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

February 10, 2012
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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.

Galileo 15

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 come alive.

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 amp scene.

Specifications

CONTACT DV Mark, (347) 886-8656; info@dvmark.it

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

CHANNELS One

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

BUILT Italy

KUDOS Amazing headroom. Warm clean tones.

CONCERNS Breakup is a little loose.

DV40 212

PRICE $1,749 retail/$1,299 street

CHANNELS Two

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

BUILT Italy

KUDOS CPC allows power tube push at low volume. Light weight.

CONCERNS Neodymium speakers may not appeal to all tastes.

Bad Boy 120

PRICE $1,999 retail/$1,499 street

CHANNELS Three

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

BUILT Italy

KUDOS Wide range of warm tones through three fully controllable channels. Light weight.

CONCERNS None.

More from this Roundup:

DV40 212
Bad Boy 120
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