Today we will discuss the 12 best lightweight bass amps for gigging 2023.
Navigating the sea of sound equipment is challenging, particularly when identifying the perfect blend of quality and portability for the touring bassist (musicians are, by nature, a nomadic tribe.)
The artistry they embody comes alive through their relentless journeys, from one gig to another, crossing city borders and even countries. Hence, their gear must match the pace of their passions, blending seamlessly with their dynamic lifestyles.
This article examines a dozen bass amps that have resonated powerfully within the musician community, all distinctively lightweight and portable without compromising the depth or resonance of sound. We dive into each of these amps, detailing their specs, features, and unique offerings, thus presenting a comprehensive panorama of the best the market currently holds.
In a nutshell, here are The 12 Best Lightweight Bass Amps For Gigging 2023:
With an eye for innovation and a firm grip on practicality, our choices span a broad spectrum of prices and brands. From industry pioneers to emerging disruptors, these bass amps embody many aesthetics and philosophies, all united by their portability and sound quality.
How Big A Bass Amp Do You Need for Gigging?
The size of a bass amp depends on the size of the place you want to play. You need at least 50W for gigs if the venue is small enough, but the requirement can increase rapidly as the venue grows. For medium-sized venues, we usually need around 200-500W.
But it also depends a lot on the equipment the venue has; for example, if they have a PA, then you won’t have to worry about that because the sound engineer will mic the cabinet or pull an XLR from your amp (if it has one).
- Small Venues/Rehearsals
You may only need a 50-100 watt bass amp for smaller venues or band practice. This should be enough to be heard over a drum kit in a small venue or practice space.
- Medium-Sized Venues
Opting for an amplifier with a 200-300 watts capacity for performances in venues of this magnitude can be beneficial. Such amplifiers offer both the necessary loudness and the desired depth of sound. Typically, the power rating within this range ensures that your bass sound can compete with other instruments, remaining distinct and clear during a live band performance.
- Large Venues/Festivals
You might consider a 500-watt- or 1000-watt amp for larger venues or festivals. These venues often use a PA system; in those cases, the bass amplifier is often used more for stage monitoring. The bass guitar signal is generally sent to the main PA system through a DI box for the audience’s audio mix.
- Type of Music
The genre of music and the role your bass plays in the band also factor in. If your band plays quieter music or your role in the band is more background, a smaller amp might suffice. But if you’re in a loud rock band where the bass plays a prominent role, you might need a larger amp.
- Combo Amps vs. Stacks
Combo amps (where the amplifier and speaker are in one unit) can be sufficient for many gigs, especially those in the 200-300 watt range. A stack with a separate head and a larger speaker cabinet (or cabinets) might be necessary for larger shows.
Can You Gig With A 40, 50, Or 200-Watt Bass Amp?
It is possible to play live with an amplifier of this power, but it must have an XLR output to deliver its signal to the PA, and the sound engineer can then fill the room with bass. Also, a practical technique would be a microphone on the cabinet, which is also a very good solution.
Admittedly, a 40-50 watt amp doesn’t have such a deep headroom, but the tone will be extremely clean and can be altered quite easily, whereas the 200-watt one can easily cope with just about any situation. Anything is possible as long as you know how to compensate for the minuses in such a way as to use them to your advantage.
Let’s see The 12 Best Lightweight Bass Amps For Gigging 2023.
1. Fender Rumble 100
The Fender Rumble 100, a versatile bass amplifier, combines practicality with a powerful output.
This lightweight yet robust unit impresses with its custom 12″ speaker and classic Fender styling, translating to an authentic, resonant tone. Conveniently equipped with a four-band EQ and overdrive circuit, you’re granted intricate control over your sound, easily tailoring it to any genre.
Its XLR line-out ensures optimal connectivity for stage or studio settings, providing an essential feature for any dedicated musician. The Rumble 100 is your reliable companion for performance, shaping an unmatched bass landscape.
- 100-watt Power Amplifier and 12-inch Speaker
At the heart of the Rumble 100, a 100-watt power amplifier drives a single 12-inch speaker, producing a rich, hearty, powerful, and equally articulate bass tone. This balance of strength and clarity allows the amp to respond deftly to your playing nuances, ensuring that your musical ideas are fully conveyed.
Furthermore, the amp’s substantial volume capability, stemming from its 100-watt output, makes it suitable for various scenarios, from solo practice sessions to band rehearsals, to performing in medium-sized venues.
- 4-Band EQ
The Rumble 100 has a 4-band EQ (Equalizer) – Bass, Low-Mid, High-Mid, and Treble. This extended EQ section offers refined control over your tone’s sonic shape.
Whether you want to accentuate the deep, rumbling lows, bring out the punchy mids, or articulate the crisp highs, this quartet of knobs lets you customize your sound to suit your style and the musical context. Such granular control can be instrumental in helping you stand out in a mix or blend seamlessly with other instruments.
- Overdrive Circuit
This amp houses a switchable overdrive circuit that lets you add a grittier, growling edge to your tone. This feature becomes particularly handy when venturing into rock, punk, or any genre that appreciates a bit of raw aggression in the bass sound. The overdrive is adjustable, allowing you to dial in just the right amount of distortion to suit your needs, whether a mild bite or a full-on roar.
- Voicing Switch
The voicing switch is a unique and versatile feature of the Rumble 100. Offering ‘Bright,’ ‘Contour,’ and ‘Vintage’ modes, it provides three distinct tonal palettes at the flick of a switch. ‘Bright’ adds sparkle to the highs for a more cutting sound, ‘Contour’ scoops the mids for a modern, punchy tone, and ‘Vintage’ gives a warm, classic tone reminiscent of old-school tube amps.
- Connectivity Options
The Rumble 100 doesn’t fall short on connectivity, featuring auxiliary input, XLR line out, and headphone output. The auxiliary input allows you to play with backing tracks from an external audio source, which can be an excellent practice tool.
