Opinion on Markbass

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by gnarlyWarlock, Apr 10, 2018.

  1. gnarlyWarlock


    Dec 23, 2014
    Interested in getting a 151p (Jeff Berlin?) model, I've played with some Markbass amps and have found them sound...different than other amps. I played around with a Stingray on a variety of amps, finding the Rumble and Peggy to sound good, but fairly similar, whereas the 121p had a much *stronger* bass and low-mid punch. I found a deal on Craigslist, for the aforementioned Jeff Berlin model, and prior to firing the gun, I wanna see what you guys think about the amps. I often see threads on Ampegs, Fenders, GK, Hartke...not often does anyone discuss MB.
    Laura Camacho and TN WOODMAN like this.
  2. waveman


    Sep 25, 2008
    Been my main brand of amp for years. Currently running a Nano Mark as my primary head and love it.

    I have had all of the other brands, except Hartke and Markbass is what I usually go back too.
  3. BassinCT

    BassinCT …still tuning…

    Jun 17, 2006
    Connecticut, USA
    I haven't heard about any reliability issues with that particular model, and the folks on TB responded positively to it when it was released- especially the folks who don't like tweeters in their bass rigs. If the price seems reasonable, the tone suits you and you will have enough amp rig for your gigs, I would recommend grabbing it. I have played through different MB rigs and owned a (now discontinued) MoMark head that worked very well for me for six years.
    TN WOODMAN and gnarlyWarlock like this.
  4. If you are playing in a band then the 151p combo will be great and cut thru wonderfully. Just plug in, put all EQ at noon and rotate VPF and VLE filters fully off and turn output up to suit. If you are playing solo at home you won't hear what it's capable of. I was never that impressed with Markbass when I tried it in store but when I used a LM2 through a rubbish Laney 410 cab at an open mike night I totally got what Markbass was about; and I liked it!
    StrangerDanger, SJan3 and TN WOODMAN like this.
  5. bulldean

    bulldean Supporting Member

    Sep 10, 2015
    I have a Markbass 4X10 HR cab and TTE 800 head for larger venues.

    For practice and smaller gigs I use a CMD 121P with a NY 1X12.

    Last amplification gear I'll ever need; love 'em.
  6. brlottermann


    May 14, 2011
    Boston, MA
    Been using Markbass for about 5 or 6 years now. Definitely a good brand, but one important thing to consider when buying from a foreign amp company is that if anything fails on your amplifier, the repairs will have to be through an authorized Markbass repair shop which charge flatrate fees that can be pretty brutal, and getting parts takes a long time since they are coming from Italy. My CMD 121P started smoking after 4 years of casual use, and the cost of repair of the amp head far exceeded the price of a new amp.
    Laura Camacho, 57pbass and TN WOODMAN like this.
  7. Reedt2000

    Reedt2000 Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2017
    Central New Jersey
    I've been gigging a CMD 121P for a few years now. It sounds great, plenty of juice for smaller gigs, nice quiet DI for sending to FOH on bigger gigs. I'd recommend em, especially if you're getting a deal.
  8. I bought the amp in question when they first came out, added a NY151 extension cab because I wanted, not really needed and have zero buyers remorse or reliability issues. Mark Bass is no longer flavor of the month since a lot of companies have realized small lightweight rigs since. This amp works for me on a lot of levels. I can get good results with a variety of basses . Just bought a Rumble 100 for my daughter-sounds decent til I go back to my rig. Good luck with your decision.

    Should my head ever go out, I ‘m replacing with the Little Mark 800. Fits without mods.

    Edit: just wanted to add that the only pedal I have for bass is the Sans Amp Programable Bass Driver. I normally keep the Berlin set flat and when needed have fat tube, SVT and Crimson presets. Sounds great. IMO.
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2018
    Laura Camacho, SJan3 and Reedt2000 like this.
  9. SJan3

    SJan3 Supporting Member

    Dec 8, 2010
    I'm a huge fan of MarkBass. They don't stand still, always looking to advance their product. Great diversity!
    I have a LittleMark3 and a 121HR and really love everything about them. I also own Aguilar and Ampeg. Love them too but the Markbass gets the 1st call. Easiest to get a good tone on the gig.
    TN WOODMAN and Al Kraft like this.
  10. Al Kraft

    Al Kraft Supporting Member

    May 2, 2016
    Northern Virginia
    I always thought the Markbass gear I played on and heard used at shows sounded fine. I'm more of a Mesa and GK person with Aguilar as an alternative voicing when I want older school, but not quite Ampeg. Markbass seemed to be a kind of fad years back, but as best I can tell from folks I know who own Markbass rigs, they've held up well and seem to create a brand loyalty - to me these are signs of good products.

