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School me on Markbass stuff.

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by thedudebrah, Feb 18, 2013.

  1. I was on vacation in St. Pete Florida this past weekend and ended up at a bar while a band was playing. Blues rock kind of feel, mostly covers I believe. Their bassist was using a 5 string Lakland through a small Markbass head, but I couldn't see the cab and I couldn't tell if he had PA support. I have zero experience with Markbass stuff, I've never played them and I've never heard one played live.

    Holy crap. This guy was getting HUGE sound, some of the sweetest tones I've heard, IMO. Hit me in the gut with the low end and had enough mids to cut. I've been sort of shopping for a smaller rig recently, and I'm thinking maybe this is the way I want to go. Where do I even start? What do I stay away from? I've done a little browsing on my own, but it's a huge departure from my SVT rig and its like Greek to me. Anyone care to help me spend my money?

    Ps: if you were the bass player at the Drunken Clam in St. Pete Friday night, you were killin it!
  2. IronLung1986


    May 19, 2010
    Exeter, NH
    i've gushed shamelessly about markbass many times on here. my opinion is that they're the best sounding amps around (and far from the most expensive). you almost can't go wrong, i've certainly never tried a bad sounding markbass model. the clarity and responsiveness is what i love the most; the light weight is just icing on the cake.
  3. Stock250


    Aug 14, 2011
    I have the mark bass 104 cab and the little mark tube head. Amazing tone for around 1500 bucks. Usually you can tell a markbass cab by the yellow cones, it's kinda their thing. There is a few models with black cones though. Hopefully that helps.
  4. I use a LM800 tube at the keyboardist's place when we practice there w/ some MarkBass 410. Really don't care for it, so they are not all great to everyone.
  5. I've had the "Jeff Berlin" 16" single speaker combo MarkBass amp for about 3 years now.

    I have three basses (currently), Cort artisan fretless 4, ESP B-335, and a Wishbass. Also have an SWR 15" combo amp in the practice room for comparison.

    Doesn't seem to matter what gets plugged in to the MarkBass, it always has the tone(s) I'm looking for. Super powerful and lightweight are bonuses.

    All the best,

  6. jumblemind

    jumblemind I also answer to Bryan Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2011
    Coming from Ampeg, you'd likely really dig the Markbass. I didn't like it at first, because I was very used to the Ampeg character that gets "squishy" or breaks up at the extremes. Having clear, solid notes all throughout the range was kind of a shocking experience my first time out, but I got tons of compliments after the show. The lack of any particular character or growl is what some people just don't dig, and I can definitely understand that. For an amp that can be versatile in a cover type situation, I think it's a great workhorse.

    The MarkBass Little Mark III, Little Mark Tube, and Big Bang are all 500w, plenty of punch for most people, and all are voiced very similar (with small differences in feature sets). One of those is likely what you saw.
  7. Thumper


    Mar 22, 2000
    Layton, UT
    One of the best tones I ever heard was a guy playing a Markbass rig on Bourbon St. I kept coming back to hear it and marvel over the size and sound. After I got home I bought a LMII. At the time I was using a Mesa 400+ which I eventually sold because I prefer the LM. Now I'm using a CMD 102p with a 102hf extension instead of 2 SWR Goliath 410s. I like it!
  8. greencow


    Feb 7, 2008
    Owner of a LM III and a Traveler 121H

    I would advise to try as many different cabinets as you have access to. For instance I would never buy the traveler 102P
  9. mam1862

    mam1862 Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2008
    Northfield, Ohio
    I play small up to large clubs and some outdoor gigs and I use a pair of the MB NY604 cabs with a Big Bang amp. I love the sound. It's big and full. At some of the small clubs I bring one cab. The larger clubs and the outdoor gigs always have pa support. MB makes good equipment. I have owned equipment by GK, GB, Hartke and TC. Honestly I think they are all good. You have to decide what works for you based on the music you play and where you will be playing it.
  10. Russell L

    Russell L

    Mar 5, 2011
    Cayce, SC
    I'm running a Little Mark III head with one or two (when needed) Markbass Traveler 151P cabs. Awesome tone, IMO. heard a guy using a CMD 102P combo the other night. great tone, tighter than my 15s, but very nice. I think the Jeff berlin combo is the cat's pajamas of combos. I also have a CMD 121H combo for smaller gigs and rehearsals. I like its tone even better than my 15s, but it won't handle the lows as well at higher volume, of course. Some folks don't like Markbass cabs, but I do.

