By Steve Hill, P.J. Harmer and Dave Coury — For Rattling Chains
I’ll be the first to admit that I am a fan of MVP Disc Sports. In the company’s short existence, I have tried all five of its molds, and have bagged three for a nice driver-midrange-putter set-up – the Volt, Axis, and Anode.
At the same time, I love understable plastic. The Innova Roadrunner and Latitude 64 Fuse – a couple of the flippiest discs on the market – are staples in my bag for their control and ease of use.
So, when MVP announced it was releasing the Amp, an understable fairway driver, I was excited. One of my favorite brands releasing my favorite kind of disc, obviously, had some appeal, and I knew I wanted to throw it.
One thing I knew coming into the review is that MVP discs – whether it is due to the overmold, or some other phenomenon – tend to require more snap and spin to fly as advertised. To wit, it took me a month to really dial in the Axis and learn how to throw it correctly, which seemed odd for a mid-range.
This is almost a blessing and a curse for new users of MVP discs. Stick with them, and your snap will likely improve. But it can be extremely frustrating to click with the disc at first, which can make it easy to give up on and move to an old standby.
And even though I knew this would be the case with the Amp, I still found myself frustrated with my first few throws with it. Since it was advertised as understable, I expected a nice gentle turn out of the box, with maybe a little fade.
I know it is user error, but If I wasn’t really concentrating the first couple times I threw this disc, it would hyzer out on me real quick, leaving me a little demoralized and ready to throw in the towel.
But, I stuck with it and finally started to dial it in after about 10 or 15 tosses with it in the field. So, I took it out to the course, where it really showed its mettle.
Displaying a nice amount of turn – not Roadrunner turn, but rather Valkyrie turn – and a little bit of fade, the Amp, when thrown correctly, really is a point-and-shoot fairway driver. One hole I was particularly fond of its use on was hole No. 5 at Stafford Lake County Park in Novato, California. With brush on either side of the fairway, a straight tee shot is imperative for a chance at a birdie, and the Amp handled it nicely.
Notice in that last paragraph, though, I emphasized when thrown correctly. I really had to work hard to keep executing with this disc. It is probably a combination of my form, and some nose angle sensitivity on the disc’s part. But in terms of consistent, repeatable straight line drives, I just am not there yet with the Amp.
To test the disc further, I took the Amp out to another course, Kit Carson Park in Escondido, California, and threw it back-to-back with the Latitude 64 River. While the two discs aren’t entirely comparable – the River has a larger diameter and a more blunt nose – they are both billed as understable by their manufacturers, and both are advertised as having excellent glide. For ease of use, though, the River won out, hands down.
For example, hole No. 5 at Kit Carson requires an anhyzer off the tee for a left hand backhand player like myself. Throwing the Amp on an anhyzer, it held the line for about 80 percent of its flight, then flexed out and away from the target. The River, however, held the anhyzer line all the way to the ground and left me about 30 feet out, in line with the pin.
On the seventh hole, which has a mandatory on the right side and trees on the left, a straight shot with little fade leaves you with a great birdie look. The River, without hesitation, turned a little, then faded back to just left of the mid-line of the throw for an easy deuce. The Amp, while longer, faded out at the end of its flight and left me about 40 feet right of the basket.
I chalked these losses up less to the disc, though, and more to my lack of good snap. Like I said before, blessing and a curse.
One spot in which the Amp really shines, though, is on low lines. On hole No. 8 at Kit Carson, for example, I drove it hard with the nose down, and it was an absolute laser beam. The River, on the other hand, got too much loft under it and took off, but the Amp just glided nicely from where I released it to a soft landing. If I could repeat these results on more lines, I would feel less conflicted about my need for this disc.
When all is said and done, for my skill level the Amp is certainly useful for narrow, wooded holes or ones that have low-hanging canopies. I also imagine that, for bigger arms, the turn would be more pronounced and the fade less accentuated, so take that for what it is worth. I certainly never experienced the flight path displayed for the Amp on the inbounds inFlight Guide, but I also don’t throw 375 feet.