The XLR line-out facilitates direct connection to a PA system or recording interface, ensuring a clean, uncolored signal for live performances or studio sessions. Lastly, the headphone output allows silent practice, letting you jam without disturbing your neighbors.
Considering its price-to-performance ratio, the Rumble 100’s standout strength is its tremendous value proposition. It offers a highly responsive and versatile tone, a potent overdrive circuit, and versatile voicing options, which can cater to myriad musical genres.
Its relatively lightweight design, owing to its class D construction, is another significant advantage, making it easy to transport and suitable for gigging musicians. The amp’s build quality and durability, characteristic of Fender, is an assurance of longevity, allowing for reliable performance in diverse settings.
Lastly, including the XLR line-out allows the player to tap into a PA system, extending its applicability from small gigs to larger venues, recording sessions, or rehearsals.
On the downside, while the Rumble 100’s simplicity will appeal to many, some advanced players might find the lack of an onboard compressor or effects loop limiting. Furthermore, while its tone is generally well-regarded, some users have reported that the amp may lack a bit of definition when played at high volumes.
This might limit its effectiveness for performances in very large venues without external sound reinforcement. Another minor inconvenience could be the absence of a footswitch for the overdrive circuit, requiring a manual operation, which may not always be practical during a live performance.
2. Markbass Micromark 801
Although small, the Markbass Micromark 801 has a neodymium speaker that delivers many powerful sounds.
Imbued with a potent 60W MPT power amp, it ensures unadulterated tonal integrity, while its 8-inch custom speaker radiates deep, rich tones. An onboard VLE and VPF filter enable versatile sound sculpting, making it adaptable to different musical genres.
Furthermore, an auxiliary input and headphone output present extended functionality, offering rehearsal convenience and silent practice; this amalgamation of smart design and robust performance makes it an indispensable asset to every discerning musician.
- 60 Watt Custom 8-inch Markbass Speaker
The Micromark 801’s foundation is its powerful, custom-built 8-inch speaker. This powerhouse component is crucial in defining the amp’s overall character, known for its impressive output, warmth, and overall dynamic response.
Far more than simply an add-on to the package, the speaker in the 801 truly is the heart of the device, delivering a level of performance that is simultaneously rich, potent, and startlingly precise.
- VLE and VPF
These are two proprietary features offered by Markbass that provide a considerable degree of tonal control. The VLE acts like a traditional tone control, enabling players to emulate the response of vintage speakers, adding warmth and depth to the sound.
The VPF, the other hand, boosts lows and highs while reducing mid frequencies, mimicking the “scooped” tone often favored in modern music genres. These unique features allow players to find their sweet spot and effectively shape their sound in various ways.
- Aux Input and Headphone Output
Adding an auxiliary input allows for connecting external audio devices, which can be incredibly useful for practice sessions where you might want to play along to backing tracks or your favorite songs. On the other hand, the headphone output allows private practice without disturbing others, making the 801 a perfect late-night or apartment-friendly companion.
- Compact Design
The Micromark 801 is beautifully crafted to be portable and durable. Its small size doesn’t hinder its power output, making it an excellent choice for musicians on the go. Despite its rugged construction, the amp is light enough to transport without any hassle, further proving the commitment of Markbass to marry power, convenience, and quality in one compact package.
Few amps of this size can deliver the punch that the 801 consistently offers, making it an ideal option for practice, small gigs, or studio sessions.
It’s straightforward control panel makes it easy to dial in your ideal tone, while the VLE and VPF filters provide substantial sonic shaping options not commonly found in amps of this size. The auxiliary input and headphone output provide additional flexibility, allowing for silent practice or integration with external audio sources.
Some bassists might find the 60-watt power rating underwhelming, particularly for larger gigs or rehearsals. Additionally, while the simplicity of the control panel is generally a benefit, it does mean there is no dedicated midrange control, a feature some players might miss.
Lastly, the lack of a DI (Direct Input) output means that connecting directly to a PA system or recording interface could be more difficult than with other amplifiers.
3. Fender Rumble 40
Fender Rumble 40 is a solid amp that can handle anything.
It is equipped with a 10-inch speaker that makes this amp boasts various innovative features, such as a versatile three-button voicing palette and a punchy overdrive circuit, allowing musicians to sculpt their tone easily and precisely.
The Rumble 40’s lightweight yet robust construction makes it an ideal companion for gigs and rehearsals. At the same time, the XLR line-out provides direct connectivity for recording or live performance applications.
- 40 Watts of Solid-State Power through a 10″ Speaker
The heart of the Fender Rumble 40 lies in its capacity to generate a formidable 40 watts of pure, solid-state power. This strength, driven through a purposefully constructed 10″ speaker, allows the amplifier to produce a rich, robust, and articulate bass tone. The speaker’s design is optimized for excellent projection, ensuring your bass’ voice is heard loud and clear across various settings.
- Tone-Shaping Capabilities
The Rumble 40 has a comprehensive three-band EQ (bass, middle, treble), allowing you to precisely shape your sound to fit any musical genre or style. The broad spectrum of tonal possibilities is at your fingertips, from a deep, warm tone for jazz to a bright, punchy sound for rock.
The “contour” button on this amplifier further augments this functionality by enabling you to sculpt your tone even more, emphasizing or de-emphasizing certain frequencies as per your musical requirement.
- Overdrive Circuit
This amplifier comes armed with an overdrive circuit that can be conveniently activated or bypassed using a footswitch. This feature allows you to alternate effortlessly between clean and distorted tones, adding significant dynamism to your performances.
This feature is particularly beneficial when playing music styles that require a grittier, growling bass tone or an extra bit of oomph during solos or specific song sections.
