Once again, the tiniest micro heads

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by el murdoque, May 3, 2018.

  1. el murdoque

    el murdoque

    Mar 10, 2013
    I am familiar with several Class D micro bass heads, and a Tonehammer and his brethren can be called tiny compared to old amps with the same wattage.

    What I am interested in is those heads that are even considered tiny within the class of Class D heads.

    Here's the story:
    I recently got a close look at the TE elf. That thing is beautiful. It's beautifully made, the size, the weight, the way the buttons feel and turn. I basically would have bought one on a whim, but two things kept me:
    1. I could not see any need for it back then
    2. I do not care for the TE sound at all. It's just not meant for me. I disliked every piece if TE equipment in the past. I like the color and the built quality, but do not care for the sound.

    But as of recently, my main gigging amp became an Ampeg PF50T. It has tubes. I like that. But tubes don't like to be bumped around. I've had two tube amps delivered to my house that were packed and padded well, but nonetheless arrived with one or more tubes being microphonic, giving off a solid hum. Now when it comes to gigging, I like to have a backup option.
    And an elf would fit into the case I use for the ampeg without a problem. This would mean I had the option of taking out the other amp and being able to play the gig when the Ampeg has any issues. This would also mean that the elf could more or less just sit in the case and wait for its day - and I could use it when I'm too lazy to bring another 'full sized' class D head.
    So I thought to myself that there must be other amps of similar size.

    I'm looking for at least 200W into 4 ohms and a good quality balanced out.
    Internal power supply is a must (IEC plug, no laptop style cable bricks or wall warts).
    Huge bonus for FX loop and additional line out.
    But the most important point is the tiny form factor.

    What amp was dethroned as the smallest of the small when TE came out with the elf?

    The ones I found were the TC BH250 and the GK MB200.
    My issues with these are that I never came to forgive TC for their Rebel Head Wattage thing and that the GK looks exactly like my internet router.

    There have to be others. Tiny ones.
    The ones you pick when the Little Mark is not little enough.
  2. waveman


    Sep 25, 2008
    I went with the MarkBass Nano has enough wattage for any gig I do.
    Socobass likes this.
  3. BassAndReeds


    Oct 7, 2016
    I really don’t need less than 4 lbs. So Quilter BB800.

    But I own a GB 6.2, which is also perfect at under 5 lbs.
    acleex38, Loring and Mammoth_Bass like this.
  4. Mushroo

    Mushroo Guest

    Apr 2, 2007
    I'm not aware of any other heads even remotely comparable to the ELF in size. If you are looking for "fits in the pocket of my gig bag" small, there really is no competition. When I bought my ELF, I imagined it would be about the same size as my Quilter, maybe a little bit smaller. However in fact the Quilter is huge compared to the ELF, more than 5x the cubic volume!

    Of the amps mentioned so far, the MB200 is 2.9x the size, the MarkBass Nano is 3.6x larger, and the BH250 is 5.5x as big as the ELF.

    Don't let "I tried Trace amps in the past but didn't like the sound" scare you off. They are owned by Peavey now, so the ELF is a Trace in name only. I've had very good luck with Peavey in the past, so I see that as a good thing.

    Disclaimer that I don't actually need an amp that fits in my pocket (it was an impulse buy), so I returned the ELF and kept the Quilter. ;)
    Last edited: May 3, 2018
    Phud, fretlessguy and BrBss like this.
  5. BrBss


    Jul 9, 2010
    Albuquerque NM
    I recently did some browsing for a small, high powered head. Probably a little higher wattage than you need and therefore might have overlooked some smaller options, but here's what I found. Nothing close to the size of an Elf though.
    Last edited: May 3, 2018
  6. You could always turn the Elf drive down and feed it with a VT pedal.
    smogg likes this.
  7. mmbongo

    mmbongo I have too many basses. Supporting Member

  8. Mushroo

    Mushroo Guest

    Apr 2, 2007
    6.2 times larger, to be precise. ;)
  9. db4124


    Oct 13, 2011
    Just get a GK MB200 and be done. Great tone, great reliability, plenty of power with the right cabs. It's small enough that you can't really see it hiding on top of your cab anyway.
  10. Ricky Caboverde

    Ricky Caboverde Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2004
    Miami, FL
    The ELF really is in a class of its own. So...SWR Headlite? Roughly the same size as the TC BH250, but it's lighter and packs more power.
    obimark likes this.
  11. ctmullins

    ctmullins fueled by beer and coconut Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    I highly recommend that you figure out a way to overcome your issues with the TC BH250 and the GK MB200. Not because I’m trying to be a jerk, but because IMHO the primary criterion for a backup head should be functionality, and the TC and GK deliver there, as well as being very compact and portable.

