Reviewed: DV Mark "Raw Dawg" EG amplifier
Many moons ago I was a starry-eyed, fledgling reviewer for this here magazine. The very first piece of kit I was asked to cast a critical eye over was a low wattage DV Mark guitar combo. Being as dewy as I was back then, I only knew about Marco’s inimitable range of bass gear having seen some of my more discerning four-stringed friends conjure brown sounds with various models as conduit. This little combo opened my eyes to the sheer voracity with which De Virgiliis and co. eek out the corners of guitar tonality, and since then I’ve had a certain soft spot for the company. There is just about every colour of the rainbow in their catalogue, each with its own celebrity signatory, and it seems like every issue since I’ve written about a DV Mark build that differs in degrees from the last.
Reviewed: Marshall Amplification DSL1C Combo Amp
Growing up, the only Marshall amps I ever saw were hefty 100 watt heads sitting atop a plethora of quad boxes. I guess I never thought it was obtainable to get that classic tone in my bedroom. Who wants to buy a JCM900 only to have it sit in the corner of your bedroom with the volume control not even on one? The answer is no one. Thankfully, Marshall have finally caught up with the modern trend of valve driven, low wattage amps for home and rehearsal use. The classic DSL line has been reimagined and reinvigorated in 2018 with amps ranging from as little as one watt through to the 100 watt stalwarts we’re all accustomed to seeing on huge stages across the world. With this new era of DSL, it has never been more obtainable to get the classic Marshall tone at a reasonable volume for the bedroom guitarist.
Reviewed: Jet City Custom 5 amplifier head
America is not a nation famous for downsizing. From the luxury sedans of the ‘50s and ‘60s to the serving sizes of today, it seems that everything is bigger not only in Texas but across the whole country. On the flip side, bucking the trend is in their blood, so it stands to reason that several American manufacturers are leading the charge in the lower wattage amplifier game. Several issues ago I reviewed Peavey’s range of 20-watt versions of their most notable builds and was suitably impressed, so I was wringing my hands with glee when the Jet City Custom 5 came waltzing my way.
Reviewed: Fender Hot Rod Deluxe IV
Even if you’ve never actually read Don Quixote I don’t imagine the blurb of Miguel Cervantes’ defining tome has escaped anyone; stately madman goes roaming the countryside on a hallucinatory quest accompanied by his donkey and faithful off-sider. What a strangely fitting metaphor for the relationship between a guitar player and their amp of choice. We are the lance-wielding maniacs off hunting imaginary dragons while dragging along humble wattage on whatever adventure we see fit. For the better part of a decade now I have had a Fender Hot Rod Deville 4x10 in tow as the Sancho Pança to my Man of La Mancha and it has yet to fail me in my battles against windmills. As 2018 sputters into life like an old tractor, Fender unveils the new and improved Hot Rod series, of which I respectfully introduce myself to its Deluxe IV 1x12.
Reviewed: Jet City Jettenuator
It’s a pretty un-rock-n-roll idea, really. For decades now, the burly king of modern music has made a point of embracing sheer, ear-splitting volume as its broadsword. As a company, Jet City is no different. Their designs are more often than not aimed at those of us who stand behind our noisy heroes like loyal foot soldiers. Why, then, would any rock-pig in their right mind want something that brings down the ultimate level? The answer is simple: Lemmy is dead, and not everyone has the ironclad fortitude to live and listen the way he did. For most mere mortals, attenuation is the key to achieving that blisteringly and blissfully loud sonic maximisation without replacing your eardrums after every rehearsal. I’ve had a rudimentary variation on this theme built into the back of my main amp for years, and I personally swear by the positive effect is has on my overall tone as well as the peculiar options it affords me where pushing tubes is concerned.
Reviewed: Vox Adio Air GT and BS
Once upon a time, there was a set sequence of events for those brave and/or dumb enough to venture into Guitar Players’ Grotto. First, you struggled to maintain interest as you learned Nirvana and Beatles numbers on a laminate nylon string abomination. If you made it through that mire, you went one of two ways; either you upgraded to a steel stringed acoustic, or you wandered blindly into the dizzyingly wide world of electric guitar.
Reviewed: Mooer Hornet Black Guitar Combo
Mini pedals have been a monster hit with guitarists the world over. Desperate to free up pedalboard real estate and have access to more sounds, brands such as Mooer offer a tonne of models to increase your sonic palette, all with a smaller footprint. Mooer have then continued to expand their slide into the guitar scene with this range of pedals and effects being supplemented by a number of amplifiers. Slotting into the small/practice amp division, the Hornet series offers modeling technology and effects in a grab and go type package at a reasonable price.
Reviewed: DV Mark Little 250M amplifier
Say what you will about DV Mark products, but there is no denying the company as a whole is a big name in the riff game. They pride themselves on producing combos as well as matched head and cab pairings that are consistently the ‘-est’ in whatever field they find themselves playing. Whether you’re after the highest gain structure imaginable, the smallest profile, the highest power rating in the smallest package or just the most affordable, Marco De Virgiliis and co. have at least one design with your name on it. They’re hungry for innovation in the DV research and development department, and it is this voracious longing for perfection that sees them pump out design after design like the goose that lays golden eggs.