Mini Amp Gizmo

I posted about this thing almost a year ago, and I finally broke down and got one. Anyway, it’s a little box that uses MIDI data to control a multichannel amp. In other words, you hit a switch on a MIDI controller, and the Mini Amp Gizmo switches to a previously configured amp setting.

You can use any MIDI controller that you want, but like the video I’m using my Line 6 M9. The M9 has 6 buttons, so you have the option of selecting from up to 6 different “scenes” at a time. Each scene can have up to 3 effects activated at any given time, and using it with the Amp Gizmo allows you to assign amp settings as well.

For example, we do an STP song called Army Ants that has this cleanish tone that has phaser and delay on it, and I have to go immediately to a heavy distorted tone with no effects. Normally, this would mean hitting a couple of switches on the M9, then hitting the amp footswitch to change to the rhythm channel as well as turn the FX loop off. That’s a lot of tapping, and forget about trying to play at the same time. I have done it, but it’s really awkward and I almost always screw something up.

In that song, I have to make the following changes:
Intro: Clean/FX Loop on/Boost off/Phaser/Delay
Verse/Chorus: Rhythm/FX Loop off/Boost on
Interlude: Clean/FX Loop on/Boost off/Phaser/Delay
Solo: Lead/FX Loop on/Boost on/Delay
Chorus/Outro: Rhythm/FX Loop off/Boost on

That’s a lot of switching back and forth, and it’s kind of insane. However, with the amp gizmo, I only have to tap one switch to go from clean/phaser/delay to heavy rhythm to lead/delay, etc. It allows me to focus on the music rather than on what buttons I have to hit.

Setup is slightly more complicated than simply plugging in my guitar>pedalboard>amp, but it’s not that bad. I run my guitar into my board (which goes tuner/wah/dist/boost), my board goes into my amp, and the M9 is in the amp’s FX loop (Amp FX loop send>M9 in>M9 out>Amp FX Loop return). A MIDI cable goes from the M9 to the Mini Amp Gizmo, which connects to the amp’s footswitch jack. I “made” a little cable snake by wire-tying the cables together and color-coding all the cable/jacks so that setup is just a matter of matching the colors. It takes about a minute to be up and running.