Nothing splits a room full of guitar players in two quite the way a conversation about modelling amps does. When talk turns to these tonal smorgasbords you’ll find the gulf between which side of the argument considers themselves the purists is never wider with both parties at the mercy of points of various validity and relevance. Love them of hate them, the steady march of technological advancement has found no smoother passage than the digitised, option rich path carved by companies like DV Mark who confidently tread that route time and time again.
Aussie Jazz Fusion legend and star of any number of instructional, ‘shredder’ videos from the late 80s/early 90s, Frank Gambale has long been a fully-fledged member of both the Mark World and the modeling amp fraternity. It comes as no surprise that his signature is emblazoned on the faceplate of the DV Mark Multiamp FG. This 250-watt, black and cream mean machine is packed to the rafters with all of Gambale’s favourite effects. The crunch and lead tones are searing yet creamy, clean channel is brisk with sky-high headroom and the chorus and vibrato patches full of that woozy, drunken feel that some of you may recognise from trying to keep up with his sweep picking exercises.
The functionality is simple enough on paper. You essentially start out with a choice of three channels, clean, dirty and more dirty, add virtual pedals to a chain on the display and send it out the other side. All the usual suspects appear, the reverb is a classic dark hall that you can lengthen and colour to your heart’s content, delay along the DD5/7 line, deep and rich chorus and vibrato tones and a few secret essentials like noise gates, pads et al. With the added bonus of a fully programmable speaker cabinet simulator before the final output stage there’s more subtlety and pliability in these presets than most other modelers and it’s all peppered liberally with Gambale’s particular sense of cleanliness and considered order. That’s not a limitation, more like a promise that you’ll never find yourself lost in a messy, haywire cacophony. He’s even prepared 20 of his favourite patches for you as a starting point.
Ultimately this is an amp built for shredders by one of their own; you won’t likely see some scummy punk band playing one of these heads at a warehouse party. It’s an amp built for people who read the manual first, people who like to know the ins and outs of their equipment as much as they know how to play it. For some this may mean that the interface can be quite fiddly. Take a deep breath and think about what you’re doing, and there is quite a lot that the Multiamp FG can offer. MIDI and USB compatible, the SD card slot allows you to expand the already hefty CPU meaning it’s a powerful unit in more way than just the wattage.
With its sleek, black and cream façade, enormous digital capacity and considered tonal range, the DV Mark Multiamp FG is a wise choice for the brainy player in all of us. If you know what you’re asking and just the right way to ask, there’s no telling the answers that you’ll get.
Hits and Misses
Impressive CPU and power capability and considered tonal range
Little on the fiddly side and changing presets on the fly can be quite a slow process