    The GK, as others have mentioned, is well-built, inexpensive, sounds “good” (subjective, I know), and is quite small.

    The TC is also well-built, inexpensive, quite small, and is a tonal chameleon thanks to its TonePrint feature.

    I have two of each. They sound quite different, but they both sound good to my ears, and (with enough driver displacement) can carry any of my gigs.
    Last edited: May 3, 2018
    Pet Politics and ObsessiveArcher like this.
  12. dave64o

    dave64o Talkbass Top 10 all time lowest talent/gear ratio! Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 15, 2000
    Southern NJ
    Tiny? I don't think anything is tinier than the ELF right now. I almost bought one myself because the reviews seemed to be overwhelmingly positive and because its extremely tiny size was just so cool. However I already had a GK MB200, which truly is tiny, just not as tiny as the ELF, and I decided I didn't really need to go any tinier. So I ultimately decided not to buy the ELF.

    My only gripe with the MB200, and its a minor gripe, is that it doesn't have a master volume control. It only has an input gain knob for volume control. But, since I really like the GK 4-band EQ and also just like GK amps in general, I still have the MB200. And when I pair it with my Barefaced One10 I have a pico stack (i.e. its even smaller than a micro stack! :D) that stands a total of 18" high, weighs a combined 18 pounds, sounds great, and is shockingly loud for its size. The MB200 really is a nice amp.
  13. HaphAsSard


    Dec 1, 2013
    Tiniest around before the Elf were the GK MB200 and the TCE BH250 you mention in the OP; the MarkBass Nano Mark 300 as already said above; the Ibanez Promethean P300H; the Traynor Small Block SB200H; the Ashdown MiBass 220, 550 (these have an FX loop) and 2.0 (which does not), all three discontinued;* the Genz Benz Shuttle 3.0, also gone; the Overtōn Flyweight 200, which was barely there (ultra rare even when it was in production).
    So yeah, the Ibanez and the Traynor are my only two contributions which are also current.

    EDIT: the Warwick LWA 500 suggested by a poster below, and which I wasn't aware in the slightest, ticks all the boxes, so I'll just add it here just to have them all in one place.

    * (The current Ashdown micro offering, the OriginAL HD-1, seems to have a small footprint but it's a little tall, as was the discontinued PiBass 240, which by the way, strangely enough, had an 8-ohm minimum impedance. All other class D Ashdowns were larger.)
    Last edited: May 4, 2018
    el murdoque likes this.
  14. Sid Fang

    Sid Fang Reformed Fusion Player

    Jun 12, 2008
    I tried the GK MB once a few years back and immediately concluded that it was actually *too* light and small for my taste - too easy to pull/knock off a cab, and the engineer in me is nervous about running that much power through a box that light and fragile. But as some of you may have noticed, I have somewhat eccentric tastes...
  15. Not yet

    Not yet

    Mar 26, 2012
    I just pulled my GK MB200 out of closet to use for band practice w a loud drummer and a Marshall and Mesa Rectifier guitar wall

    Bought it as backup and have some control on ampless Casino stages

    W a Genz Benz Neox112 I have power to spare and am amazed at the tone stack for an inexpensive amp

    Really is a fantastic product that OP should check out
    ObsessiveArcher and ctmullins like this.
  16. Kukulkan61

    Kukulkan61 Inactive

    Feb 8, 2011
    Northern Arizona
    There’s a GK MB200 in the Classifieds as we speak, great small 200 watt into 4 ohm. Head that fits in my gig bag!!
    ObsessiveArcher likes this.
  17. electrichead


    Nov 29, 2013
    Warwick LWA 500

    8.66” x 8.31” x 1.97”
    2.8 lbs.

    - 500 Watt at 4 Ohm
    - 250 Watt at 8 Ohm
    - FX Loop
    - Line Out
    - DI Out
    - Aux In (Stereo) for connecting MP3 player, CD player etc.
    - Headphone Out (Stereo)
    HaphAsSard and BrBss like this.
  18. Roxbororob

    Roxbororob Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2015
  19. MuffledBoomy


    Apr 19, 2017
    I really like my new Elf.
    Barticus and BOOG like this.
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