Currently running as a Kickstarter Campaign and thus far two years in the making - the forthcoming Zero, Dynamic Hybrid Amplifier is an entirely new design of Class D amplifier which fully recreates every part of a Tube style amplifier with a highly innovative active OpAmp array. While typically OpAmps are used in active amplifiers between passive stages like a more conventional EQ / Tone-stack, with the Zero, all EQ Filters are fully active in order to draw more dynamics and harmonics out of the amplifier.
All components used are Pro-Audio grade with optimal signal-to-noise ratio. And Thermion have entirely redeveloped the Transformer stage, PreAmp and Power stage with their own innovative proprietary technology. The majority of other floor-amp manufacturers tend to make use of Profusion IcePower Modules for the Power stage - while everything in the Zero is original and wholly bespoke.
So the core innovation is really how the Amp circuit has been engineered to deliver the maximum of dynamics, feel and harmonics which is highly unusual outside the more traditional Tube amps. There are further innovations though that can clearly be seen on the rear panel of the amp - with its Mono-In - Stereo-Out FX Loop, PreAmp Loop and Balanced XLR ports with Analog Speaker Modelling / Cab Simulation.
The Amp further has 2 x 8 ohm 40 Watt Stereo output jacks, and a Universal Mains port with accessible fuse box; there is also a full size 6.35mm / quarter inch Headphone jack.
On the top panel you have 3-Band EQ with 2 levels of enhanced Brightness, 3-way Reverb Size and Mix Controls. Also XLR / Headphones Volume Control, Standby switch and single Master Volume control. In terms of footswitches there is one for the Internal PreAmp - so you can toggle between that and in effect a 2nd Channel if you have something connected to the PreAmp Loop. The Effects Loop engages the FX Send/Return for further effects inclusion, and finally the 3rd switch engages the Reverb at the end of the output chain.
In the picture it looks like it’s quite a sizeable pedal, while it’s dimensions are relatively modest for such a product at 245mm x 150mm x 55mm, in fact not dissimilar to the Victory V4 Tube Floor PreAmps at 225mm x 140mm x 79mm. Note that the Thermion Zero is a full PreAmp + Power Section amp, while most equivalent alternatives are PreAmps only - you should factor that into the cost and size of the unit respectively. The Thermion Zero is in effect a fully portable compact stand-alone full amplifier - wholly equivalent to a full-featured Amp Head.
The Zero’s Reverb is a Stereo Digital Spatial Reverb - which with its Small, Medium and Extra Large Modes replicates Room, Hall and Cathedral type algorithms. The Reverb includes an Analog Mix and Filtering in a post-processor fashion and is more a 3D style Reverb rather than the traditional Spring or Plate types.
As mentioned, this is currently a Kickstarter Campaign which still needs to get over the line - the very early-bird €384/£345/$433 Pledges are gone already, but there are plenty of advance €442/£399/$499 Pledges remaining - which is still a bargain compared to the final RRP of €595/£535/$671.
After watching the above demos, you should come away with the feeling that this is an amazing sounding properly dynamic and touch-sensitive amp which sounds and feels every bit as good as a traditional tube amp. The robust build of this amp makes it the perfect tool for the jobbing and gigging musician - who wants to ensure that they have the very best sound wherever they need to play.
Be very aware that this is a complete amp with Transformer, PreAmp and Power Amp Sections - while the vast majority of alternatives are typically either just PreAmps or Power Amps. This is a fully-self-contained wholly portable system that will plug in just as successfully to a front-of-house system as a proper Cab. Giving you the ultimate and optimal choice in how you setup for your gig.
If you're looking for a compact and tidy Clean Pedal Platform amp - this is also a fantastic proposition - and you can stick it on top of a cab, just as much as you can accommodate it on the floor. I would imagine this as an excellent major component of a fly-rig with an additional Multi-Drive patched in or say something like the Origin Effects RevivalDrive PreAmp, with a Multi-Effects unit like the Eventide H9 Max in the FX loop.
A number of the above demos feature the King of Tone pedal used to excellent effect in combination with the Zero. You really don't need much to have this sound amazing - in fact in several circumstances and scenarios the amp will be the perfect proposition just on its own.
The principal advantage here must surely be as a portable super versatile amp, while I can imagine later versions where this may be built into a combo as a more traditional Pedal Plaform Solution - more for the home-player and casual occasional gigging musician - where that could work quite well for pub gigs and similar - where you have a lightweight speaker box fully attached.
This is already a fully-formed working amp and I feel it would be The perfect solution for so many gigging musicians. This puts you once more fully in control of your sound quality! Check out the Zero Kickstarter Campaign for further details.