It's common knowledge among practically all musicians that tube amps - particularly the power amp section - are more reactive and dynamic than solid-state amps. They compress, crunch and produce harmonics in ways solid-state amps simply cannot. In comparison, solid-state amps are often criticized as being "cold", "sterile" and "lifeless". That's why guitarists will gladly shell out thousands of dollars for tube amps when they could get solid-state amps with more features for a few hundred bucks. So is it even possible to capture the characteristics of a tube power amp without shelling out the big bucks and carrying around a 50-lb behemoth? Well, you'll never capture the impact of big speakers moving big air with just a pedal and a 10-watt bedroom amp (sorry, but for that you simply need the power to vibrate the walls), but now you can have the dynamics, compression, crunch and rich harmonic content of a tube amp in a small package.
The only pedal of its kind, the AXiom Power Amp Emulator PAE-1 was created by intensively studying the electrical characteristics of power tubes and tube heads and reproducing their behaviors in a 100% analog stompbox. To be clear, the PAE-1 is NOT an amplifier (it puts out about the same signal level as a loud overdrive or clean boost pedal). It isn't an "overdrive" pedal (and it isn't voiced or meant to be used as one). It isn't a digital modeler with cartoon-like exaggerations of what different tubes are "supposed" to sound like. What it does is emulate the real characteristics of a tube head and make whatever you plug into it seem like it's plugged into a tube power amp. Plug your overdrive pedals or preamp into the PAE-1 and plug the PAE-1 into your solid-state amp and voila: your sterile, lifeless amp now has the dynamics, compression, touch-sensitivity and crunch of a tube head. Or, if you already have a tube amp, use the PAE-1 to give you that cranked tube feel at lower volumes or make your stiff, high-powered head more compressive and reactive.
- 100% analog circuitry
- Captures the dynamics, compression, crunch, distortion and rich harmonic content of a tube power amp.
- A MASTER control that adjusts the signal level into the internal phase-inverter emulator circuitry (just as a tube amp does)
- A FEEDBACK control that adjusts the internal negative feedback level: From no negative feedback at all (like a Vox AC-30) to high level (like a clean Fender).
- A PRESence control configured in the same manner as classic Fender and Marshall amps.
- A POWER control that adjusts the behavior from that of an 18W amp to a higher headroom 100W amp.
- A CHAR control that mimics the dynamic compression and headroom characteristics of different tubes. You can dial from the stiffness and immediacy of solid-state to the full-out compression of EL84s.
- You can set the PAE for the tightness and bass response of fixed bias amps or the compressed, spongy dynamics of cathode biased amps, complete with power supply sag.
- Select single-ended or push-pull configuration. Combined with the BIAS control this allows you to adjust the balance of odd and even harmonics.
- A BIAS control that adjusts the bias smoothly from cold bias to hot (centrally biased). Along with the CONFIG controls, you can go from famous Class A thickness to the bite of Class AB operation.