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Absolutely shocked by how much I like my Little Mark Tube!

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by phishaholik, Jan 24, 2013.

  1. phishaholik

    phishaholik Supporting Member

    Aug 20, 2005
    Portland, Oregon
    Since I've seen this amp mentioned in a bunch of threads lately, I thought I would post my impressions.

    I got this amp in trade and I am absolutely shocked by how good it sounds and how much I like it. I originally was only getting it to use as a power amp with a Monique preamp. After using the amp for the past several weeks, I'm having a real hard time justifying the purchase of the Monique. I'm still gassing for a Monique something fierce, but I'm honestly really, really happy with my tone right now.

    I'm using it with a Bergantino AE212 and the combination is one of the best rigs I've ever owned. It's super portable and the tone is uber thick and it just sounds like a good tube amp to me, at least compared to most other amps without a tube power section. I'm actually coming from using an SVT with an NV610 and I really couldn't be happier. The MB/AE combo is a lot more articulate and the harmonics I get are all tube.

    Unlike most people, I think switching between the tube and solid state parts of the preamp makes a decent amount of difference. I actually don't really like the tone when it's fully turned towards the tube. Completely solid state seems to have a deeper low end, whereas the all tube side seems to compress the low end a bit. My favourite so far is to turn the knob to about 2 o' clock, which is favouring the tube side a little bit. The amount of gain is higher and it seems to keep the deeper low end of the SS side with some tubeyness.

    I've never owned a Markbass before, but I'm really surprised by how good this little amp is. My amp takes up way less space, I don't have to worry about my baby daughter pulling a huge amp down on her and I can just zip the case closed in front and she can't mess with the knobs. I feel like I'm winning on levels. The only other micro that I've owned was the Streamliner, which I never got along with. No mids and only some basses were even usable with it. It sounds absolutely nothing like an SVT either. I would say the LMT gets much closer, but still not there.

    As of now, I'm keeping the SVT in case I ever have a gig that needs more that the LMT can put out, but I'm still thinking about letting it go and getting a Monique with the cash and possibly getting a high wattage power amp for the high volume gigs. Honestly, I don't think I need it.

  2. Russell L

    Russell L

    Mar 5, 2011
    Cayce, SC
    Glad to hear another happy Markbass user. I've never tried the tube version, but I've been digging the Little Mark series for the past four years. I only wish they all had semi-parametric mid controls (I think ALL amps should).
  3. Joedog


    Jan 28, 2010
    Pensacola FL
    Nice report...thanks. I hope to be in the market for a lightweight head soon, and will check it out for sure...sounds like it might be right up my alley.
  4. PDGood


    Sep 19, 2010
    Nashville, TN
    Another LittleMark fan here. As I was leaving rehearsal with a new band at a small studio I overheard someone from the studio say, "What kind of rig does he have? We've gotta get one of those."
    LMlll through Audiokinesis TC115. It just works.
  5. Stone Soup

    Stone Soup

    Dec 3, 2012
    You should have bought the SA450, instead of the Little Mark. I've been using mine for about four years. Great amp. The current version is the MoMark SA500.
  6. phishaholik

    phishaholik Supporting Member

    Aug 20, 2005
    Portland, Oregon
    The amp really does just "work" and it sounds great with all my basses. I'm a self confessed tube amp freak, having owned or still own the following:

    Ampeg SVT-CL
    Peavey Classic 400
    Mesa Boogie D-180
    Trace Elliot V4/V-type
    Trace Elliot Hexa Valve
    Trace Elliot Twin Valve
    Marshall LEM1992 Superbass "Lemmy Kilmister Signature"

    I can't even count the amount of hybrids I've owned. There have been very few amps I liked this much right away. It's also one of the cheapest amps that I've owned and probably the lightest. I do wish that it had semi-parametric mids, but luckily for me my Fodera has two bands of midrange to tweak on the preamp and those frequencies can also be changed with jumpers or a switch.

