The Eminence DV-77 is simply a very likable and versatile performer, while the Kristian Kohle Metal IR Pack is a great selection of well-judged emulations.
A punchy, well-balanced speaker that takes a lot of punishment
Sounds great with high gain and surprisingly good with cleans
None, as long as you heed its rock-inspired intentions
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With the quest for modern metal electric guitar tones becoming an ever-more-refined adventure, Eminence has thrown down the gauntlet with the new DV-77 Mick Thomson Signature model. Designed in collaboration with the Slipknot guitarist and Mike Smith of Omega Ampworks, the DV-77 uses Eminence’s popular CV-75 (think of the earlier English Vintage 30 platform) as a springboard to recalibrate the formula for an ideal aggressive, yet balanced heavy rock performance.
While accepting that plenty of guitarists achieve their speaker sounds in the virtual realm these days, Eminence-Digital has almost simultaneously released the DV-77-laden Metal IR Pack, a selection of metal-minded impulse responses created by Kristian Kohle of Kohlekeller Studio in Germany. We tested the actual and virtual to see how they performed.
Though its foundation lies in existing technology, Eminence tells us they designed the DV-77 from the ground up, using new voice coil and spider designs, a carefully selected U.K.-made Kurt Mueller cone and a hefty 50-ounce ceramic magnet. A high-efficiency of 100.6 db (1W/1M) and 70-watt power handling round out the specs list.
Tested in both closed- and open-back cabs with a Les Paul into a Friedman Small Box and Boogie Mark III, the DV-77 took high gain extremely well, punching out a voice that’s lush, meaty and extremely well balanced, with no mush at the low end or stridency at the top. Where some players find a certain spiky upper-mid harshness in the Vintage 30, for example – justifiable classic though it is – the DV-77’s midrange is thick and full, just a little bit creamy when overdriven, and not the least bit fatiguing. More to the point, it chugs and sings with equal aplomb while feeling dynamic and playable through all settings.
Used with either amp set clean, the DV-77 was impressive, and even at lower volumes it exhibited a linearity that beautifully threw back whatever you put into it. There’s a little bark from the open G and D strings that might be just a bit obtrusive for some styles, but it isn’t intended for country twanging. All in all, the Eminence DV-77 is simply a very likable and versatile performer, and a real winner for rock in particular.
Kristian Kohle Metal IR Pack
In addition to several great DV-77 IRs, this pack includes files generated using Eminence’s Swamp Thang and CV-75, plus blends, and the selection proves a real boon to any rockers going the digital route. Flipping between speaker IRs always requires an aural readjustment to the surprisingly dramatic EQ shifts, but once we’d played with them a bit via a Mesa CabClone IR+ and the Neural DSP Quad Cortex we found most options both extremely useful, and they were great-sounding captures by any measure.
We liked the various DV-77 IRs in particular, and the DV-77 Fat WAV became one of our all-round favorites. Like the physical speaker, it’s big, full, aggressive and muscular, yet well balanced and impressively musical all at the same time. All in all, this is a great selection of well-judged emulations, and worth grabbing for heavy and moderate IR needs.
- POWER HANDLING 70 watts
- EFFICIENCY 100.6db (1W/1M)
- NOMINAL IMPEDANCE 8 Ω
- MAGNET 50 oz. ceramic
- TOTAL WEIGHT 10.4 lbs
- BUILT USA
Dave Hunter is a writer and consulting editor for Guitar Player magazine. His prolific output as author includes Fender 75 Years (opens in new tab), The Guitar Amp Handbook (opens in new tab), The British Amp Invasion (opens in new tab), Ultimate Star Guitars (opens in new tab), Guitar Effects Pedals (opens in new tab), The Guitar Pickup Handbook (opens in new tab), The Fender Telecaster (opens in new tab) and several other titles. Hunter is a former editor of The Guitar Magazine (UK), and a contributor to Vintage Guitar, Premier Guitar, The Connoisseur and other publications. A contributing essayist to the United States Library of Congress National Recording Preservation Board’s Permanent Archive, he lives in Kittery, ME, with his wife and their two children and fronts the bands A Different Engine and The Stereo Field.