Guitar Aficionado

Review: Budda MN-100 Head and MN-412 Cabinet

Image placeholder title

Designer Mark Nason's footwear and accessory empire was built with the full-volume sounds of Led Zeppelin cranking in the background. So it makes sense that he would collaborate with Budda Amplification on a crushingly sonorous half stack covered in the same Italian leather from which he fashions his footwear and apparel.

The MN-100 head and its accompanying straight-front 4x12 cabinet, the MN-412, feature the iron cross and dragon motifs that are the cornerstones of the Nason look, and the quality of materials and craftsmanship is beyond reproach. The highly versatile 120-watt MN-100 has three independent channels (clean, rhythm, and lead), each with an individual stomp-box-style lead boost and reverb control, as well as a global master volume and boost, a half-power switch, three effect loops, and the capability to accept either 6L6 or EL34 (supplied) power tubes and a variety of rectifier tubes.

With a 1960 Stratocaster and 1964 Gibson ES-335, the MH-100’s clean channel was smooth, deep, and tight, imparting a satisfying bloom and punch to the notes. The rhythm channel’s medium-gain growl was particularly friendly to my ES-335 and delivered a satisfying, crunchy grind and zing to classic-rock-style riffs, but it was the lead channel that truly captured the imagination.

With both guitars, this amp’s gain structure produces a powerful, slightly compressed singing tone that is verily addictive and packs a forceful wallop. And lest the MH-100’s massive power rating prove intimidating, rest assured that the master volume on this beast works as it should. Late-night living-room rockers need not be afraid.

LIST PRICES: MN-100, $4,999.99; MN-412, $2,999.99

Photo: Massimo Gammacurta