In an increasingly airbrushed, homogenized, and antiseptic world, it’s easy to forget that you can’t always model the magic
of pushing an amp beyond its limits. The
visceral impact of an amp ready to blow
is always an inspiration to me. And the
funky character that the Evil Robot communicated in this operating environment
was right up my alley.
The Evil Robot is overflowing with
potential for many kinds of players. It
doesn’t do modern scooped mids or endless
high gain. But it’s uncommonly responsive
to pick attack, drive, and dynamics. The
simple but effective circuit and excellent
vibrato is more than enough to justify
the price, and from what I witnessed, this
amp is built to last. It’s almost impossible
to capture the mojo of an amp as battle-scarred as Phil X’s Tonemaster. But this
amp will certainly outperform the original
in terms of stability and power. Coming
together on a project that many people
have been asking for, Kasha, Brass, and
Phil X have done an outstanding job.
to clean up the tone or coax a little grit.
I also found that it was great for refining
and exploring the details and dynamics of
hybrid picking. If you’re a stickler for precision, the Evil Robot will reward the detail
and touch in your technique. Likewise, it
certainly won’t help hide your mistakes if
you’re a sloppy player.
Probing the capabilities of the 3-way
voicing switch, I found the Mellow setting
quite dark. With the Tone backed down it
was a little too mellow for my tastes. But
with the Tone at its mid setting, the amp
gave me a little more top-end bite that was
great for jazz chording and leads.
The Normal setting opened up the
ER considerably, and I spent most of
my time tinkering with the amp in this
mode. Without dedicated bass and treble
controls, it can be a balancing act to get
precisely the voice you’re looking for. But
it’s never difficult to get a great sound, and
the range is still quite wide—especially for
a low-power amp.
It’s worth noting that the 3-way
switch is only a 3-way on Channel A. On
Channel B, you only have the use of high
and low tone settings. And the 3-way
switch is constrained by the Tone knob
in the sense that you must back the Tone
down to 4 o’clock or so to engage the
Normal and Mellow modes. It’s a quirky
circuit, but useful and expressive once you
get the hang of things.
Moving on to a Fender Strat revealed
the Evil Robot’s range of clean tones and
spank. I got all the quack you’d ever want
out of the bridge-plus-middle pickup
position, and the neck pickup was biting,
chiming tonal bliss—perfect for serious
chicken pickin’. In the same mode, I tried
my Creation Audio Labs Holy Fire pedal to
see how the amp sounded in high-gain territory. With the extra boost, the Evil Robot
howled, screamed, and kicked its way into
beautiful fits of musical rage where rich
harmonic feedback knocked me off my
feet. Meanwhile, a Richmond Dorchester
wired with Lace Alumitones helped me
crank out some gutsy slide tones that could
run with the dirtiest old, vintage combos.
One of the really special bonuses of the
Evil Robot is the fantastic Vibrato circuit.
It can be taken out of the chain any time
with the included footswitch, but I found
myself pretty addicted to the effect over
time. Unlike a lot of vibrato circuits, it
doesn’t overpower the signal, but remains
strong as notes fade. And belting out big
power chords or ripping lead lines with
a tasteful, controlled vibrato blend really
expanded the amps available colors.
you want funky, cool, retro tones
and more in a stable, solid, compact
bells, whistles, knobs, and FX loops
are an absolute necessity.
or use a mobile device to download
audio examples of the amp at