- Aux Input and Headphone Output
The Fender Rumble 40 is designed not only for live performances but also for individual practice sessions. Its auxiliary input lets you connect an external audio source such as a phone, MP3 player, or laptop, enabling you to play with your favorite tracks or practice routines.
In tandem with this, the headphone output allows you to engage in silent practice sessions, a beneficial feature when you’re looking to hone your skills without disturbing others around you.
- XLR Line Out
Including an XLR lineout turns the Rumble 40 into a more professional-grade piece of equipment. This feature lets you connect the amp directly to a PA system or a recording interface, ensuring that your performances can be captured or amplified with high fidelity; particularly useful for gigging musicians who wish to maintain consistent control over their sound regardless of the venue’s sound system.
The most notable advantage of the Fender Rumble 40 is its potent combination of power and portability. Despite its great power output, the Rumble 40 maintains a lightweight design, thanks to its class D amplification and lightweight plywood construction; it is ideal for bassists who frequently gig or rehearse in different locations.
The second key advantage lies in its amazing versatility; this amp’s well-rounded, full-bodied tone, overdrive circuit, and flexible EQ controls provide a wide palette of sonic possibilities, suitable for genres ranging from jazz to rock, country to metal, and everything in between.
One of these is the lack of an effects loop, a feature many advanced players would appreciate for more complex pedalboard setups. Secondly, while the amplifier’s 10″ speaker delivers impressive sound for its size, it may not provide enough low-end punch for larger gigs or for bassists who prefer a heavy, ultra-low sound.
For such scenarios, one might need to consider a larger model within the Rumble series or pair it with an additional extension cabinet.
4. Markbass CMD JB Players School
Markbass CMD JB Players School is an all-in-one solution for powerful low-frequency sound.
Its features include a 4-band EQ for finely-tuned sound sculpting, a Variable Pre-shape Filter for tonal versatility, and a Vintage Loudspeaker Emulator providing classic, warm tones. The lightweight yet robust design that ensures reliable performance without compromising portability is crucial to its appeal.
These attributes make the Markbass CMD JB Players School a valuable tool for both novices honing their skills and seasoned professionals seeking consistent quality.
- Neodymium Speakers
One primary feature that distinguishes the Markbass CMD JB Players School is its high-quality neodymium speaker design. Neodymium, a lightweight yet robust material, is utilized to create speakers that deliver powerful sound output without significantly adding to the weight of the combo amp.
This allows musicians to effortlessly transport their equipment between locations, a practical solution that diminishes the burden of mobility and increases convenience for gigging musicians. Moreover, the speaker design is adept at handling high frequencies, thus ensuring a clear and well-balanced sound.
- 250W Solid-State Amplifier
The Markbass CMD JB Players School has a potent 250W solid-state amplifier, providing substantial volume output and ensuring consistent sound quality.
Solid-state amplifiers use semiconductor technology that makes them reliable, efficient, and remarkably durable, enabling musicians to confidently rely on their amplifier, knowing it can sustain prolonged and intensive use.
- 4-Band EQ
As an essential feature, the combo amp has a 4-band EQ, offering comprehensive control over the tonal quality. With the ability to adjust low, low-mid, high-mid, and high frequencies, musicians are granted substantial flexibility in shaping their unique sound.
This feature is not just about customization; it’s also a tool that enhances the dynamic expression of a bassist’s performance. The flexibility in sound provided by this EQ accommodates a broad spectrum of musical genres, from jazz, rock, and even metal.
- VLE and VPF Filters
One of the defining attributes of the Markbass CMD JB Players School is the presence of the VLE (Vintage Loudspeaker Emulator) and VPF (Variable Pre-shape Filter) filters. The VLE filter lets musicians modify the frequency response, enabling them to emulate the tone of traditional bass amps, thereby creating a vintage warmth in their sound.
The VPF, on the other hand, alters the frequency curve rather than the volume, giving a mid-scoop contour ideal for slap and pick playing or any modern styles that demand a punchy, aggressive tone. These filters provide a wide tonal palette and elevate the bass guitar’s sound to a different level of depth and complexity.
Immersing yourself in the Markbass CMD JB Players School world, you’ll appreciate the sheer delight brought about by its plethora of advantages. A standout feature is undoubtedly its impressive power-to-weight ratio, thanks to the lightweight neodymium speaker and solid-state amplifier design, making it a portable powerhouse.
The Markbass CMD JB Players School’s design is also a major advantage, with its compact size and sturdy construction ensuring reliability and durability, allowing musicians to trust its performance under the spotlight or during demanding practice sessions.
While the solid-state amplifier delivers an impressively clean and powerful sound, it may lack the warmth and richness of tube amplifiers that some bassists prefer. In addition, although the 4-band EQ, VLE, and VPF filters provide ample tonal shaping options, they might require a learning curve for less experienced users to exploit their potential fully.
Finally, some users might find the lack of an onboard effects loop limiting, as it would require external gear for more complex effects configurations.
5. Hartke Kickback 12
Because Hartke Kickback 12 can rock back 45 degrees, it can give you much more detailed mid and high frequencies.
It is a veritable harbinger of powerful, robust sound; the Kickback 12 is designed not just to deliver high-quality output but also to offer a degree of versatility that is truly commendable.
With its innovative design that allows the amp to be positioned in two different orientations and its bi-amped power structure, this amplifier seeks to cater to the nuanced needs of a diverse range of musicians. Also, its compact and portable construction is a testament to Hartke’s commitment to creating user-friendly equipment.
- 12-Inch HyDrive Speaker
It combines the traditional paper cone with an advanced aluminum inner cone, creating a dual-cone structure. This amalgamation results in a sound that preserves the warmth and depth of paper while incorporating aluminum’s crisp and punchy characteristics.
Essentially, you have a speaker that reproduces the diverse sonic properties of your bass with fidelity and clarity, making it an ideal choice for various music styles.