    I'm going to admit to a little bias when it comes to Mesa gear as they check all the blocks for me in terms of tone and quality, are a US company (I personally value that), and their warranty and customer service are second to none. That last area is the big place I feel it would be hard for Markbass to compete against US based companies.
  11. SJan3

    SJan3 Supporting Member

    Dec 8, 2010
    All good stuff, Al. I have not heard the Mesa 800 head so can't comment but I've used a few walkabout scouts and loved them. Came close to buying one but the cost/weight/performance ratio made me take a step back.
    I used GK for years 400/800rb heads with various speakers. Then I tried an Eden WT400 and had to have it so traded the 800rb. I hear you on the made in USA. Fortunately, I've had zero issues with my LittleMark 3.
    It's 9 yrs old now.
    Al Kraft likes this.
  12. pcake

    pcake Supporting Member

    Sep 20, 2011
    Los Angeleez
    i love the markbass sound, and am especially partial to the jeff berlin combo. some people say MB is sterile sounding, but to me they're rich and warm and just amazing.
  13. If the relatively neutral tone of the Markbass amps isn't always what you want, there are many preamp pedals from the likes of Tech 21, Ampeg, Mesa plus others that can add whatever flavour you seek. If I want an Ampeg like tone I use a Tech 21 VT Bass pedal which warms it up nicely.
    SJan3, Al Kraft and TN WOODMAN like this.
  14. I love it. I appreciate the clean-slate sound that comes from it (as long as the VPF & VLE knobs are at 0) and I then color my sound either using my Cry Baby Bass Pedal or my Fulltone OCD Overdrive pedal. I find that the better soundmen at venues also appreciate that clean-slate tone as well.
    nuage420b, SJan3 and Al Kraft like this.
  15. el murdoque

    el murdoque

    Mar 10, 2013
    Back in the day, Markbass equaled light, loud, tiny and yellow.
    But other companies caught up on the light, loud and tiny.
    So nowadays, Markbass amps are yellow.

    I've played a variety of their amps and owned a LMII head.

    IMHO, their amps' sound is quite harsh and unforgiving, which can be very nice if you dug that kind of thing. Bright highs, not honky at all with very dry bass and solid low mid thump. Plug in some high quality bass and you get a high quality sound. Plug in a Chinese ripoff POS bass and I wish you good luck.
    They are, in general, very good to cut through a mix.
    And most of their heads are very very clean. Don't clip the Input on them, it sounds terrible.

    The one thing they are not too good at is a warm, fat, mellow oldschool kind of tone.
    The VLE knob does it to some extend, but it is feels like adding a spoiler and racing tires to a Dodge Ram and expect it to compete on a racetrack.

    What I particularly liked about my LMII head was the simplicity of the tone shaping.
    I've had all the EQ knobs between 11 and 1 o'clock, depending on the room. The gain was set so it won't clip and the master set the overall volume. I did not like the VLE too much and the VPF was nice when playing alone, but when you turn that up too much, you cut out the mids you need to get through the mix.
    Amory2113 likes this.
  16. klejst

    klejst Guest

    Oct 5, 2010
    Works well for some, have heard generally good things about their stuff. Personally yellow is my least favorite color so yeah....I'm that picky about it. Ha!
  17. trofud


    Mar 28, 2018
    Montreal, Canada
    No question about reliability, Markbass makes good gear. I find them too sterile to my likings, too "polite".
  18. Drucifer

    Drucifer Not currently practicing Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 20, 2009
    Houston Heights, Texas
    Endorsements: your name could be here, Mr. Sadowsky!
    I like the VLE and VPF controls
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  19. bass40hz

    bass40hz Cigar smoker, scotch drinker, American Patriot Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2014
    Richlands, NC
    Mark Bass cabs are known for the low mid punch. They are also very unforgiving, it will produce whatever you put in it, good or bad, i.e. very accurate. I have used MB cabs for years they are bullet proof and have never failed to be loud enough or good enough. If I had one thing to complain about it would be that I could never get the heavy metal tone in my head, out of those cabs. There are metal bassists who do use them, the band Saxon for example, but, my personal feeling is they are more suited for anyone but a hard rock/metal player. Top shelf gear for sure, but not for everyone, mostly because they are expensive. YMMV. Rock on.
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2018