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Uh-oh, just saw the Phil Jones Briefcase Amp...

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by JimmyM, Sep 7, 2005.


  1. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    ...and I may have to suck it up and get one. I haven't got to try it out yet, so it may be entirely possible that I'll hate it, but I'm thinking that a 100w amp in a 28 lb package would be a good thing. Anyone have one of these things or tried it out yet? What did you think?

    http://www.philjonesbass.com/PRODUCTS/SPEAKERS/Briefcase.htm
     
  2. That thing looks cool. Now I want one. If you get it tell us how it sounds.
     
  3. Tom Bowlus has one and I'm sure will reply. I had the opportunity to play his a while back, although only for a few minutes in a music store setting.

    The pro's.... very well made, small and relatively light, extremely cool looking, and runs on an optional battery if needed, good sound at low volumes

    The con's.... pretty expensive for what it is, good sound only at relatively low volumes, not 'feather weight'

    It seems that there are other options out there for the same or less money (like the GK150 micro combo) that put out more sound in a similarly small package. However, if you need something small and battery operated, they are pretty cool.
     
  4. fretlessrock

    fretlessrock Supporting Member

    Aug 8, 2002
    Corrupticut
    I owned one for a while and it is the best sounding battery powered bass amp I have ever heard or played through. It has the kind of sound that you would expect from a high end small combo, but it runs on 12v. The amp is extremely clean, with a nice EQ section and a limiter. All of the cab, covering, and hardware is top notch. I played several gigs in medium sized rooms with it and it worked well with acoustic instruments, or low volume electric stuff.

    It turned out that I did not need the best sounding battery powered amp in creation. I needed a battery powered amp that wouldn't put me into a homocidal rage if it got hit by a shopping cart. :bassist: So I now have a Hog 30 and I could use the thing as a jackstand and never think twice about it.

    Similar gear that I have played through includes four different models of Taxi amp, including the Bass Bus, both battery powered pignose amps, and the Smicz (pr. smize) guitar combo. The Smicz is a really cool amp but they never made a bass model. It sounded like what you would expect a bass through a small guitar amp to sound like.
     
  5. 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 really did want a small amp with battery power option (for campfire gigs), and of the options available, the Briefcase was the most attractive to me. The battery life with the smaller internal 12V gel cell battery is okay, but the charge is only good for a little over an hour at full volume (longer if you don't crank it up 100%). But, you can also hook it up to a larger lead/acid 12V battery, and get all the battery life that you would want.

    It also makes a great practice amp. It takes up a small footprint, and looks very classy, so it's fairly unobtrusive for areas where you don't want (or can't fit) a bigger, and/or "uglier" (as defined by significant other) rig, such as in a bedroom! ;) Tonally, I find it to be full, clear, and very pleasing, if not the ultimate in dynamic impact. While two 5" drivers can only move so much air, Phil Jones does manage to get a lot of volume (and depth of tone) out of those two little drivers. But at the end of the day, it's still only two 5" drivers...

    I have used the amp to drive two Bergantino 1x12's, and I was amazed at how well it sounded, and how much louder and more dynamic the amp sounded with larger cabs. I really do like the Briefcase. I am familiar with its tone (which I think is fairly uncolored), and it is a good tool for me to use to try out a new instrument or effect without waking up the rest of my household! :D

    But, as for the cons, it's not inexpensive (though I'd say fairly priced), it is not light (though it is compact), and it is not the loudest 100w combo amp you have heard (though it is surprisingly loud for its size).

    Hope this helps, Tom.
     
  6. the_home

    the_home Supporting Member

    Jul 14, 2005
    Pensacola, FL
    I have been enjoying a Briefcase for a couple of months now. I use it for a very convenient practice amp as well as for small to medium sized gigs (the amp has a balanced output to go to a mixing board, so gigging is no problem, really, unless you don't put your signal through FOH and monitors).

    Very good tone (very hi-fi, clean sound), and the eq is quite usable and interactive. The operating manual (available online for review) is good and has important info (how to make it sound louder than the 100 wts, for example).

    It is kind of pricey, but also very versatile so you do get quite a bit for your money. I would give it a positive recommendation - if you can afford it, you won't be sorry you bought it.
     
  7. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    There's a guy here in town who uses one with his DB on jazz gigs. It works very well in that application.
     
  8. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Sounds like I better go try it out before I plunk my cash down. I thought $600 was very reasonable for an amp like that, but if you can't do gigs very well with it, it may not be what I'm looking for. Thanks guys!
     
  9. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Welp, I went to Bass Central and tried one today, and here's my thoughts on it:

    Great amp for someone who plays upright in a quiet jazz casual band. Great amp for at-home practice. Great if you have an injury and can't lug a big amp around and you have a good PA to run it through. For anything else, not so good. It doesn't sound as loud as I thought it would, and of course, it doesn't move a whole lot of air with those two 5" speakers. Not that I expected it to move air, but I was hoping it'd be louder. It does have a good (if very solid-state sounding) sound, but if you're trying to do anything louder other than trying to compete with an acoustic piano, I don't think this would be a good choice at all. If I had a back problem or an issue with transportation, I could see using it, but only if I had a hefty PA. For $600 I expected a little more, quite honestly. I'd rather get one of those 100 watt combos with the 10" speaker at half the price. Sure, it's a little bigger and harder to lug around, but at least it will move some air and sound like it's 100w.
     
  10. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    Agreed. Although if I was considering all the reasons you stated to buy a bass amp, I think I would take one of AI's offerings, like the contra.

    Although, they make the PJ stuff look cheap.
     
  11. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    True dat! Actually, I'm quite happy with the two working rigs I have already (SWR SM-500 thru Tube Works 4 x 10" and Ampeg B-15N), and I really wasn't in the market. But I would have bought that Phil Jones amp if it did what I needed! Of course, I'm sure my wife would have said, "When are you going to get the two broken amps of yours fixed?" When it costs less to fix than they're worth!

    Wives...sheesh!