- 500-Watt Class D Amp
The Class D amplifier is renowned for its efficiency and power output, and with a whopping 500 watts at your disposal, you can rest assured that your bass will command a robust, resonant presence across a wide range of environments – from intimate gigs to larger venues.
Moreover, Class D amplifiers are known for their lightweight and compact size, which enhances the portability of the amp despite its substantial power.
- Shape EQ Control
Including a Shape EQ control in the Kickback 12 is a testament to Hartke’s commitment to granting players substantial control over their sound. This control lets you intuitively manipulate the amp’s EQ curve, adjusting the tone to fit various genres and playing styles. While it may take a little time to get used to, this feature’s flexibility can be a significant asset in your quest for the perfect bass tone.
- Dual-Position Design
You can position the amp in a standard upright position for traditional usage, or you can ‘kick back’ the amp at an angle, which allows the sound to be projected towards you – an ideal setup for monitoring your bass on stage; this design lends itself to an array of practical scenarios, catering to the diverse needs of performing bassists.
The HyDrive speaker technology, the beating heart of the Kickback 12, offers a distinct advantage in producing a warm yet articulate sound, a perfect blend of old-school vibe and modern clarity. Its impressive 500-watt power output guarantees that your bass lines will always have the necessary punch and presence, even in louder band contexts.
The Shape EQ control is a welcome feature for players who demand more control over their tonal palette, while the dual-position design is a thoughtful addition that lends a level of flexibility to performances. The amplifier’s compact and portable build is another asset, making it easy for on-the-go musicians to carry their robust sound.
Conversely, the Hartke Kickback 12 may not be the most suitable amplifier for those seeking a pure vintage tone. The aluminum part of the HyDrive speaker, while providing a clear and punchy attack, can sometimes make the sound too aggressive for those who prefer a smoother, more traditional bass sound.
Additionally, while the Shape EQ control offers substantial tonal shaping possibilities, some players might find the absence of a more traditional parametric EQ limiting. Lastly, despite its compact design, the amp’s 500-watt power section makes it somewhat heavier than other similarly-sized combo amps, potentially causing inconvenience during transportation.
6. Phil Jones Double Four BG-75
Phil Jones Double Four BG-75 packs plenty of punch for its size.
Embracing a pinnacle in compact bass amplification, the Phil Jones Double Four BG-75 elevates bassist aspirations. A fusion of exceptional power and authentic tone, it harnesses two four-inch speakers that pump out a hefty 70 watts of raw sonic brilliance, all packed in a lightweight, road-ready chassis.
It has an advanced rectifier circuit and limiter to ensure distortion-free, consistent output, providing an unrivaled sonic canvas and an auxiliary input and headphone out, enabling seamless practice sessions, making it an ideal choice for musicians prioritizing power and versatility.
- Dual Four-Inch Speakers
Aptly giving the Double Four its moniker, this bass amplifier comes with twin four-inch loudspeakers that use Neodymium magnets, known for their robust energy capabilities. These speakers faithfully recreate the natural essence and nuances of your bass guitar’s tone, allowing the core attributes of your playing to be audibly present.
That means an enriched, consistent, unfiltered bass output ensures your musical intentions aren’t lost or modified. Even when the volume knob is cranked up, these two speakers are designed to resist distortion, providing you with a powerful, clear, and punchy bass output.
- Three-Band EQ and Level Control
This is your tool for fine-tuning your musical voice on the Double Four. Broken into three components—low, mid, and high—the EQ allows you to enhance or dampen specific frequency ranges, enabling you to sculpt an amazing sound profile that suits your bass guitar and musical style.
Couple this with the Level Control, and you can modulate your volume output with precision, an essential feature for adapting to various performance contexts or practice scenarios.
- Compact Size and Weight
An embodiment of innovative design ethos focused on user convenience, the Double Four weighs in at a mere 8.8 pounds and resembles the dimensions of a common lunch box. This isn’t just about easy portability—it means your music is no longer bound by location.
From a cozy living room practice to a small gig, the Double Four is designed to deliver a rich, room-filling bass sound in a package that’s a breeze to carry and set up.
- Aux Input and Headphone Output
Think of these as your silent practice allies. You can connect your external sound device—a smartphone, tablet, or MP3 player—to the Auxiliary Input and play alongside your favorite tunes or practice pieces.
Pair this with the Headphone Jack; you can have those immersive practice sessions without causing a stir. It’s ideal for those late-night practice sessions or when you want to lose yourself in your music without disrupting others.
- Neodymium Magnet
At the core of Double Four BG-75’s speaker design are high-energy Neodymium magnets, which translates into the higher output from a smaller, lighter speaker design, contributing significantly to the Double Four’s portability. In terms of the sonic experience, this ensures that the bass tone produced is articulate, detailed, and powerful, reflecting the true essence of your bass guitar.
The Phil Jones Double Four BG-75 excels at providing an uncompromising bass response that’s not only clean and loud but also true to the original tone. This is partly a result of the superior Neodymium drivers that efficiently convert electrical energy into sound, ensuring a tight, punchy, and clear bass tone.
The amplifier’s petite size and lightweight design make it an ideal choice for those on the move. Regardless of the location, whether it’s an intimate gig, practice session, or recording setup, the Double Four promises a discreet yet highly effective presence.
Lastly, the amplifier’s tonal control capabilities, through its EQ controls, add to its strengths by offering the flexibility to shape your sound in myriad ways, a special feature for musicians aspiring for individuality and authenticity in their performance.
Despite its numerous advantages, the Double Four BG-75 does exhibit certain drawbacks. Firstly, while it performs admirably in smaller settings, the volume output may not be sufficient for larger performances without additional amplification.
Another point of contention may be the lack of onboard effects. Musicians who frequently use effects like reverb, delay, or chorus may need to add an external effects processor to their setup.
