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Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by SJan3, Jul 31, 2020.
These are the contenders. Which do you favor and why? Help me out.
P.S. the Genzler is the 350 also.
Those are 3 solid choices in power, price and size.
Features are somewhat different IE; Genzler has aux in/headphone out and Contour[similar to Markbass VLE and VPF] and mid sweep. Nano has effects loop and more basic controls; Aguilar has Drive and mid sweep.
I have a Markbass CMD 121p with LM lll and like the sound but without spending anytime with Nano and only small amount of time with Genzler and Aguilar in Music Store environment; my 'Gut' would direct me towards the Genzler;
Laugh all you want, but I just got a TC Electronics BQ500 head just to have a knockabout-backup on hand. I'm thoroughly impressed! Under $250 to my door. It's got a similar 4 band eq as the MB Nano, and also a variable compressor (called "Thrust", which also has a bit of a mid boost thing happening as you increase its compression) which I kind of like with mild application. Like any compressor, too much is terrible, but a little is usually pretty nice! I have other more expensive heads, but am really amazed at how great this little thing sounds and how much power it has on tap for such little coin. If you look up reviews, you'll see they were shipping with the active/passive switch wired backwards for awhile. Mine came from Sweetwater last month and it is operating correctly. Other recent reports show it to have been corrected as well.
I think the Aggie is a great choice, if you're going for the ToneHammer tone. I feel it stands out among the rest as a bit more unique in sound.
Thanks for pointing out the TC Electronics.
Also, is MarkBass still making the Blackline 250? I also like mine just as well. Here are it and the BQ500 for size comparison.
What kind of sound/tone are you going for? If you're going for vintage the Tone Hammer is the easy choice. If you're going for something a bit hi-fi sounding the Tone Hammer is easily the worst choice.
My confession: I had the Tonehammer 500 but it was something of an enigma to me so I sold it a few weeks ago. Now, in a strange way, I miss it. That said, I also have a Little Mark lll that I love but I always like to have a 2nd amp and a bit of a different flavor.
I probably don't need 500 watts so looking at the 350 watt offerings.
Good info. In that case, I'd cross the MB Nano off the list. If you want a different flavor, it doesn't seem like an amp that would add much to your music soup!
There has been a lot of talk about the Aggie's tone controls not being intuitive. I have not played with one at length myself. I played a friend's years ago and it was fine, just not my bag. It sounds to me like maybe the Genzler could be fun!
Sounds to me like you could be right. I figure the Nano is more of the same as my LM3 and the Aggie frustrated me enough to move it. Genzler 350 is looking good.
How does the TC compare to your LittleMark 250?
I haven't really put the TC through a lot of abuse yet. The MB 250 has the VPF and VLE controls which are cool, but I rarely use... I don't really get fancy with the effects, and am also really light with my EQ usage. That being said, both are very clean amps in the way I use them. The MB doesn't do overdrive very well. To me, it is NOT a pleasing event to run it into preamp clipping. If that blue light flickers, I pull down the gain and make it up in master. It gets stupid loud with both my Heritage SVT410HLF, and my new Mesa SW115. (Independently, of course.)
The TC is a little more forgiving with preamp clipping, and again I really like adding just a touch of the Thrust compression. Not so much that it's really obvious, just enough to thicken/even out the tone/output a smidge.
If you aren't using the Thrust on the TC, or VLE or VPF on the MB, they're both really close! The TC is a little smaller physically, but both are very close in weight. The TC is a lot more dense than you think it would be! A little shift of an eq here or there and they're about indistinguishable, really. They are basic, quality class D heads. I haven't A/Bd them a bunch yet, but nothing stands out when I've used one or the other. To note, the TC ONLY has 1 SpeakON out, no 1/4" output. Doesn't matter to me as all I use are SpeakONs, but just thought I'd mention it.
IMHO, it really just comes down to those features... If I had to pick one to keep today, I'd probably choose the TC. That's just because I nevef use vpf/vle, and I like the Thrust on the TC. The TC is also a fair bit cheaper (unless you catch a sale.) I've had the MB for a couple years, and just got the TC for a spare recently. I've got a young dude from church that wants to play bass and I wanted us both to play together through our own rigs. It's incredible what technology has brought us!
Just ran to the basement and snapped a couple more pics for ya. TC on top, MB on bottom. If headphone practice matters, TC wins. If FX loop matters, MB wins. Neither matters to me. :/
So, both in the same camp. I do use the VLE and VPF filters on my LM3 albeit sparingly and I have a Seymour Duncan Studio Bass Compressor so got that covered. I agree that the MarkBass doesn't like to clip and I'd like the ability to get some squash and grit from the preamp. I don't know if the Genzler 350 likes to go there. Maybe an Ampeg PF 350? It's tough without having them to audition.
Wow, I just looked up your LM3... that's basically a more powerful Blackline 250, lol! (OOORRRRRRRR.... the Blackline is a weaksauce LM3!)
Thank you for doing that!
From what I've read, the PF350 and the Genzler should both give you some better preamp drive/overdrive.
What abou something completely different, like an Ampeg PF20 or PF50? Those little tube dudes will give you all kinds of driven happiness! Lots of folks on here have even said they play out smaller gigs with the PF50.
Yes, PF50 would be nice but, expensive, heavy, delicate and lacking booty. I just don't see the point in tubes for a traveling unit these days. Too many SS amps that are maintenance free .
Do you know specifically what it was that frustrated you or you weren't getting out of the Aggie? I'm a huge TH fan after absolutely hating them prior to figuring out the controls. They are not intuitive but once you know a couple tricks it opens up the amp immensely and becomes very easy to dial in a lot of sounds. Even then it's still not be everyones cup of tea. It is easily the most tube like amp I've ever used that didn't have a tube. One caveat I think is most certainly true about THs is that they are not bedroom tone friendly amps. They don't necessarily sound pretty on their own and IMO shine in band settings mainly due to the nature of the mids. I honestly think the Drive knob is mislabeled HPF/LPF knob that will introduce some break up depending on how much you feed it from the gain knob. The gain/master is misleading in that it doesn't really work like most standard or familiar control sets. To run it completely clean and get a ton of clean volume you can literally dime the master and keep the gain and drive completely off.
I owned a little mark iii and liked it. Served me well for a handful of years but it was a bit anemic in the end for my tastes. If you still have an LMIII no sense really in another Markbass unless you consider it your holy grail. I've played the Genzler 800 a bit but never owned any. I did like it when I played through it though I didn't find the drive very pleasant or useful. That's a non issue on the 350 though. The amp is clean without being sterile.
Here's an interesting one... the last Hartke head I played was an HA3500 I had nearly 20 years ago, but it sounded great. This looks interesting. I may have to try one out myself! Hartke TX300 - 300-watt Lightweight Bass Amplifier
Looks like some drive AND compression.
Well... I think I may have overused the Drive and Gain. So, I felt like I lost a lot of dynamic range. Very compressed sounding, no highs and just didn't deliver the booty I was looking for. And that was with two Aggie DB112 cabinets. I still have my GS112s and the LittleMark kicks through them.
I had an AG500SC years ago and that kicked hard too but the Tonehammer left me feeling very ambivalent.