
10-30-2013, 02:01 PM
Thanks for this post Gerald. It's very helpful. I was at Strathmore for the classes. You sounded great at the concert btw (:

Kayak Jim
10-30-2013, 03:09 PM
So the amp cutting out problem/ design flaw is related to what type of batteries are used?

Gerald Ross
10-30-2013, 04:32 PM
From what I've read there is a circuit in the design of the THR amps that shut down the amp if the electricity powering it falls below a certain level. The amp shuts off instead of just sounding quieter and quieter or more distorted or whatever. Apparently these eneloop batteries have more power and discharge their juice slower as opposed to typical AA batteries. So with AA batteries the THR just sucks the life out of them quicker and faster at loud volumes. Not so with the eneloops. I'll test out that theory this weekend and report back.

Gerald Ross
10-31-2013, 02:56 AM
Again, let me make it clear...

The shut-off ONLY OCCURS WHEN ON BATTERY POWER.

When you are plugged into the wall and using AC the amp functions beautifully 100% of the time.

I'll report the results of my new rechargeable high-powered batteries next week.

Captain America
10-31-2013, 04:23 AM
Folks, if you haven't seen Mr. Ross' videos on YouTube you are missing a real treat!

amazing stuff, very well done, and wonderful song selection.

mailman
10-31-2013, 04:26 AM
If I understand things correctly, this Yamaha amp will power an instrument, but not and instrument and a vocal mic. Is this not another difference between it and the Roland AC-33? I own neither, and don't understand amps well, but I'm trying to get it figured out....

Gerald Ross
10-31-2013, 04:39 AM
The Roland AC-33 had two separate input channels. You can simultaneously power a uke and a microphone each with it's own volume, bass, treble etc. Or you can power two instruments with the same.

The Yamaha THR5A can only power one instrument or microphone (XLR to 1/4" adapter needed). You can also input an iPod, iPad, mp3 player and jam along with it. In that case the volume/tone of the iPod is controlled by the the iPod - the THR5A only amplifies the sound.

A big difference is in the weight of the two amps. This is very important when flying and luggage weight is restricted. The AC-33 weighs in at 10.5 pounds. The THR5A is only 4 pounds.

Gerald Ross
11-02-2013, 06:20 AM
Loaded the THR5 with Sanyo 2500 maH XX eneloop rechargeable batteries.
The amp does NOT shut off. I think this is the solution to the issue.

The batteries come in 4 packs with charger for about $30. They can be
Recharged 500 times. So in the long run they are cheaper than disposables.

I found out about envelops from Rock guitarists who use THR amps. They
Use much digital distortion, compression etc. which are real battery killers.
My little Uke with a touch of reverb uses much less. Eneloops are the way
To go. Now I have to make sure I don't lose or misplace them.

AndrewKuker
11-02-2013, 08:24 AM
A few features not mentioned (at least from what I saw) for those comparing
USB connection and bundled with Cubase
Tap tempo delay
Chromatic Tuner

Kayak Jim
11-02-2013, 09:22 AM
Eneloops are my battery of choice for everything.

Note Gerald's test was with eneloop XX. Regular eneloops are only 2000 mAh.

iDavid
11-03-2013, 01:18 AM
I am currently debating between the THRA and the THR10c and could use some input. The THR10c has the bass setting which I need and the flat setting has a mic simulation on it unlike the original THR10. I will be using a Godin uke and a MonkeyWrench steal string as well. I am hoping I can get a good nylon string sound out of the THR10c, but am afraid I might need the THR5A as well.

thoughts?

UkeKiddinMe
11-03-2013, 02:28 AM
Thanks for posting that.

The effects sound very good.

My take:
- Strange looking.
- If the USB added much to the cost, they should do a version without it.
- Should have had an XLR out.
- Sounds great.
- Bonus points for cool lights. :cool:

Here's another nice demo:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yxSUr2RPkgA

Very nice. Might be in my future.

Gerald Ross
11-03-2013, 04:56 AM
When I first saw the THR amps a year and a half ago I thought the same... very strange looking. I didn't care for the aesthetics. Since then the looks have grown on me and the rectangular shape packs easier and takes up less space in my suitcase when I fly to gigs.

iDavid
11-03-2013, 10:28 AM
I am currently debating between the THRA and the THR10c and could use some input. The THR10c has the bass setting which I need and the flat setting has a mic simulation on it unlike the original THR10. I will be using a Godin uke and a MonkeyWrench steal string as well. I am hoping I can get a good nylon string sound out of the THR10c, but am afraid I might need the THR5A as well.

thoughts?

anyone have some ideas?

Gerald Ross
11-03-2013, 12:16 PM
iDavid - in terms of the Bass setting. You aren't going to get wall shaking, gut thumping bass out of the 3" speakers on any of the THR amps. You'll get some nice tones but only at very low volumes. The Godin uke has a piezo pickup in it. The THR5A is geared towards piezo pickups. The other THR amps are geared more towards magnetic (humbucking/single coil) pickups. If you live in a major city I suggest you take your Godin to your local Guitar Center and try out each of the amps. Your ear will tell you what to buy. The 10's have some nice extras (but also at $100 more) like a separate volume control for the AUX input (nice to have when connecting an iPod) - 5 presets to store your favorite settings at a touch of a button - but thats about it. They are all 10 watts including the 5A. Some people claim the 10's have a fuller sound because of the larger cabinet size... maybe so.

iDavid
11-28-2013, 03:18 AM
Finally got to play my Godin through the THR-5A and the THR-10. The 5A made the Godin sound amazing. The only setting I really didn't like was teh nylon setting, go figure. The THR-10 didn't really cut it for a true acoustic tone. I wish they made an amp that combined the two, so I could use it for my acoustic and electric ukes.