Matamp grew famous for its collaboration with Cliff Cooper’s Orange Amps in the 1960’s.
Nevertheless it was also a very innovative company on its own.
Matamp founder, Mat Mathias, started the company RadioCraft as early 1945. What started as an interest ultimately developed into a fully-fledged business building amplifiers for the burgeoning music scene in the early sixties. Behind his wife’s retail shop, selling accessories to young musicians, Mat’s workshop/manufacturing facility also extended into a fully fledged recording studio complete with disc cutters for young bands to record and cut their own demos. This resulted in the formation of MAT Records. His customers would come and see him, tell him what they wanted, and he would build it and/or record it. Patterns would emerge, and trends soon changed into product lines. This later inspired Mat to build his own guitar amplifier called the Matamp Series 2000 – which was initially a 20 watt, and then a 30 watt model.
Long-term friend and hi-fi amplifier designer Tony Emerson joined with Mat in the early 1960’s, shortly after the name MATAMP (Mat and Tony amplifiers) was coined. As word got around Matamp would soon be working with such musical luminaries as Peter Green of Fleetwood Mac (who Mat joined on their US tour in the late 60’s) and recording early demos with the likes of Graham Gouldman who would go on to form 10cc.
After Tony’s departure and development work with Fleetwood Mac, the company moved on to form a partnership with Cliff Cooper who owned a music shop called simply “Orange”, and as such started producing Orange-Matamp from the Huddersfield workshop. In 1971, Orange-Matamp outsold Marshall, and gave Cliff Cooper a taste of volume sales. However, Mat was not prepared to forego quality standards in favour of mass-production, and so Orange amps moved away from the company that designed the originals.
Matamp continued over the years to produce a large range of great amplifiers. Today they are still in business, run now by Jeff Lewis.
Mat’s love of music led him to search for alternative amplifier sounds and to design his own circuit. In 1963 after many one-off prototypes the first production model was the Matamp Series 2000 – an amplifier with its own special place in British popular music history, and arguably just as significant as Marshall’s 1962 “Blues breaker” or Vox’s AC30. If listening to Fleetwood Mac’s recording of ‚Albatross‘ (the haunting instrumental which took Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac to No 1 in the charts and world fame in 1969)you can hear the rich and warm sound of a Series 2000 (already branded Orange-Matamp and being the prototype before launching the now popular models), used with a Matamp “piggyback” valve reverb unit.
This Matamp Series 2000 is unusual in that it does not feature a drop trough mains transformer found on earlier Series 2000 amps. The probable date of manufacture is estimated between 1966 and 1968.