For years, Ceriatone fans have suggested the amp maker offer its stellar Overtone Special sound in a scaled-down, affordable package. The OTS Mini 20 was Ceriatone’s answer.
The control layout is classic Dumble topology, with the familiar voicing switches, Ratio pot (sort of a blend control for the clean and dirty channels), and the Mid Boost switch. Players can dial in warm and distinctive cleans, throaty overdrive, and high-gain spitfire.
At just 20 watts, this little lunchbox won’t blow the roof off your house. However, when tested with multiple cabinets, it managed to crank out a lot of volume for its size. Even at lower volumes the driven tones maintain their dynamic character while avoiding a thin, harsh sound, thanks in part to the over-spec’d 20-watt transformers.
The review amp was the ’80s variety OTS-20, a bit darker and deeper than the typical OTS-20, which uses more traditional Fender component values. This makes it an excellent pedal platform when on the clean channel, where it has high headroom and enhances anything thrown at it. On the other hand, the driven channel’s gain structure is incredibly unique as well – meticulously voiced in every frequency, and with a sort of inherent compression that makes it incredibly responsive and dynamic. With an outboard reverb plugged into its effects loop and the driven channel engaged, it was easy to hear how pick dynamics affect tone, with the reverb blooming and moving with each change in play style and pick strength.
At this price and quality, it’s a no-brainer to suggest this amp to anyone searching for Dumble tone. The OTS Mini 20 is beautiful, dynamic, and meticulously voiced, leaving just enough room for your own style to shine through.
This article originally appeared in VG November 2017 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.