    Markbass was never even on my radar before. Colour me impressed.
  7. The Markbass/Bergantino AE match-up is about as good as it gets IMO. The AE212 is amazing, and just sings with many Markbass heads.

    My main gigging rig for a couple of years now has been the AE212 and the F500.

    Enjoy... GREAT rig.
  8. Would you say that the Little Mark Tube is basically an LM3 - with a mute and a dial in tube option?
    I know the Little Mark Tube "800" doesn't seem to get a lot of love on the forum but I think the 800 is "D' class while the LM3 and LM Tube are "A&B" - is that a fair assumption?
    If the LM Tube is the same as an LM3 ( but with extras ) I am sold.
  9. coyote1


    Mar 23, 2012
    The Markbass amps are excellent. They just don't come in at prices I'm willing to pay at this time.
  10. jumblemind

    jumblemind I also answer to Bryan Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2011
    Plus extra features on the second input, including its own separate gain control and the ability to accept both 1/4" and balanced XLR, just like the tube 800.
  11. Nice write up. It just goes to show you cannot always go off reviews and word of mouth of others and that things can surprise you. When I was looking for a new amp a little while back I asked about a Peavey T-Max, some bashed it because it is Peavey, but it also got a lot of praise too from the faithful users who had used it. I ended up buying it and it is just awesome!
  12. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Nice head, but I'd still get the Monique. Different world, as they say.
  13. I totally agree! I've had a very similar experience with my new to me used LMT 800. I just got off my first gig with it and my Berg AE410 tonight. I was really impressed!!

    I'm an Eden WT400 user and I love the Eden tone. So far with my Fdeck HPF, I've been able to get a very similar tone out of this Little Mark Tube 800. Only in a micro package. I bring the bass up to 3 o clock and the mids set flat, the treble set to 1 - 2 o clock, and VLE and VPF at 9:00 ish. I too find the tube and SST blend knob to impart a variety of tones similar to what you find. I typically set it to 11:00 to maximize the SST's low end and still hear the sweet harmonic mids from the tube.

    I have the F500, WTX500, and Headlite, and of all of them, the closest one to replace my trusty WT400 on gigs is the Markbass LMT 800. The WTX sounds great but simply doesn't have the same headroom as my old WT400. The LMT 800 doesn't seem to run out of gas before I start worrying about my AE410 compressing out and at that point, I'm too loud for just about any stage I play.

    The Little Mark EQ system does leave a little to be desired in the ways of simplicity, especially when comparing to a Eden World Tour EQ. Once one becomes familiar with the LM series EQ, one can really cop a lot of different tones out of it. I was amazed to get a Eden(esk) tone and headroom in a smaller lighter package, and for that I'm really excited! I may be GAS Free for a while now...

    I've never been a fan of the F500 as much as I wanted to like it. I love it's smaller form factor and semi-para mids. It's low end just isn't authorative enough for my tastes. It's a very articulate amp with sweet mids and plenty of real gigging volume. But for this Eden guy, the LMT 800 is a better match. It really sang with the AE410. When using it with my bottom rich Mesa Scout cabs, I found it to be a little sloppy. The FDeck HPF really helps get the Mark Bass LM heads into a similar low end of the Edens. I set the HPF frequency at about 2-3 o clock and place it in the effects loop.

    *note - if using something like a compressor or HPF in the effects loop of a Markbass head you will want to do the internal conversion from parallel to series. Mark Bass ships them from the factory configured for parallel operation.
  14. JxBass

    JxBass Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2008
    I owned an LMT800 for awhile and really liked it. It and the LMII were my two favorite Markbass heads.
  15. sratas