Regardless, it is just not as effortless as I like an understable disc to be, which in my experience with MVP is to be expected. I’ll stick with it a bit longer to see if it works for me, but bigger arms may experience better results.
Outside of a couple of throws with a Vector, my experience with MVP is pretty slim. With that in mind, I was highly intrigued by the Amp. It seems whenever a new fairway driver comes out, I look for it to be something to replace the Innova Leopard. Not because I don’t like my Leopard — I love it — but I always am ready for another disc to come along and unseat it as my go-to driver.
As someone with a weaker arm, I need a disc that will allow me a little room for error. Since my Pro Leopard is more beat up, I know what it will do in most cases.
In past reviews, I’ve noted feel. I get confused easily enough when people start talking about the stability of the disc, so I need to first see how it feels and then I have to just throw to see if it’s something I could see using on a regular basis. I keep a pretty minimalistic bag, so something really needs to wow me to get into the rotation.
First, the feel. I really dig the feel of MVP’s plastic. The two I received had a grippy feel, which I like. That made me feel secure in throwing the discs, knowing I was able to release a little off-kilter and the disc wouldn’t go too crazy on me.
In the end, there’s really only one thing I figured with the Amp — you need to focus when you throw.
One person who chucked these noted that it was quite flippy. But, to me, when I concentrated and focused on my shots, the disc held a nice straight line and dipped off at the end to the left. When matching it head-to-head with my Leopard, I actually got a bit more distance out of the Amp, which was something I smiled about.
However, on an afternoon when I threw each disc (each Amp and the Leopard) 20 times, I noticed I could “slack” off a little with the Leopard and it would still do its thing. If I slacked with the Amp, it got really crazy on me. If I went back to truly concentrating on the throw, all was good.
Still, was this disc going to find its way to my bag? Maybe. Then came another find — one suggested to me by the next person in line to review this. Try it as an overhand disc.
As an avid softball player, throwing overhand is natural to me. I’ve been working on trying to get the overhand throws down and if a disc works with that motion, it is something I’ll highly consider.
On the few throws I did overhand with the Amp, I was highly impressed. They held up a bit, turned when it was supposed to and landed smoothly. As Dave noted, too, the outer rim of the Amp will probably help with the lifespan of the disc being used as an overhand one.
For my first true experience with an MVP disc, I liked it. I’ll use it again, without a doubt. And this also makes me want to try more MVP discs to see what they have to offer.
The MVP Axis is currently a go-to disc in my bag. In fact, I carry two first-run copies of the disc. I prefer to use mid-range discs off the tee but on open holes, I do reach for drivers — generally a Latitude 64 Gold Line River or an Innova DX or Champion Valkyrie. On a good day, I get about 300 feet out of my Valkyries.
My hope for MVP’s newest driver, the Amp, was it being a simply longer Axis. I didn’t get the chance to play a round to test the disc, but after about 30 minutes of field work, I’ll be adding the Amp to my Christmas wish list.
The Axis is my only MVP disc. When I added it to my bag, it replaced three discs. It’s the most versatile mid-range disc I’ve ever thrown. It performed well when thrown hard or powered-down and it could hold just about any line. My first impression of the Amp is that it has the same potential.
Thrown hard and flat, the Amp flew with a tight “S” shape. Released with a hyzer angle, the disc flattened out slightly, but recovered for a long, slow hyzer flight. The couple of anhyzer throws I made faded left near the end of the flight, but if the Amps wear similarly to the Axis, I would expect the fade to be beaten out after a few rounds.
Thrown side-by-side with my 173 gram River, the Amps, which were 169 and 174 grams, had similar lines and ranges. The Amp couldn’t compete with my Valkyries for distance and the lines fell in the middle of my stable max-weight in Champion plastic, and a 161 DX Valk, which is my tailwind or turnover driver.
One oddity I found with the field work was that the 169 Amp had more fade and less glide than the 174. I don’t know whether this as simple inconsistency or if the heavier overmolded disc maintains spin long translating to a straighter flight.
I would guess that this disc could be a nice understable fairway driver for somebody with more power. For me it acted as a neutral disc that can be used for a variety of situations. I look forward to working with it on the course and feel confident it will find its way into my bag.