In addition, the absence of a built-in tuner might be a slight inconvenience for some users, especially those who regularly require on-the-go tuning during performances.
7. Markbass Minimark 802
Although unconventional in shape, the Markbass Minimark 802 is a combo that greatly combines power and compactness.
Exemplifying true craftsmanship, the Markbass Minimark 802 is an exceptionally compact yet potent bass amplifier; it’s minimalist in size but extensive in functionality. Offering 2×8″ speakers coupled with a piezo tweeter, it delivers impeccably balanced tones, clear mid-ranges, and robust, resonant bass lines.
Its 3-band EQ facilitates nuanced sound sculpting, while the VLE (Vintage Loudspeaker Emulator) and VPF (Variable Pre-shape Filter) controls ensure versatile tonal options, from vintage warmth to modern punch. Optimal for practice, studio work, or small gigs, it’s a marvel of Italian engineering, revolutionizing your bass-playing experience.
- Power Output and Speaker Configuration
Undoubtedly, one of the crowning achievements of the Markbass Minimark 802 is the ability to deliver a staggering 800 watts of power output. A marvel of modern engineering, this compact amplifier effectively breaks down the traditional barriers between size and power and is a formidable market contender.
Its advanced speaker configuration, comprising two 8″ neodymium woofers in concert with a piezo tweeter, successfully generates a balanced, vibrant sound that captures the full range of bass frequencies.
- 4-Band EQ
This feature allows players to fine-tune their tone across four different frequency bands (low, low-mid, high-mid, and high) with remarkable precision. By allowing bassists to customize their sound on such a granular level, the 4-band EQ empowers them to match their sonic preferences and adapt swiftly to changing performance environments, thus ensuring the delivery of an optimal sound in every situation.
- Variable Pre Shape Filter and Vintage Loudspeaker Emulator
The VPF alters the frequency curve in the bass and treble regions, accentuating the mid-range frequencies and facilitating punchy, modern bass tones. Conversely, the VLE operates as a cut filter, rolling off the higher frequencies to mimic the sound of vintage speakers. These innovative features enable users to explore a wide range of tonal landscapes, making the amp suitable for various musical styles.
- Aux Input and Headphone Output
The Minimark 802 has an auxiliary input, a feature that allows players to connect external devices for playing along with backing tracks, an effective tool for practice or performance.
Complementing this, the headphone output provides an avenue for silent practice, a boon for those wishing to hone their skills without disturbing others. These features, while simple, contribute greatly to the amp’s versatility and convenience, making it a powerful tool for both stage and home use.
- Design and Build Quality
Finally, the Markbass Minimark 802 is renowned for its remarkable design aesthetics and robust build quality. Its striking yellow cone design sets it apart visually, while the sturdy construction guarantees its resilience under frequent transportation, a valuable asset for gigging musicians.
Despite its modest dimensions, the Minimark 802’s robustness is a testament to Markbass’s unwavering commitment to quality and durability.
The Minimark 802’s strength lies in its unparalleled compactness, power, and versatility blend. Its portable nature, paired with the ability to generate a sound that belies its small size, makes it a perfect companion for gigging musicians who demand high-quality sound on the go. The diverse tonal palette available through the VPF and VLE allows players to express their musical identity across various genres.
The auxiliary input and headphone output extend its use beyond stage performance, enabling effective practice sessions and seamless integration into a home studio setup. Moreover, its solid build quality ensures durability, while its distinctive yellow cone design adds a touch of panache that distinguishes it visually in a crowded market.
While the power and tonal capabilities are beyond reproach, bassists used to more conventional, larger-sized cabinets may find the bass response lacking in depth compared to larger, more traditional bass amps. The absence of an onboard compressor or effects loop may disadvantage some players who prefer these features integrated into their amp.
Lastly, the price point, although justified by the amp’s power, quality, and versatility, might be out of reach for beginners or budget-conscious players.
8. Eich Amplification BC112
Eich Amplification BC112 is a combo that can easily deliver tones from jazz to metal.
Equipped with a dynamic 12-inch speaker, it generates nuanced tonal clarity at any volume. Its durable construction ensures longevity, while its lightweight design enhances portability.
The BC112 comes with a bespoke horn tweeter, facilitating crisp high-frequency responses, thereby augmenting your overall sonic experience. Also, its impedance rating of 8 ohms optimizes energy efficiency and contributes to its reliable performance.
- Speaker and Tweeter
At the core of the BC112 is a distinctive 12-inch speaker, accompanied by a 1-inch tweeter, both of which are exclusively engineered for Eich Amplification. These components together extend a comprehensive tonal spectrum, encapsulating low-bass undertones and bright, high-frequency notes with impressive clarity.
Their combined output lays a balanced, detailed sonic foundation, authentically translating each musical expression. As a bassist, this feature allows you to span many genres, styles, and tones, catering to diverse performance requirements.
Furnishing a power rating of 250 watts RMS, the BC112 efficiently handles a broad range of sound dynamics. This means you can transition from a subtle, laid-back bassline to an aggressive, high-intensity groove while maintaining tonal integrity and avoiding undesirable distortion.
If you frequently perform in larger venues or amidst loud band setups, this power rating ensures your bassline never gets lost.
- Plywood Construction
The cabinet houses its components in a casing crafted from superior-quality plywood, renowned for its resonance-enhancing properties. This solid construction ensures longevity and endurance against frequent use and contributes positively to your sound’s resonance and projection. The durability assures you a reliable companion during rehearsals, regular gigs, or extended tours.
The BC112 presents an efficient harmony of portability and robust performance. With its dimensions measuring a compact 41cm x 37cm x 37cm and a weight of merely 12.9kg, transporting this unit is significantly eased. Despite its compact size, there’s no compromise on sonic delivery, ensuring that your performance remains impactful, irrespective of the venue size.
