Ampeg BA-108 - Surprising.
I wanted a small, low-cost practice amp for solo practice. Something small, portable, adequate sound.
Most roads lead to the Ampeg BA-108 so I bought one sight unseen. American Musical Supply had it on my door the next day (Props to AMS!). Then came the surprises.
First Surprise - Size.
I was envisioning it would be the size of a toaster or gallon of milk; well, OK maybe twice that size. Turns out the amp is quite a bit bigger than that. It also weighs enough to be noticeable. Unlike my fairy-tale 8 pound, gallon of milk amp, this bad boy weighs in at 27 pounds. Yes, it is manageable, but I was expecting something else.
Here the amp lives up to my expectations. It is surprisingly loud and full for a small amp. Handles the low B string well with no signs of breaking up or farting out (at practice volumes, anyway). It does have a bit of a boxy / tubby sound but it is minor. Other micro practice amps I've owned sounded thin in comparison.
Second Surprise 2
I took the amp to choir practice. I knew we'd have no drummer so the amp would only need to match the volume of an acoustic piano which it did with no problem. I dialed out some mids and highs and had a very workable practice tone that all could hear. Hmm, nice.
Then one of the other musicians surprised us all by sitting down at the drum set. Apparently he plays. Unfortunately his skill set did not include playing super quiet. Uh, oh. Ampeg may be in trouble.
I turned the amp up to try to stay with him as much as possible, and away we went. Much to my surprise I could still hear the bass. It was not dominating, mind you, but that little Ampeg was doing the job. We did 3 or 4 songs with him on drums and I never lost the bass in the mix despite the fact I was standing right in front of the drums.
So, my bottom line is that I got a lot more with this amp that I had expected. No way it will replace my 350 watt / 210 system but for practice and light-duty playing out it will serve nicely!
- Keith -