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One Amp or Two? The Lehle Little Dual

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This post I will share some experimenting I have been doing with the Little Lehle Dual Switcher. The Little Lehle is made in Germany by Lehle Gitarrentechnik, a company founded by Burkhard Georg Lehle. The company makes a line of switches and loopers that give you quiet, noise-free, switching for various configurations of amps and instruments.

The Little Lehle Dual is a stereo pedal. The company describes the product as a “maximum signal-fidelity amp switcher” and it certainly lives up to the claim. With a combination of gold-plated relays and switches and an on-board LTHZ transformer, the pedal is ultra quiet in operation with AC or DC input. (8-20-volt) polarity is of no importance!

Many of you might have experimented with using two guitar amps from stereo pedals or just in tandem to beef up your wall of sound. One of the difficulties that we face when using two amps is a ground loop hum.  This might be tolerable at “home practice” levels, but out in the club or theatre at louder volumes it becomes unacceptable. Some recommend lifting the ground plug on one amp with an adaptor. That might work, but there is high risk of electric shock, especially if you are singing through a PA that is connected to a different circuit in the club. Any of you who have experienced a good zap to the lips from a mic during a show will testify that this is not the way to go!

With two electrically-isolated ins and outs, the Little Dual allows you to have two amps running simultaneously with your sound. Another mode of operation is to connect your stereo output from, say, a digital reverb or delay left and right to the two inputs of the Little Dual out through the two outputs to two different amps (with no hum!). You might set it up to A/B between two different types of amps for different applications, such as a Marshall amp for the rock songs and a Fender amp for the blues songs. You can even use the two inputs for two different pickup types simultaneously, e.g. acoustic pickup and a magnetic pickup. It is an amazing little product that opens up a realm of possibilities for not much pedalboard real estate. Through the years, I have experimented with many A/B boxes and I am very, very  happy with the Little Dual. Solid, sturdy build, with whisper quiet operation.

So now the end result is that I have been experimenting with using lower wattage dual amp configurations in lieu of higher powered single amp rigs. I really love the sound of the 40w-50w combos. It feels to me like higher power pushes the sound to something more physical (and dangerous!). In addition, the smaller combos need little in the way of pushing to get them to that proverbial “sweet spot.” Usually more than 45w provokes stage-volume confrontation with your sound engineer!

I have an Allston Combo and a Tremulator made by Rob Lohr of Allston Amps in Boston. The Allston Combo is a clean platform amp with a Master Volume that allows you dial in clean to overdriven sounds with Reverb. The Tremulator is a clean platform amp with Tremolo and Reverb with no master volume. Both amps are around 45w of great tone.

For louder gigs, using both amps with the Little Lehle provides a bigger sound without getting into painful volume levels. Having two separate 12-inch speakers in separate amps working at 45w each, gives me a much bigger sound without the need for ear plugs if in close proximity to the speaker. In addition, I  find that my playing in this configuration is a little more consistent. This might be because the sound is very familiar, since I play the lower power amps regularly at home when I am practicing.

Please post and share all of your dual amp experiences and recommendations in the comments section.

Here is a video of Kurt Rosenwinkle talking about Lehle products:

About
Born in the UK, and raised in the West Indies, Thaddeus Hogarth is an Associate Professor in the Guitar department at Berklee College of Music.
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