Reviewed: Ashdown BTA 400 Bass Head
With the trend being smaller, compact units over the last few years there have still been some makers pumping out big valve heads that are meant to really make things move. Ashdown have been one of the serious players from the UK with their gear getting a work out by the likes of Nate Mendel, Geezer Butler and Adam Clayton. Pumping out a lot of watts with true valve power, the BTA 400 packs a punch.
Reviewed: DV Mark LITTLE 250 GH
The more of their products I review the more I’m fascinated by the self-contained bubble that Mark World is. Every time I find myself circling back to their website I’m greeted by the face of another player that Marco De Virgillis and co. insist are one of the biggest names in the game. Forgive my ignorance but before I reviewed their signature amps I’d never heard of players like Frank Gambale, Michael Angelo Batio or Greg Howe but I figure they must be going concerns if they are to have whole amp designs named for them. It reminds me of how much we limit our own horizons with specific subsets of interest and, while I might not be phased at all by fusion music or solid-state amps in my day-to-day life, there are people out there who absolutely froth over them. They have their own heroes, their own bands and their own specific image of what tonal purity looks like. Once again DV Mark has those erstwhile ‘others’ covered with the space conscious Little 250 GH.
REVIEWED: FENDER BASSBREAKER 45 AND 18/30 COMBO AMPS
The way I see it, being a household name has got to be more trouble than it’s worth. The progenitor of modern musical instruments, Leo Fender, must not have slept for decades trying to keep his beloved script logo from being eclipsed by any number of upstarts nipping at his heels, poor fella. Fender has consistently stayed ahead of the pack not only by building time-tested classics, but also by using these as springboards for new and improved versions of holy tonality. For many, the be all and end all of ear candy is the behemoth Bassman that has graced stages since almost forever. It is from this well that its direct descendants, the Bassbreaker Series of amplifiers, spring.
REVIEWED: TRACE ELLIOT ELF ULTRA COMPACT BASS AMPLIFIER
Is this a joke? What is this tiny thing I see before me and how in my right mind am I to expect anything resembling power to come out of such a little box? It’s the size of a greeting card for God’s sake; if I open it up will it play a low bit-rate version of Happy Birthday to me? *Flicks on switch and tentatively punches low E*… Holy hell, what kind of sorcery is this?
REVIEWED: MARKBASS BASS EVO 1 MODELLING HEAD
Bass players and guitarists are two completely different animals. Where six stringers are offered every option and opportunity on a silver platter, our four stringed friends are paid much less heed than they deserve. Mark World have consistently painted all of their products liberally with the same brush of innovation so it’s no surprise that their Markbass branded heads are the go-to beef machine for sub-conscious players everywhere.
REVIEWED: DV MARK 212 GH CABINET
In order to find out what’s going on behind the black tolex we must first hit the spec sheet. Weighing in around a modest 13kgs, the closed back of the enclosure hides two of Mark World’s patented neodymium speakers. I’ve reviewed these before and remember being impressed by the distinct absence of abject heft without sacrificing an ounce of power or throw. I carried it in its cardboard box from my car all the way into the house on one shoulder like a case of beer, a feat that no other 2x12 owner would dare attempt lest they stare a lifetime of chiropractic work dead in the face.
REVIEWED: MARKBASS NANO MARK 300 BASS AMPLIFIER
This isn’t the 70’s, and we’re not all getting around with panel vans or Kombis capable of stashing an 8X10 cabinet and a massive tube head. But Markbass understands that we still want big, loud, powerful bass tones, even if we don’t want to put up with the backbreaking impracticalities. To that end they offer the Nano Mark 300, their smallest ever bass amp.
REVIEWED: LANEY RICHTER R500H BASS HEAD AND R410 CAB
When people refer to things as ‘workingman’s’ versions of other things, nine times out of 10 they mean it as an insult. I didn’t figure this out until way later than you’d think, and for ages I couldn’t understand why people were using that term to refer to things they didn’t actually like. Sheer snobbery I say. The workingman is the salt of the earth, the guy who leaves home the pretense, trickery and flab that comes with his opposition and gets the job done efficiently and properly. Now, this credo should by no means apply only to the coarser trades; it’s also true so often in the music world that it should be written on the cover of the guidebook. Workingman musicians need supremely reliable tools and few are more trustworthy and forthright than Laney’s new R500H Bass head.