Reviewed: Ashdown Tone Pocket
These guys really have a knack for making useful stuff, hey? Ashdown’s Tone Pocket is a palm-sized pre-amp/interface with a three band EQ, headphone and line outputs, and a sleek, metal chassis. Designed primarily as a bass headphone amp, the Tone Pocket can help players rehearse silently, EQ a signal before their amp, or push a signal harder into other pedals or another preamp. The Tone Pocket doubles as a recording interface, connecting to your Mac or PC via USB 2.0, though it only offers digital to analogue (D/A) conversion, so the headphone out will remain latency free.
Reviewed: Ashdown Studio 8 Bass Amplifier
The Ashdown Studio 8 is a 30 watt bass amplifier designed for practice at home, but because we’re all gear aficionados, we’ll find some much more interesting uses for it. The amp is small enough that it could easily be used as an enlarged tweeter for a dirty tone in either a live setting or studio session, or maximised as a fuzzy low-end for guitar or keys. The Studio 8 is the smallest of the Studio range, besides the Studio Jnr which is mostly its own beast. Weighing just 6.1kgs, the Studio 8 can easily be travelled with without breaking your back or the bank. It features one 8” speaker, and the other Studio amps in the range (Studio 10, 12, 15 etc.) have increasing sizes of speaker.
Reviewed: MarkBass Little Mark Vintage
Finding a balance between what you want and what you need in a bass amplifier can prove troublesome for many tone savvy low-end theorists. If you’re a sucker for warm, tube-driven tones, you’ll have to fork out thousands of clams for a valve bass head that suits your style, yet most solid-state options simply can’t be beaten due to their reliability, sheer power and pure convenience.
Reviewed: Phil Jones Bass PJB M7 Micro 7 Bass Amplifier
Any other bassists sick of lugging around a rig the size of a small car? I mean, I can’t even count the amount of times I’ve almost put my back dragging my speaker cab around town, and don’t even get me started on my amplifier. Of course, it’s nice to have the rumble that a big 8x10 or 2x15 cabinet offers, but back blasting aside, is it really worth it? Modern PA systems are so bottom-heavy and powerful that many old school bass amps are almost made redundant, and you may as well save your back by picking up a decent combo amp.
Reviewed: TC Electronic BAM200 Micro Bass Head and BC208 Cabinet
If you want small, we’ve got small. TC Electronic have reinvigorated their bass gear lineup over the last few years with new looks and models. Offering a range of combos and modular setups the BAM200 head and BC208 cab definitely promote the compact yet powerful side of things aimed at anyone from part timers through to pros needing a smaller rig that still has the level of quality you’d expect from TC Electronic.
Reviewed: Fender Rumble 800 HD Bass Amplifier
When I was growing up and learning an instrument, Fender were considered as royalty. Our high school music room was stocked with Squiers, and the rehearsal rooms were filled with budget Fender amps that still resembled the crisp and full sounds of the higher end Twin Reverbs or the Bassman. The Fender Rumble was one such amp - even in the 00’s it was a great workhorse amp for musicians of any level, even for barely beginners such as ourselves.
Reviewed: Markbass Marcus Miller CMD 103 Bass Combo
Marco De Virgiliis must be one happy business owner. His namesake bass brand Markbass has really made an impression on the bass community, and not just in aficionado or gear circles. Touring players, studio guys, younger players, seasoned veterans, rock, pop, funk, backline rigs and more use the black and yellow coloured bass gear and it’s built its name on reliability, portability and solid tone. We’ve followed the moves of bass deity Marcus Miller closely and sampled some his signature Markbass wares (and been suitably impressed!). Adding to the range is the CMD 103 Bass Combo incorporating even more flexibility to the overall Mark lineup.
Reviewed: MarkBass MB STU Amp 1000 Bass Head
Stu Hamm has been a force on the bass and general music scene for many years. Known for his work with Steve Vai, Joe Satriani and Frank Gambale (amongst a host of others) Stu has long combined slap and tapping techniques alongside solid grooves and is also a highly respected educator and clinician. Some have even said Hamm reshaped the concept of what contemporary bass guitar could be, using polyphony, chords and harmonics. Markbass have been hot on endorsements over the last few years and have added to their already impressive lineup of amps with the MB Stu Amp 1000.