Valvetone Impact Mark 3 Valve Amp – Handmade Aussie Gem!

Okay we all love amps, pedals and tube powered stuff, that’s why we’re here right? So today I am very happy to rave about my little Valvetone Impact Mark 3, which is a point to point handwired, handmade amp by Darryl Hoy, who is based in NSW Australia (and I got my signed too!@!).

Valvetone Impact Mark 3 Valve Amp Front

Valvetone Impact Mark 3 Valve Amp Front

Darryl is certainly no fly by nighter, he has been making guitar amps since the 70’s (e.g.Scion amps), Every Valvetone amp he builds is handmade one at a time, all point to point wiring, no PCB boards and he only uses nice vintage mustard caps and proper vintage spec components.

Now as you can see by the pic, it comes in a simple steel head chassis, so if you want to pimp it up a little, you will have to spend a bit of money on a cab or make one yourself if you are handy with tools and ply…

The Valvetone Impact Mark Three has three basic controls…

  • Volume
  • Tone
  • Master

…with toggle switches for Gain and Bright.

On the back of the amp you have the standard speaker out (8ohms is optimal but it can also go to 4 or 16ohms) and a line out. Pretty standard in this regards.

It is a one channel amp that you can basically set and forget. This is an amp that is all about pure vintage handwired valve tone. It’s incredibly responsive and delivers in spades a pure but yet fat and rich vintage tube tonal range.

Strumming, I can hear every string ring out clearly, the sound is very balanced and with lots of great sparkle in the tone. Despite having only one single tone control, as opposed to having separate controls for your Bass, Middle and Treble EQ I can get all the variations in tone that I need, and if that doesn’t do enough for you, you can always use an EQ pedal but with a tone this sweet, you really don’t need to!

Valvetone Impact Mark 3 Valve Amp Wiring

Valvetone Impact Mark 3 Valve Amp Wiring

The BRT (Bright) toggle adjusts how much treble/upper mids you get, and I must admit I like it either fully engaged or half way. Even with the bright switch fully engaged the sound is very usable, it’s not icepicky at all, but it has a clear, almost Vox like chime, but with a nice and fat Marshall mids type of thing goin on…

Now the Gain toggle has 3 settings, off, half and full. You can use the full setting to get a quasi-distortion channel on this amp but you won’t be able to run a delay or reverb as they will be in front of the pre-amp gain and sound all messed up.

However, it is an awesome overdrive which sounds organic and is produced naturally by the amp by having the pre-amp cranking. With the full gain engaged you can get a very nice vintage hard rock tone without using any pedals.

I personally found the sweet spot with a fully clean tone, with the level cranked up a bit but with the Master Volume down, which really fattened up the tone further. Without using the gain it allowed me to use reverb and delay which I really like.

Solo notes ring out and are as chimey as a bell, but warm and woody on the lower register of the guitar. Truly, if you have good technique you can coax any tones you like out of this baby!

Darryl signed mine and shipped to me with spare valves for under $400. This amp has insane quality, awesome vintage spec components and pure tube tonal bliss, you’d be mad not to get one if you’re looking for this type of small low-wattage valve amp.

Honestly, let me say that if you are looking for a simple amp with a fantastic foundation tone so you can run your pedal board into to further sculpture and embellish your tone and sound, then look no further. The Valvetone Impact Mark 3 Valve Amp Really Ia A Little Handmade Aussie Gem!

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About strataminor

Born in Brisbane I am a bedroom guitar player, although having played in front of churches (tough crowd!!) for quite a few years so some understanding of band dynamics, timing, gear (private use compared to public use) and melodic structure, instrumental breaks (okay leather pants solos....) and of course amps! Besides from my love of guitar and the G.A.S that goes with it (hey email me I am always offloading gear!! lol) I love languages, and can converse in basic Japanese, and study biblical Greek. I live in Logan with my young family (so not heaps of time at the moment) and will be contributing gear reviews based on a lot of gear I have or still currently have.

9 thoughts on “Valvetone Impact Mark 3 Valve Amp – Handmade Aussie Gem!

  1. Hi, played a m2 impact recently and loved it. How do you think it would go in a blues band situation, with weber 12″ bluedog 50w.?

    • Hi Tony
      Love speaker questions, and something that intrigues me. As a matter of fact I currently am playing through a Weber Blue Dog 75 watt Ceramic, so if your speaker is Alnico then allow for differences in breakup and that ‘3d’ quality that a lot of guitarists seem to associate with Alnico. I love the Weber Blue dogs, and it will sound fantastic with a Valvetone. I had read on Aussie Gear Heads ( I think it is) and a few were running their Valvetones through Alnicos with great success. Go for it, I would very surprised if you were’nt happy with the result! Let us know how you go!

    • Hi Tony
      Sorry it took a while to get back to you! Funny enough I have played an Impact through a Weber Bluedog (ceramic) and it was fantastic! However live, you would find you run out of headroom fast (especially on humbucker!). YOu would need the 15 to 20 watt versions at least to give you that power, although depending on how much they mike you up I guess…definately go for the 10watt versions or more!
      Nice hearing from you!
      Andrew H

  2. Hi guys, just brought a Zeal 12 for $445 from musicswopshop in Carlton Vic – same set up as the Impact – vol/tone /master with 2 switches for gain and bright but with 12 watts from 2 6v6s – I use it clean – gain 1/2 way , master 1/2 to full with TC Flashback delay and 3 x MI Audio dirt boxes(great aussie pedals – better than the best from USA easy!) sounds great – very dynamic with very sweet tops- I would like a bit more bass but thats normal with 6v6’s- It sounds great with my Mesa TA15 in stereo. For $445 its a major bargain for a point to point amp in a very nice blue tolex covered box – sswweeeet!

    • Hi there Strat Mark
      I totally agree, the Impact (and Zeal) range, or anything from amp master Valvetone are brilliant and I am not surprised that the Zeal sounds so sweet. It is after all handwired, with quality components and a circuit from a master who has lots of experience! THe MI Audio is also good gear but I found their new Blues Pro pedal a bit fussy on what amp it liked,,but I would definately not turn one back! Good on you for supporting local companies and real Aussies!
      Andrew H

  3. Hi, I love the impact 3w amp my mate has one but I want somthing with a bit more grunt for small gigs typical bass drums 2 guitars an vocals I live in noosa qld an is there anywhere i can demo one of theses cool as amps.

    • Hi Phil
      Well, Darrell Hoy (the amp maker of Valetone amps) makes them all the way up to 50 watts I think, although they are under different products such as the Hilite (Hiwatt clone) Master Jim (Marshall) and also in 20 watts, which for his quality are very loud and definately gig worthy! His stuff is awesome, and his customer service is very good. Check out the Swap Shop in Melbourne (online as well) to buy the louder bigger wattage models. Tym Guitars also have them but they are always out of stock that you can never get them from there. Sadly I don’t know where you would physically be able to try them. Take it from me, they are fantastic!

  4. I’ve got the Impact too, plus a Hilite 45. Both are great. The impact is just the perfect low powered tube amp you’ve always wanted. I love mine to bits.

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