Low Power Mini Heads ... Opinions?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by CH Design, Jul 28, 2009.

  1. CH Design

    CH Design Supporting Member

    Apr 25, 2007
    Ottawa, ON
    I am downsizing from an iAmp 800 to something that really only needs to be loud enough for practicing. At some point I'll get a 110 or 112 to go with it, but I will not be trying to power anything bigger than that. I would like to keep it portable so that I can throw it in the pocket of a gig bag to use as a practice amp with headphones if I'm traveling. I'm looking for opinions on some of the lower power mini heads that are floating around out there. Even though I'm not going to be playing loud, I still want it to have a nice clear tone. Here is what I am looking at:
    • SWR Electric Blue
    • Markbass LM 250
    • EA Micro 300
    • Eden WTX-260
    • Genz Benz Shuttle 3.0
    • Epifani Epifunky 300

    Something in the neighbourhood of 150W @ 8 ohms/300W @ 4 ohms will be plenty. If it's got the tone I can make due with less. An aux. input (or some other way of getting recorded music into the headphones with the bass) is a definite plus. It would also be nice if it didn't have a cooling fan, but I don't think a micro without a fan exists (yet). I have owned a LMII and I assume that the LM 250 sounds the same. It doesn't have aux. inputs and they don't pop up on the used market very often. I have also owned a Shuttle 6.0. I liked it, but I'm not sure how different the 3.0 sounds as it doesn't have the tube in there. I've read a lot on the EA Micro 300 and the Eden WTX-260. Both have mixed reviews. Most agree that they sound good, but are under powered, but under powered compared to what? Compared to the other higher powered micro heads that are available or compared to other amps that have similar power ratings? Does anyone out there have enough experience with these little guys that they could help shed a little light on the tonal differences between them?

    Edit: Part of the decision to look at these amps is price driven as well. If I could find a higher power head that had all the features I need for a killer price I wouldn't let the fact that it has more power than I need stand in the way of a good deal. :bassist:
  2. riker1384


    Jan 2, 2007
    I don't know that 300W is "low powered." GK has an MB150 head thats [email protected] ohms, very small but 10 pounds. It has a headphone jack, not sure about an aux. It's been out long enough that you could probably find it used.
  3. CH Design

    CH Design Supporting Member

    Apr 25, 2007
    Ottawa, ON
    I thought about that one, but I think it's a little bigger than what I am looking for.
  4. newbold


    Sep 21, 2008
    Why not just get a regular beefy micro head (MB2 fusion for instance) and just not turn up the power amp section?

    The thing you're looking for is made by Phil Jones.

    It's caled the D-200 and is a low power digital head



    "At a mere 2.5 lbs., the D-200 can fit anywhere while driving moderate stacks with 150 watts of power. A bevy of outputs make it perfect for jamming through phones or going direct into a recording or mixing console. Worldwide voltage allows the amp to operate at 16 ohms all the way down to 4 ohms-no external sources required. And finally…a sweet, padded gig bag is included."

    Model D-200
    Description 1U high, lightweight digital bass amplifier 150W, 5 band, EQ limiter
    Size 9.5 x 1.75 x 8.25
    Accessories Power cord, carrying bag
    Power Output 150W RMS
    Speakers NONE
    NetWeight 2.5 lbs/1.1 kg
    Volts 100 to 240 V AC
    US$ MSRP $479

    "“I'm using this amp with my upright and either EBS or EA speaker cabinets. Very impressive right out of the box. Very happy to be able to take it to Europe and plug in and play. Probably the best feature for touring musicians.” – Registered D-200 Owner"

    You can always go to radio shack and get an RCA to 1/4" connector and put it in the passive side of the amp input...
  5. naturalkinds


    Jan 22, 2009
    Savannah, GA
    I don't think the Shuttle 3.0 has a fan. It sounds fine. It's tiny. I liked it. Or there's always the LM 250.
  6. RColie

    RColie Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 21, 2007
    St Louis, MO
    I think the Shuttle 3.0 would be a great choice. It doesn't have a fan, does have headphones out and aux in, is very light and small, and has plenty of power. I would think you could find a used one since they've been out for a while. I use one for practice at home and practice with the band. We rehearse at a fairly loud volume, and the 3.0 doesn't strain a bit. Good luck!

