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Markbass vs. Aguilar for upright

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by BobDeRosa, Oct 16, 2020.

  1. BobDeRosa

    BobDeRosa Supporting Member Commercial User

    May 16, 2012
    Finger Lakes area of New York State
    Owner, Tritone Jazz Fantasy Camps
    I'm currently using an Aguilar TH350 with a Markbass Traveler 102P cab and I like it very much.

    However, I tend to like the Markbass sound (love my little 801!) and was wondering if I could lighten my load and still get quality sound by replacing two pieces with one combo -- the Markbass CMD 121P.

    Would love to hear from upright players who use and swear by the 121P as well as those who have used both Aguilar and Markbass amps.

    Thanks, all.
  2. I kinda feel like the Markbass CMD 121P has taken over the spot the GK MB150 had as a go to combo for upright players/doublers. I used the CMD 121P for a good 2 years and have played through some of my friend's Tonehammers. The biggest difference I've found between the 2 is that there's a little more low end heft with a Tonehammer while the CMD 121P had a little bit more of a clearer sound. After getting a Doubleshot combo this year, I've barely touched the CMD 121P. It's still a really good amp and you'll totally get quality sound out of it.
    Fat bob likes this.
  3. BobDeRosa

    BobDeRosa Supporting Member Commercial User

    May 16, 2012
    Finger Lakes area of New York State
    Owner, Tritone Jazz Fantasy Camps
    Thanks. Thinking about selling the Markbass?
  4. oren


    Aug 7, 2007
    Salem, OR
    I use the CMD-121P as my primary amp for both upright and electric. It sounds good with my bass (ply Juzek with a Lifeline) and it doesn’t appear to need a separate preamp with that pickup. My bass is quite dark sounding so I have to usually cut the low end back quite a bit, but the eq is flexible enough that I can almost always manage to get a good sound out of it. And you can’t beat the convenience - so small and light! I also have a NY-121 extension cab for really loud electric gigs, but use it rarely.
    Fat bob, Steve Boisen and BobDeRosa like this.
  5. neddyrow

    neddyrow Captain of Team Orange Jacket

    Apr 21, 2011
    Cortland, NY
    Id like to try one of the Aguilar DB 210 just because it comes in tweed.

    but another local player uses an Aguilar SL cabinet and it sounds great through the tone hammer 500. i gave him my Fdeck and he swears that's his tone.
    BobDeRosa likes this.
  6. BobDeRosa

    BobDeRosa Supporting Member Commercial User

    May 16, 2012
    Finger Lakes area of New York State
    Owner, Tritone Jazz Fantasy Camps
    Thanks. I'm familiar with how the Markbass complements electric bass, but know less about whether it's voiced properly for upright. Your post helps.
    oren likes this.
  7. Steve Boisen

    Steve Boisen Your first second choice™ Supporting Member

    Dec 3, 2003
    Tampa Bay, FL
    I also use a Markbass CMD 121P and I think it works great for both upright and electric bass. It's way more versatile than the GK MB150S that it replaced, and with the matching New York 121 cabinet it can become quite a powerful rig, although I never use the extension with upright bass. Although it's a single channel amplifier, I sometimes plug my Fishman preamp into the balanced input to create a second channel for my upright bass while plugging my electric bass into the 1/4" input and using the onboard EQ for that bass. Quite often the VPF and VLE filters are all I need to dial in a tone I really like, and I've never had issues with a muddy or indistinct sound while using this amp. Whenever I have to use a different amp as backline or at a rehearsal studio I always miss my Markbass gear.

    I also have the Markacoustic AC 101 which is a smaller, lighter combo made specifically for acoustic instruments. It has two channels with assignable effects, a defeatable tweeter and a transparent sound. I can use it for doubling, mixing a pickup and condenser mic, or even use it as a small PA by plugging a vocal mic into the first channel and adding some reverb. A very versatile piece of gear.

    I don't have enough experience with Aguilar to make a comparison, but I have no desire to switch to a seperate head and cabinet.

