MK50H Review

manufacturer: Cornford date: 03/21/2008 category: Guitar Amplifiers
Cornford: MK50H
The idea behind this amp is to give fellow guitarists an amp that can be gigged or used in the studio with unrivalled ease of use, tonal flexibility and no pratting about boutique amp quality with all the guitar sounds that all of us guitarists are hearing in our heads but are struggling like crazy to find. Big, bold, and punchy with gobs of juicy tone, the MK50 covers a whole swath of rock history in a simple-to-use no-frills package.
 Sound: 10
 Overall Impression: 10
 Reliability & Durability: 9
 Features: 10
 Overall rating:
 Reviewer rating:
 Users rating:
review (1) 12 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 9.8
MK50H Reviewed by: RichieJovie, on march 21, 2008
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Price paid: $ 2196

Purchased from: Cornford.

Features: The Cornford MK50H is a 2 channel all valve hand wired amp. Kicking out 50 valve soaked watts. My personal amp is number 89 and has it's serial number handwritten on the back. I've had this one for quite a few years now. Cornford are a British Amp manufacturer that are setting the standards in the handwired high quality amplifier dept. You are greeted with 2 channels. Channel 1 is clean Channel 2 is not. There are also 2 masters. This allows you to boost the volume on each channel without changing tone. A mono effects loop takes care of my very basic effect set up. I only taint this gorgeous tone with a delay and a chorus. Mine came with a 2 button footswitch made of Steel and designed to withstand the battering it gets from me Live and it has. 50 Watts is ample. I have gigged some massive places and this amp has get to get above 3 on either master. I currently run it through 2 2x12 cabs as it allows me to spread my sound around the stage a bit more. The Cornford comes with a lovely dial that allows you to select your impedance which is a great addition. I currently play in a top tribute band world wide and a couple of different function set ups and this amp covers all my needs. I can get as clean as clean can be or I can stomp on the overdrive and scream like a banshee. // 10

Sound: Currently I play a variety of guitars through this amp and it allows me to hear the guitars tones unlike most amps. I go out armed with a Fender USA Strat Deluxe with S1, Gibson Les Paul 1960 Classic, and 2 Parker Fly's. Each guitar sounds different through the amp, which is exactly the way it should be. I've tried and had amp modelling amps and you hear the amp not the guitar. I want my guitars to sound like they should. This amp does this. If you are looking for bone crushing death metal then this possibly isn't the amp for you. Although for the moments I do want this amp to step into that dept I dust off my Zakk Wylde over Drive pedal and use it as a Tube screamer on the front end. It can sound pretty damn Metal at that point and the sustain coupled with the Les Paul would have Gary Moore looking sideways at me. Being all valve, if you want the subtlest of clean tones, you don't have to change to the clean channel if you don't want to, just roll off the guitar volume and hey presto, clean and dirty the old way and no change of tone, just Drive. I can honestly say I will probably never buy another Live amp. I currently have 2 amps I use Live. This one and Rivera that I have just incase of problems. The Rivera has a lot of dust on it at present, but gives me a good safety net. Cornford have an impressive list of users and I can only endorse their choice. The big boys have more sway than I in the advertising dept but I must say the amp sells itself. It just sounds right. Take the tone control and mix them about, it stills sounds good. You are armed on the front with Treble Middle and Bass and in the post section Resonance and Presence. Resonance will add the bottom end from Hell be warned. // 10

Reliability & Durability: Reliable? It's built like a tank. It's also hand wired. If it has a lose connection, undo the chassis, slide it out and re solder it. No staring at a PCB wondering what chip went wrong. The only problem I have ever had with this has been when a prize idiot got on stage and somehow managed to tread on my footswitch cable and then yank it clean out of the back of the amp along with the socket. This defaults the amp to overdrive channel and master 2. The rest of the gig I could play, but just had to control everything from the guitar volume rather than change channels. Got home, unscrewed the chassis, reattached the Switch, never a days worry. Other than not quite being drunken idiot proof it is pretty much everything else proof. // 9

Overall Impression: This amp is the mutts nuts. This is an amp for real gigging musicians, not for bedroom wannabe's. If you desire the kind of distortion and effects that Line 6 hand out, you will hate this amp. However if you want to understand and play with real tone and let your playing express itself and sound like you, this is the amp that will let you do it. If this were stolen? I'd hunt down the thief and gut him with a fish knife. My amp has been very personalised. I have my name engraved on it and a few other little quirks. If you stole it, it wouldn't take long to prove it was mine. That is how attached I am to this beauty. Anything I dislike, it is a nasty brown colour, but I've kind of got used to that now. Overall. Go find somewhere that stocks these, try it, then understand. Or visit the Cornford website or Myspace pages. They have a some top players demoing these amps. Richie Kotzen, Greg Howe, Yngwie, Guthrie Govan to name a few. I'm sure if you listen to them you will come to the same conclusion I did many years ago. // 10

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