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In this review, we’ll cover the original THR10. There are also other versions of the THR10 that excel at specific genres of music, namely the THR10X High-Gain for metalheads and hard rockers, and the THR10C Boutique, meant for guitarists who play more blues and classic rock. If you’re interested in those, you’ll still find this review is useful to get an idea of the controls and quality of the THR series.
Table of Contents
The THR10 was designed to be the perfect amp for off-stage use. It’s meant for guitarists who prefer convenience and portability over volume. You can take this amp anywhere because of its light weight and optional battery-power capability – but that doesn’t mean you have to. Even if you keep this amp at home in your bedroom, you’ll find the volume manageable and the easy recording options make sharing your music a breeze. If you ever join a band, you’ll find the THR10 alone won’t be able to keep up with a drummer or project well enough even in small venues, so you’ll need to mic it up and have it run through a PA system. If you don’t gig often (or at all!) or you don’t mind this minor inconvenience, you’ll love the THR10.
Looks and Build
At just over 7 inches high and 14 inches wide, the rectangular THR10 has a very small footprint. Inspired by the design of classic radios, the THR10’s rectangular shape and cream-colored metal speaker grille scream ‘vintage’. The control panel is up top, featuring contrasting black knobs and an old-school power switch. A metal carrying handle is welded into the chassis, letting you take confidently take your tunes anywhere without fear. Once you plug in the THR10 and turn it on, you’ll notice a subtle orange glow coming from inside the speaker grille, simulating the ambiance of a tube amplifier. Overall, the THR10 is a solid and handsome retro-inspired amp.
You’ll find all the essential features of the THR10 are accessible and editable using the knobs on the amp. However, if you want even more customizability, you can connect the THR10 to your Mac or PC and run Yamaha’s THR Editor software. Using this software unlocks a whole world of customization that you couldn’t otherwise access. We’ll reference this throughout the sections and let you know how you can squeeze everything you can from the THR10 using this software.
The THR10 is jam-packed with technology. It’s a modeling amplifier, which means you can change its voicing to emulate 5 iconic tube amplifiers that defined the sound of generations of music. It utilizes Yamaha’s proprietary amplifier modeling engine, dubbed ‘Virtual Circuitry Modeling’ or ‘VCM’. VCM attempts to digitally simulate iconic amplifiers by simulating their psychical electronic components piece-by-piece. The result is a very realistic emulation of tone and subtleties that really make this a versatile amp. You can choose to five different voicings: clean, crunch, lead, British high-gain, and modern high-gain. You can even turn off modeling altogether for crafting your own tone. Looking to branch out and play more instruments? The THR10 also accepts acoustic and bass guitars, each with their own special setting.
For further tone editing ability, connecting the THR10 to a computer using the built-in USB jack. Run the Yamaha Editor software and you can customize presets, amp models, and even effects!
The THR10 comes with two dedicated knobs that select from a specific type of effect and level: one knob controls modulation effects and another knob controls delay/reverb effects. You can only choose one of each type to run at a time, for a total of two effects. Modulation effects include chorus, flanger, phaser, and tremolo. Delay/reverb effects include delay, delay + reverb, spring reverb, and hall reverb. Two effects at a time is a bit limiting, but the effects are all high-quality and usable. If you need more versatility, you’ll need to connect to the Yamaha THR Editor software on your computer. Using the software, you can unlock an insane amount of options for customization. You’ll even have access to two more effects: a compressor and a noise gate!
Knobs, Jacks, Switches, and Buttons
On the top of the amp is the control panel. Here you’ll find an old-school metal power flip-switch for turning on the amp. Below it is the Tap Tempo button for setting the timing of your effects. If you hold this button, it turns on the tuner. The standard gain and volume (‘Master’) knobs do what you expect. A 3-band EQ for bass, middle, and treble give you extra control over your tone. The two effects knob we mentioned earlier allow you to add some extra character to your sound. The last two knobs allow you to ‘mix’ your guitar and auxiliary input signal so you can get the right balance of sound – super useful while recording so you can hear both what you’re playing and the backing track. Finally, there’s an auxiliary input, a 1/4″ headphone jack, and a guitar input jack.
On the back of the amp is the USB jack for connecting to your computer, along with the input for the included power supply. To power your amp using batteries, you will need to flip the amp over to the bottom and slide open the battery cover to reveal the battery compartment.
Power, Speaker, and Cabinet
10 watts of power is not a whole lot, but you’re probably ok with that if you’ve made it this far into the review. The two built-in 3″ speakers won’t blow you away, but they do sound full and wide thanks to Yamaha’s Extended Stereo Technology. The cabinet, carrying handle, and the bolts that hold it together are made of metal, so it’s very rugged. Behind the metal enclosure, there is a plastic casing that protects the electronics. The cabinet is sealed, helping project the sound of the small speakers outward. Sadly, there’s no external speaker output, so you’re stuck with the built-in speakers. If you want to get loud, you’ll need to connect to a speaker system or PA system using a microphone or, if supported by your venue, the USB or headphone outputs of the amp.
The Yamaha THR10 provides a super convenient, high-quality USB output for professional recording. It also comes with a copy of Cubase, a digital audio workstation that makes recording and editing quick and easy. The THR10 allows you to record directly with USB – no extra audio interface necessary!
Recording is easy: connect your amp to your computer, start the THR Editor Software, and start Cubase (or your favorite DAW software). That’s it! Then you can start playing and record as normal. One super useful feature of the THR10 is that it allows recording of both the processed track – with all the modeling and effects applied, as well as the raw guitar signal. If you ever want to reuse the raw guitar signal and apply different effects or modeling to it, you can! This is called ‘re-amping’ and allows you to create a whole new sound without having to play the track again! Using the Output and USB/Aux knobs on the amp allow you to adjust the volume of the guitar as well as the music or click track you’re playing over.
At just over 6 pounds, the Yamaha THR10 can accompany you anywhere.
The THR10 simply sounds amazing. The amp models are realistic and lively. Your recordings will sound extremely professional and the effects are top-notch as well. Our favorite sound is the Modern amp voicing with the gain turned up – perfect for heavy metal and hard rock. Check out some sound clips of the THR10’s voicings below.
British High Gain
On Amazon, the THR10 is very highly reviewed. With almost 300 reviews for the various models of the THR and a FakeSpot rating of A, we can have faith that these reviews are trustworthy. A lot of praise is directed at how great the amp sounds and how easy it is to use for recording. After hearing this amp, we agree! You can get some great tones with minimal time spent tweaking. There are some reports of buzzing and noise. This could be caused by anything from a loose speaker to faulty electronics, so these are issues that should warrant an exchange. Other complaints were that the Acoustic and Bass guitar settings weren’t top-quality, but we think that’s acceptable given that this is first-and-foremost an electric guitar amp.
Reviews on Reddit are very positive as well, with one poster calling the THR10 one of their “favorite gear purchases ever”. If you’re a bedroom shredder, you’ll love the THR10.
Conclusion and Ratings
The Yamaha THR10 is one of the best choices for beginner guitarists who don’t need much volume. With so much customizability and tone options, you can play just about anything you like. We highly recommend the versatile, original THR10 for beginners. If you know you’re going to focus on playing metal, then the THR10X High-Gain will give you a gain boost and more intense distortion. Blues and classic rock enthusiasts can choose the THR10C Boutique for more genre-focused amp models based on iconic tube amps.