- Neutrik Speakon Connectors
The BC112 has dual parallel Neutrik Speakon connectors, providing a robust and secure link between your cabinet and amplifier. If necessary, this design facilitates the chaining of multiple cabinets, ensuring an uninterrupted signal flow and optimized sound output; this feature allows you to adapt your setup to various performance contexts, delivering consistent tonal quality.
- Telescopic Handle
Incorporated into the BC112’s design is a retractable telescopic handle. This feature significantly simplifies the handling and movement of the unit, making it an ideal choice for gigging musicians who value efficient mobility without sacrificing sound quality.
Primarily, the BC112 delivers a high-quality, uncolored tone, offering an authentic, rich, and well-balanced sonic representation. This is achieved through its outstanding frequency range of 40Hz – 19kHz, which ensures that every nuance of your bass sound is captured and projected with utmost clarity and precision.
Another admirable aspect is its remarkable power-handling capacity. The cabinet maintains its integrity even at high volume levels, avoiding distortion and providing a clear, powerful output. This elevates your performance’s quality and provides a reliable tool for various gig situations.
Moreover, the BC112’s compact, lightweight design, coupled with its sturdy build, is a great advantage for musicians on the go. It is robust enough to survive the hustle and bustle of touring life and compact enough to be carried without any unnecessary strain.
Its high-end price point might deter novice musicians or those with a tight budget from taking advantage of its high-quality output. While the price is justified by the incredible features and durability offered, it does limit accessibility for some users.
Another potential downside could be its single-speaker design. Although it delivers impressive sound quality, it may not provide the thunderous low-end punch some bassists prefer. This might require pairing it with another cabinet or subwoofer for those who prefer a heavier sound.
9. Ampeg RB-115
The Ampeg RB-115 delivers traditional Ampeg tones as well as its renowned design.
The Ampeg RB-115, a key member of Ampeg’s distinguished Rocket Bass series, embodies the robust lineage of this renowned brand. Marrying the timeless character of vintage Ampeg bass amplifiers with advanced, modern features, the RB-115 is a perfect amalgamation of tradition and innovation.
It caters splendidly to a broad range of bassists, from beginners to seasoned pros, who crave the punchy, warm, and rich tonal spectrum that has been the Ampeg trademark for decades.
- Ultra Hi/Lo Switches
The Ultra Hi/Lo switches, taken directly from the SVT series’ playbook, open up a new realm of tonal exploration. If your basslines lean towards styles that necessitate a robust, thunderous low-end foundation, such as rock or funk genres, the Ultra Low feature enhances your bass frequencies to create a commanding, ground-shaking effect.
Conversely, the Ultra High setting shines when your bass notes need to cut through a dense mix, such as in jazz or slap bass scenarios, providing extra bite and clarity to your upper-frequency range. These switches allow you to sculpt your tonal identity with fine precision, adapting to various musical contexts per your artistic whims.
- Eminence Speaker with a Custom 15″ Design
The centerpiece of the RB-115, the specially tailored 15″ Eminence speaker, ensures your bass tones resonate with a hearty, rich low end while preserving detailed articulation across all frequencies. This is a crucial asset regardless of your playing setting.
Whether diving deep into a solo practice session, laying down grooves in a small group jam, or holding down the fort in a full-blown band performance, the speaker ensures your bass sound is always comprehensive, nuanced, and alive.
- Aux Input
Adding an auxiliary input expands the RB-115’s flexibility by accommodating external audio devices such as phones or MP3 players. Practicing intricate sections becomes an engaging experience when you can simultaneously listen to and play with the original track or a custom backing track.
If you perform live, you can use this feature to enhance your stage presence, adding extra sonic layers to your live renditions with pre-recorded tracks. The auxiliary input, in essence, turns your practice or performance sessions into a vibrant, full-band experience right at your fingertips.
- XLR Direct Out Interface
The RB-115’s XLR Direct Out feature simplifies connecting your bass amp to professional PA systems or recording gear. You receive a purer, uncolored tone without extraneous noise by providing a direct, microphone-free signal path.
This is a boon for live performers, simplifying their on-stage setup, and for recording artists, offering a straightforward, efficient link to their recording technology. Your authentic, dynamic bass tone, captured in all its glory, is ready to enthrall your audience or to be etched into your recordings.
- Onboard Limiter
The onboard limiter is an invaluable feature that acts as a protective layer for your amplifier. When you’re turning up the volume to fill the room with your booming bass tones, the limiter ensures that your output signal stays within a safe limit, avoiding harmful distortion or clipping.
This aspect is particularly advantageous for those who love their music loud and resonant. With the onboard limiter, you can stretch your amp’s performance boundaries while mitigating the risk of speaker damage, ensuring a balance between raw power and operational safety.
The RB-115’s strong suit lies in its rich and versatile tonal qualities, largely due to the Class D power amp and the custom Eminence speaker. This amp is designed to emanate a vintage tone that is warm, rich, and beautifully resonant while also packing enough punch to hold its own in a full band setup.
Its Ultra Hi/Lo switches allow for remarkable tonal versatility, allowing you to shape your sound precisely, and the auxiliary input and XLR direct-out features offer exceptional flexibility for practice, performance, and recording scenarios. Moreover, the onboard limiter ensures that the amp stays safe even when pushed to its limits, guaranteeing longevity and consistent performance.
While it exudes a solid low-end response courtesy of the 15″ Eminence speaker, it might lack some punchiness in the midrange frequencies that smaller speakers can deliver. Another potential drawback is its size and weight; its relatively large footprint and heft could prove burdensome for gigging musicians who frequently travel.
The absence of an onboard tuner is another minor quirk, considering that many modern amps in this price range include this handy feature. Lastly, while the RB-115 boasts an impressive 200-watt output, it may fall slightly short for projects in larger venues without additional PA support.
