Those who know Mitch Colby are well aware of his preoccupation with guitar amplifier tone. As a key member of Korg USA’s team for more than 30 years, Colby helped guide the direction of two amplifier brands: VOX and Marshall. As a collector, gear aficionado and technician, he has stayed at the forefront of guitar amps his whole life, with an insatiable curiosity and drive to search for the perfect tone. And as a set of ears, he is second to none.
Now, enter COLBY Amps. His lifelong pursuit of the ideal amp (aesthetically, structurally, feature-set-wise and, of course, tonally) has led him to create this new line of hand-wired boutique units. The first COLBY Amps to be unveiled are the dual-channel dtb, “dual tone booster” heads. These amps were developed in close collaboration with veteran guitarist Jim Weider (The Band). The dtb50 and dtb100 heads, with their pure tube and meticulously prepared signal path, have a rich feature set.
The two models took more than two years of tonal development before they were finalized. The main goal was to build (in Colby’s words) “tone-to-the-bone” channel switching amps with two channels, each with its own dedicated tone controls suitable for any playing situation, whether recording, live or at home. Colby and Weider carefully selected components critical to the tone, including resistors, capacitors, transformers, chassis and tubes, so that the amps reflect the sounds of sparkle, fullness, compression, body, focused gain, smooth feel and touch sensitivity that they had in mind. Weider’s involvement was so crucial that Colby decided to have him put his signature on the back of each unit.
According to Colby, “My designs are not simple, but a few things were of paramount importance to the outcome: the control panel had to be easy to understand and operate; nothing was done if it would compromise tone in any way; and every feature has to be useful to the player.”
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