through a speaker cabinet with several drivers.
Because of this, the MiniMat II’s drive tone is
compelling, but somewhat limited.
Kicking on the boost, I found some great
overdriven lead sounds that reminded me of
Paul Kossoff’s fat tone with Free. However,
even with the boost engaged, the MiniMat
II is not a high-gain, fire-breathing beast. In
terms of preamp gain, I was reminded of
older Supro combo amps.
If you’re a fan of Matamp tone and are looking for a big pristine sound, you’ll need to
explore the company’s higher-wattage heads,
such as the GT1. The MiniMat II doesn’t
have the headroom to produce pristine clean
tones at a significant volume. Even playing a
Fender American Telecaster, I found it difficult to coax a tone out of the MiniMat II that
didn’t have at least a little grit on it.
One thing I’ve noticed playing low-wattage
heads is that the cabinet you run them
through dramatically affects the overall sound.
In fact, with small amps, the cabinet seems to
play a larger role in the sonic equation than it
does with higher-wattage heads. The Matamp
112S cabinet with the G12M Greenback was
a great match for the MiniMat II, because this
semi-open cab delivers a warm, expansive
tone. But after I plugged the MiniMat into a
Krank Revolution Jr. 1x12, the sound became
more defined and focused, with greater projection and aggression. This didn’t surprise
me, given the Krank’s closed-back design and
solid-poplar construction. If you get a chance
to test the MiniMat II, I highly recommend
experimenting with different cabinets, including Matamp’s closed-back models.
The MiniMat II has an astonishing ability to recreate early-’70s overdrive tones at reasonable
volumes. Its lack of versatility might turn off
some players, but in fairness, it isn’t designed
to be a do-all amplifier. With its attenuator
and line out, the MiniMat II is a great amp for
recording distorted guitar tones. If you’re in the
market for a studio head with a British accent,
absolutely give this one a try.
you want to practice or record
with great ’70s overdrive tones.
you demand versatility and/or
or use a mobile
device to read
this QR code to
clips of the amp
in action at premierguitar.com