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.
Despite my qualms, I must admit: when I picked up the Phil Jones Bass M7 Micro Bass Amplifier, I was skeptical that it would hold up to the task. Powered by a 50 watt power amp and with a 7” driver and 3” tweeter handling the speaker duties, the PJB M7 shares similar specifications to many a practise amp, but it holds the potential to be so much more than that. There’s no reason why you couldn’t utilise the PJB M7 in a rehearsal studio, and its output should be more than enough to cut it for smaller-medium venues, particularly if you’re mic’ing it up or employing the use of a DI box for some extra oomph.
In the tone department, the PJB M7 packs quite the punch, and carries a lot of versatilty. The level, treble, midrange and bass controls let you shape the tone of your instrument to cover almost every genre you could think of. Playing a flatwound equipped Jazz Bass and with the tone knobs rolled off, the PJB M7 output a thumping Motown ready tone that Jamerson would certainly approve of, while bumping the midrange resulted in a stank honk with a heap of character – perfect for slapping and popping.
Driving the level knob also gives a you a significant amount of grit which would suit those playing punk or rock styles with a pick, and if you start clipping, you can turn back the master volume to make sure you don’t cop any cranky looks from your lead singer. The PJB M7 even features an incredibly useful passive/active control, letting you flex the amplifier to suit the varying characteristics of passive and active pickups, which I reckon is an awesome feature for anyone rocking two different basses in their set.
If you are going to be practising with the PJB M7, you’ll be stoked to see that there’s a whole bunch of features to make the process simple. The amp features an Auxiliary input with its own independent volume control, letting you jam along to backing tracks on Spotify or even hook up your laptop to play along with a YouTube tutorial. There’s also a Line Out jack, which is always a handy feature to have up your sleeve, while the Mute switch lets you easily flick the PJB M7 into standby mode without needing to turn the entire amplifier off.
Measuring around 30 centimetres on all sides and featuring a tough kick-proof grille and a sturdy enclosure, the Phil Jones Bass Micro 7 bass amplifier is built to withstand punishing live conditions, and will easily pop next to your seat on the train if you’re carting it between home and your band’s jam spot. It’s a super convenient combo that’ll allure both older players looking for a lighter rig and younger punters looking for something easy to cart about from gig to gig, and it’s definitely an affordable alternative to many other bass amps on the market.
Hits and Misses
Super compact and surprisingly versatile
A built-in tuner would lure in beginner bassists