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Best small, light weight amp

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by tito mangialajo, Oct 5, 2018.

  1. tito mangialajo

    tito mangialajo

    Feb 1, 2006
    In your opinion, what is the best small, light weight, trasnportable combo for double bass?
  2. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    This thread might be more useful if we could define the terms "small", "lightweight" and "transportable" more specifically (i.e. - maximum size dimensions, maximum weight, etc.). Even then "best" is always subjective.

    All that said, for the price I recommend the new-ish Fender Rumble 100 series amps to students as best bang for the buck in the "lightweight-transportable" category. Just heard a student playing one at an outdoor gig yesterday and she sounded great through it.
  3. Since it is a compromise, there is no best in all categories amp, it depends what is more important. This is different for almost everybody, so no absolute answers can be given, just listing some candidates that might qualify for someone.

    The smallest well working amp for double bass in small groups I have heard was a Markbass cubical (about 20 to 25 cm edge length) with only 40 watts. Most portable, but limited in volume. Cannot remember the model name and I think it is discontinued anyway.
  4. madbanjoman


    Feb 23, 2011
    Are you thinking of the micro mark 801?

    Great small amp. I have one and it is pretty loud for its size.
  5. damonsmith


    May 10, 2006
    Quincy, MA
    I don't think there is a combo that beats the Upshot paired with any number of great micro heads. I am using an old Clarus 1 and an Upshot. You can go smaller and lighter on the head for a few hundred more.
    tito mangialajo likes this.
  6. jthisdell

    jthisdell Supporting Member

    Jun 12, 2014
    Roanoke, VA
    I would echo @damonsmith and say that there are a lot of really great options if you go separate head and cab, especially if your budget allows it. At the price point a Rumble is good for the $$ but personally I was not happy with a Rumble 100 and returned it. Really good small combos tend to get expensive so if you get into the realm of a Markbass CMD12 or Phil Jones there are many, many great options at that price point. My thought is to find a small cab that sounds good because that is the critical piece and most combos do not put as much engineering into the cab itself. IMHO the amp head is much less important.

    Personally I use a ToneHammer with a Berg CN112 or CN210 or Barefaced One 10 but have also used all three (and other) cabs with a Rumble head with good results. My current fave is the TH and CN210, a little larger but still very easy to carry at 33 pounds and sounds great.
  7. Greg Clinkingbeard

    Greg Clinkingbeard

    Apr 4, 2005
    Kansas City area
    KC Strings
    This question gets asked often here and there is no consensus.

    I prefer gear that is proven over time.

    The GK metal combos and the AI combos have been popular for decades.

    I prefer the GK.
  8. rickwolff

    rickwolff CGJ Emeritus (Certified Gear Junkie) Retired??? Supporting Member

    I'll weigh in again with my favorite.

    As Chris Fitzgerald said above: "This thread might be more useful if we could define the terms "small", "lightweight" and "transportable" more specifically (i.e. - maximum size dimensions, maximum weight, etc.). Even then "best" is always subjective.

    For perspective, other small lightweight combos I have owned and used in the past include the Phil Jones Bass Cub and the Genz-Benz Shuttle 8t.

    My current amp is the Genzler Acoustic Pro - Gollihur Model. Small and lightweight? Not as much as my previous amps at 27 pounds and Dimensions: 16.75"H X 15.75"W X 13.75"D. BUT, this amp is in a whole different galaxy than my previous amps in terms of the sound and volume it puts out.

    I just wrote a 'review' of the amp in a concert I played last night: My 'Genzlihur' in concert, Pizz and Arco
    Zbysek, G-Dog and tito mangialajo like this.
  9. Not sure if you're referring to the micorbass combo here, but I like that amp. It gets a lot of hate, but there's one at one of my regular gigs, and I can always draw out nice tone out of it.
  10. BobKay

    BobKay Supporting Member

    Nov 5, 2012
    Estero, Florida; USA
    Jason Hollar likes this.
  11. damonsmith


