The EB100S was the world's first digitally controlled tube guitar amp. All of its' parameters are controlled digitally thru buttons and readouts (no knobs at all!).
All settings can be stored into one of 100 memories and recalled via MIDI commands.
PS Systems was a San Diego, California company that manufactured memory products for keyboards in the late '80s. In the early '90s they branched out into products for guitar players.
Two guitar-related products were made: The EB100S tube amp & "The Power Tool" (which was a simpler mono version of the speaker emulator / load / EQ / output amplifier sections of the EB100S in a smaller rack mount package with traditional controls).
Both products were ahead of their time & shared these attributes:
Unfortunately, PS Systems disappeared around 1993-94. Contrary to popular web conjecture, the Groove Tubes' patent on Speaker Emulator technology had nothing to do with the company closing. It was a business decision free of sinister overtones!
A Guitar Amp ahead of it's time!
Although today we have programmable guitar amps like the Line 6 series and Fender Cyber Twin, the EB100S was equally as futuristic when it was announced in 1992-93. While the EB100S does not have any built-in digital emulations or effects, I'm sure the feature set of this amp raised a lot of eyebrows among the cogniscenti (those industry insiders "in-the-know") at the time.
There simply weren't any other guitar amplifiers with a built-in LFO (much less TWO of them), 100 position MIDI-controlled front panel setup memory, real-time MIDI parameter control, built-in speaker emulator, dual programmable STEREO effects loops, two kinds of EQ or progammable tube gain! Even today, this feature set surpasses 99.9% of all guitar amps out there... tube or S/S!
Limited Production & Distribution
After talking with one of the amp's designers, I have what I believe is a good idea about the amp's rarity. I saw the original ads in Guitar Player magazine in 1993 (illustrations of the EB100S & a matching MIDI foot pedal I have never seen) but I never actually saw one of these amps in the flesh until early 2003 when I bought my first one (non-operational) on eBay. I have also never seen a magazine review of this beast either. Apparently, the EB100S was only in production for about 3 months before the company closed its' doors!
I have since had contact with about 6 or 8 people who have had or currently own one of these monsters (in one case, 3 of them!). All of the identified serial numbers so far are less than 60. I own #4 and #44 and these are featured in most of the photos in the Gallery.
Key EB100S Features
In addition to being a tube guitar amp (3 x 12AX7 plus 2 EL34 tubes), the EB100S sports an interesting collection of features that make it an extremely unique and useful instrument:
If you are an owner or have info please send me an e-mail!
I am actively searching for current owners, former owners, former employees & principals of PS Systems to help complete the picture and documentation of this truly unique and useful product.
I am looking for schematics or Service Manual (hah! fat chance one exists but you don't know unless you ask!) and collecting Serial Numbers. I plan to post PDF files of the owner's manual and advertising I have collected & any new information submitted as I can.