For most people, all that they know about the best bass amp is that it is loud. Their knowledge of much more than that is quite limited, and this is simply because they associated the musical apparatus with loud rock concerts. That seems to be the limitation of the vast majority of people’s expertise about this device.
However, for seasoned music professionals, they understand that there is a lot more to getting an outstanding quality amplifier to use with their bass guitar. They want to not only find an amp that gives a great sound, but also allows them to get the best quality so they can do a lot more with the amp.
What this means is that they are looking for great bass amp reviews that will help them to find what would be the best amp for them to buy. One that would not only show them the key features they want to look for, but also the things that would give them the best value when getting the best bass amp. If this is what you are looking for, then here is the perfect review for you.
Some Keys to Look For
While too many of these may look like no more than a black box, the truth is that there is a lot to look into if you want to get yourself the very best amp. Here are some of the areas you want to review before making your choice.
Tube vs. Solid State – There are two primary kinds of high-powered bass amps that you can buy. The solid state kind is a lot more durable, and is the most powerful of the two options, but it is also a great deal more costly than you would find with the other option. The solid state amps play a great deal louder with much higher upper limits, but the sound that is produced is not geared toward precise sounding music. This is an amp that is intended to rock the house, but will not provide a particularly fine tone in the music.
Meanwhile, the Tube kind produces a much crisper and clearer sound. This is for artists who are looking for a better sound in the music that they are creating, however that sound that is produced comes at a cost. These tubes are much more fragile, and are more likely to be broken or damaged. The kind of system you want is going to be dependent upon the quality of the sound that you are looking for.
High-Gain Determination – Like you would with any kind of guitar amp, you will need to make a decision about if you really what a unit that provides high-gain. If you are someone who plays a lot of small gigs or who does most of their work in the studio then an all-in-one type of combo amplifier would be just perfect for you. This is a fairly new innovation, only coming around in the 1980s and so it is a fairly new idea in the music world, but is one that has really caught on with those who are performing in small venues.
For large auditoriums where the volume and that quality of that volume has to reach a much higher level, the single and double cabinets are really what is needed to get the job done. What makes these amps so popular is that they provide a great deal of wattage and are perfect no matter what kind of music you are looking to play.
Speaker Size – A lot may wonder if the size of the speaker really matters and the answer is yes. It is not just about being bigger, but is about the fact that size allows for a better resonance and quality in the speaker making it, so it can be louder and potentially provides a better quality sound. You will need to hear the sound in the cabinet to determine if it is giving you the sound that you truly want. If you are unsure of what may be best for you and you don’t have a whole lot of time to check everyone out, then it is suggested that you ask a sound engineer to see what they think would be best to try.
Specific Features to Look For In a Best Bass Amp
Some generalities have been provided to you, but here are some more detailed specifics to look at when making your determination.
Choice of Head – It is a question of combo head versus a separate head. The head is the area of the amp that has the pre-amp, where the pre-signal processing occurs, and the power amp is located. In essence, this is effected and watts of the amp. Remember that combo amps may be a little cheaper, but if one part breaks then your whole system is out. However, it is a bargain especially if you are not performing in big concert venues.
Size of Speaker –Bigger is not necessarily better. Sound quality should be your first priority. You may also find that putting several speakers into one cabinet will do the job much better for you. Consider this option, especially if you want something that is easier to break down and carry.
Number of Speakers – If you opt for a cabinet option then you need to decide how many speakers will do the job for you. There are several different cabinet sizes so you can really get the sound you want. You will also find that the level of amplification will match evenly if all the speakers are able to directly connect to the amp. There are several options you can choose from, including ¼”, XLR, TRS, and NeutrikSpeakon connectors.
Speaker Jacks – If you are looking to have multiple speakers, then you want to look for an amp with multiple speaker jacks. While you can run a serial connection from speaker to speaker, originating in the amplifier, the more direct connections you are able to make the better the quality of sound you will have.
The Power of the Amplifier – If you are practicing at home or in your garage, then a 100-watt amp may do the job for you. This is not a lot of power however. If you are looking to do some heavy stuff with your amplifier, then you need something with a lot more power than that. This is especially true if you are going to have some large speakers. Look to the 400-watt option if this is the case.
The Number of Channels – When you opt for a dual channel amplifier, then this gives you the ability to set up two different chains for your EQ and your effects. You will also be able to switch from one to the other quite easily. If you are looking to have the internal overdrive option, then you will find that having two different controls will really give you the desired effects that you want. This makes it so you can control the distortion amount and the volume which is important in a best bass amp.
Switchable Impedance – The switches on this output allow you to select between 4 and 8 ohms. This makes it so you directly match to the speakers that you are connected to. There are some models that even come with a 16 ohm option.
Resonance and Damping Controls –A lot of bass players are not really considered with getting a real fine sound in what they produce, but if you are, then this is an important feature to look for. This really fine tunes the amp output and produces a sound that is a whole lot tighter and more focused in the way it sounds.