    - Steve
  8. QweziRider

    QweziRider Supporting Member

    Sep 15, 2008
    Northern Nevada, U.S.
    I've never tried the CMD 121P, but I've been pretty happy with my CMD 151P for a decade.
  9. BobDeRosa

    BobDeRosa Supporting Member Commercial User

    May 16, 2012
    Finger Lakes area of New York State
    Owner, Tritone Jazz Fantasy Camps
    Thanks very much for this wonderfully comprehensive response.
    Steve Boisen likes this.
  10. I think the CMD 121P is just about the best (most practical, anyhow :) ) DB amp available as far as sound, size, weight and power go. There are many great options out there, but most are bigger, heavier or smaller but lacking power for louder gigs. The only negative I can think of is that the tweeter can't be turned off and it can get clacky sometimes.
    Fat bob, Jason Hollar and BobDeRosa like this.
  11. BobDeRosa

    BobDeRosa Supporting Member Commercial User

    May 16, 2012
    Finger Lakes area of New York State
    Owner, Tritone Jazz Fantasy Camps
    That's strange that they wouldn't make the tweeter switchable, or at least adjustable. They do that on their cabs. I wonder what the difference is.
  12. Good question. I've been meaning to get mine modified for the longest time.
    BobDeRosa likes this.
  13. BrotherMister


    Nov 4, 2013
    PVG Membership
    I use the Tonehammer 500 and SL112 as my working rig for electric and I love it. I’ve used a lot of Markbass stuff for gigs and they are good but something about them I just don’t think is as good for me.

    However, for upright I just don’t the Aguilar. It might be down to my preference if using a mic for the bass rather than a pickup so don’t quote me on it. I’ve done theatre shows where I’ve been both mic’d up and the pickup but I almost always get rid of the pickup line it I can.
    BobDeRosa likes this.
  14. birgebass


    Nov 7, 2011
    I have the Markbass amp you are talking about as well as a Genz Benz Shuttle 1x10 combo. I haven’t used the genz for a gig since I got the Markbass. I also don’t ever use a preamp with the Markbass, and even my Underwood sounds great through it. I have 3 Basses right now and they all work great through the Markbass. I don’t think you would be disappointed if you bought one.
    BobDeRosa and oren like this.
  15. Jason Hollar

    Jason Hollar Progressively Louder and Funkier Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2005
    Central Pa
    I have the MB CMD 121p plus NY1x12.

    It’s a proper cube amp (and formidable mini stack). The rear firing port is handy to spread the acoustic sound and not blast the body of the bass.

    So far it’s been very reliable- only recently just replaced the handle with a stock part from Italy.

    That said I’m not in love with it. Been toying with selling and trying one of the new GK neos. Sorry, no experience with any of the newer Aguilar kit.
  16. BobDeRosa

    BobDeRosa Supporting Member Commercial User

    May 16, 2012
    Finger Lakes area of New York State
    Owner, Tritone Jazz Fantasy Camps
    Thanks. If you decide to sell the 121p, please let me know.
    Jason Hollar likes this.
  17. s van order

    s van order

    Oct 4, 2012
    I use a 121P and A/B switch between Fender Jazz and 5-string L&C carbon fiber cello with a low F with Realist copperhead. I set the amp flat and eq as needed upchain. It has worked out quite well, the arco sound is good. Very transparent and clean and the 12” is the right speaker for that setup.
    Jason Hollar likes this.
  18. Fat bob

    Fat bob Supporting Member

    Jan 14, 2013
    My CMD 121 has been kicking for 10 yrs! Several other amps in the stable, AI, Phil Jones, Gk... is the cmd usually gets the gig. Surprisingly the Markbass sounds better than the AI clarus plugged into the Ny121.
    @bassmanbrent, I unplugged the tweeter a yr ago or so when I listened back to an electric bass gig and heard it popping. It still sounds good without it. A great bassist in CO I know has replaced the tweeters in his MB.
    bassmanbrent and Jason Hollar like this.
  19. basss

    basss Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2001
    There a cmd 121 at a club that I used to play at. I couldn't get a satisfying sound - this was after playing with the EQ and filters quite a bit. There was an ever present midrange honk which I suspect was caused by the tiny cabinet volume for a ported 12" speaker. I've had similar problems with cabs that are too small for the speaker. It did get loud though and didn't fart out. I like to hear some string growl so maybe if you eq all the mids and highs out this combo might appeal.
  20. I love the tone of my Aguilar AG700 and Barefaced cabs with upright or electric.

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