Review: DV Mark Triple 6
Marco De Virgiliis, the brains behind DV Mark, made an extraordinary first impression a decade ago when he introduced the acclaimed Markbass line of bass guitar amplifiers. More recently he’s expanded his offerings with the DV Mark line of guitar amplifier heads and combos, which share the same attention to detail and focus on features that musicians really want and need, such as compact portable configurations, bulletproof construction and affordable prices. The DV Mark Triple 6 is a three-channel, 120-watt all-tube head similar to its brother, the Bad Boy 120. But whereas the Bad Boy is voiced to provide a wide range of tones, the Triple 6 is exclusively designed for hard rock and metal guitarists who prefer aggressive, supersaturated high-gain tones.
The Triple 6 features an unusual power circuit that consists of two KT88 tubes and one ECC83 (12AX7) tube. Channel 1, which is a clean/crunch channel, is driven by one and one-half ECC83 preamp tubes (a scenario in which only half of one ECC83 is powered), while channels 2 and 3 are driven by three ECC83 preamp tubes to provide a significant boost in gain. All three channels feature identical and fully independent control configurations consisting of bass, middle, treble, presence, gain and master knobs. This allows the Triple 6 to function like three separate amps in a single chassis, with no shared controls whatsoever. A 0dB/-6dB switch pads the input for matching the output of standard (0dB) or active pickups (-6dB).
The rear panel reveals an abundance of useful features, including a variety of speaker outputs: two eight-ohm (or one four-ohm), two 16-ohm (or one eight-ohm) and one 16-ohm. There are also mono send and return jacks, send level and mix controls, a manual channel-select switch, and footswitch inputs for the included five-switch controller or for individual footswitches to control channels, the effect loop and the solo function separately.
A rotary loop-assign switch allows users to assign the effect loop to an individual channel, all channels or no channels. A bias switch toggles between a high-bias setting that works the tubes harder for more aggressive tones and a low-bias setting that uses less power and prolongs tube life. An Ethernet-style jack allows users to connect the optional Advanced Tube Control System (ATCS) to analyze power-amp voltages, bias current and other useful service-oriented info.
Most new amp heads seem to be getting bigger and heavier, but the Triple 6 is refreshingly light (22 pounds) and compact, with a chassis that’s 60 percent smaller than most of today’s average amp heads. Sturdy metal-mesh construction keeps the tubes cool, aided by a built-in fan that’s always on. An on/off switch for the fan would be welcome for studio recording, but the noise it makes is noticeable only when nothing is being played.
DV Mark states upfront that it’s “not trying to start a revolution in tone,” which is also refreshing, as the amp delivers tasteful, useful sounds no matter where the controls are set. The clean tones are warm and bluesy, while the distortion tones are de rigueur for today’s metal styles, with complex harmonics that sound like multiple layers of guitars imbued with articulated attack, impressive bass punch and crisp treble. Instead of slapping a cheap spring reverb tank and a midrange sweep control that produces every sound but the one you want, the Triple 6 keeps things straightforward and simple with a priority on great tone. Players who want to customize their tones further can use the effect loop for connecting pro reverb processors and graphic/parametric EQs, while players who don’t need that are spared the extra expense.
Channel 1 offers impressive clean headroom that produces just a hint of overdrive breakup with the gain control fully maxed. Channel 2 goes straight into high-gain metal territory right off the bat. (If you prefer Plexi-style classic rock tones, the Bad Boy 120 may be a better option.) By comparison, Channel 3 has a slightly less pronounced midrange, with a touch more gain and compression, making it ideal for solo and lead playing.
Because the channel-select switch is on the back panel and only scrolls through channels, the included footswitch—which lets you quietly and quickly engage individual channels, the effect loop and solo function—is a necessity for performing live.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Designed exclusively for hard rock and metal guitarists, the DV Mark Triple 6 delivers a triple-threat of awesome high-gain tones, pro features and lightweight, compact construction.
LIST PRICE $1,999.99
MANUFACTURER DV Mark, dvmark.it
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