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Compact Bass Head Suggestions

Discussion in 'The BASS Place' started by Jeru, Jan 20, 2021.

  1. Jeru

    Jeru Tele-Holic

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    I play guitar primarily these days, although have (briefly) played bass in a gigging band.
    Last time I did that I had a Hartke 3500 2x10" Combo -- it was awesome but a big, heavy
    box to move around (I know there are larger ones, but that's not the point here).

    Since then, a friend GAVE me a Markbass Mini CMD 121P (Linked to Info). It's an AMAZING
    piece of gear for its size. But -- there's something wrong with it, I think related to heat. It's
    great for basement jams but get it outside on a hot day and it's.. UNRELIABLE. Just shuts down.

    SO -- There may be something coming up late this summer where I'll need a gig-worthy bass
    rig (assuming the disease cooperates) and I'm looking to utilize the Markbass Speaker/cab.
    Options:

    1) Buy a used Markbass head that'll slide right into the spot where the old head unit was.

    2) Buy a small/Class D amp like one of these and use with the MB cab:
    - (New) http://www.markbass.it/product-detail/nano-mark-300/
    - (New) https://www.tcelectronic.com/product.html?modelCode=P0BRP
    - (New) https://www.tcelectronic.com/product.html?modelCode=P0CQS
    - I'm sure there's an Ampeg, etc.

    3) Other suggestions..?

    I would love to keep spending to $300, and I have no issue buying used gear.
    Any and all suggestions welcome.
    THANKS..!
     
  2. runstendt

    runstendt TDPRI Member

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    I gigged for a few years using an Ampeg Micro-VR, and it always had plenty of power. There's not many bass rigs that fit in a Miata, and that was the loudest one I could get at the time.
     
  3. tonyp145

    tonyp145 Tele-Meister

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    There’s an electronics repair guy here in Seattle who says he makes his living fixing Class D amps. Suffice to say he’s not a fan of the tech. I’ve owned two, had one fail on me, sold the other one when I stopped gigging. Not exactly a robust sample size but I’m skeptical of the reliability.
     
  4. Cadillac_Mike

    Cadillac_Mike Tele-Meister

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    Ever tried running DI for the bass?
     
  5. tonyp145

    tonyp145 Tele-Meister

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    I have, it sounds almost as good as plugging a Strat straight into a PA. Basses need tone shaping too.
     
    Bassman8 likes this.
  6. Jeru

    Jeru Tele-Holic

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    A good thought, but unfortunately not applicable to my particular
    situation. This would be primarily outside, with not particularly
    robust PA -- basically or vocals only.

    Also -- I hear you TonyP re: Class D, as the failing/unreliable Markbass head is Class D.
    I'm thinking that for $250 say for a brand new micro head -- I use it for a couple of
    seasons and if it craps out, well then ok. Heck, recording on a friend's record a ways
    back I remember renting an old P bass for nearly $75 a day. Three+ days of that buys
    an amp..!
     
  7. Cadillac_Mike

    Cadillac_Mike Tele-Meister

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    I'm a bit confused because the amp picture you posted looks like a combo and you're talking about adding a head to it?
     
  8. Jeru

    Jeru Tele-Holic

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    YES, exactly. The Markbass head that's part of the combo is unreliable. Fine for basement
    but not fine for a gig. Nothing at all wrong with the combo cab/speaker.

    The combo's head slides out easily with a couple of screws. A new(er) Markbass head
    could slide right in where the original one was, or a nano-type head could sit right on top.
     
  9. Cadillac_Mike

    Cadillac_Mike Tele-Meister

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    I have a G/K Backline 600 (300w head) that I used in a gigging cover band for several years. That should be in your price range used (don't make 'em anymore). That'll keep up with a cranked Marshall but if you don't need that much power I'd just get a new combo of somekind...
     
  10. Preacher

    Preacher Friend of Leo's

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    So I do both (amp on stage and direct into a PA)

    For my amp on stage I started back when I was really young playing one of these.

    [​IMG]

    Now it was over 30 years ago but I thought that my P Bass sounded glorious out of that thing. I see them for sale all the time around here for less than two bills.
    Pros:
    they sound really good especially with the BW speaker (I would not get one unless it was BW Equipped). The onboard EQ allows you to tone shape so it is a plug in and play unit.
    It has onboard chorus. (Chorus for a bass you say, try it you might like it lol)
    It has an onboard compressor
    It has mid and high frequency boost for tone shaping
    And rated at 150 it is much louder than you would think, it will compete with a heavy handed drummer.

    Cons:
    It is heavy as a tank, built like a tank but just as heavy.
    It has lots of features on the control panel which some people don't like to fiddle with.
    did I mention it is heavy?
    I believe it liked passive basses more than active basses
    It is like 85 pounds, really really heavy.
    It only has a handle strap on the top of the rig, which will pull your arm our of socket if you aren't a body builder.


    Another option is look for a combo unit and mix and match a head and a cabinet.

    I love these old Big K Kustom bass heads (they don't too bad for guitar either in a pinch)

    [​IMG]

    These heads are rated at 130 watts but punch above their weight. Mine weighs about twenty pounds and is pretty easy to carry.
    I pair mine with a Peavey 2x10 cabinet in smaller venues and a GK 1x15 cabinet in larger venues.

    On the mark bass side of things, I had one of these for a while

    [​IMG]

    It was OK but I always compared it to a Crate Powerblock I had back in the day and I just did not like the tones I got from the Mark Bass.



    As far as running into the PA, I use this little box I picked up for less than $100

    [​IMG]

    It sounds great for less than a nice dinner out, has an XLR out and it serves as my tone shaping pre amp. The mix and harmonics knobs allow you to dial in motown P bass sounds or some added mids if you are pop slapping. It has become my main into PA option. It is based off the Tech 21 sansamp which I had a long while back and foolishly sold. This is the same and cheaper.
     
  11. Jeru

    Jeru Tele-Holic

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    Funny you mention the Powerblock -- I actually have one, and have brought it
    as a backup and used it a couple of times to power the (8 ohm) Markbass Combo's
    speaker when the MB head would conk out.

    I'm basically looking for recommendations on something very similar
    to the powerblock in size/weight but with a little more power and better
    suited to bass. I linked to a few -- any of you have thoughts/feedback
    on those or similar?
     
  12. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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  13. Preacher

    Preacher Friend of Leo's

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    I loved loved loved my powerblock. The size was perfect for a gig bag unit however it was only 150 watts and I think that was a stretch as my old Peavey TNT had more oomph.

    I have been wanting to check these out, about the same size and power ratings.

    https://www.musiciansfriend.com/amp...ass-amp-head/423658000000000?cntry=US&cur=USD
     
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