Wow! Tried a Markbass combo today

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by BassMicroSynth, Mar 9, 2005.

  1. Recently I've been looking for a combo to replace my SWR Bass 350 / Mesa Boogie 2x10 + Carvin 1X15 stack. In it's current configuration this rig is just too heavy and difficult to move. Also, I've never been terribly satisfied with the tone...between the head and the cabs there is an upper mid range emphasis that would suit a rock player better. (I'm primarily interested in deep vintage dub/soul/ hip hop sounds)

    I auditioned the Mesa Walkabout Scout combo as a possible replacement. It sounded very good, and was super-duper loud for it's size, however the fan noise was annoying and the speaker sounded as if it wasn't quite up to dealing with the output of the head. I'm sure it would make alot of bass players happy, but those two issues were enough to turn me off.

    At another store I tested a Markbass 2x10 combo ( . That little thing has exactly the tone that I've been looking for. With the VLE circut turned up a little bit (essentially a lowpass filter) the amp had a warm, punchy, vintage sound. I was stunned to hear so much warm growl comming out of such a tiny, ugly yellow box. It handled dub reggae, vintage funk, and hip hop tones with ease, although compared to my large rig a little low end extension was missing. The low mids were filled out better of the Markbass however, and I doubt that I'd miss that last little bit of extension. The Markbass also seemed capable of brighter more slap friendly tones, but that's not where my interests lie.

    For a refrence point, I also plugged into a Eden Time Traveller combo and a wt500 + 4x10 xlt rig in the same store. While both were very nice and quite tonally flexible, I much preferred the Markbass sound. The fact that the Markbass combo is only 50lbs and has a built in dolly for transport is the frosting on the cake. Too bad about the yellow though!

    Now to find a buyer for my Big Rig, so that I can afford the Markbass.
  2. michele

    michele Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2004
    You'll be suprised by the Markbass smaller combo too (the Little Mark): 300W, 1x12", 38 lbs!
  3. tombowlus

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

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    How would you compare it to the sound of the Walkabout Scout?
  4. bmc


    Nov 15, 2003
    I bought a MarkBass Little Mark F-1 limited edition head last month. I used it last Saturday and I use it again tomorrow night in a bigger room. I'm waiting for a couple more gigs before posting a review. So far, there are lots of usuable sounds in that head. It is very portable. I carry it in a 17 inch laptop bag. 280 watts into 8ohms and 450 into 4.

    So far...very impressed and very happy. The VLE control gives a range from SWR hifi to tube grit.

  5. Texx


    Sep 10, 2004
    I got my MarkBass Little Mark F-1 three weeks ago and combined it with the MARKBAS Traveler 102 cab....which is basically the same setup as the combo. I´ve done 3 medium size clubgigs with this amazing rig. I am so impressed by that tone, power and wheight and so are the other guys in the band. The guitarist was like " wow
    i want one of those too"
  6. Describing the sound differences in absolute terms is difficult because I was unable to a/b them in the same store. If I had to describe the difference I would characterize the Markbass as inherently more growly and punchy than the Mesa. With the eq set flat and the VLE turned up a little to tame the VERY bright sounding tweeter it has a wonderful warm presence in the low mid region. The Markbass reproduced the fattest fingerstyle tones that I've ever heard out of my Jazz bass. I found that getting my sound took much less physical effort than usual. I tried a Markbass 1x15 combo as well and wasn't as impressed. It sounded good and had more extension, but lacked the fatness of the 2x10. I think part of what I like about that combo is the way 2 10 inch drivers sound in a small box.

    The Walkabout sounded good to me but less full and warm than the Markbass. The preamp grit the Mesa allows you to dial in is pretty cool and its eq section is certainly more powerful, but I was left with the impression that the Walkabout scouts' speaker is a weak link. I could not make the Markbass combos speakers break up ungracefully, but the Mesa farted out at higher volumes.

    FWIW the Markbass is capable of some ugly, ugly sounds. The amount of treble produced with the tone controls set flat and the lowpass filter disengaged seems excessive. But as I pointed out earlier my taste in tone runs to the vintage side.
  7. hey Texx...did you get a chance to try other Markbass cabinets? What made you decide to go with the traveller 2x10. To my ears it sounder better than the 1x15, but i didn't have a chance to try out the larger 2x10.
  8. vmx_12


    Dec 13, 2003
    Laval, PQ, Canada
    For my part, I had the chance to try them all at my musical store. I wanted to buy the Mini CMD 151P but I was a bit short on $$$. It's funny to say, but the "power to weight ratio" is unbeleivable. I found a used Combo 102 - one of the 1st generation, without the VPL knob - and I was more than impressed. It is a little heavier than the new generation, but is still lighter than my actual rig. I play (or used to) with a SansAmp RBI plugged in a Mackie M1200 in an SKB 4 spaces rack case, with a 1 X 15" handmade cab. Just the damn rack case is heavier than the combo...

