Omsk is a faraway place in Siberia; I know nothing about it and would never dare to attempt to pronounce it in public. When I was a child during the tail end of The Cold War, Siberia was a remote G.I. Joe fantasyland that involved tigers, prison camps and mowing down hordes of disposable “enemies” with hyper-realistic-looking black plastic machine guns. Ah, the good ol’ days of Reagan-era youth eh? I digress. These days, Siberia has a whole other meaning for me outside of childish stereotype. Now, I think of AMT Electronics and how I am gassing to get my hands on some of their action-packed gear. The units even have that hardcore, no nonsense industrial-military aesthetic appeal—mixed with neon colors—that draws an ‘80s kid towards it like I imagine a real-life Proton Pack would.
I have heard countless online demos of the modular amp-in-a-stompbox offerings and they all sound tube-like and awesome. Sergei Marichev is one of those few builders that can claim real-deal mil-spec to his designs and his gear is birthed from what I call “Mother Russia Necessity,” meaning he came from an artistically oppressive time and place where he was forced to actually build his own gear from scratch to express himself. The man has an army of units marching in his vast product line. Preamps, mini-wahs, overdrives, distortions, modulations, reverbs, routing accessories, speaker cabs and anything else one cares to add to the list, but one unit has me crippled with curiosity—the AMT StoneHead SH-100R. This isn’t out yet, but it looks to be the solid-state-of-the-art. The specs are only in Russian at the time of this writing, but it appears to be a four channel, two-rack-space amp with every feature a pedalhead could ever wish for crammed into it. I bet Buzz Osborne would rock a StoneHead without a flinch.
Blowing Up the Stereotypes
This is a global market world we live in. Us lads and ladies who are into creative business and pleasure ventures need to stick together because all of us are doing this for the love. Ironically, the gear for making music seems to be more profitable than actually making music with it, but if we support each other and buy quality gear from quality builders the world over everyone wins. Next time someone says it’s crap because it isn’t made in the USA or UK, stick a box from one of these builders in front of them and tell them to engage reality. Price, pride and prejudice have nothing to do with good tone. Great minds and great gear have everything to do with it. Over and out.