Why So Few Affordable Battery Powered Bass Amps?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by selowitch, May 8, 2021.

  1. selowitch

    selowitch Supporting Member

    Aug 6, 2005
    Rockville MD
    Despite the pandemic and the movement toward outdoor-only performances, I remain surprised at the dearth of battery-powered bass amps and/or heads. I have a Phil Jones Double Four BG-75 with a portable power supply, but it’s just not quite loud enough on its own for my outdoor gigging needs. I also have a Roland BA-330 which functions decently as a bass amp as well as a 4-6 channel PA and runs on 8 x AA batteries. It's even possible to use those two in concert with each other and that gets me pretty much where I need to be. I even hear that a Quilter Interbass with a mobile power supply and speaker cabinet can surpass the Double Four in practical volume, though I don’t have one of those.

    Still, I’m wondering why there are so few options for battery-powered bass playing outdoors. I know Phil Jones has some higher-end battery-powered stuff like the Briefcase Ultimate, but that’s mighty expensive.
    WMDBASSPLAYER and DJ Bebop like this.
  2. Foz


    Jul 26, 2008
    Jax FL USA
    Because they are stupid?
    DrMole, Brich, Skip Chucker and 4 others like this.
  3. Foz


    Jul 26, 2008
    Jax FL USA
    Wait... is this a trap?
  4. selowitch

    selowitch Supporting Member

    Aug 6, 2005
    Rockville MD
    Nah, man ... I’m asking the question in earnest.
    Iristone, DJ Bebop, zie and 1 other person like this.
  5. kohanmike

    kohanmike Gold Supporting Member

    I also have a PJBD4, but when my group had outdoor gigs, it didn't make it either. What I learned from here on TB is a big speaker is needed to push the air, so I bought a Carvin MB15. Yes, it's costly, but what I did to allow me to be completely portable was to put together a small battery and inverter that lasts for hours for about $100, and works with any amp. So with a good $100-$150 amp, a rig would come in under $300.

    A Wagan EL2600 Elite Pro 200W Pure Sine Inverter for $55 from Amazon. It has two a/c outlets and one USB. A Universal UB1280 AGM 12v 8Ah battery from my local hardware store that measures 6.25" tall x 8" wide x 2.75" deep, weighs 6.4 lbs for $38, plus charger for $30 from a local audio parts stores. I put together the wires and Velcro straps. This photo should show you how compact it is.

    battery rig w hand 200.jpg
  6. JimChjones


    Aug 6, 2017
    SE England
    Well, we are in a forum in which it feels as if the consensus is that 500W of amplification 8s required to play the tiniest club, and power used considerably exceeds power delivered. So if no reasonable dry cell battery system can deliver the power that the consensus says is required, why is it a surprise few of these supposedly inadequate amps are made?
  7. SgtHulka

    SgtHulka Suspended Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2019
    Fort Arnold
    I got 3, yes 3, of these for $55 each. It's not necessarily designed as a bass amp but they are plenty loud and sound particularly fat if you roll off your tone a bit. Yes, I know it is not designed for bass. But I use these all the time and get many hours playing my bass on one of them without a charge. In fact I haven't played longer than one could handle. Right now I'm running 2x8 together with a splitter cable and they are great, plus have many uses beyond bass. Just gotta be a little creative.

    This says $199, but I found mine on Reverb of these NOS for $55.

    DJ Bebop likes this.
  8. SgtHulka

    SgtHulka Suspended Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2019
    Fort Arnold
    For a guy that likes "girls, guns, and scotch", one would think you would be a little more open to something out of the ordinary...
  9. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    Girls, guns, and scotch are out of the ordinary? ;)
  10. MrLenny1


    Jan 17, 2009
    New England
    Not much demand for a product that is quite limited.
    VAC is readily available.
    tylerwylie, M0ses and Al Kraft like this.
  11. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    A year ago I would have scoffed at a battery powered amp. For one thing, I have my upright for when I need to be unplugged. But certainly the pandemic has mixed things up. Now here's my thought. "Battery" and "portable" actually work against one another in a way. The reason is that if portability were not a concern, you could combine a modest battery powered amp (or battery + inverter + micro head) and the most efficient speaker that you could tolerate transporting. Yet, (pre-covid) the market for battery powered devices has tended to assume that everything has to fit into a backpack, meaning you're dealing with limited juice and an inefficient speaker.

    Who knows what the new normal is for playing music, but people may discover that park / porch / driveway jamming is just as fun as gigging, entertains as many people, and eliminates the headaches of booking gigs. Given that jamming is unpaid, and we have our neighbors eardrums to consider, people may re-think how much gear we really need, and we might converge on a new business model that favors quick setup and modest volume levels.

    Just thinking aloud. If it turns out to be prophetic, I'll take credit, if not, I'll deny I ever said it. ;)
  12. SJan3

    SJan3 Supporting Member

    Dec 8, 2010
    From my perspective, I don't know that there's a huge demand for such a thing and I'd imagine any power pack able to drive an amp at respectably loud levels would be large/heavy.
    Anytime I've played an outdoor gig there was power provided to the stage.
    I've never even entertained a need for such a thing. Not poo pooing the idea. Just questioning the demand.
  13. RichSnyder

    RichSnyder Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2003
    Mostly because running an extension cord is easier.
    12BitSlab, FRoss6788, DrMole and 12 others like this.
  14. Al Kraft

    Al Kraft Supporting Member

    May 2, 2016
    Northern Virginia
    IMO the technology exists in energy storage and high efficiency amp/speaker technology to offer more than is out there today. I believe that if the demand was there, more companies would be lining up with more products of this type to trade for people's money. At the end of the day, I suspect it's really just that simple.

    As for fdeck's thoughts on front porch, driveway, deck jams, etc. (which I personally find to be great fun) I think most folks just run an extension cord and use whatever gear they normally would (I do). Even many parks have electricity available in the covered areas and places where they often have outdoor events and performances.

    When nothing else works, many of the folks I play with have a small generator (I use a Honda EU2000i) that easily powers a bass rig and small PA with margin to spare. That generator also comes in handy for other things like power outages...much more so than a battery powered bass amp would. :)
  15. Need agedhorse to make a small nuclear reactor powered combo that wouldn't need a cord or charger
  16. Al Kraft

    Al Kraft Supporting Member

    May 2, 2016
    Northern Virginia
    ...and he'd be the guy to pull it off if anyone could! :thumbsup:
  17. HardNHeavy


    Apr 17, 2014
    Milford, PA
    Just not enough power captain kirk!..lol My wife owned one of these Liberty battery things when she sang in a acapella group, when they were busking nyc subways back in the 90's. It worked great for vocals, but as far as bass IMO was only good for quiet practices at home. This model is a deluxe version priced at over 2k. The one she had was identical but without the mics and belt pack. I use to just charge it overnight and plug in.

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  18. Smooth_bass88

    Smooth_bass88 vaxx! Supporting Member

    Oct 31, 2006
    North AMERICA, USA
    Since electricity is widely available, battery-powered bass ampifiers are pretty much unnecessary.
  19. Passinwind

    Passinwind I know nothing. Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    BTDT. I don't currently own one, but that would be my solution if the need resurfaced for sure.

    As for the OP: supply and demand. Niche products are rarely cheap.
  20. Tim Craig

    Tim Craig Supporting Member

    Feb 5, 2004
    Hi cost to produce vs. selling price, limited consumer interest etc.
    droo46, Iristone, DJ Bebop and 3 others like this.
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