Ability to Carry –Those who have played the bass guitar are aware that they are a lot heavier than standard guitar amps. This is something to consider when you are making your purchase. An amp is a great thing, but you will not enjoy it if it becomes too cumbersome to carry. You will not take it with you, which means you will not use it and that becomes a big waste of money. This is why you may want to take a serious look at a portable bass amp if you are going to be doing a lot of performances where you need to carry your amp a long distance.
Mute Switch – While not mandatory in any way, there are many bass players who like to have the ability to mute the amp while they are tuning their instruments, switching to a different instrument, or even taking a break.
Effects Loop –If you are a bass player who likes to add effects from external devices, then this is a must for you. This feature modifies the signal that is between the preamp and the power section of the amplifier. Using a patch cord, the effects loop takes the sound that enters the loop and provides the desired effect before sending the output.
Footswitch Jack – If you are one who likes to control the effects you are using during your performance, then you will need a jack where you can plug in the footswitch. This allows you to switch between channels as needed and to be able to control the parameters without ever needing to remove your hands from the bass. This allows you to get all the effects and changes you need while still rocking out.
Built-In Tuner – Having a built-in tuner in the amplifier itself is a very convenient feature. This allows you to tune the bass while you are on stage and to be able to do it silently.
Direct Output –This is located on the back panel of the amp and allows you to make a direct connection to the mixer or to your recording gear. Some of the outputs that you can buy have a pre-post EQ switch that makes it so that you can adjust the output to suit your personal needs.
The Construction of the Cabinet – If you have been sitting at a stop light when a person comes up who has a very heavy bass blasting in their car, then you are aware that the vibration can really be something. This vibration can have a big effect on your cabinet as well which, if not built properly, will lead to cracking and other damage. If you plan on using louder speakers or many different speakers in one cabinet, you may want to look for a much more sturdy built cabinet.
Power Supply – If you are planning to stay in the United States for most of your musical career then this is not a big deal. However, if you are traveling overseas, especially to Europe, then you should be aware that the types of plugins and the power supplies are different in various ways around the world. There are amps you can buy that have external converters to them that lets you plug in and get the power you need to be able to use your amp properly.
Battery Powered Bass Amp – If you find that you would like to do performances where you may not be able to plug in, like in a park or even on a street corner, then maybe you need to get a battery powered bass amp. This allows you to be able to play without needing to plug in.
The Top Bass Amps on the Market
You have been provided a lot of information in this bass amp review, but it would be a lot more helpful to you if you received some good suggestions of different products that are available that provide you with the kind of quality and performance that you desire. Here are some great suggestions for you.
There are some primary brands of bass amps that stand out above the rest.
The Fender Bass Amps – Fender long has a great reputation, especially related to guitars and bass guitars. They are also the world’s foremost leader on amplifiers in many people’s opinions. While there are many great amps made by the company, the one that stands out the most is the Fender Rumble 350 Bass Amp Review. This amplifier provides the clearest tones and with 350-watts of power you get a lot of bang for your buck. There are a set of 10-inch Special Design speakers which make this amp sound as rockin as it gets. Included with this amp are inputs for a drum machine, a headphone jack, CD player, tape player, and XLR output.
The Ampeg Bass Amps –Another company that is recognized for the incredible amplifiers that they make. The Ampeg Micro-CL Bass Amp Stack Review is one of the absolute best you can get. The components on the amp produce some of the absolute best bass tones you will find. This has an outstanding quality flip top, double baffle cabinet that is set for two preamp circuits. This is hand built in the United States and is one of the best bass amp you will find.
The Behringer Bass Amps – This is not as widely known as the other two, but that does not mean that the quality is diminished at all. One of the best choices is the Behringer Ultrabass BT108 Review. This is the most incredible combo amp you will find on the market. It has a single 15-inch cone speaker with a 300-watt output. This makes it the perfect size to be able to take with you to just about any gig. There is a 7-band EQ that really lets you control frequencies and the ULTRABASS sub-harmonious processor gives an outstanding sound quality.
The Rockman Bass Ace Headphone Amp Review –there are those who would like to be able to get a quality amp that will provide them with the sound and effects that they want, but they are looking for a little privacy when they play. A bass headphone amp is the perfect option, and the Rockman model is the one that is ideal. This makes it so you can connect your bass to the amp, and then plugin a headphone jack to listen and jam out all you want without disturbing anyone else. This also allows you to jam out and not be disturbed by others. Simply plug in your headphones and the world around you slowly disappears into the background as you simply jam out. This amp comes in built-in compression and volume control.
Eden Microtour Portable Mini Bass Amplifier Review –those who are looking for an amplifier that is easy to carry and provides a lot of punch, then look no further than this model by Eden. It not only comes at a great price, usually around $60.00, but is a two-watt bass amp that gives good power and at just over 10 inches in height, it is easy to carry anywhere. There is a headphone jack that allows you to connect into it so you can practice or tune up without disturbing others or being disturbed by them. There is no distortion in using the amp and it really provides a powerful punch.