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Sell me on a Markbass Rig. Portability and power..

Discussion in 'Amps [BG]' started by armybass, Dec 2, 2013.

  1. armybass

    armybass Supporting Member

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    I have never tried a Markbass amp and am gonna start checking them out. But I am lost with all the head options and variations. I am currently using either a GK800 RB or an SWR Bass350 and I use them both in conjunction with a few different preamps. I have multiple cabs but mainly use a Goliath. I am looking to make load ins a little easier and would like the most power in the smallest pacckage. As far as tone I love the sound of a tube preamp but have very little experience with a full tube amp. I like the warm tube tone but do not want to sacrifice the clarity of the amps like the GK and the SWR. I could go for either a head or a head and a cab bot prefer to avid combos... I have two SWR combos that never leave my house becuase my back cant hang with lugging them up and down steps. Most of my gigs are in medium sized rooms and if I ever play a big rom I have FOH support. I prefer 10's but dont mind 12's. I am not a fan of 15's.

    I mainly use Rickenbackers, Fender Jazz and Precisions and use flats half of the time as well.
  2. B-string

    B-string Supporting Member

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  3. mancefine

    mancefine

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    Disclosures:
    Endorsing Artist: Orange Amplifiers and Spector Basses
    I would look into the Orange Terror Bass amps before I looked into Mark bass for what you are wanting. IMO they sound alot better for less money.
  4. CL400Peavey

    CL400Peavey Supporting Member

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    IMHO Markbass amps are bland and boring, and their cabs have way too many compromises to be useful.

    That GK is a much better way to go... As far as cabs go, I have my preferences, but generally a well designed cab will out perform something that built around drastic size/weight requirements. (IMHO the markbass cabs give up too much to cram cheap woofers into too small a box to meet size and weight marks.)
  5. Lo-E

    Lo-E

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    Markbass was one of the first companies to embrace tiny bass rigs, and they're very good at it, but there's a lot out there now. Tons of competition and a lot of really great sounding rigs. It's a bit of a bass amp renaissance, really.

    I've used a number of Markbass products in rehearsal studios here in NYC, and my impression is that they have quite a lot of bass for their size and can move easily between very modern and very 'vintagey' sounds. I ended up liking them more than I expected to. Now that they have so much competiton in the same price range, however, I suggest you do a lot of shopping around! It's an embarassment of riches out there!
  6. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

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    Very nice stuff. Good reliability, good quality. The LMIII has become a classic. Very even, neutral, warm tone, useful EQ, and nice amount of wump. It won't 'distort and grind or overdrive', but if you want a sort of 'through the studio board' sort of clean but not sterile feel, it is a great head. It is a class A/B amp, which is a bit unusual for a micro (not a big deal). The smaller and somewhat louder Big Bang is a class D amp and is a bit brighter, bigger and more aggressive sounding. Those are the 'sweet spots' in the Markbass line-up. The 'tube' versions use a very small, low voltage mini-tube and IMO are not worth the extra price.

    The cabs are a bit of a mixed bag, but the models with the true compression drivers are quite nice. The 'P' models, which use cheap piezo tweeters should IMO be avoided.

    That being said, if you are used to the aggressive, bright midrange grind of the GK 800RB, or the sizzle and super deep low end of the SWR heads, the even, relatively neutral, warm Markbass stuff might not be your thing. I would consider the GK MB500 with two GK Neo112(II) cabs as a bit more of a true (higher powered, lightweight) swap of the heads you have now. Much brighter, grindier, and significantly less expensive than the equivalent Markbass rig.

    While Markbass seems to have their US service program in decent shape, always easier to get a US based brand serviced if you are in the US, so that is another thing to consider.

    IMO and IME.
  7. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

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    To the OP, a key point. If you try out the Markbass stuff, most Guitar Center staff are pretty clueless about bass amps. The 'flat' setting of the Markbass heads is EQ at noon and filters OFF. Many a trier has come away describing the Markbass stuff of dark and dull due to being told the filters are flat when at noon:p

    The filters are very usable on the Markbass heads. Unique variable lo pass filter (called VLE... vintage loudspeaker emulation) that slowly and gently rolls off top end, starting with the high treble and then working its way down all the way to the midrange as turned up). Nice control for taking the edge off a tweeter, or removing a tweeter completely from a two way cab for a more old school thing.

    The VPF (variable preshape filter... I think that is what it is called) is a better than most execution of a contour/enhance filter, that boosts deep bass and upper treble, and cuts mid mids for a more hi fi type tone. Useful for cabs that are mid voiced.