    The Big Bang is quite a bang for your bucks, especially considering its features.
  11. Mehve


    Jun 2, 2012
    Kitchener, ON
    The heads are good for clean, tend to be more neutral than most. Get your breakup or distortion from pedals. Need mute buttons, but overall good.

    The cabs are all over the place in voicing. Definitely try before buy.
  12. Tunaman


    Dec 26, 2004
  13. IT WILL ALSO NEVER NEED SERVICING:D (at least no more than any electronic component). To your point, the tube in the LMT800 and LMTube is not the typical 12ax7 preamp design execution, and has IMO and IME limited impact. I call that a 'marketing tube'! Doesn't hurt anything, but surely does not significantly vary the voltage, etc. like some more traditional tube preamps. I only recommend the LMTube over the LMIII to people who find a mute switch and or a second input with volume control as important.
  14. Used a LMT 800 a few times. Eq was normal, but had some sort of variable low pass filter knob. Seemed useless to me but maybe some are into that. The mute function was a pull-out knob that happened to also be the master volume. There was a good chance you would screw up your set volume if you ever tried to use it. What I did like was using the head as a monitor via the effects return, either for live or practicing. Overall I found it to be a sterile and lifeless amp, like suddenly my speakers were covered by a blanket or all out of phase. It was clean and powerful but just couldn't get it sounding cool to me.
  15. While the LMT800 is, by FAR, my least favorite Markbass head (overly low end extended, overly goosed in the upper mids), that variable lo pass (VLE) is actually a WONDERFUL filter. It allows you to control the top end extension of a tweeter or mid driver loaded cab very precisely, either taking out, for example, everything above 5K to make a tweeter loaded cab more 'organic and warm' up top, or even completely eliminating all frequencies above the crossover point, turning a two way cab into a 'one way cab'... hence the name 'Vintage Loudspeaker Emulation'.

    Pretty cool actually. I find the LMII/III, the F1/F500 and now the Big Bang among the best choices on the market for those who want a 'clean but not sterile' tone. Quite warm, full range, light, powerful, and relatively neutral.

    If one digs the uber goosed top end and upper midrange distortion/grind of the GK heads, or the 'meaty, chewy, punchy, aggressive tone of the Aguilar heads (for example), I would guess they would find the Markbass heads rather 'boring'. However, as a relatively neutral amplification platform for pedals, or, again, a clean, warm, full range tone, I find the models I list above quite impressive.

    IMO, and many, many years of IME with the LMII and F1/F500. The F500 is my personal favorite head of all time (for my tone goals and volume needs.
  16. MostlyBass


    Mar 3, 2002
    Oak Park, IL
    I have the Jeff Berlin combo as well - love it! LOUD, light, big sound and handles the low B great.
  17. Tunaman


    Dec 26, 2004
    Good stuff right here, thanks for sharing
  18. FYI, the 'speaker covered with a blanket' comment is a result of classic user error. Many mistakenly assume that the filters are 'flat' when set at noon. The 'neutral' EQ setting of the Markbass amps is EQ at noon and filters off.

    The particular head you tried was, if anything, extremely bright and articulate (too much for many). With both filters at noon, it sounds like 'there is a blanket over your speakers'. :p

    An unfortunately common mistake among those who are trying these amps for the first time.

    With both filters at noon, virtually all your top end and mid mids are removed from the signal chain.
  19. Tunaman


    Dec 26, 2004

    LM III tone wise... closer to GK MB500 or Shuttlemax 9.2 FET section?
  20. Different than both. You can't get there with the MB500 at all. You can get there reasonably well with some EQ with the Max 9.2 with some signficant widening of the low end and low mid boosting. The LMIII is much 'fatter' out of the box than the Max 9.2., but that amazing EQ section can get you pretty close.

    I have a clip on Youtube matching the flat tone of the F500 with the EQ of the Max 9.2. Basically, the F500 (and even moreso the LMIII) is less 'tight and bright' out of the box... fatter, warmer, smoother, more relaxed and 'sweet' up top.