What can I say. If I'm playing live with a group for a crowd of people I'll take one of my Mesa F series amps. If I'm in the mood for clean country or swamp blues I'll use the Peavey Delta Blues. But, if I'm recording or just kickin out some fine Classic Rock from the 60's and 70's this is my #1 amp. I've been playing since before that time so I lived through it and know what it sounded like. I base my idea of classic high gain tone on what I heard at the concerts and festivals I attended. In my opinion the MV3484 is the closest any low volume amp has ever come to reproducing those tones. Since I've purchased mine the price has risen to $500 or $550, and for a hand built amp head, that's still ridiculously low. This amp should be priced more in the $750 to $1000 dollar range in my opinion.
Price: $400.00 (new)
Where Obtained: http://www.mcmusicsound.com/index.html
This is an all tube one channel amp head. On the front are switches for on/off and standby. Control knobs for volume,treble,middle,bass,gain 1,and gain 2 and one guitar jack. The rear panel has 4,8,and 16 ohm speaker output jacks and a switch for using either the EL34 for 15 watts or EL84 for 8 watts. A very pure signal path. No onboard effects,no effects loop, no footswitch. Designed for cranked British tone at studio volume. A Great amp for the home recording artist.
I have about a dozen guitars. Solid body, semi-hollow, and hollow body electrics.Both single coil and humbucker designs. I play all styles of music and own 4 different tube amps to get the best sound for whatever style I'm playing at the time. I do a lot of recording and needed an amp that would sound like that Vintage British tone from the 60s and 70s. Think Marshall on 7 or 8 or even an AC30 maxed out. Problem. To get that tone you have to be willing to wear ear plugs and wake the neighbors two blocks away. I found the MV3484 online and it has fulfilled this need beautifully. If I run it with the lower output EL84 it has a crisp, punchy sound with a sweet top end. If I run it with the EL34 it gets a crunchier, more middy tone that can produce sounds ranging from a Marshall Super Lead to a JCM800. For vintage tone music like The Who, Free, Cream, Hendrix, The Guess Who, Bad Company, Led Zepp, Journey, Queen, AC/DC, etc. this is my go to recording amp. It has a very pure signal path with no effects what so ever. If I want to add some reverb or a univibe or even a little delay or a phaser I'll do it with the recorder or analog pedals. When I'm playing for a pure amp tone I don't like onboard effects because they just seem to mess up the signal path. The original amps were very straight forward , and,IMO, the lack of bells and whistles in the signal path contributed to the tone of the amps of this era. This is the tone the MV3484 is designed to reproduce and it does it to perfection. The twin gain knobs allow you to adjust the two halves of the main preamp 12AX7 gain stage tube independently of each other. This is what allows you to vary the gain voicing itself. It's not just more or less gain. You can actually vary the crunch,drive,smoothness,etc. like the way tone controls effect the regular tone of an amp. Note* It is not designed for clean at high volumes. It's about as far away from a Fender Twin that you can get. This little amp is all about punch and crunch at studio levels. If you want to go to Woodstock without taking the neighbors with you this is the perfect amp head for the job.
The MV3484 offers a huge range of tone and gain voicings to choose from. The front panel couldn't be easier. Set your volume, adjust the three tone controls,(Yes. These 3 tone knobs have a good sweep range on each one), and then use the 2 gain controls to create the type of punch or crunch your looking for. On the back, once you've connected a cab to the proper output, the only other control is a switch to select which tube socket your going to use. It optimizes the bias for the tube type. Note* Only one tube can be inserted at a time. The other socket is left empty. The two sockets are centered and close to the back edge of the rear open space of the head so switching tubes is simple. Just remember to put the switch in the right position for the tube you select to use.
It's actually a very light weight solid wood construction. Hand wired. Point to Point wiring. I've never taken it out of the studio so I don't know how it would hold up to road use, but, really, it's not designed for nor loud enough to go clubing with. It's got enough volume to play at a friends house, (like when a few guys get together and jam), but, it's designed to shine in the home or pro studio and that's where it's at its best. Tube life is average and it does not require biasing because of its cathode bias design. I've put about 300 hours on this amp and it still sounds good as new.