Amp modules look great, but how would I use them?
November 21, 2012 5:03 PM   Subscribe

I have just come across a business that modifies existing guitar amp modules, (based on Randall MTS modules) which is interesting and neat (see here for an example of them in an interview with Billy Corgan). However, what I don't understand is how I would use one of these in my own rig. They are, but how would I hook them up? Could I use one to drive a speaker cabinet? Do they need to be in an enclosure? Basically, how would I use one of these modules?
posted by awfurby to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Looks like you'd have to have a Randall head or combo unit, which has expansion slots on the front end that you can slide the module into. Here's one example from their photo gallery.

Since it's all analog you could conceivably hook it up like an effects pedal to another amp, but you'd have to be handy with a soldering iron to make that happen, and you'd have to build some kind of enclosure.
posted by echo target at 5:29 PM on November 21, 2012

As Echo Target said, these modules are designed to plug in to Randall's MTS series of amps.
Randall did make this rack mount preamp chassis that could take four of the modules, but it's been discontinued.
posted by zombiedance at 5:51 PM on November 21, 2012

OK but that guy who then mods the modules - I'd still need something to slot them into?
posted by awfurby at 3:13 AM on November 22, 2012

The MTS modules are preamp modules but they are not designed for standalone preamp use. They are missing two critical features of standalone preamps: some kind of standard input/output (1/4", XLR, etc) and a power supply. They have an electrical connector on the rear of the module that handles I/O and power: gold tabs sticking out of module at top of this picture.

They are designed to slot into the Randall MTS line of amplifiers/preamps, or certain Egnater amplifiers (not sure which of those). The Randall/Egnater amp supplies the MTS module with power (correct voltage and current) and contains the inputs (and output in case of RM4 preamp), both through the electrical connector on the rear of module. You can see amplifier side of the connector (blue) in this picture.

All that said, the easiest way to use the modules is to buy a Randall or Egnater amp that uses them.

If you don't want to buy an amp and still want to use them you need to hack together some kind of DIY solution. This would involve finding schematics for modules (some appear to be available), trying to rig up some kind of connector that will work for the I/O and power, or hard wiring those functions to the module (the latter would defeat the swapable nature of the system but would be easiest if you had only one specific module you wanted to use). A brief search shows some people modding their own MTS modules in the same way that Salvation Mods is doing, but no one appears to have duplicated the functionality of the MTS amplifier itself. So you would likely be treading new ground.

This is a doable DIY project but fairly advanced; not a beginner DIY audio project. The hardest part might be sourcing that blue connector, if Randall/Egnater went with a custom part for that.
posted by 6550 at 11:08 PM on November 22, 2012

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