About the Audio Kitchen Little Chopper
We were first told about Audio Kitchen from a pro guitar technician who is a good friend of Tone World, he simply said 'You HAVE to hear these amps'. A quick look at the Audio Kitchen artist list reveals these are some seriously well respected amplifiers (AC/DC, The Killers, Blur, Kings of Leon to name a few)
As soon as we plugged into the Little Chopper we fell in love and we are sure you will too.
The Little Chopper is an amp whose diminutive stature belies its vast wealth of exquisite sounds.
Based around an ECC81 and ECC83 in the preamp and EL84 power amp, the tones range from ultimate 'American' cleans, through classic British chime and grunt, all the way out the other side to Crazy-Horse style scuzz.
Controls on the front panel are Gain, Bass, Middle, Top, Stack, Power.
Gain - This does what might be expected. It has the same function as the Volume or Gain control on early Non-Master volume amplifiers.
Bass, Middle, Top - The tone stack is very flexible and with interactivity between its controls, ensures multitudinous timbral variation.
Stack - This is a little trickier. In the counter-clockwise position the Bass, Middle and Top (BMT) controls behave as normal, but in the clockwise position the whole of the BMT is stripped out and just the Top control re-purposed as a high end roll-off.
When your typical BMT stack is set to what appears 'Flat', in actual frequency response terms the Mids are scooped and the Lows and Highs are hyped. Having the BMT stack in there also attenuates the signal to quite a large degree, so when it is replaced by the high end roll-off there is a gain boost and an apparent mid boost.
Power - This is a lot trickier. Full Clockwise the amp behaves like a standard non-master volume amp, but as the continuously variable control is wound anti-clockwise it decreases the headroom of the power amp, thus introducing harmonic distortion in the power amp and reducing the volume. This is an invaluable tool for tone creation and is part of the reason this amp has found its way into the hearts of many of the top guitarists and record producers on the planet.
Audio Kitchen make amplifiers which look handsome and make hairs stand up on the back of your neck.
Steve Crow designs Audio Kitchen amplifiers and his typically self-deprecatory and diffident manner mean that he has never made a hard-sell in his life; he prefers to let people make up their own minds, and take their time over it. So much effort and care is spent in design and hand assembly, that not to allow time for careful consideration is anathema. Any kind of pressure (time, salesman, peer) will tend to inhibit liberty in experimentation, which is a large part of the creativity we try to foster. This approach is valued by our customers because it gives them freedom to begin discovering some of the wonderful sounds that can be found in our products, but it also makes them feel valued as opposed to just 'another box shifted'.
Audio Kitchen amplifiers are not sold on the strength of buzz-words or high powered advertising, but on the calibre of the sounds and craftsmanship. We use the highest quality components, materials and techniques, but rather than rely on component brands to convey a sense of refinement, we prefer to let existing clients use their ears and tell prospective customers how they feel through our Users page. Obviously there is no substitute for playing an amplifier for yourself, and we are reticent to sell to anyone who has not had direct contact with one, but presently it is the most transparent introduction we can give. Believe what you hear, not what you are told