- tube amplifiers
OBRIEN Amplification was founded by Tim O'Brien. Tim O'Brien described how the company started out:
Sitting in his shop in the high desert of California a few years ago, a frustrated Tim O'Brien looked down at the modern channel switching amplifier he was playing that afternoon. "I was so tired of channel switching as a method for creating variations in tone," he says, rolling his eyes. "I knew what I wanted - a little chunk here or a little growl there - but with channel switching I couldn't make it happen. I liked that amp, in fact there are a bunch of great amps out there, but they all made me feel like a painter with only two colors on the palette. It's the in-betweens that matter, the tones that you just can't get to with a channel switching amp. The in-betweens allow you to truly express yourself."
"I thought to myself, there must be a better way to do this," Tim says. "Think of an accelerator in a car. Channel switching is like a car with a few speed-buttons - stop, 20 mph and 80 mph. The "channel switching car" might seem great, after all it does get you around. Then one day imagine that you borrow your buddy's car. His car has a gas pedal. Suddenly, in your buddy's car, you can go slow or fast, and every speed in-between. That's what I wanted in my amp - a gas pedal for tone," Tim says, laughing out loud. "My old car just wasn't good enough anymore."
Tim sat down that afternoon and began designing the first OBRIEN. "In designing these amps, I wanted the player to be able to seamlessly pan between the clean and gain channel. I wanted real-time panning with no delays or volume changes, for accurate creative expression. A few people have tried, but without success. With this design we really nailed it." Tim says. In late 1999, Tim was rewarded with a U.S. Patent on his OBRIEN Variable Gain™ design. Since then, Tim and his team have developed one of the finest amps ever built, past or present.
"In addition to the tone-blending technology, I wanted great tone. These amps were built to be the best of the best," Tim says. "I studied all-tube amp construction that I loved, from vintage Fender®, Marshall®, Hi-Watt® and the like to more modern tube amp designs. As a result, we've ended up with something very special."