    I use mainly active basses (either active pickups, or preamps, or both). The amp is so clean that I was able to dial in the patches I use on my Boss GT-6B for studio work. For dirtier sounds, I rely on a SansAmp RBI/Bass Driver DI more than the "Distorto" settings described in the user manual. The 2 10" speakers tend to bottom a bit if you push the low frequencies too much but overall, it's the best sound I ever had.

    My fretless cuts through the mix like a razor blade, and my fretted are as clear as if I was playing by myself (with the band just in the background). Even with the pickup balance fully in the neck position which, usually, makes you loose definition and clarity a bit. But it kept the agressive, growling rounded sound without being too muddy.

    The line mix (DI out) is very quiet and clean. I recorded a track with it while rehearsing and it's crisp and very defined with lots of articulation.

    Did I mention it's a kickback too? No stack beside the drummer leaking in the mikes and fighting with the house PA. In small to medium size gigs, you're always stuck sharing a monitor mix with a bandmate, leading to lower volumes. Beside the monitor on stage, I have MY sound for me, myself and I!!!

    I will never go back to my old rig...

  9. savit260


    Mar 6, 2006
    What's the price range on these amps? Who has them for sale?
  10. +1
  11. Mr_Dave


    Mar 11, 2005
    Melbourne, Australia
    Employee - Basscentre Melbourne
    Markbass is very clear and punchy. growly but with huge tight low end if you want it and clear treble too. the lowpass circut dulls the top end but the amp still retains a very fast solid state character. i just couldn't get over how big the amp sounded (it was their top model with the tubes into there front ported quad) and how wide and big the low end could be and still usable and fast. full on. i just didn't think it had as much characted with my bass. made my sadowsky a little sterile... but i'll go back and try again with properly new strings. what i don't understand is why they don't do and 4ohm quad???
  12. vmx_12


    Dec 13, 2003
    Laval, PQ, Canada
    I don't really know if the price range differs from country to country (or provinces or states...). But here in Canada, it's very similar as their equivalent in Eden. The DC210XLT - which is just a little more powerfull - is just a little more expensive than the MarkBass CMD 102p. The MarkBass is listed at around $1800 CAD (MSRP). In the US, it's listed at $1650 USD (or around $1100 street price).

    But just compare yourself:

    Eden DC210XLT
    300 watts @ 8ohms
    500 watts @ 4ohms
    78 lbs

    MarkBass CMD 102p
    280 watts @ 8ohms
    450 watts @ 4ohms
    44 lbs

    Even the MarkBass CMD 103H, which has 3 X 10" speakers in, with the same specs as the CMD102p, at 63 lbs, is still lighter than the Eden. I beleive the weight loss on those are worth every penny.

    Hope this helps.
  13. dave_bass5


    May 28, 2004
    London, UK.
    Can anyone say what the difference in tone is between an ABM head and a MB LM2?
    Im thinking of getting rid of my ABM for something louder and like the idea of a tiny amp that i can also use at home.
    Cab is a Schroeder 1210 4ohms.
  14. bmc


    Nov 15, 2003
    There's no difference, really on power rating. You wouldn't a difference. I'd be interested to know the efficiency of the speakers.
  15. dave_bass5


    May 28, 2004
    London, UK.
    Does anyone know where i can download a MB manual?
    Idealy for the SA450 but any would do i guess, as long as its in English. just fancy a read while at work (i know, very sad but im waiting to pick my SA450 up)
  16. I ran an Ashdown ABM 500 head for about five years and switched across to the Markbass CMD102P Combo last year (I believe the head in the combo is the same as the LM2). For all the EQ options you get on an ABM head, I could never get the sound I get from the Markbass combo to come out of the ABM. Dont get me wrong, I love my ABM, but the MarkBass seems to have more clairity in the tone, and great low mid growl from both my passive P-Bass and active Stingray 5. My EQ on the ABM was vastly different for either bass, on the Markbass I run it pretty much flat and get the perfect sound from each bass. I guess that means there is less colouring of the bass's tone by the amp on the Markbass than the Ashdown.
  17. dave_bass5


    May 28, 2004
    London, UK.
    Thanks for the reply
    I found the ABM nice when i got it but lacking bite, even though it had a bit it seemed to be hidden most of the time if that makes sence. there seemed to be a lot of EQ options but to my ears only a few different sounds that i could use. once the band starts playing moving the EQ sliders didnt make a huge difference to the sound.
    I thought the LMII sounded clear and bright but a little lacking in low end without having the low eq truned up quite high but this was at low volume through a ABM 410 in the shop.
    I ended up going for the SA450 as it has more EQ options and i can adjust it at 100hz which i couldnt do on my ABM but could on my MAG.
  18. ibz


    Apr 14, 2005
    Columbus, OH
    Nice comparisons.
  19. vmx_12


    Dec 13, 2003
    Laval, PQ, Canada
    Just e-mail them through their web site. They sent mine the next day.