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Gelf Hybrid Mini Lead Or Bass

AmpCheck


Gelf weighs in at a mere n-n-nineteen pounds

Gelf Electronics have travelled a long road since the heady days of the early '70s when the likes of Deep Purple, Elton John, Status Quo and Paul McCartney were beating a regular path to their fine PA mixers.

Business (as fickle as fate ever was) turned sour when competition proved too strong and Gelf were forced to lower their sights, concentrate on smaller mixers and on custom work for bands. Six years ago Gelf built a pre-amp for Peter Townshend which sounded so impressive driven through 3x1 kilowatt Crowns that they started giving serious thought to manufacturing guitar amps.

The Hybrid Mini was constructed on the same lines as the pre-amp and since its launching 18 months ago, the reactions have been only favourable.

Its output is 21 watts before the onset of clipping, which although categorises it under the trainer/practise combo heading, does have the consistent quality often lacking in much larger equipment. Its very light (19lbs) enclosed cabinet is misleading because construction is strong and rugged with the added insurance of corner protectors large enough to nearly meet on the side edges of the unit. Components at the right price, maybe, but it does cause difficulty when removing the back panel.

The Hybrid's controls are exclusively on the front panel and are simple, direct and responsive. Its single input and volume control will match any guitar type, and even when cranked right up on the Master pot the signal-to-noise ratio is good.

The three-band, boost only eq pots are sensitive and give a swing of ± 12dB at 120 Hz on the bass; ± 15dB at 800 Hz on the mid, and ± 15dB at 8kHz on the treble pot. The essential tone of the Hybrid is of a mid nature but boosting the bass gives warmth and depth, while at the other end of the spectrum 'bite' rather than 'anaemia' can be achieved by winding the treble up.

Conscientious



To find good tonal quality in a unit this size is not unusual, but Gelf have gone to conscientious lengths to extract the best results from their product. Experiments with open back and semi-open enclosures proved unsatisfactory and the decision to opt for an enclosed cabinet certainly seems to be the right one, particularly when regarding the substance and richness of the overdrive. Valve sound distortion on a combo this size is a very positive eyebrow raiser and is not usually associated with products in this range. Gelf have used a Mosfet power-amp as the basis for their authentic valve sound, the Celestion 10" driver handling it all comfortably and as always, with honest response. I felt that at times the overdrive signal sounded a little 'squashed' but this is understandable considering the size of the cabinet.

The headphone socket is a standard stereo jack type and Hybrid offer alternative models with slave or DI outputs. The two-way power switch completes the front panel controls.

Gelf have approached the marketing of the Hybrid with as much good sense as their design and construction methods. They decided to build to a predetermined price rather than fix the price after the product was made. Although theoretically this could cause restrictions regarding choice of components, ultimately affecting the quality, Gelf have succeeded in maintaining a high standard at a price that is well within the bounds of 'reasonable'.

The basic Hybrid concept has been expanded to suit a dual channel 100 watt combo (the 1200 reverb) with the added extra of a three-spring Accutronics reverb unit. Although I have yet to hear it, an upgraded version of the Hybrid sounds attractive but at £383.32 inc VAT must be one serious-bit-of-plant to warrant such a hefty price.

Conclusions



FOR: Sound; valve-type overdrive, versatility, weight

AGAINST: Back panel access, limitations of small enclosure.

The Hybrid Mini is lightweight, strong, tonally versatile and comes in lead or bass models. It delivers enough punch in either clean or distorted modes to satisfy the first-time buyer in his living room or the seasoned pro needing to make last minute tunings/checks in his dressing room.

The price is healthily competitive and if Gelf can maintain the standard established in the Hybrid Mini, their future in the marketplace can only be positive.

RRP: £99.82



Previous Article in this issue

Yamaha DX100

Next article in this issue

Simmons MTM


International Musician & Recording World - Copyright: Cover Publications Ltd, Northern & Shell Ltd.

 

International Musician - Feb 1986

Review by Paul Francis

Previous article in this issue:

> Yamaha DX100

Next article in this issue:

> Simmons MTM


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