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|Download Example 1
Dynalead set to clean, Fender-like tone.
|Download Example 2
Vox AC30-style tone
|Download Example 3
Classic Rock rhythm tone with Vox-like midrange
All clips recorded with a 1974 Les Paul Custom, mic’d with an SM57 into a Chandler LTD-1 mic preamp directly into Pro Tools with no FX.
The front panel looks similar to most amps at first glance, but I did a double take when I got closer. There’s a lot to take in here, so stay with me. From left to right, you have a standard input and, above it, a three-way bright switch, followed by a Gain A knob and two more switches—Grind and Channel A/B/DL. Channel A (the clean channel) consists of a five-way Voicing knob and a Thin/Fat knob. Channel B (lead) hosts Gain B, Thin/Fat, and Volume knobs. Next we have the DL (DynaLink) control—which functions effectively as a third channel—and a global Reverb knob. Standard Standby and Power toggles round out the front panel. The Clean channel’s Thin/Fat is a full-bandwidth tone control and is highly effective at tailoring just the right amount of body for various pickup and guitar types. The Voicing control is where the 2040 HG stands out: Positions one, two, and three offer varying degrees of mid-frequency dips, while position four engages just the tone control, and position five completely eliminates the tone stack. The DynaLink control, which is engaged with the Channel A/B/DL switch, combines the A and B channels in series to offer endless gain and voicing options. Very cool!
With all these options, switches, and nonstandard controls, you might think that it could be tricky to dial in good tones on the 2040 HG. Not so. In fact, I found it surprisingly intuitive and was immediately able to pull up a very wide variety of great sounds. For those who are gun shy, the amp includes a sample settings sheet that covers some serious tonal territory. Because the sample sheet was so helpful, I’ll use the three sample settings included and go over how they fared with various guitars.