Phil Jones Briefcase 100 Watt Micro-Combo

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by booch, Oct 1, 2005.

  1. booch


    Aug 12, 2004

    I've just read about this baby on BC's site at

    Does any of you guys have first hand experience with this briefcase combo? For a long time I've been looking for a portable amp that would be suitable for small cafes and low or middle volume practices. This seems just the thing, but I don't want to order one without any info. Unfortunately around here there's no chance to try one.
  2. the_home

    the_home Supporting Member

    Jul 14, 2005
    Pensacola, FL
    I've had my briefcase for about two months and love it! I've played it in practice, I've played it for gigs,I've played it in a church sanctuary with 350 in the congregation and kept up with drums, piano and acoustic/electric guitar.

    It is much louder than you'd expect and the depth of bass is hard to believe from the 5 inch speakers.

    I have not played it on battery power, so no comment there.

    It isn't inexpensive, but if you can afford it and it fits a niche in your gear I am sure you won't be disappointed. :smug:
  3. booch


    Aug 12, 2004

    I just wanted to hear this from someone who's not a reviewer but an active player using the gear constantly. After reading this, I think I'm going to get one. The batteries do not matter much for me either way, I didn't plan on using the amp for playing on the street anyway...
  4. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Well before you go rushing off, I really wanted to get one and ended up not getting it when I tried it out. It's a decent enough sounding amp, but it's not very loud and doesn't move much air at all. I cranked it all the way up, and where I could crank my Ampeg B-15N amp in a 4 x 10" and blow some serious volume at only 25 watts, I couldn't get the Briefcase to go very loud at all, even with its 100 watts. If all you need an amp for is a personal monitor, or maybe a jazz gig where you're just trying to get barely above an acoustic piano, then it's not a bad way to go, but don't expect anything more out of it. Quite frankly, I think a Hartke Kickback 100w with 1-10" is a much better small amp, and I'm not even a fan of Hartke.

    Just thought you should hear the other side. There's another thread about the Briefcase you may want to read as well.
  5. I tried one out and found it a bit underpowered- it would struggle with a loud drummer.

    there was a mention on here of a "Bass Suitcase" model in development- any news on that?
  6. DaBassman


    Mar 25, 2002
    Oneonta, NY
    look at a Gallien Krueger MB150 too
  7. booch


    Aug 12, 2004
    Hey, thanks for all the info! Keep em coming :)

    What does the GK Micro cost at a sale price?
    It is about the same weight and small enough for my needs. It seems I could get the Microbass for around $500 (Lists for $600). The GK lists for approx $900.

    I would however like to use the amp for middle volume practices (guitars not blowing your head but the drummer honestly going for it). If the Phil Jones is no good for such applications, I'm better off looking for something else.
  8. DaBassman


    Mar 25, 2002
    Oneonta, NY
    A new GK MB150 (not the 150E) should cost no more than $715, a few on ebay now and then. I just traded my old MB200 (25 yrs old) and it's selling for $325 in a local store.
  9. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    I have one, though I have not gigged with it "constantly." In fact, I have not taken it to a formal gig. But, it is great for jamming in unconventional locations (like on a sailboat, or around a campfire), or for when I really want to travel light and I don't need a lot of volume. It's a quality piece, and it has very nice tone (IMHO), but it certainly has its volume limitations. Do a search using my name and "Phil Jones" and "Briefcase", and you should find a number of posts.

  10. From my very limited time spent playing Tom's Briefcase, I would say +1 to all of SMASH's comments regarding tone, build quality, features, etc. Very nice. However, I can't imagine any gig (even a soft acoustic piano trio) where this amp would put out enough sound with EB (or even DB) to be usable on a gig. It's a GREAT practice amp, but is very volume limited versus other more traditionally designed small combo's IMO. For example, it does not put out nearly as much volume as the small Eden 110 coax combo or the GK150 Micro combo, as a comparison.

    However, if you are looking for a very high quality practice amp, or an amp, as Tom says, that can be used in a more 'campfire' type setting with a couple of acoustic guitars outside, it's a pretty cool design.
  11. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    +1 to KJung et. al. The tone is great (at low volume) and it puts out a nice clear low B (at low volume) and the overall balance of the frequency range it presents is excellent (at low volume).

    One caveat is that if you pump up the low end on the EQ, or if you feed a signal into the amp with a lot of strong low-frequency content (like an auto-filter, phaser, or any fx with strong low-freq signal peaks) the speakers will distort badly. The amp part can handle it fine, e.g. for use with headphones or DI out, but the poor li'l 5" cones can't take the pressure or the spikes. Even at relatively low volume for this unit.

    So for somebody who just wants the clean sound of their bass with no radical EQ, it's the perfect bedroom practice amp.
  12. Pickebass

    Pickebass Supporting Member

    Jul 12, 2004
    San Antonio, TX
    Smash nailed it down perfectly!! I think it is a great piece. It is a practice amp, great for small situations. I take it to choir practice at church weekly, use it for acoustic gigs and situations where I know I am using the DI. A great piece just not for everyone
  13. I've only played a Briefcase in a store, and loved what I heard. I don't think I'd buy one for use when gigging, though, as I fear it might not be loud enough. It's probably fine for acoustic coffee house type gigs, but that might be about it. Therefore, I plan on saving up for a Suitcase combo (if it sounds as good). Specs wise it's more or less a double Briefcase (two channels, 4x5" speakers), but with 300 Watts of power. It's quite a bit bulkier, but it's not exactly huge.
  14. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    FYI the Suitcase is only 200W by itself- 300 if you add an extension cab.
  15. jbibb


    Jul 8, 2005
    Juneau, Alaska
    I bought the briefcase back in February. I am very happy with the quality and the sound. There is a feel to the amp that I did not have with my previous practice amp...of course you pay for that quality...but the peace of mind is nice.

    I use it for my at home practice when the large amp is at the rehersal space, small practices with a three piece group...and small gigs with acoustic guitar and light drums. It really depends on the type of music and situation. I have had a lot of fun with it at small dance gigs where one can us it thru a PA., or an "open-mike nights" at a coffee house where packing a lot of equipment isn't desirable and simpicity is heaven.

    I would find the suitcase great for larger venues and to have a bit more room...but that is not really why I bought this amp...the suitcase would be that much heavier and...well, too much for those small sessions. I guess there could be a need for a 200 watt, three speaker system ;)
  16. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    Dude, could you run it into your 1212L? I'd be curious since the Schro is supposedly very efficient. Please let us know what you find out!
    [Edit:] SMASH, you're not KJung- what was I thinking? Sorry! :D :D (However please do report on your results with a bigger cab anyway.)