The Mark III
With all the glories of the fabled Mk IV and Mk V, the MK III always feels a little left out. Yet it was instantly a real classic which pioneered the sophisticated interplay between tones and between clean and dirty that is the Boogie staple. It also has a reputation
for the complexity of interaction between controls. which means that it needs the player to put in a lot to get a lot out.
THe Amplitube model has some beautiful artwork – of both front and rear, and if you have any familiarity with the real amp, you’ll feel at home here, in fact, the original MkIII manual is very useful here to make sense of how the knobs work together. Remember, there is no real channel splitting on this model. the knobs do everything so this is not an amp you simply whack everything up full.
So with none of the “pull” knobs engaged you have a clean tone. And what a tone, glassier and more shimmery than the Triple Rec and very Fendery, but more Twin than Bassman. Depite the clarity and the shimmer, there is still a definite weight to the tone which is slightly more pronounced with humbuckers. Engaging the pull on the volume and treble knobs opens out the tone and throws in slightly more sparkle but it is very subtle and all depends with how they interplay with the volume knob.
Bass and mid seem not to work as normal tone controls at all as they work so closly with treble and volume and even with psuh engaged the variations you get are all very subtle, very controlled and very musical.
So clean is great, but where is that Boogie mayhem. Well, wait a while, we are not finished with clean yet. Surely master volume will throw some dirt in, but it just expands the bass-mids a bit more and gives a darker tone, engaging the pull just makes the tone even bigger and more 3d, it is like the clean tone on a very, very good Bassman and it sounds just gorgeous.
The overdrive really comes in with the lead drive knob with the pull engaged. You start of with a wonderful, warm, liquid overdrive that is incredibly articulate and responsive, the notes seem to bloom and sag in a way more valvelike than I have ever heard on a modelled amp. As you whack the lead drive up you do get more distortion but the key is how it all works with the other volume controls and the tone knobs. These are all interactive to a lunatic degree. One tone may feel a little flat, but move that Bass knob a gnats crotchet to the left and you’ll get a tone from God himself.
And, oh yes, you will get face-melting distortion if you want it and are willing to fight the amp for it but it will always be responsive, it will always be articulate and the essential tone is so honest and detailed that it will give your technique nowhere to hide but if you can handle it, you might have to spend £2,000 on a Mark V to sound better.
This is a very….grown up amplifier. And it is possibly better than the Tripe Rec and is also possibly my favourite amp in Amplitube.
Next….the Mark IV