These little amps are well made fun toys for gearheads, made for the practice room or studio at home, nothing more, nothing less. If you like to have clean low volume SVT sound at home for a reasonable price... this one is for you.
Genadeloos_666, on august 13, 2015 2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Price paid: € 119
Purchased from: BAX shop
Ease of Use: Very easy to get good sound, no manual in package (but you probably don't need one).
Note: This little amp has no "soft start" so when you turn it on it kicks your speaker with quite a nasty thumb. I don't think this will damage your speaker in the long run but it's annoying and it would take just a minor change in the design to incorporate a "soft start" time delay relays.
Note: When it's dark you see a nice orange glow through the ventilation slots on top of the amp, this gives the impression of a tube amp although it's a pure solid state device, I think this is a really cool feature and (imo) it proves that the designers at Hotone thoroughly thought about the design.
Note: The signal to the speaker stays on when the headphone/line out is connected. To me that is a useful feature because I like to use my cab as a monitor while recording the Line-out signal. For silent practice you've to disconnect the speaker. Here a quote from the Hotone FAQ page: "The Nano Legacy heads don't need a speaker load to function, so you can certainly just use it with headphones. They also work great directly through an interface for computer recording." // 8
Sound: Features: 5 W class A/B solid state amplifier voiced to sound like the legendary Ampeg SVT bass amps number of channels: 1 controls: bass, middle, treble, gain, volume, on/off micro toggle switch connections: (bass) guitar input, headphones out, aux in, effectsloop, speaker out (4-16 Ohm) dimensions: 128 x 75 x 59.9 mm weight: 440 gram External 18 volt power supply
Initially, because both amplifiers have a 5 watts rated capacity, I thought I'd do an A/B comparison with my "little" Ampeg GVT5H 5 watt tube amp... but tube amps and solid state amps are two different worlds, it would be like comparing apples and oranges. Only thing I can say is that the Thunder Bass is almost as loud as the GVT5H. For a good comparison of the sound I took my Ampeg Micro VR 200 watt solid state bass head and played both amps on equal volume through my Ampeg SVT210AV cab. With clean settings there's just a tiny little advantage for the real deal in the lower- and upper mids... considering the huge price difference Hotone did a very good job mimicking the signature Ampeg bass sound. I'm not shure if I could tell which is which and pick the Ampeg over the Hotone in a blind test... for clean tones that is. With the gain cranked up the Ampeg wins by a mile or 10. The distortion of the Thunder Bass doesn't work for me. It sounds harsh and the breakup is way too artificial. With the volume at 9 or 10 there's a little sizzle but that occurs with almost all amps I know, even with the Ampegs and other very expensive boutique amps.
Underneath 5 sound samples from Hotone, these give a good idea of the tones you can expect when connected to a good quality bass and cab.
Reliability & Durability: Fit & Finish: All steel chassis in black and silver finish, ivory plastic knobs for the controls. All the screws and in/output connections are neatly mounted and all panels fit seamlessly without any gaps. No sharp edges and/or flaws in the finish, the whole (little) thing looks and feels very solid. Quality built I'd say. I don't want to void the warranty yet so I didn't open it up to check the inside.
I have the Thunder Bass for a month now and extensively played with it for a good few hours, no issues so far. Given the build quality and the 3 year warranty I don't expect any either. Time will tell. // 10
Overall Impression: ME LIKE! These little amps are well made fun toys for gearheads, made for the practice room or studio @ home, nothing more, nothing less... If you like to have clean low volume SVT sound at home for a reasonable price... this one is for you. If you are looking for a bass head for band practice, look further.
If this little amp were lost ( and that could happen very easily because it's microscopic small ) i would buy another one, no doubt. I love the sound and the feel of this bass head.
Note: Use an efficient, good quality bass cab for best results. With a good 4 or 8 ohm cab this thing will shake the neighbours, at 16 ohm it will be somewhat on the quiet side. // 9