    Dec 15, 2007
    Parma, Italy
    I'm ready to buy a Mb head and was challenging between a Lm tube and the new Big Bang.
    For the sound samples I heard (Thomann.de has a good way of comparing products recording the gear playing always the same riffs on the same bass and player) the Lm Tube sounds very solid, warm, deep but clear at the same time, it appeals me a lot.
    Unfortunately, there are only few samples of the Big Bang online (I would use the headphone out extensively), wich, by the way, should sound different bacause of the class D poweramp and the full solid state preamp. I know that it has been said that tonewise it should place between the LM III and the F500, and that the poweramp has been voiced to sound analog-like, but, for now, these are only words.
    The LM tube 800 is another story. Surfing TB I had a clear image that it is the most debated Markbass product. Some very respectable guys criticize it as being colourful and not as warm as, for example, the LM III, with a bump in the upper mids. Others, even in this thread, praise it. I think it's normal and in the end it all depends upon personal preference and taste.
    It would be awesome if someone could record some samples of the Tube and the tube 800...
    (and yes, I have no easy opportunity to test these heads so I must rely also on TB'ers opinions at the moment)
  16. Markbass amps were a revelation for me. when i first started playing them, i realized i was able to play like myself instead of always chasing the tones of famous bass players. that whole distraction of "what type of cab was he using?" or "what are his amp settings?" just disappeared. now i'm able to focus on actually playing the bass and enjoying the sound of the instrument. i feel like i have a little bit in common with acoustic guitar players, because those guys worry less about "tone-chasing". they find the guitar that sounds best to them and that's it, that's how it sounds - now play the damn thing!
  17. I just ordered a new LMT800 last night for a great price (long story that I really can't go into). I kinda had to make a quick decision so I didn't have time to do research here on Talkbass about it. I owned a F500 about two years ago and I really liked it , but I had a couple big gigs where the F500 fell short on power - even through two 410 cabs. I've heard people say that the F500 had enough power to handle all of their gig situations - that wasn't the case for me , but I also had no PA support at the time. When I decided that I was going to get another Markbass head I wanted one with more power than 500 Watts. I read through the 13 reviews on Musicians Friend and they were all pretty positive except for some people saying that the tube didn't really do much and it should be classified more as a solid state amp. Another guy complained about the pull out volume / mute switch tended to change his volume settings slightly when he used it. I figured that I could live with those two complaints so I ordered the head.
    When I had more time today to look into what Talkbass users thought about the LMT800 I was shocked by how varied the views on this amp were and how some highly respected gear gurus here on talkbass didn't like the amp. To say that I was disappointed was an understatement! Then again I read where some people really liked the LMT800 , so I'm still keeping my hopes up that it will live up to my expectations and that I will be able to find the sound that I am looking for. It will be running two GK Neo212-II cabs and I will mainly be playing my Musicman Bongo 5 HH. The Bongo has a nice 4 band EQ that I'm hoping can fill in any areas that may be lacking in the voicing of the LMT800. I did find two youtube videos of the LMT800 and the LMT and if I can get mine to sound anywhere near to what those sound like I think that I'll be a happy camper. I shared the videos on the Markbass Club thread , but I will also share them here:


  18. sratas


    Dec 15, 2007
    Parma, Italy
    just bought a Big Bang head...quite impresses, a full review on the Big Bang threads...
    the head, shortly, is a misterious match between "clear and transparent" and "warm and punchy".
    really difficult to explain, but it's a welcome surprise, because it differs significantly from the LM heads and even more from the F heads, that I found too tight and dry for my tastes.
    The only compliant is that mine has a problem with the headphones out, where there is a fuzzy sound that accompanies every note. The incredible thing is that if the bass is absolutely in tune, that annoying static noise almost disappears, whereas if the pitch is not correct 100%, the noise comes in...maybe only a coincidence, I need to test it more. Anyway, I have contacted the MB service, I expect a top notch servicing, no less. I have had MB products in the past, and the customer service and repair haa always been one of the best I could ever imagine....
  19. Russell L

    Russell L

    Mar 5, 2011
    Cayce, SC
    Good to hear you had a good experience with service. perhaps you should share that on the thread about it being a "mess."
  20. sratas


    Dec 15, 2007
    Parma, Italy

    excuse me, I'm not english, language sometimes is a bit of a prob for me.
    Can you explain what you are asking?
  21. Primary

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    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

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