Alex Lifeson has announced the arrival of a new line of high-end signature tube amps, produced in collaboration with Mojotone, under the brand name LERXST.
The partnership dates back to a custom-built head that Mojotone put together for Lifeson, around Rush’s 2012 Clockwork Angels recording and touring cycle. That head was later issued as a limited edition of 100 amps, dubbed the LERXST Omega.
Now the Omega returns with a full launch and a revamped red and gray tolex covering, alongside a few additional features that open it up to a wider range of players.
As before, the Omega is a two-channel head with a three-band EQ, plus a 12AX7 preamp section and EL34 power amp. However, whereas the original build was a 100-watt unit, the new flagship unit halves that into a 50-watt design, which can switch down to 25 watts for lower volume applications.
Then there’s a serial effects loop and the option of matching cabinets (both 2×12 and 4×12), which feature ‘voidless’ Baltic birch enclosures. The Omega will be available in a limited run hand-wired version for $3,495, or in the standard production version for $2,495.
However, it’s not just a case of tweaking the old amp. Alongside the Omega, Lifeson and MojoTone have also debuted the Chi. This is a smaller head/combo option that is designed to channel the Omega character into a more practical build.
Again, it uses 3x 12AX7 tubes in the preamp section, but favors a pair of 6L6 power tubes. It’s a 30-watt design, but again it comes two channels (footswitchable), a shared three-band EQ and a serial effects loop.
Inside, the construction uses a PCB, but it is hand-loaded and components include carbon comp resistors, Heyboer transformers and Mojotone’s own Dijon coupling capacitors, plus it’s all custom built in Burgaw, NC, USA.
A special mention also has to go to that nifty illuminating Starman logo power indicator light on each of the amps.
“The LERXST CHI is an awesome monster in its own right and one of the sweetest sounding amps I’ve ever heard,” comments Lifeson.
Expect to find the CHI for $1,995 (as a 1×12 combo) or $1,695 for the head version.
There is no word yet on the exact spec or prices of the cabs/speakers involved in the range, but we expect that will follow very soon.
“There has been an explosion of guitar music within the past five years that has been incredible to witness in its diversity of sounds and players,” says Lifeson, in his announcement.
“LERXST amplifiers provide a platform for these players that offers the power and quality of tone of the best amplifiers of the past, while also providing key features like power scaling and high-quality effects loops that reflect the needs of players today.”
One interesting footnote in the press release for the new range is that it describes LERXST as an outlet for the Rush man’s “desire to design and manufacture a line of guitar products that reflect Lifeson’s forward-thinking approach to sonic exploration and live performance” and, in particular, describes the brand as offering “a range of amplifiers, guitars, effects pedals, and pickups”.
All of which suggests that these two heads are just the beginning of the LERXST line and there’s a lot more to come.
It also raises the question of what the future implications of a guitar line might be on Lifeson’s existing signature products, such as the recent Epiphone Les Paul Axcess Custom – not to mention what kind of music we might hear recorded on the new gear.
For more information on the full range, head to LERXST.