Music Man 112-RD Fifty 50 Guitar Amplifier Review
The Music Man 11-2 RD Fifty is a 50 watt guitar amplifier from Ernie Ball in conjunction with DV Mark (Mark Bass). DV Mark is a brand of guitar amplifiers that are made and designed in Italy featuring a lightweight design, great components and underrated tone. The two things people know best about the original Music Man amps is they sound killer but they weigh a lot! They weigh so much that a lot of people would steer clear of them. For example, their 2×10 combo weighs about as much as a Fender Twin, so get your back ready if you do buy an original.
The nicest thing about the reissue series of Music Man amps is the fact they are light! Thanks to the new neodymium magnet in the speaker and class D amplification, these amps are way lighter than you’d expect from a combo. The 112-RD fifty weighs about as much as Fender Mustang III.
Below are some videos of the Music Man 112-RD with a ES-335, Telecaster, and Les Paul guitars.
The best of both Worlds
The Music Man series of amps features a unique design which must account for their killer tones they are famous for. The amps feature a solid state preamp mixed with a power tube output section loaded with some 6L6 tubes. 6L6’s sound big, warm, and round (think Fender Super Reverb, Blues Deluxe, etc.). This winning combination offers more clean headroom on the clean channel with some of the best overdrive tones ever on the dirty channel. My favorite blues man Chris Cain has been using Music Man amps for years and his tone is some of the best you’ll hear just straight into an amplifier.
The original speaker was a EVH speaker which was a traditional large magnet speaker. This was part of the reason the amp was so heavy (but sounded amazing!). The new series of Music Man amps feature a special designed speaker that is both lightweight (under half of the original speakers weight) while still being true to the tones of the original EVH speakers. Thanks to Marco De Virgiliis for making this amp loud, light and extremely nice tone wise. While I didn’t have an original amp to compare it to on the day I shot the videos I have played an original 2 x 10 Music Man recently and the tone totally captures the vibe of the originals.
Designed in Italy and made in Indonesia
One thing that surprised me for the price was these amplifiers are actually made in Indonesia rather than Italy or the USA. I just started trusting companies who produce quality units in China and now everything is moving to Indonesia, it’s that trial and error feeling all over again. This would be my only concern with the amp to be honest. They are asking almost $1900 AUD for this amplifier which is more than a USA made Deluxe Reverb for example and I even paid less for my Fender Super-Reverb, Fender Super-Sonic 60, and many others. If you live in the USA these prices will make no sense to you. I understand that they will vary depending on where you live and what your exchange rate currently is. This is my only concern. The amp feels rock solid but I hope they’ve done stringent quality control. Since Epiphone guitars moved to Indonesia their guitars feel like crap to me now. Thankfully though, the amp sounds and feels great to play, it’s light and very loud and I didn’t expect it to be made in Indonesia when I was testing it. I looked at the back of the amp once I was done filming/testing it. Fingers crossed the quality control is as good as the tone/build quality. I have to say, this is the only amplifier I would consider buying that’s made in Indonesia.
I am giving this amp a 4.5/5 [usr 4.5]
The tone is so good, and the amp can be totally cranked loud! It would be as loud as my Fender Blues Deluxe no problems at all. The build quality appears to be fine for an Indonesian made amp and the upgrades to the weight of the amp is always appreciated by me. The only thing I have yet to have any experience with is the reliability factor. Something about Indonesian made electronics makes me uncomfortable right now and it might be the only reason why I would give it a miss especially at the price they are at. I figured an amp made in Asia would be less than $1000 AUD, not closer to $2000. That said, the amp exceeded my expectations in terms of weight, tone, and volume. The reverb is really nice and it would be a great gigging amp because of these reasons.