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Polytone bass amplifier?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by InfinityJaco, Jul 30, 2004.

  1. InfinityJaco


    Jun 5, 2001

    I saw a band yesterday in an outdoor gig in Boston (Interoceanico), and the bassist was playing through a Polytone 1x15" (maybe 1x12") combo amp. It sounded really good, and I was wondering if anyone plays one and what they think of it? Is it a good combo? What's the power ratings? Does it distort easily?
    My friend just bought a Polytone MiniBrute guitar amp and I like the sound he gets through it too, and am in the market for a bass combo. Too bad Polytone doesn't have a website...
  2. zombywoof5050


    Dec 20, 2001
    I've played the little Polytone bass combos for years, even at many gigs.

    First I had the Mini S15B (1x15 with 2 horns), then I got a MiniBrute III, which I still have. I only got the MiniBrute III as a 'downsizing effort' from the S15B because it's a bit smaller/lighter, and also I felt I just didn't need the horns.

    They are great sounding little amps.
    But both of mine had to be opened up every few years to resolder some solder joints that seem to go bad after awhile, usually where the pots solder on (which are soldered directly to the main board which is not a good design). I have a LOT of soldering experience, so I'm pretty sure my soldering wasn't to blame.
    I've also had a resistor in the poweramp section burn up on me and I replaced it with a 1/2W (it was a 1/4W) and it hasn't failed again.

    That's my experience with the two that I've had.
  3. megiddo


    Apr 5, 2003
    Houston, Texas
    Hey Chris here's a link to the Polytone website I found on Carol Kaye's website. www.polytoneamps.com She uses them so they must be pretty decent.
  4. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    The MiniBrutes are roughly 100 watts RMS. They come in 12" and 15" versions, with just volume and EQ or versions with reverb and distortion (for guitarists). All work fine for bass.

    MiniBrute I: 12"
    MiniBrute II: 12" with dist/reverb
    MiniBrute III: 15"
    MiniBrute IV: 15" with dist/reverb

    What's your application? They have long been popular with jazzers for a smooth tone, small size and weight and enough volume for most jazz gigs (i.e. not reallly loud). Rock/funk players usually find them not loud enough or not having an aggressive enough tone.

    They are not as popular as they used to be because of other small amps that have come along since (GK MB150, SWR Baby Blue and WM12, AI Contra, etc.). I don't know of any Boston area delares still selling them.

    There are lots of used ones around Boston all the time, a used one should cost $350 or less.

    P.S. The owner of Polytone is a jazz accordion player, somehting you don't see every day :cool:
  5. Stinsok

    Stinsok Supporting Member

    Dec 16, 2002
    Central Alabama
    Years ago I saw the Newgrass Revival using Polytones on stage for Bass, Banjo, Guitar, and Mandolin.
  6. BlacksHole


    Mar 22, 2000
    Rockville, MD
    I used to have 2, but now have just 1 polytone pro. This is a 220 watt biamp rig with a 15" and 2x8". It's not extremely loud, but it sounds great and offers a very wide variety of tones. THe tonal spectrum is enhanced by being able to set totally different tone for each of the two amps, whether you bridge them or run in biamp mode.
  7. I recently got a Polytone 212-300 in a trade deal. I'm still learning about it, but the potential for some mid-level brutality is there. I think it's rated at 180 watts, 2 12" drivers, Bass and Treble for eq. A volume knob, 2 input jacks. 2 channels each with this config.

    It's not on the web-site, and I can find very little on-line thus far about it. Still looking around, but the Polytone page seems to be pretty sparse, and not exactly 'interactive' or loaded with information. I called them this afternoon to ask after it, and left a message...

    More as I learn more...



  8. chetmz


    Dec 4, 2006
    Hartford, CT
    I bought a Mini Brute III (15", 80W, no reverb or distortion) back in 1977 and it ran flawlessly until a year ago when an IC, which is no longer available, failed. I have been told, that if I search diligently, I can find a replacement. However, the overall work would cost about $200.00 and I am not inclined to fix it.
    However, I do miss the unique warm sound of that amp and for a light jazz gig or a folk setting, it is still viable, particularly considering that it has a line out to go to the PA if need be.

    Quirky company that ranks among the worst in customer service, but for however long the amp works for you, it is great.
  9. billfitzmaurice

    billfitzmaurice Commercial User

    Sep 15, 2004
    New Hampshire
    Owner, Bill Fitzmaurice Loudspeaker Design
    Most 1977 vintage audio ICs have a direct drop in modern replacements, few costing more than ten bucks. A few require a pin revision, but it's not a difficult job.
  10. Tampabass

    Tampabass Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2006
    I know you are, but what am I?
    The old Polytone Minibrute that I had was perfect for upright - great round, warm tone, and plenty loud for jazz gigs in small rooms, and not too heavy. I used it until it died. You can occasionally find a few of the old ones around for pretty decent prices.
  11. chadds


    Mar 18, 2000
    the 101 with one 15" sounded just wonderful. The larger cab gave it more warmth. I used a Y cable dimed treble and bass and varied the volumes of the two channels. Played San Francisco's Golden Gate Park with that and in two huge JBL sidefills. OMGoodness!

    Had the III and the III with an extension cab. Even an SM-400 sounded exactly the same through that cab, so it had it's limitations. Too shallow for a JBL K.

    Really warm SS.
  12. BLDavis

    BLDavis Old enough to know better.....too young to care! Supporting Member

    May 21, 2009
    Ellenboro, NC
    I use my Mini-Brute lll all the time with my bluegrass band. Both fretted and fretless Jazz basses really shine with this little amp. It's not up to rock/blues gigs with a drummer but I'll use it in a pinch as long as I have pa support.