    A little bit of either of those filters goes a long way.
  8. mastodon88

    mastodon88

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    imo the class D stuff really destroys the sound of your bass, if your already an swr user and you enjoy an amp that doesn't color the sound of your guitars then markbass may not be for you,

    unless you just want fat room filling bass then mark bass does that in a small light package
  9. armybass

    armybass Supporting Member

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    Thank you all for the suggestions. Just to be clear, I am not looking at making a total change to my sound. Just would like to have the option of a lightwieght rig with a small footprint that I can have available to me. I am not getting rid of the amps I have now. It is good to hear people say such great stuff about the GK MB series though. I got one of their first combos and I thought it was really cheap stuff and not up to the standard GK that I was used to.
  10. bassybill

    bassybill The smooth moderator... Supporting Member

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    That's interesting. I find just the opposite with my Markbass gear. The reason I dig the sound so much is that my Markbass rig gets me closer than anything else I've tried to the sound of my bass coming through quality studio monitors in a control room, which is exactly what I'm after.

    I've played many, many gigs with my Markbass rig, everything from duos to big bands, soul to rock to disco to funk to jazz, for 6 years now and I'm still totally happy with it. I guess I'd call it "useful". ;)
  11. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

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    Wow..... where do people come up with this stuff:p
  12. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

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    The current combo series is pretty low end on the GK stuff. I would stay away from those. However, the MB heads are quite nice, and the higher end neo cabs are very good for the dollars charged. The punchy, bright Neo112(II) cabs should make you pretty happy, coming from your preference for 10's, which usually translates to lots of mid presence and punch, and a touch aggressive/bright up top.
  13. B-string

    B-string Supporting Member

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    Just to bring you "up to speed", RAG moved all final production of amps and cabs back to California the first of January 2012.
    Oh and the 800RB production actually stopped this year after 31 years!
  14. B-string

    B-string Supporting Member

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    Interesting thoughts? The MB series heads are used in the combos and most use the same speakers found in the NEO cab lines.
  15. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

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    I was very unimpressed with them, and quite a few issues with rattling, etc. reported on these, among other things. The heads in the ones I've tried were definitely different than the MB heads though... different control layout. It has been around 8 months though. Just remember I didn't dig them at all, and quite a different tonality than the NeoXII cabs, which are 'decent' for the price for sure. (Edit: The Microbass combo's are still top notch and classic after so many years though, IMO).

    However, they actually are cheap (very inexpensive)... good 'starter' amps for the kids for sure, and serviceable if you gig and are on a very tight budget.
  16. TN WOODMAN

    TN WOODMAN

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    All I know is that my Berlin combo with NY151 extension cab is perfect for my needs . 500 watts into 2 15s in 2 relatively light , easy to handle pieces , with a warm, clean somewhat vintagey tone . (Probably due to my basses being warm and vintagey as much as the amp )
  17. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

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    That Berlin combo is a beauty for sure. If you don't need a tweeter, that unit is wonderful IMO and IME. It does use the LMIII as its power. Really nice 'clean, warm, fat' sound!
  18. gjbassist

    gjbassist Supporting Member

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    I really like my Little Mark III. I run it through a pair of GK 112 Neo cabinets and it sounds fantastic! I have tried several brands of compact heads and the LMIII has been my favorite. Great clean tone with plenty of volume!

    What? The Orange Terror Bass is $300 more than a LMIII. Of course they are going to sound different because the Orange has two tube preamps. It also weighs twice as much and looks like a construction workers lunchbox!
  19. armybass

    armybass Supporting Member

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    LOL..... UPDATE


    After 4 plus hours in the GC checking out heads..... I came away with the Orange Terror Bass 500. I really liked the bottom and the top on that amp and felt it was a better fit for my sound. But I am thinking hard about selling some of my dinosaur gear overstock and getting either a Markbass Big Bang or a GK MB500 for my gig bag backup and small gig amp. Thanks for all the input folks.....

    Now I need to start a thread and get you all to recommend a new cab for me.... :D
  20. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

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    That is a nice head! The only downside is that the DI is post EQ only, but not that big of a deal. Unique design for a solid state head in that it has an impedance switch which sort of mimics the impact of an output transformer on an all tube amp, keeping the wattage output the same at 4ohms and 8ohms. Make sure you have that switch set correctly for you cabinet impedance.

    There is a TBer that is using that head very successfully with a Baer ML112 for smaller gigs (great 112 and mid driver box that can really sound great with a bit of overdrive with that head) and the Bergantino CN212 for larger gigs (a very lightweight 4ohm 212 that is warm and punchy and loud). Not cheap stuff, but light, LOUD, and nicely matched with that head.

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