For a big combo sound, few things beat a
2x12 Fender Pro or Twin Reverb, or a Vox
AC30 or AC50. Unfortunately, hauling these
beasts around and hustling them in and out
of a car trunk can be a chore. That’s why
the first thing I noticed about the DV40
212 was its weight: at less than 37 lbs, it’s
a little over half the heft of an AC30. DV
Mark accomplishes this by using Italian
poplar for the cabinets (which is lighter
than most woods) and installing B&C Neodymium-
magnet speakers, which are significantly
lighter than speakers with alnico
or ceramic magnets. The result shaves off
more pounds than Jenny Craig.
The back-saving properties of this EL34-
powered combo are just the beginning of
its special features. Do you prefer 6L6 or
6V6 power tubes? Just pop them in. The
amp will bias them and automatically rebias
as needed to compensate for uneven wear.
You can also set the bias to High for a more
present sound, or Low to preserve tube life.
Another bit of new DV Mark technology is
a service port that connects to a computer
interface (not included) so you or a tech
can monitor the bias, plate voltage, and
condition of the tubes.
Many 2x12 combos are too loud for some
gigs, and the DV40 solves this problem via
its Continuous Power Control (CPC). In
pentode mode, this feature lets you vary the
amp’s power from the full 40 watts (class
AB) incrementally down to 1 watt (class A),
or from 15 watts (class AB) to one-half watt
(class A) in triode mode. This gave me a
wide range of volume options—from neighbor-
friendly to front-row assault—without
significantly altering the tone. As you might
expect, though, the sound opens up a bit
more in the higher-wattage modes.
|The top panel of the DV40 212; Note the Continuous Power Control on the far right.
With the CPC full up, the DV40 delivered
a warm, clean sound, similar to the
Galileo’s, with plenty of headroom. Either
channel can be used for lead or rhythm
with slightly different voicings. The overdrive
sound was smooth and creamy, and
it cleaned up easily when I backed off my
guitar’s volume. The footswitchable gain
boost is a handy feature. With the gain set
low and the volume turned up, it works as
a volume boost. At higher gain settings,
especially with the CPC set to low power,
it boosts gain. As with the Galileo 15, the
DV40 doesn’t sound particularly like any
other amp, but its open, neutral voice readily
accommodates whatever guitar and/or
pedal you run into it.
The B&C speakers sound great, but the
instantaneous attack associated with Neo
speakers can take some getting used to. I
also tested the DV40 through a custom
1x12 cab sporting an Eminence Texas Heat
ceramic-magnet speaker, which yielded an
equally rich, albeit smaller, sound with a
more traditional feel.
The DV40 212 is a must to audition if
you are tired of hauling that Twin or AC30,
but it’s also worth a look for anyone seeking
a versatile combo that’s suitable for
any musical genre short of all-out metal.
Note too that the DV Mark 40-watt sound
is available in a single-channel format with
the Little 40 L34 and Little 40 L6 heads,
both of which have all of the other goodies
found in the combo version.
More from this Roundup:
DV Mark Galileo 15, DV40 212, and Bad Boy 120
Bad Boy 120