One of the hottest new products at this year’s Musikmesse was the Multiamp from Italian makers DV Mark.
The DV Mark Multiamp head niftily combines pro-quality amp and cab models with top-drawer effects and a very powerful – yet unbelievably lightweight – 500 Watt Class-D power amplifier.
The DV Mark Multiamp (current price in Finland: 1.380 €) is build to withstand serious use, yet is still manages to look elegant. The whole chassis is made from sturdy folded metal, with the front panel finished in a fetching cream white.
You can put the Multiamp on your speaker cabinet (or on your table), or install it in a 19-inch rack. DV Mark have supplied the necessary mounting brackets and screws with the amp.
A very quiet, brushless fan keeps the unit cool.
DV Mark’s Multiamp has been designed with user-friendliness as one of the main focus points.
Thanks to the front panel’s very logical layout, as well as the easy-to-use user interface, the Multiamp presents you with a surprisingly shallow learning curve. It’s a digital amp head, but you won’t need a degree in physics to get to grips with it!
The left half of the front panel is reserved for the traditional set of amp controls.
The LEDs around the digital control knobs will keep you in the picture about your current settings, even on a darkened stage. The only ”traditional” knob is the Master-knob, which adjusts both the power amp’s volume, as well as the headphones level.
The three Channel-buttons on the Multiamp might lead you to the wrong conclusion that patches consist of a set of three different preamp channels. In reality each preset only consists of a single amp-plus-effects chain.
The basic idea behind the Channel-buttons is to give the guitarist a good idea of what type of sound he is currently running by a simple look at the status LEDs.
Channel 1 gathers together all of the Multiamp’s clean virtual amp models.
In addition to a virtualised version of DV Mark’s own Triple 6, the head offers five clean models, based on famous amps.
Slight breakup to full-on crunch is the name of the game in Channel two…
…while Channel 3 is home to all things high-gain.
Next to the amp section sits the Multiamp’s clear, backlit display.
The home screen displays the currently selected preset, with the whole signal chain displayed as blocks, or: Slots in Multiamp-speak.
The signal flow is in reading direction, starting from the top left and ending at the bottom right slot. A crossed out effect slot means that the respective effect is currently bypassed.
Everything that has to do with parameter changes and patch editing, storing and recalling is controlled by these buttons and the red Value-control.
You can also import and export DV Mark Multiamp-patches using an SD-card. DV Mark are already offering free artist patches for download on their Multiamp Ambassador page, as well as their main website.
You can use the DV Mark Multiamp in stereo or mono: In bridged mono the power amp puts out a whopping 500 Watts (8 Ω), while stereo use will give you a maximum of 250 Watts per side (4 Ω).
In addition to DI- and line outputs, the back panel also offers you an external effects loop, MIDI-connectors, and a USB-port.
The Multiamp can’t be used to stream USB-audio, but I have heard rumours of an upcoming editor software, which would utilise the USB-port.
MIDI is very important, because you have to use a MIDI-controller for on-the-fly preset switching.
In addition to its virtual amps and cabs DV Mark’s Multiamp offers you 19 different effects at the moment. They include all sorts of guitar effects from a compressor and a noise gate all the way to several different distortion pedals, vibrato or auto wah.
Some digital amp modellers may offer an even wider variety of effects, but the Multiamp clearly puts quality above quantity. Besides: Future firmware updates are likely to add to the current effects line-up – the latest update came with a parametric EQ, for example.
Programming he Multiamp is made easy by the fact that DV Mark have managed to fit each effect’s parameters onto a single page, so there’s no jumping around different menus.
What I would like to see, though, is a better, more detailed owner’s manual. At the moment, the manual contains a simple listing of the available effects, but tells you nothing about the function of each effect’s parameters. This means you have to try out all parameters in order to get an idea of what each one does.
I really like the virtual speaker (and microphone) section a lot! It is a fantastic tool, if you’re running a direct line into a mixer or sound-card.
In addition to a whole range of different cabinets, the Cab-slot also offers a number of virtual mics, as well as three different choices for virtual microphone placement (On Axis/Off Axis/Far).
In light of this test I can only recommend the DV Mark Multiamp as an outstanding tool for the creative guitarist. This amp head offers you a wide variety of excellent amp and cabinet models, as well as pro-quality effects.
In my view it is rather futile to dissect the authenticity of the virtual amps, if you don’t have all of the original (physical) amps for comparison. Suffice it to say that the Multiamp’s amp models tick all the right boxes in terms of their tones and their dynamic behaviour.
This head reacts like the real deal, when it comes to guitar volume changes and a player’s dynamics, and it sounds great, regardless of whether it’s run straight into a mixing console or used to fire up a guitar speaker.
Here are two clean examples taken from the Multiamp’s CH1-models, and using a Fender Stratocaster:
I’ve chosen an Epiphone Casino for these two soundbites, using amp models from CH2:
…and here are two examples of what the CH3-models can do for you; played on a Hamer Studio Custom:
For on-stage use, you will first have to find out how the Multiamp’s MIDI-section works, as the owner’s manual comes over as extremely tight-lipped on this front.
Luckily, the Multiamp has been designed to work with virtually all types of MIDI-equipment. Just plug in a floor controller of your choice, select the patch bank you want to access by pressing the Recall-button on the Multiamp – and off you go! Step on your controller, and the desired preset will be called up.
MIDI-switching is very fast and smooth, and doesn’t result in any audio clicks or other irritating artifacts.
In my view the DV Mark Multiamp is a fabulous piece of equipment, which will win you over with its great sounds, its power, its lightness and its user-friendliness. Its a fantastic tool for both studio- and live-use.
The user’s manual certainly needs an overhaul – and some folks might miss an on-board tuner – but this isn’t enough to spoil the fun. And the Multiamp is a lot of fun!
DV Mark Multiamp
Current price in Finland: 1.380 €
Finnish distributor: Nordsound
+ sturdy build
+ can be updated
+ pro-quality sound
– tight-lipped manual