10. Phil Jones BG-120 Bass
The Phil Jones BG-120 Bass, features a 120-watt power amplifier and two proprietary four-inch drivers, ensuring deep, resonant bass tones.
Its intricate psycho-acoustic design confers dynamic responsiveness, while the seamless integration of advanced equalizer controls heightens the precision of sound customization. And conveniently lightweight, compact build complements the rich, immersive sound profile, making it an excellent choice for musicians valuing portability without compromising sonic quality.
- NeoPower Type A Speakers
The BG-120 Bass Amp takes advantage of Phil Jones’ own NeoPower Type A speakers, four tucked within its sturdy chassis. These speakers are notable for their combination of lightweight neodymium magnets and robust designs, resulting in efficient power handling and excellent tonal accuracy.
Furthermore, these are coupled with an innovative 2×3-inch tweeter, emphasizing the higher frequencies, ensuring that the subtleties and nuances of your bass playing are not lost amidst the lower registers.
- Robust Preamp with 5-Band EQ
Its most notable feature is the 5-band EQ (low bass, mid-bass, low, mid, high mid, and treble), which offers a broad palette of tonal possibilities.
This EQ setup enables you to sculpt and fine-tune your sound with surgical precision, whether to match a specific genre, playing style, or just personal preference, potentially helping you stand out in a mix.
- Balanced XLR Output with Pre/Post EQ Switch
This means you can send your signal directly to a mixing desk or audio interface, either with or without the shaping of the EQ. It makes the BG-120 an ideal choice for live performance situations where your sound can be directly fed into the PA system while also allowing you to capture a clean, uncolored bass tone in recording environments.
- Auxiliary Input with Volume Control
It lets you connect an external audio device, like a smartphone or MP3 player, directly to the amp for practice or performance. Whether you want to jam along to your favorite tracks or play backing tracks during a solo performance, this feature puts the control at your fingertips.
Coupled with a dedicated volume control, it ensures that the external audio level is perfectly balanced with your bass, preventing one from overpowering the other.
The Phil Jones BG-120 Bass Amp showcases an array of positive attributes that set it a cut above its competitors. Its compact size and light weight make it highly portable and ideal for gigging musicians who demand superb sound on the go. Moreover, thanks to the 120-watt RMS amplifier, its impressive power output provides an unexpected sound punch that can hold itself against larger, more unwieldy bass rigs.
Another strength lies in the BG-120’s sound versatility, granted by its comprehensive preamp and speaker configuration. With its expansive 5-band EQ, you can shape your bass tone to match various musical genres and playing styles.
Lastly, the thoughtful inclusion of a balanced XLR output with pre/post EQ switch offers great convenience for live sound reinforcement and studio recording, underscoring the BG-120 as a truly versatile tool for bassists.
While a boon for portability, its compact design might compromise the low-end response for some bassists, particularly those who prefer a room-filling low-end thump. Additionally, despite the power output being substantial for its size, it might still be insufficient for larger gigs or venues, demanding the addition of an external speaker cab for added volume.
Also, while the BG-120 offers an expansive EQ range, novice bassists or those who prefer a simpler setup might find the 5-band EQ overwhelming or excessive. Lastly, the BG-120 sits at a slightly higher price than similar spec’d amps in the market, which could be a deciding factor for budget-conscious musicians.
11. GR Bass SLC800
Hailing from the renowned GR Bass family, the SLC800 encapsulates innovative tech meticulously optimized for the greatest bass experience.
With an impressive 800W of raw power, this lightweight, portable powerhouse, enveloped in a rugged yet sleek Italian design, guarantees to captivate the most discerning audiophiles.
Aided by a versatile EQ section and intuitive controls, it offers unmatched tonal diversity, and essential features like the advanced D.I. output, silent fan cooling, and auxiliary input make this amp ideal for live performances, studio work, or personal practice, achieving impeccable sound quality every time.
- 800W RMS Power Output
A fundamental trait of any amplifier is its power output, and the SLC800 comes with a whopping 800W RMS. This power figure is significant because it allows for remarkable headroom and volume, ensuring you can perform at large venues without compromising your sound quality.
The raw power output does not introduce distortion, even at high volumes, ensuring the richness and depth of your bass tones are retained immaculately.
- 4-Band EQ with Semi-Parametric Mids
Its onboard 4-band EQ offers excellent control over your sound’s different frequency spectrums. What makes it particularly potent is the addition of semi-parametric mids. This means you can boost or cut the mid frequencies and select which mid frequencies you want to adjust, offering a whole new level of tonal shaping.
- Tone Filter
The Pure Tone Filter is a unique feature exclusive to GR Bass. This filter allows you to further shape your sound by adjusting the tonal characteristics. It can be particularly beneficial for bassists seeking to tweak their sound minutely to cut through the mix or blend into an ensemble. This filter is a tool of creativity, allowing musicians to create a bass tone that is distinctly their own.
- Integrated DI Output and Tuner
The integrated DI output allows you to connect directly to a PA system or a recording interface, thereby preserving the tone you’ve crafted on the amplifier. On the other hand, the tuner output enables you to connect an external tuner for quick, silent tuning changes on stage.
- Lightweight Design
Despite the high power output and various features, the SLC800 boasts a lightweight design. This design makes it incredibly portable, allowing easy transportation between gigs or studio sessions. It brings the power of a large bass amp to a compact, easy-to-carry package without compromising on the quality of the sound. This feature can be a game-changer for the gigging musician or the traveling artist.
Its class-leading power output allows it to deliver a deep, punchy bass, reaching volumes that few competitors can match while retaining tonal clarity. Its 4-band EQ is meticulously designed, giving you control over a wide spectrum of frequencies, and the unique pure tone filter is a boon for those looking to craft their unique sound.
