One of the main reasons why a bass player’s equipment is of utmost importance is because of the influence, the choice of equipment has, on the tone or the nature of the sound that emanates when they play. A bass guitar is not an instrument, like a six stringer that leads a song. It is more of a ‘background’ instrument that adds an inherent quality to the music, it accentuates. What this means is that bass guitars make up the character and compliments the mood that is set by lead instruments. So making sure that you practise your technique and grow them, on a quality set up is paramount to achieving that character you seek in your tone.
Today we are going to take a look at some quality bass amplifiers under $500 that have that ability to influence your endeavour.
Behringer Ultrabass BXL3000Pro: Dedicated gain control for the clean channel and dedicated gain, shape and level controls for the distortion channel. Phenomenal value for money, considering the overall price of the amp and the quality of the materials used for its construction and tone creation. Provision for Footswitch usage, robust German engineering.
Con: Onboard compressor could can do a much better job of eliminating unwanted noise. Heavy Amplifier, you will have to burn some calories transporting this around.
A match made in heaven, for a Bass player who is strapped for some cash, the behringer Ultrabass is a master of variety. First of all, the control that you have over tone on this brilliantly made wedge shaped amp is something that is truly special. The setup has two channels, one clean and the other for distortion and they have their own dedicated tone controls. This should let you dial in the bass tones that span multiple genres of music, spanning for over six generations of bass players! The construction is absolutely sturdy and we get the feel that this amp is built to last. The best part? The amp is equipped with an Original BUGERA 15″ special high-impact cone speaker. A master stroke by Behringer.
Fender Rumble 200 v3 Bass Combo AmplifierPro: Incredibly light, straight forward tonal controls equipped with the special ‘Vintage’ button. Powerful and compact. Rich tones.
Con: After looking hard for some cons, we only just wished that it had a second channel for more tonal control for modern music bass sound
If it is a Fender and if it is named the ‘Rumble’, then as an experienced guitarist, you will instantly expect some great stuff from this one and unsurprisingly it will match your expectations as well. We can assure you that if you are looking for some Vintage tones, the Fender should be your logical choice. Powerful and beefy, the 200 watt circuitry shall be enough to deliver, in a gig condition as well. Opting not to go with any gimmicks, Fender have decided to focus on tonal quality, practicality and fun factor,with this one. The best practise amp for a bass player blessed with a great ear and taste in music.
Hartke Kickback 12 Bass ComboPro: Powerful and small amp, brilliant for everyday usage and practise, shall suit a wide variety of bass players, top notch quality, brilliant tonal quality.
Con: There are cheaper options with a lot more features
A very smart design aimed at practicality, the first thing you will notice about the Kickback is that it is designed to be made to stand upright or with a tilt, this should help, especially during a recording situation. It is all about simplicity on this one with Hartke and they have done a great job. The amp has a Standard set of EQ knobs, a volume knob and a ‘hape’ knob for fine tuning the sounds you have dialled in. Just plug in and you are pretty much ready to go. Made specifically with the intention of being a practise amp, the Hartke is a brilliant, lightweight, simple and a very intelligent design for a great price point. The amp has an XLR output and is powered by 12 inch speakers that certainly do not lack in power whatsoever. This right here is high quality compactness.
Ampeg BA110v2 1 x 10-Inch Combo Bass AmplifierPro: High quality package for a very low price, made with a no compromise approach, aimed at producing the ‘Classic Ampeg tone’, offers great tonal control.
Con: Even though it would have been difficult at this price, a 12 inch speaker on the amp would have been nice, barely powerful enough for band practise or gigs, the ‘lows’ of the tone could have been clearer.
Ampeg have been known and recognized for their signature tonal quality by Musicians, for a long time now and with the Ampeg BA 110v2, they have made a commendable effort of bringing that lovely tone to the reach of beginner bass players. The 40 watts amp is driven by a 10 Inch speaker and has a dedicated 3 band EQ with a Scrambler Overdrive system. If you are serious about being a bass player, then it is important to figure out what your style is and what you want to sound like, as you work on your technique. The Ampeg is designed to accompany you on this journey.
Acoustic B200mkII 200W Bass Combo Amp BlackPro: Acousti-Comp, switchable overdrive channel, 6 Band EQ, one of the best tone control features available on an amplifier at this price point, light and powerful, great amp for daily practise.
