Front angle view of the Yamaha THR10 USB guitar amp

Whether you want to call it a USB guitar interface, USB guitar amp, or just a USB guitar link for your computer.  With the new THR5 and THR10, Yamaha have launched a new concept in guitar amplification.

If you’re a guitarist and haven’t seen this one yet, it’s definitely worth a look.

The THR fuses the high fidelity audio electronics and sound quality expertise that Yamaha is renowned for, with guitarist focused intuitive user design and classic retro looks.

Above angle view of the Yamaha THR5 USB guitar amp

Designed to give the guitarist everything they need.  The tone, response and dynamics of a tube amplifier, stereo input for playing along with backing tracks and a range of effects to modify tone.  All in a compact yet powerful footprint.
The neat thing about the THR is that they admirably perform several functions; a stand alone portable amp, a USB audio interface, stereo loudspeakers for your computer (or any other stereo source such as your mp3 player).  There’s even copy of Cubase AI included, so you can get recording audio and multi-tracking your songs straight away.

USB and AUX Connection Recording

The USB connection allows you to plug into your computer and connect to your favourite DAW or audio recording software (or simply use the bundled copy of Cubase AI).

Both the THR5 and 10 feature zero latency monitoring of your guitar input and the applied effects, which can be blended with the output of your computer or a stereo signal coming in the AUX mini jack input (which is available on the top and rear of the device).

VCM Amp Modelling & Effects Built in

Based on the same VCM (Virtual Circuit Modelling) technology that Yamaha uses in its professional audio mixers.  The amp modelling and effects are easily accessible using the simple rotary selectors.

Both of the THR models have amp simulations (CLEAN/CRUNCH/LEAD/BRIT HI/MODERN) and effects (CHORUS, FLANGER, PHASER, TREMOLO, DELAY, DELAY/REVERB, SPRING REVERB, HALL REVERB, COMPRESSOR, NOISE GATE) build in.

Most of the amp and effects controls are available using the rotary dials on the top of the THR’s.  You can also access all the amp and effect parameters using the THR editor on your computer, which allows detailed editing including the compresser and noise gate functions (which aren’t accessible outside the editor).
Controls screen of the Yamaha THR control software for editing presets of the THR range of USB guitar amps
The THR10 has the 5 amp type modes found on the THR5.  But the THR10 also incorporates several other amp simulations suited to its larger cabinet (BASS, ACO, FLAT).  These additional amp simulations are tailored to low and mid range sounds that will appeal to bass guitarists.  The THR10 also replaces the single ‘Tone’ control featured on the THR5 with 3 tone controls (BASS, MID and TREBLE).

Built in Tuner

Another great feature is the built in digital chromatic tuner (there’s nothing more annoying that an out of tune guitar).  No more dragging around an additional tuner or searching for that tuner plugin on your computer, just use the one built in.  The same button on the THR’s also provide a convenient ‘Tap’ button for tapping in tempo control for the time delay effects, so that you can be sure to get that echo or slap  back in perfect sync.

Versatile power options

Power using AC mains power.  Or for ultra portability, power using batteries.  So if you want to travel with your amp you don’t have to worry about where your power is coming from, a handy feature if you plan to use it out and about with your laptop too.

Conclusion

The THR devices are a great concept for the guitarist or bass player.  Instantly gratifying functionality, but with the extended features and functions to win a place on your desktop as well as at your practice sessions.

We think the THR is a winner!

Check out the THR5 and THR10 Yamaha Guitar Amplifiers at Amazon.

Links and further reading for the THR range
THR Special Site Home
THR5 Specs at Yamaha.com
THR10 Specs at Yamaha.com

 


9 Responses to Yamaha THR5 & THR10 – A USB Twist On The Humble Guitar Amp

  1. Adeel says:

    Great review, one question! Can you plug in a USB Condenser Microphone into it??

    Warm regards

  2. Paul says:

    Thanks for the comment.

    Unfortunately you cannot use a USB condenser microphone directly with the THR. This is because the USB connection is a USB HOST type, meaning that it needs to be connected to a host computer to work. You could just plug the USB mic into you computer though??? Or you could plug a microphone with a standard jack into the guitar input, if you really wanted to experiment with the THR effects on vocals, although the unit isn’t designed for this use, so the results may not turn out as expected.

  3. KenA says:

    Hi. Can I use it with Ableton Live and record its sounds? Probably, yes, since it’s USB that may be recognized by Live once I set the THR as an input source and I guess it will be the output source as well since it has a pair of built in speakers, right?

  4. Paul says:

    Exactly, if you configure Live (in Audio Preferences) to use the THR as an your inputs and outputs you should be able to set up your routing to record guitar input and monitor a mix.

  5. Charlie says:

    Can you plug the THR into a camera connection kit and record on an iOS device?

  6. Paul says:

    Thanks for the question Charlie, I’ll find out and post back here soon….

  7. Paul says:

    Charlie,

    I’ve received the following response from Yamaha support regarding iOS compatibility:

    ‘This product requires Yamaha Steinberg USB Audio driver to communicate with Mac and PC computers via USB
    It will not therefore be able to communicate with Apple iPad when using USB camera adapter kit.’

    So unfortunately the THR’s aren’t audio class compliant. So no iOS with the camera adapter kit i’m afraid.

    Hope this helps

    All the best

    Paul

  8. Casper says:

    How do you connect it and getting it to work as an audio source in Garageband? (Mac OS X 10.7)
    Please tell me at mail: casper@traberg-larsen.dk

  9. Paul says:

    Hey Casper,

    Thanks for the comment, sorry for the delayed reply!

    You need to make sure that you have the latest Yamaha Steinberg OS X drivers installed. Sadly the THR isn’t Core Audio compliant so isn’t plug and play, but should work great with the right drivers.

Please feel free to leave a comment!

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