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Markbass Little Mark: Tube vs III

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Jaruquin, Apr 3, 2013.

  1. Jaruquin


    Sep 8, 2012
    So I'm wondering if you turn the mix control to solid state on the tube does it sound just like the III? Just trying to figure out why you wouldn't just spend the extra $80 for the tube to get a independent gain control for the balance input channel and the option for solid state and tube sound? Am I missing something?
  2. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    No, you aren't really missing anything. The tube does very little (IMO and IME) in that execution (it is just a little soldered-in mini tube). You won't hear much difference between the tube and SS channel. The gain is lower than the LMII/III with the SS channel dimed, but that can be corrected with the input gain. Pretty similar sounding to my ear.

    So, to me, the main decision would be if the volume control and phantom power on the second combo jack input, and the push/pull mute features on the LMTube are useful enough to you to pay a bit extra, versus the simplicity of the LMIII.

    The Big Bang seems quite interesting also (haven't played one), and has the addition of aux in and phone out.


    Aug 30, 2001
    Pittsburgh, PA
    I know some of the newer Markbass stuff have digital power amps. My LMII has an analog one. What is the big difference there or is it just semantics?
  4. I owned a LMIII (same power as LMII I believe), and currently own the Tube800 which is a class D power amp. They are not exactly the same tonally, though how much of that is due to the different power amps I can't say. I don't find any difference in terms of how the amp responds to dynamics, at all.
  5. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    They all sound quite different. The 800 series have their own sound (bigger, brighter, less warm), as does the Big Bang and the F1/F500 (quite warm but tighter and more aggressive up top). So, even the class D's sound quite different from one another. That leads me to believe that it is more about preamp voicing and hi passing/low end control versus the actual power module causing the differences.

    That being said, the LMII/III sounds like you would think with the class A/B power amp..... warmer, smoother, more relaxed. Whether that is actually due to the power amp I don't know.
  6. pineapplerobot


    Jul 23, 2012
    Omaha, NE
    I have the Lil Mark Tube 800. I love it. I love the tube blend, I have it on about 3 o'clock at all times. Adds enough grit and "tubey" warmth to it to notice a big difference between it and the Lil Mark III. I like it a lot. The Lil Mark Tube 800 is totally worth every penny and GC has deals on it all the time, I got mine for $660.
  7. Jaruquin


    Sep 8, 2012
    So bottom line is you can get the same tone out of the little mark iii that you can get out of the little mark tube?
  8. eban3

    eban3 Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2007
    Palm Bay FL
    I just picked up a little mark tube ...I can definitely hear a difference between the tube and non tube version ....
  9. GMC


    Jan 1, 2006
    Pardon my ignorance, but I though the whole point of have a tube in the pre-amp stage is to dial in and encourage 2nd harmonic distortion, increase valvish compression and add a bit of grit at higher gains. Surely there's no other reason?
  10. Spblat


    Apr 25, 2016
    Forgive the necropost, didn't want to start another "this vs that" thread.

    The Little Mark Tube offers phantom power on its balanced input. The LMIII and other Markbass solid state amps don't.

    My JB Players School Combo has a balanced input but it doesn't have enough gain to work with a passive mic-level DI.

    My thinking is that by going from the instrument through pedals into a passive DI box, and from DI into an amp that can handle mic-level balanced input, I'm eliminating a cable that can pick up induced noise in a bar with lots of EMI (say, from stage lights).

    Is this sensible thinking, and does the Little Mark Tube's balanced input indeed have enough gain to cleanly amplify mic-level balanced signal from a DI?

    EDIT: I've confirmed the answer is yes, LMT800 accepts a mic-level signal as from a DI, and you don't have to peg the input gain at 11 for a strong signal. No other Markbass head I know of can do that.
    Last edited: May 7, 2017
    AlexanderB likes this.
  11. murphy


    May 5, 2004
    Toronto, Canada

    I like that

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