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EHX 22 Caliber - Bullseye or Near Miss?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by spankdaplank, Apr 9, 2010.

  1. spankdaplank


    Jan 19, 2003
    I recently bought an Electro Harmonix 22 Caliber micro amplifier on Ebay, mostly out of curiosity. Yes, this thing is incredibly small and from the video it looks like it works pretty well for guitar:

    But I wanted to know if it could be used as a bass "head".

    First of all this thing is TINY, even with the tabletop style power supply included. It has only a volume control and a bright switch; there is no on off on the unit or power supply. There are power on LED's on both the amp and its power supply. On the unit it says"8 to 16 ohm speaker only", the manual and on the video say 4 ohms is okay.

    I tested this using my ATK 750 which is an active bass capable of a pretty wide range of tones. For speakers I have a Fitzmaurice DR250 and Tuba24, also an EV 15" , part of a'70's B15.

    With the bass straight to the 22 Cal. through the DR250 alone, the sound was very thin and dry (like my first wife). I tried a bunch of different pedals in front of this amp to fatten things up. Unfortunately I have already traded my VT Bass away in anticipation of getting the VT Deluxe. Probably a VT Bass would be the best match.

    I tried these pedals and pre's: EHX Knockout, BBE Sonic Stomp, Aphex Bass Exciter, Ampeg SVP Pro, Sansamp BDDI and a Nathan East-Yamaha NE 1. Basically they all worked pretty good tonewise and it was just matter of taste which one to pick.

    Predictably, if the volume control on the 22 Cal. was too high things would start to get muddy and then distort on the low notes.

    Here is where it got interesting; when I connected the T24, this little amp actually got into pants flapping range. The single 15 had similar results to the DR250 by itself.

    Some conclusions: It sounds a lot better with a 4 ohm load. It needs some kind of eq to sound good. It never got above room temp no matter how hard I spanked it. It survived a complete smoke test due to my sloppiness hooking things up such as shorted output, no speaker connected, connect speaker while on. Every time I screwed up it went into the protect mode and reset safely on power down.

    Is it a cool little amp or a pricey toy? I don't know. Until I figure out how to build an inflatable speaker cab, no matter how small the amp is you are still stuck with a relatively large box to carry in order to take advantage of its surprising power.

    One last idea: given all that empty space in the 22 Caliber's case, it seems to be begging for a Flipster circuit to be shoehorned in there, which would make it a compete Pico bass head.
  2. Taylor Livingston

    Taylor Livingston Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    Oregon, US
    Owner, Iron Ether Electronics
    Very neat. I had wondered whether that amount of power would even be useful for home use. I'm not a 1500 watts-kind-of-guy, but 22 seems like it would be on the edge of usability (particularly since you can't dime it without distortion). I guess pairing it with one of BFM's ultra-efficient cabs is precisely the way to go with something like this.

    The build looks pretty nice. EHX used to be quirky and fun but with some flaws in construction. Their new stuff looks very nicely and cleverly constructed. The little spring that grounds the enclosure without having to solder to it is a very slick touch.
  3. spankdaplank


    Jan 19, 2003
    Like you said - 22 watts is the edge of usability - no matter what external elements are used to enhance its function.
    But if it is a toy, I think it's a really cool one
  4. jam.majors


    Mar 24, 2009
    Louisville, Ky
    Look at all that empty space! I say toss in several more of whatever it is they use for the juice (labeled 330?) and crank up some more power!

    But it is a neat little deal. If I played electric any, I'd certainly think about it; 22 watts is enough to hurt an ear or two.
  5. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    my b-15 only does 25w and it can get me loud enough to get yelled at by bowzer now and then ;) looks like a nice little backup if you have a separate pre. it would at least get you through a gig with pa if your amp crapped out. better than nothing, as they say ;)

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