Reviewed: Fender Monterey and Newport Bluetooth Speakers
Imagine what it must be like being the biggest instrument manufacturer in the world. Not only are you the progenitor of one of the biggest paradigm shifts in music history, but you’ve also consistently raised the benchmark for quality builds and ingenious design for decades. You’ve just launched yet another successful and sought after series of instruments that smokes the competition and you’re looking for a little fun project to keep things interesting. What’s a huge instrument company to do? The answer lies in the satellite interests that keep your loyal army of propeller heads frothing. Why do these people play guitar? Because of their love of music. What do they do with music other than play it? Listen to it. What’s the newest and most innovative way to listen to music to emerge in recent years? Enter Fender’s new Monterey and Newport Bluetooth Speaker systems.
REVIEWED: VOX AMPLIFIERS BC108 1x8” SPEAKER CABINET
Vox have been synonymous with more than a few famous guitarists throughout the years. The legacy has continued on, and many still worship the AC30 and its various brethren. Along with their distinctive tones, Vox have always had a refined classic look to boot. Following in the ‘mini’ styling that is seemingly everywhere in the guitar world of late, Vox have released the BC108 speaker cab. Designed as a companion for the MV50 head, it is intended to be small, compact and portable yet still capable of handling a bit of ruckus.
REVIEWED: DV MARK EVO 1 GUITAR MODELING HEAD
As with all of DV Mark’s builds, the walk through of the front face of the Evo 1 is as simple as they come. All of the models contained within this powerful 250-watt steel box are personalised by a simple three-way EQ stage. You have at your behest two independent high and low gain channels coupled with both active and passive input stages and a tuner/mute switch for simple, rack style chromatic tuning. You can drive the front and back end of either channel as hard or as soft as you like with the input and output controls sailing through to a shared master volume holding everything to the same standard and the boost knob will send your solos sailing no matter which side of the road you’re riding on. All in all it is a perfectly usable amp; not unlike the mainstays of the DV Mark catalogue.
Reviewed: Fender Acoustic 100 amplifier
Nothing is more intimate than the relationship between a guitar player and their favourite, well-worn acoustic. The two are pressed close at the torso, sewn together by the vibration that one coerces from the strings of the other, the former hunched over the latter like a mother cradling her child. For most of us, this is the image of what it was like to fall in love with the instrument in the first place. Eventually, that romantic entanglement is augmented by the all too human desire to make oneself known, and the idea of performance comes flitting through the window. While there are ways and means of using electric guitar amps for projection purposes, most of which only get you to turd polish territory, the specificity of an acoustic focused amplification system has for a long time been the best option outside of relying on beat up, old house DI boxes.
Reviewed: Vox MV50 amplifier series
VOX’s new MV50 line of amps is designed to give you a unique voicing in a teeny tiny configuration blasting out 50 watts of power. There are three amplifiers in the line: MV50 AC, which is based on the venerable VOX AC 30, MV50 Clean, which is ‘inspired by classic American amplifiers’, which usually means Bassman or Twin unless indicated otherwise, and MV50 Rock, which is based on ‘more aggressive tones reminiscent of high gain British amplifiers’, often code for ‘a JCM800’.
REVIEWED: BOGNER GOLDFINGER 54 PHI HEAD
With many classics in their range including the Ecstacy, Uberschall and Shiva, Bogner have also received plenty of attention over the last few years with their Goldfinger range of amps. Harmonically rich for cleans and dirty tones, they really are gigging tone monsters capable of sounding juicy and big at usable volume levels. Adding a twist to the Goldfinger design Bogner have released the 54 Phi onto the guitar playing public – let’s see if it keeps up the Goldfinger name.
REVIEWED: ACUS SOUND ENGINEERING ONE FOR STRINGS 6T SIMON W ACOUSTIC AMPLIFIER
Acoustic sound in louder settings can often be tricky. Recreating the dynamics and nuances of an instrument designed to be played acoustically at higher volumes isn’t the same as just turning up the master volume on an amp with an electric guitar, or cranking the fader on a mixing desk. Acus are very aware of this and have established their business on the premise of focusing purely on acoustic sound reproduction. Acus state their mission as sound design that ‘amplifies acoustic sound with clarity, purity and natural tone’ – sounds like a mighty fine idea to me. Acus’ One For Strings range of amps are designed exactly for that – to amplify acoustic instruments with the 6T sitting somewhere in the middle of their product range.
REVIEWED: LINE 6 SPIDER V 240HC HEAD AND V412 CABINET
Love them or hate them, Line 6 made the first strides towards breaking digital ground in the effects world. Stompbox modelers like the DL4 opened up worlds of opportunities for guitarists across the spectrum and brought the limitlessness of DAW bound plug-in capabilities out of the box, arguably for the first time. Other companies swiftly followed suit and the modeling amplifier age came to pass. As we all know, this is one of the most spirited arguments at the tonal round table, but there is no denying the leaps and bounds that either side has made in the years since this fledgling idea took flight. Today the race to sound as real as possible is as hotly contested as ever and Line 6 take it to the stage with the Spider V 240HC and its partner in crime, the V412 cabinet.