Its compact and lightweight design also belies its raw power, making it an excellent choice for gigging musicians who require mobility. The built-in DI and tuner output ensure you have all the necessary utilities without additional gear.
While the GR Bass SLC800 is a veritable powerhouse of features and performance, there are a few areas where it may not meet everyone’s expectations. For starters, its sound profile, while versatile, might not appeal to those who prefer a traditional, vintage bass sound. It leans towards a more modern, clean sound which, while being of very high quality, might not suit everyone’s taste.
Additionally, its semi-parametric EQ, while incredibly versatile, does demand a certain degree of familiarity and understanding to use effectively, so beginners may find it slightly complex to navigate initially. Lastly, while the lightweight design is advantageous for transport, it might give an impression of less sturdiness or durability, which is not necessarily the case but could be a perception issue for some users.
12. Phil Jones Bass BG-110 Cub II
The Phil Jones Bass BG-110 Cub II confidently straddles raw power and unadulterated fidelity.
It’s a compact, portable bass amplifier that defies sound physics, allowing bassists to have a small yet highly functional and versatile amplifier that doesn’t compromise tonal quality or volume. Intended for studio recording and small gig environments, the Cub II hails from a highly reputable brand that provides exceptional tonal balance and clarity in its amplifiers.
- NeoPower Speakers
Found within the BG-110 Cub II, you will discover two specially developed 5″ PJB NeoPower speakers. These speakers are custom-made, a testament to Phil Jones Bass’s commitment to manufacturing components that satisfy their exacting standards, allowing the Cub II to project an impressive 110-watt output.
The speakers’ customized design results in an amplifier capable of delivering clear and robust tones that far exceed expectations based on the amp’s compact size.
- Rectangular Auxiliary Low-Frequency Radiator (RALFR)
Phil Jones Bass employs a unique, innovative technology within the Cub II: the Rectangular Auxiliary Low-Frequency Radiator, or RALFR. This technology functions as a supplementary low-frequency driver, significantly enhancing the amplifier’s bass response.
Its addition means that despite the compact form of the Cub II, the amp can deliver a surprisingly deep, full-bodied bass tone that truly resonates, creating a lush sound that’s warm and inviting to the listener.
- 3-band EQ
The Cub II incorporates an onboard 3-band EQ, offering a level of control over your sound that is both broad and precise. With individual knobs for controlling the bass, middle, and treble frequencies, you can mold your sound to match your exact vision, giving you a versatile tool for sculptural tonal modulation at your fingertips, a valuable asset for live performances and studio recordings.
- Multiple Input and Output Options
Catering to various usage scenarios, the BG-110 Cub II provides an array of input and output options. Active and passive inputs accommodate different types of bass guitars, while the auxiliary input can plug in an external music source for practice sessions. On the other hand, the headphone output allows for private practice or necessary listening without disturbing those around you.
The Cub II is undoubtedly a powerhouse, defying its size with its output. Applying the RALFR technology is a significant highlight, adding warmth and depth to the sound without any perceived distortion, even when the volume is cranked up. Its broad range of connectivity options ensures it suits both practicing bassists and those who perform.
The inbuilt 3-band EQ facilitates nuanced tonal sculpting, allowing users to get their desired sound precisely. The BG-110’s compact and lightweight design makes it incredibly portable and easy to carry around, while its rugged construction ensures it can withstand the rigors of frequent transport. The overall sound quality is exceptional, with clarity and fidelity that would satisfy even the most discerning bassist.
Despite its various strengths, the BG-110 Cub II has shortcomings. It is somewhat pricey for a compact bass amp, which may deter some potential buyers. Additionally, the lack of onboard effects could be a drawback for players who enjoy incorporating various soundscapes into their performances without additional pedals or external units.
Lastly, while it performs admirably in small gig situations and rehearsals, the Cub II’s power output might fall short in larger venues without an external PA system or additional amplification.
They were The 12 Best Lightweight Bass Amps For Gigging 2023. This article covers the full range of possible needs you might have, from small gigs to large concerts.
The options presented in this article are designed to work in any situation, they are easy to carry and have the power to suit different situations, and most of all, they have connectivity that allows you to send the RAW signal directly to the PA, which allows you to use any of them, regardless of their power.
The most versatile in this top are the amps from Fender and Ampeg. The Fender Rumble 100 is the option that can be used in either situation; it’s easy to carry, has the right connectivity, and offers tones that can be used in any musical genre. Its smaller brother, the Fender Rumble 40, offers the same features but in a much smaller package.
The Ampeg RB-115 is a great solution if you need a warm, punchy tone with a modern and classic circuit. It features an Eminence speaker, widely used in the world of guitarists and bassists. It is suitable for practice sessions, jam sessions, and studio recordings.
With it, you can play genres such as rock, funk, jazz, blues, and metal, as it has switches that allow you to make the amp enhance low or high frequencies to have a tone that cuts the mix.
The folks at Markbass haven’t let themselves down either, the Markbass Minimark 802 has a more odd shape, but it can deliver balanced tones with very clean mids. It is very small with a design that follows their line of amplifiers.
The Markbass CMD JB Players School is a much more detailed version with much more power and versatility; this one is known for delivering classic tones with a very articulate punch. It is an all-in-one solution for low-freq sound, offering 4-band eq, 250W power, VLE, and VPF filters.
We hope this article has helped you find the right solution; whether you need a low or high amp, this top has it all. Below, you can find some pedals that go very well with these amps, and with them, you can choose much deeper and more detailed tones that represent your style.
Death metal enthusiast here. I am a Romanian musician and producer with over 13 years of experience in the music industry. I’ve experienced all types of Metal up until now, playing Melodic Death Metal, Brutal Death Metal, and Black Metal with different bands. Learning by doing is my base principle, which is why I’ve been drawn to sound design from an early age. Read more…