    May 10, 2006
    Quincy, MA
    It is a great amp - people are too afraid to push the bass - do not be afraid! I can get a great sound out of my 200MB, the AI and Upshot are nicer and have more headroom and nuance. GK MB are pretty heavy, though!
    I used to take the BART train in the bay area with mine and I even took to Chicago as a carry on once. Great amp.
    Zbysek and Fretless55 like this.
  12. Greg Clinkingbeard

    Greg Clinkingbeard

    Apr 4, 2005
    Kansas City area
    KC Strings
    My MB150S is over 25 years old and I grabbed it for $250 on CL. The speaker had been replaced with a Peavey driver but $100 later and it just gets it done. The EQ is very good and I always get a good tone out of it. The DI sucks.
    The older version is popular as well but I haven’t used it.
    The Biz likes this.
  13. once you get used to the backwards EQ, it is great. :)
  14. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri

    Reliability is very important to me as well. I owned three different Gallien Krueger Micro’s. The original 200 MB series I&II were great amps. The MBE
    wasn’t to my liking. Great for EB not for DB. The GK’s are great, but just like any amp, they last longer if they
    ty lare protected with a case, kept clean, and most of all serviced. Even with all those precautions, amps wear out and need to be serviced, sometimes sourcing replacement parts eventually becomes to expensive to justify the cost.
    Fretless55 likes this.
  15. The GK 200MBs ARE great combo amps!

    But you’re certainly correct in noting they’re getting pretty long in the tooth and, at least in my experience, hard to service and even more frustrating, hard to find amp repair shops that know how to service them.

    It’s a pity.
    dylanjohnson likes this.
  16. damonsmith


    May 10, 2006
    Quincy, MA
    Also, if you live anywhere that has backline some nights you just need the head and you can your sound with a house bass cab.
    Combos are a certain level of convenience, but, they are no longer the lightest or most portable.
    Ric Vice likes this.
  17. I had a look at the Markbass site and I think it must have been the original Microbass amp.
    About 22 cm edge length, 4.2 kg, 6" driver, 50 watts. Hard to beat.

    I'm happy with my Genz Benz Shuttle 3.0-10T at about 9 kg. Thought about an -8T at 6.5 kg, but that wasn't available in Germany at that time (or above my budget) and then I found a really good deal for the -10T. Later I was able to compare my -10T with an -8T and my larger cab had better bass reproduction which was at least important when I use it with an EUB or if it gets a bit louder than background music.
    It is also nice that the amp could be separated from the cab, so if you have a cab where you need to play, you only need to carry the very lightweight and small amp.
    It is probably not the most neutral sounding combo, but to get through a band it was better than a AI Coda (I think, a small one channel combo), a AI ten 2 (too muddy in the lows, but more neutral sounding) and a small narrow Markbass, I think some Minimark model. We did a listening test with several bass players and some liked the Ten 2 better and others the Genz Benz, but all would accept both as useful amps for double bass.
    Zbysek likes this.
  18. B String

    B String Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    GK is on the west coast. When I sent my old 200MB in, they not only fixed the issue, but went through the whole thing to make sure it was all good. As I recall, the pricing wasn't too bad. At least it will get done correctly.
    Ric Vice and Fretless55 like this.
  19. Price must enter into the equation...The AI two channel 2x10 is $1700 bucks the Hartke KB12 500 watt 1x12 can be bought for under $400, and it's 28 lbs.. Upright only or EBG also in the mix??
    tito mangialajo likes this.
  20. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    True, but I think you have to weigh longevity and reliablilty into the cost. With that Hartke KB12, you may get an amplifier that cannot be repaired or serviced. It also sounds (at least with my bass) pretty awful. Now if we're talking Fender Rumble amps they sound

    very good with Double Bass and are in the economy class of bass amps, like the Hartke, Acoustic, and Ampeg combos. You're still getting an amplifier with "planned obsolesence" but at least it sounds decent. On the other end that Acoustic Image Ten Two sounds

    pretty great and has what's essentially a lifetime warranty. Something to think about IMHO. Cost definitely enters into the equasion, especially if you're just starting out, but something like a Agular Tonehammer or Markbass Nano are good mid priced options. Just my

    take however.
    Foxrock321 likes this.

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