DV Mark Bad Boy 120

February 10, 2012

If your music involves moving some serious air, DV Mark’s three-channel Bad Boy 120 is wooing you. This head, which uses twin KT88 output tubes to pump out 120 watts of stadium power, weighs in at a mere 21 pounds. And get this: The DV Mark C 412 cabinet I tested it with is rated at 600 watts and tilts the scales at a feathery 47 pounds thanks to the Italian poplar construction and Neodymium speakers.

Each of the three channels has independent Gain, Master, Presence, and 3-band Tone controls. A pad switch accommodates high output pickups and/or active electronics, while a footswitchable 6dB Solo boost function can kick any of the channels up to “11.” The rear panel offers outputs for single or multiple speaker configurations, as well as a send-levelequipped effects loop that can be assigned to any or all of the channels with the Loop Assign knob. The included Smart Controller footswitch remembers all loop and boost assignments, even after being powered off. Also included are individual switching jacks for the channels, effects loop, and the Solo function for players with MIDI systems that send switching information. A pro rig indeed!

As with the 40-watt combo and head, the Bad Boy features a switch for High or Low bias and a service port to interface the amp with a computer for bias, tube wear, and voltage readouts.

The Bad Boy’s clean channel has headroom for days, facilitating chiming arpeggios capable of ringing through a double bass drum kit, or serving up spanking-clean funk rhythms at volumes that could cut though a full contingent of keyboards and horns. You can overdrive this channel by cranking the Gain knob, but why bother when Channel 2 is waiting in the wings?

I was highly impressed by the adaptability of the second channel. Tweaking the Gain, Master, Solo boost, and effective tone controls, I was able to dial in everything from Texas blues to classic rock crunch to Iron Maiden-level metal. For solos, Channel 3 has all the gain and sustain you need while maintaining good dynamics and touch sensitivity. It is rare that I hear a three-channel amp where all the channels are equally appealing, but the Bad Boy 120 fits that description. And keep in mind that adding a boost or overdrive pedal in front of this head effectively doubles its sonic possibilities.

This amp certainly offers a high degree of flexibility, but if you are into heavier sounds, be sure to check out the Triple 6 head ($1,499 street), which is essentially a Bad Boy 120 that’s voiced for metal and packs even more gain. Either way, with so much going for these amps in the tone and portability departments, anyone who needs this kind of power should give these big rigs from DV Mark a shot.

More from this Roundup:

DV Mark Galileo 15, DV40 212, and Bad Boy 120
DV40 212
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