Con: Falls a little towards the expensive side
Another renowned and a respected name in the industry, the Acoustic B200 has a lot of surprises in store for you. At the outset, the amp is powered by a 15 inch high frequency speaker that is designed to bring out the highs, mids and the lows with an identical amount of finesse and brightness. This 200 watt powerhouse has dedicated controls for using the 6 band EQ and well as the overdrive system. The amp has what acoustic calls ‘Acousti-comp’ a sound compression system that works wonders. The built in compression and wide range of tonal controls make the Acoustic B200mkII a great piece of equipment that shall last you for many years to come.
Gallien-Krueger MB112-II 200W 1×12 Combo Bass AmpPro: Brilliant quality, exceptionally good tonal quality, ultimate value for money and ample amounts of power, this one is our personal favourite!
Con: Very hard to find some in a package that is so brilliantly priced
Another great amplifier that takes the no nonsense route, the Gallien Krueger is equipped with a standard, Eq knob layout. The amp also has the standard XLR output and a 3.5 mm aux in for when you would want to play along to some songs. This, not so fancy controls layout is backed up by circuitry that give some fantastic tunes. This is a very straightforward approach at making a real good amplifier by Gallien-Kreuger and what they have created with the MB112 is the perfect,sublime balance between quality, power and value for money!
Carvin MB15 Micro Bass Amp 15 Inch ComboPro: Small and surprisingly powerful, capable of running at two power settings, one at 250W @ 4 ohms and the other at 200W @8 Ohms, perfect way to match the destruction caused by your lead guitarist if you are into heavy metal
Con: There are similarly priced offerings from the competition with many more features and better tonal controls
The Carvin MB15 comes equipped with a 15 inch woofer system which shall get some really good lows out of it. Quite an interesting package from Carvin for the price it comes at. Do not let the size fool you, as the amp is indeed very capable of shaking things up, when required. A brilliant practise amp that shall last multiple stages of your journey as a bass player, this is a simple setup with ample control over tonal quality.
Peavey Electronics Max Series 03608000 Max 112 Bass Combo AmplifierPro: Brilliant tonal controls, compact and powerful, robust signature Peavey style construction, ultimate practise amp to see you through many states as a bass player
Con: May not be powerful enough for professional gigs
Peavey have always been the people to look out for, especially with them having the reputation of being masters of tone and giving a great package at economically friendly price packages. Well, they have done it again with the the Max Series. The Max 112 delivers some high quality tones to match the tastes of a varied range of musicians and Bass players. Besides the standard EQ controls, the amp has a gain control knob and a secret weapon called the ‘Psycho acoustic low end enhancement’ which we think shall be loved unanimously by bass players who play some metal music.
Hartke HD150 Bass ComboPro: 15 inch Speaker with sound quality to die for. Comes equipped with wheels for easy transportation. With the metal grills on the speakers, looks absolutely badass, separate inputs dedicated to bass guitars with active and passive pick ups a brilliant feature!
Another excellent value for money amp from Hartke, the HD150 strikes all the right Chords at the outset. The amp boasts a 15 inch speaker and is rated at 150 watts. The speaker features Hartke’ s HyDrive technology, targeted at drawing more from a small package and it truly works. The Hartke HD150 is not all about loudness though, the 7 band EQ gives a versatile range of tones to lose yourself in. Designed for frequent use, the amp has jacks that take an MP3 player for play along practise and has two inputs for guitars with active and passive pickups, separate, all at a remarkable price point.
Orange Amplifiers Crush PiX CR50BXT 50W 1×12 Bass Combo Amp OrangePro: Orange quality at a mind boggling price, lightweight and sturdy
Con: A 15 inch speaker would have been the icing on the cake, even if it meant prcing the amp a little higher
A pleasant surprise from Orange amplification, the Crush Px Cr50 is a top notch quality product at a price that can make your eyes pop out, in shock. Orange is usually known for their pricing, given the quality of their equipments. But with the Crush Pix, they have decided to shock everyone. The amp comes with a single 12 inch speaker and is a 50 watt RMS setup. Put together in that eye candy orange colour, for which the world loves, them, the amp has pretty standard EQ settings that sound very, very good.. There are provisions for an external speaker, headphones and an aux in line for play along practise. This is a practical and a well thought of product from Orange.