DG Player (Yamaha website 2000)
Allan Holdsworth & DG Technology
Allan Holdsworth doesn't compromise. From his early days as a British session ace and jazz-rock trailblazer, through his current reign as one of electric guitar's most original stylists, Holdsworth has pursued his maverick visions with scant concern for commercial success or musical fads. We spoke to him shortly after he completed work on his next solo release, The 16 Men of Train.
"This could be the beginning of a whole new thing, something that amplifiers might be able to do in the future that they've never been able to do in the past."
Non-tube amps have claimed to replicate tube tone for 30 years or more. What makes the DG technology different? The DG1000 preamp is the only thing I've ever heard that truly seems to do it. One of the first things that amazed me about it was the interaction of the preamp and master volume controls -- it's exactly how it is on a real tube head. I've always looked for amps that have a certain feel, like that spongy thing you get from certain heads. Here, it's all in the preamp.
How do you use it in your setup? I just run the DG1000 into a power amp and speaker cabinet, mike it up, and record it. That's great, because I used to have to make my own load boxes to get a line-level signal from an amp head so I could get more control over it, EQ it, and so forth. I would have to play very loud to get the sound I wanted. But now when I run the DG1000 into the power amp, it doesn't matter if it's soft. In fact, I record at a volume you could probably talk over. I use the same setup in live situations, but with a couple of processors between the DG1000 and the power amp.
Are there any modifications you'd recommend for future models? No. Some of the stock sounds are extremely close to what I was looking for, so I liked the DG1000 right out of the box. But when I saw the potential of the technology, I realized it could go a lot of different places. Since the possibilities are infinite, one of the hardest design decisions to make would have been to choose the DG's eight basic amp profiles.
Have you used the DG1000 on any albums yet? I used it for everything on The 16 Men of Tain. I simply didn't need to use anything else. I realized that this could be the beginning of a whole new thing, something that amplifiers might be able to do in the future that they've never been able to do in the past.