Something like 8 years ago, I bought an AXL ThinAmp DSP10 – a portable battery-powered amplifier. At the time I was making a lot of use of my guitar-synth; which works, of course, if you can plug it into something. As most of the places I played (filk and non-filk) were predominantly acoustic venues, I thought this would do the trick.
Indeed it did, and for a couple of years, I loved it. While not a patch on my Trace Acoustic amp (naturally), it had the advantage that it was lighter than a laptop, didn’t need mains power, and didn’t look like an amp – which meant I didn’t get snooty looks from the true acoustic people. And it did have 10Watts, although I don’t ever think I played it at full volume.
Unfortunately, the battery pack proved to be pants, and within a year, it was barely holding a charge. A replacement was going to cost a fortune, so I hesitated, and when I next looked the batteries were no longer available. The ThinAmp disappeared from the market soon after.
A portable battery-powered amplifier isn’t much use without a battery; so the ThinAmp got put away in its case, and stored away with the rest of my no-longer-used kit; and there it has sat for years.
Recently, playing with one of my stick dulcimers – the electro-acoustic one – I have been plugging it into my Trace amp to experiment with. But the Trace is a lump, and I tired of constantly tidying it away. I realised that the ThinAmp would do the trick, plugged straight into its wall-wart.
Now back-track a few months; I recently bought a cheap 3 quid battery case to hold 8 x 1.5V AA batteries as portable power for my Yamaha Tenori-On. I had been playing with the Tenori-On at the weekend, so it and the battery pack were on the table, as I plugged my ThinAmp in. I wondered…
Yep, it seems an 8 x AA pack can power the ThinAmp just as well (better, even) than the 40 quid custom battery. I’ve been playing with it for a couple of hours, power is still good and the pack isn’t even warm. Of course, AA batteries are cheap enough, but even better will be a set of rechargeables. If I can get a couple of hours play out of a single charge, I’ll be happy enough, I suspect I will get a lot more than that.
So my ThinAmp has just been given a new lease of life. Beats sitting in the garage.