REVIEW: Yamaha THR10C Amplifier

YamahaLike the high gain-oriented THR10X, the Yamaha THR10C is a little 10-watt modelling amp which is designed to take the personal-amp concept to a new level of audio fidelity. It uses Yamaha’s exclusive VCM (Virtual Circuitry Modelling) technology to recreate the response and dynamics of tube amps, combined with a bunch of useful effects which are carefully voiced for maximum flexibility with a minimum of control-fiddling. But unlike the THR10X, the THR10C is aimed at players who require more of a boutique amp approach. Instead of a selection of amps voiced for extreme gain, the THR10C is aimed squarely at players who need boutique-vibed cleans and overdrives.

The THR10C’s channels are Deluxe, Class A, US Blues, Brit Blues, Mini, Bass, Acoustic (which features microphone simulation) and Flat. The effects are split into modulation and ambient streams: Chorus, Flanger, Phaser and Tremolo accessible on the Effect control, and Tape Echo, Tape Echo/Reverb, Spring Reverb and Hall Reverb on the DLY/Reverb knob. Amp controls are Gain, Master, Bass, Middle, Treble, Guitar Output and USB/Aux Output. There are five buttons for accessing user memories, a Tap Tempo/Tuner switch for either syncing the effects up to the tempo of your song or making sure you’re in tune, and the inputs are a standard mono jack for the guitar, a standard stereo headphone jack, stereo mini Aux In, and a USB jack. The speakers are a pair of 8cm full-range five-watt units, and the amp’s cool 50s-inspired livery is accentuated by charming mood lighting which conjures the vibe of a glowing tube amp – although of course there aren’t any real tubes in there. The unit is powered by an AC adaptor or AA batteries, and along with the required adaptor you also get a USB cable, stereo mini cable, owner’s manual (I like having a printed manual in a world where more and more companies are moving to online manuals) and a DVD-ROM with Cubase AI recording software. Hook the THR10C up to your computer via USB and you can access further controls such as Compressor and Noise Gate, and use it as an audio interface and speakers for your computer.

I plugged in my Taylor SolidBody Standard Double Cutaway with three Taylor HD Mini Humbuckers and let ‘er rip. The THR10C never approaches anything you’d qualify as ‘distortion.’ Its highest gain setting is still very much around the ‘vintage overdrive’ point on the spectrum. But that’s what makes it so great: those overdrives feel extremely natural and responsive. Yamaha has obviously put a lot of work and thought into the voicings of each amp model, and they’re all brilliant. The Mini amp model is great for Jeff Beck-style lead (think “Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers”) while Brit Blues does a great David Gilmour. US Blues is killer for SRV-style semi-Hendrixian chord work, and Class A is packed with great chime. Deluxe is a nice all-round blues or country model. And the effects really work well in this context, especially the Tape Echo and Hall Reverb. They seem to have more room to breathe compared to the THR10X, and the Hall Reverb really aids in the illusion of depth and realism.

For this reason, the THR10C is the perfect choice for the traditional player who wants traditional tones but is not scared to cross into the world of presets and USB plugs. It’s an incredibly fun amplifier to play, and while the tones may not be exactly the same as plugging into an actual vintage tube amp, they’re close enough for jamming and practice purposes that they can really put you in the mental zone to pull off those bluesier, rootsier styles with authenticity and attitude.

Yamaha THR10C