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MarkBass amps - I'm intrigued!


Flemtone

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While at BassPlayerLive in NYC this weekend, I sat down and played for a while thru a MarkBass amp and cab. In a word, Wow! Jeff Berlin swears by them, and I can see why.

 

I'm intrigued with the design and portability of these amps. The systems sounded really, really good. According to their website, they're only available at GC in the Village (grrr). Guess I'm going to have to make a pilgrimage one of these weekends.

 

I can't even find a price list, though. Anyone have any idea what the range of prices is, either list or street, for the MarkBass line?

 

I'm considering changing from my Trace Elliot rig to one of these, if for no other reason than saving my spine. An 8-lb 500W amp makes a LOT of sense when you're 50.

 

Anyone familiar with these?

 

MarkBass

 

peace,

Tim from Jersey

Play. Just play.
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Hi!

 

I recently bought a MarkBass Mini CMD 121P, a tiny, lightweight (13kg == 26lbs) and for it's size rather loud 1x12" combo amp. On my search for an amplifier I've tested various other combos, heads and cabs like a Hughes&Kettner QC412, a Hughes&Kettner BassKick 300, GK Backline 600 + GK Backline 410, GK RB1001-II + RBX410, SWR WorkingMan 1x15, Ampeg B3, Eden Time Traveller + MarkBass 151P,...

 

The MarkBass combo was IMHO the best trade-off between size/weight, features, tone, flexibility, and price. The only limitation seems to be that you shouldn't boost the lows at high volume levels because then the speaker starts to distort (probably due to the tiny enclosure). With an added MarkBass 151P it absolutely kills even at very high volume levels. Your milage may vary, though.

 

You can find a lot of information about MarkBass amps over at the talkbass forum, e.g. in the threads:

http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?s=f49188e1a2772c75da8352e40adfc7df&t=272548

http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?s=f49188e1a2772c75da8352e40adfc7df&t=281156

http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?s=f49188e1a2772c75da8352e40adfc7df&t=282144

http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?s=f49188e1a2772c75da8352e40adfc7df&t=278112

http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?s=f49188e1a2772c75da8352e40adfc7df&t=285298

http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?s=f49188e1a2772c75da8352e40adfc7df&t=283612

http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?s=f49188e1a2772c75da8352e40adfc7df&t=219510

http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?s=f49188e1a2772c75da8352e40adfc7df&t=282363

http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?s=f49188e1a2772c75da8352e40adfc7df&t=280632

http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?s=f49188e1a2772c75da8352e40adfc7df&t=279193

http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?s=f49188e1a2772c75da8352e40adfc7df&t=279044

 

There are even people over there who sold their Walter Woods amps after they got their Little Mark II... which is about four times as expensive.

 

In the USA MarkBass is sold exclusively via GuitarCenter and they have more information (including pricing) at http://www.guitarcenter.com/markbass/

 

Oh, and two more things: make sure you're setting the amp "flat" correctly when testing (EQ to "noon" and the VLE and VPF filter controls fully counter-clockwise) and really try to find the most recent MarkBass models (orange colored), they are way better than the old MarkBass heads and cabs.

 

jitter

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

-- Leonardo da Vinci

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D'oh, they really don't have prices on their site. There's something strange going on, since on page 10 of this thread

http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?s=9d96cdbb943d1569f06dfe6204909a26&t=272548&page=10

bubbao (apparently a Guitar Center employee) originally posted the models they stock *including* a price. Then he edited his post and removed the prices. You can still find them on page 11, though (quoted in a post by gillento).

 

Anyway, there it says:

Regarding which Markbass models we will be stocking, I've enclosed the current assortment and the sell prices....

 

BASS HEADS:

Little Mark II $599.99

TA501 $1,049.99

SD800 $1,199.99

BASS CABS:

STD 104 HF $899.99

STD 151 HF $649.99

STD 106 HF $1299.99

Traveler 102P $549.99

COMBOS:

Mini CMD 121 P $799.99

CMD 102 P $999.99

While these may or may not be the current prices they should at least give you a rough idea :)

 

jitter

 

P.S. The Mini CMD 121P (the one I have) is 1035 list and 925 street in Germany (approx. $1300 list and $1170 street with the current EUR <-> USD exchange rates). And these amps are made in Italy :(

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

-- Leonardo da Vinci

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Awesome. Thanks, jitter. I'll have to stop by the only GC in Florida that stocks them next time I make the 5 hour drive to Miami. :eek:

 

Actually, I'm going to Boston for Thanksgiving so I might be able to swing by the one there and check out what they have. I'm quite interested.

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At the risk of sounding complete, I see the light-weight amp progression as follows:

 

In the beginning was the Walter Woods. as unbelievably light as it was/is unbelievably pricey. Not a mass-production company...

 

Later, I became aware of:

- AI Focus. Stupid-lightweight, clean sounding, 300W.

- Peavey DPC series, which is a lightweight power amp (you need a preamp, but that's still light at under 20 pounds, and up to 1400 watts).

 

Then came the next wave of these (again, I may leave a manufacturer out):

- Euphonic Audio (500 at 15 pounds, 800 at 19 pounds) - clean, lots of eq options (can sound tubey, but mostly clean)

- Ampeg Portabass - clean for an Ampeg, but not pristine. They started with a 250 watt model, but seem to only carry the 800 now.

- GenzBenz 600 (425 watts at 4 ohms - 25 pounds)

- Epifani 502 (16 pounds)

 

Now Markbass - and others on the way, if not here.

 

One could argue that other brands like GK (RB800 = 23 pounds) and Eden (550 at 20 pounds) have also been around for a while.

 

If you look carefully, there are many reduced weight options. Markbass' pricing doesn't move it to the head of the pack, but there is a simplicity about it (and presumably sound, though I didn't play one) that is appealing.

 

Putting Markbass into GC gives them an availability that many of the above mentioned brands don't have.

 

Tom

www.stoneflyrocks.com

Acoustic Color

 

Be practical as well as generous in your ideals. Keep your eyes on the stars and keep your feet on the ground. - Theodore Roosevelt

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