  7. naturalkinds


    Jan 22, 2009
    Savannah, GA
    I really did like the Shuttle. In fact, although I had it before the LMII, it better helped me to meet my tonal goals playing fingerstyle. The mute button is handy, and I often used the headphones out and aux in (features that Bob noted).
  8. naturalkinds


    Jan 22, 2009
    Savannah, GA
    Plus, you could probably get one used for about $300. I think I sold mine here for $275 shipped!
  9. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    What??? I paid $475 for mine off a TB member!! :scowl:
  10. MXR DI + Crate Power Block .. you're hooked up for under $150 (used)

    Can use it as headphones.. big enough to drive a band... can be DI..

    Took me a while to figure out exactly how to do this - I rarely bring my big dumb rack rig out.

  11. naturalkinds


    Jan 22, 2009
    Savannah, GA
    Yikes. Sorry man. I sold mine in maybe March of this year. I knew I was giving someone a pretty good deal. But damn! I guess it goes to show that not all TB 'bargains' are as good as others.
  12. dog1


    Dec 30, 2008
    If your looking for clean and clear, GB is the choice. I only have two amps and they're both GB.
  13. Make sure to check the actual measurements on these heads, and not just go by the pictures. There is a wide range of sizes (I don't think the Epifunky is even a micro amp).

    If size is key, and you don't need a lot of wump:

    EA Micro 500
    Genz Shuttle 3
    Phil Jones Micro

    These are all VERY small and loud enough for most applications IMO. I would choose the Genz from that list in a New York Minute, based on features, reliability, tone, and cost.
  14. CH Design

    CH Design Supporting Member

    Apr 25, 2007
    Ottawa, ON
    Was the Micro 500 (instead of 300) a typing mistake? From what I understand both have the same features and functions. the only difference is the power amp and cosmetics.
  15. I listed the current models (the Eden 260 is now the 500 also.. but I'd probably avoid that also, given the state of Eden right now. I believe the 260 is now under the Nemesis nameplate). The EA300/500 series has been reviewed by a number of TBers as being much 'softer' than their wattage would indicate. So, the 500 isn't going to put out the wump of the LMIII or Shuttle 6.0, etc., even though the wattage is spec'd as similar. There were also a lot of issues with the EA300 (hiss and hum, etc.) when they first came out. I would probably stay away from a used EA300. I would hope that they got the bugs out with the new EA500.

    Again, if you are dollar constrained, the Genz 3.0 is very impressive, and you sometimes see used ones in the classifieds.
  16. sk8


    May 10, 2007
    United Kingdom
    Genz Benz Shuttle 3.0-10T Combo

    Job done
  17. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    NE ND
    sk8 beat me to it.

    Get the 3.0-10T Combo. I use it for everything - gigging included. Sounds great as a stand alone at smaller, jazz background type gigs. I also use it on big gigs as a monitor when I have PA support.

    I have only wished for a bigger amp maybe twice since I've had this combo. I love that I have one trip load in/out, and the sound is really big considering it's size and weight. It is only a 1x10 175 watt combo, but it sure puts out like it's a lot more.

    I can't recommend GB enough. I think they are one of the best companies out there for product and CS. If I needed a bigger amp, it would be a Shuttle Max12 and an Uber cab or two.
  18. 4Mal

    4Mal Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    I have the Micro 300 and there isn't anything I would describe as soft about it. I think it has more to do with how the input sensitivity is set than anything. I used mine to drive a fEarful 12+6 one evening - 8 ohm load and it did that just fine. It fit's in the small front pocket of my gig bag along with a few other goodies. Music book and cables go in the larger pocket. Bass on my back, cab in oine hand and a bag with bass and music stands in the other and I'm out the door to gig.

    The EA is pretty neutral. If you like the sound of your bass, the EA would be a good choice. If you're looking for a real tone sculptor, maybe something else - or a decent stomp EQ in the effects loop...

    My goto setup is that EA driving a Bag End S15D-X. It's warm and crisp. Really brings out the woody side of my piezo basses.