Italy’s Markbass amplifiers have proved their
mettle with pros like Jeff Berlin and Bob Daisley, who appreciate
these lightweight yet powerful heads for their punch and
dynamic sensitivity. Having conquered the bass world, the company
is seeking success in the guitar amplifier market with a
series of innovative tube-powered models.
I recently had the opportunity to check out the entire DV Mark
line, which, in addition to the models on deck here, includes a
metal-oriented version of the Bad Boy 120, a combo version of
the 15-watt Galileo head, and a EL34- and 6L6-powered head
version of the DV40 40-watt combo.
I tested these amps with a 1965 Stratocaster, fitted with
DiMarzio Virtual Vintage pickups, through both DV Mark cabinets
and a custom 1x12 of my own. I also pushed the front ends
of the amps with either an Electro-Harmonix Germanium Big
Muff or a Paul Trombetta FeederBone overdrive.
The somewhat stark appearance of the mostly black metal Galileo
15 is softened a bit thanks to some figured Tolex on the sides
and a fashion-forward leather strap that traverses the entire head.
The perforated metal cover that encloses the top section of of the
amplifier won’t keep out invasion by dust or beer, but all those
holes help make the head extremely light.
A pair of small metal rails on either side of the front panel
protects the black-striped pointer knobs and Boost switch. The
Galileo has no standby switch. Instead, about ten seconds after
you flick on the juice, there’s an audible click that tells you the
tubes are warmed up and the amp is ready to rock.
Given its size, wattage, and EL84 tubes, you might assume
the Galileo would sound similar to an Orange Tiny Terror or Vox
Night Train. However, where the Orange and Vox amps trade in
Brit-style grind, the Galileo is a clean machine, offering an amazing
amount of pristine headroom—easily as much as the clean
channel on my 30-watt Egnater Rebel.
And not only is the Galileo loud, but its clean sound has
enough harmonic depth—even at low gain settings—to make
reverb unnecessary. (If you can’t live without it, reverb is available
on the combo version.) The Galileo offers a satisfying
amount of crunch with the Boost switch engaged, but if ever an
amp was made for pedals, this is it. A little kick from my distortion
pedal tightened up the amp’s slightly wooly-sounding distortion—which is looser on the
low-end, more like a Fender than
a Marshall—and really made it
In many ways, the Galileo 15 sets
the tone for the DV Mark series. It
isn’t a clone of anything in particular,
though the sound is definitely more
American than British. Instead, this
little powerhouse is ready to carve
out its own sonic niche in the small
CONTACT DV Mark, (347) 886-8656; email@example.com
Galileo 15 head
Also available as a 1x12 combo with reverb, footswitchable
boost, and built in overdrive circuit.
The Galileo 15’s circuit offers the same level of component and build quality as that of DV’s larger heads and combos.
PRICE $749 retail/$599 street
CONTROLS Gain, Bass, Middle, High, Master, Boost switch
TUBES Two 12AX7 preamp tubes, two EL84 output tubes,
12AX7 phase inverter, solid-state rectification
POWER 15 watts
EXTRAS 4Ω and 8Ω speaker outs
WEIGHT 10 lbs
KUDOS Amazing headroom. Warm clean tones.
CONCERNS Breakup is a little loose.
PRICE $1,749 retail/$1,299 street
CONTROLS Normal/Bright switch, Channel 1 Gain and Master,
Channel 2 Drive and Master. Shared Bass, Middle,
High, Reverb, and Presence. Solo switch.
TUBES Two 12AX7 preamp tubes, two EL34 output tubes,
12AX7 phase inverter, solid-state rectification
POWER 40 watts
EXTRAS Continuous Power Control (CPC). Footswitchable
Boost function. Pentode and Triode modes. Low
or High Bias mode switch. Service port. Three
speaker outs (4Ω, 8Ω, 16Ω)
SPEAKER Two 12" B&C Neodymium DV Mark Custom
WEIGHT 37.5 lbs
KUDOS CPC allows power tube push at low volume.
CONCERNS Neodymium speakers may not appeal to
Bad Boy 120
PRICE $1,999 retail/$1,499 street
CONTROL Gain, Master, Presence, Bass, Mid, and High for
each channel. Solo Boost, 0/-6dB pad switch.
Rear panel: Send Level, Loop Assign knob. Low
or High Bias mode switch.
TUBES Four 12AX7 preamp tubes, two KT88 output
tubes, 12AX7 phase inverter, solid-state rectification
POWER 120 watts
EXTRAS Smart Controller pedal. Service port. Five speaker
outs (2x8Ω, 2x16Ω, 1x16Ω) .
SPEAKER Tested with a DV Mark C412 Standard 4x12
cabinet ($1,299 retail/$949 street)
WEIGHT 21.6 lbs
KUDOS Wide range of warm tones through three fully
controllable channels. Light weight.
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