HCM65B Review

manufacturer: Laney date: 07/07/2008 category: Bass Amplifiers
Laney: HCM65B
The new HCM65B features a set of Active & Passive inputs, on-board compressor, three band EQ, including a swept mid, CD/Line input for connecting an external sound source such as a CD/Mini disk player for playing along to your favorite track/tuition CD and a DI socket for supplying a Direct Inject signal for an external power amp or direct to the PA.
 Sound: 5.5
 Overall Impression: 6
 Reliability & Durability: 8
 Features: 7.5
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reviews (2) user comments vote for this gear:
overall: 7.5
HCM65B Reviewed by: Centurion, on may 09, 2008
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 274.5

Purchased from: GAK

Sound: I picked this amp up when I bought my first bass a few years ago because I wanted to get something bigger than a piddly little 30W practise amp. I played a Ibanez GSR200 (PJ pickups) through it for the first couple of years and it gave a decent enough sound but there's only so much you can do for a cheap starter instrument. Paired with my ESP-LTD B404 (twin active EMG humbuckers) it gives a nice rich, deep tone (provided you don't push it too hard) but I think a lot of that is down to the active EMG circuitry in the instrument. The amp delivers quite a weighty sound courtesy of the 12" driver in it, though sadly it's not quite enough to cut it in a band situation (well not mine anyway). Back in the bedroom though where it's just you this thing can deliver a solid volume without cracking up. I found it starts to come apart when you turn the mid gain up too much, but then I don't usually have it turned up much at all. I only ever use the compressor when I need it to be a little quieter so I can't really tell you about that. In my band I play through an Ibanez distortion pedal and the effects loop is worth its weight, the amp copes with the additional gain fine. I have taken to using the pedal on clean as a tone filter though as the overall shape of sound you get out of the amp wasn't really good enough for me, which is a major let down. // 6

Reliability & Durability: Having abused this amp weekend after weekend with the volume cranked to 10 for hours I can say that although it sounds shit at those levels it won't burn itself out or self combust or anything like that. it's been dropped a fair few times and the cabinet seems unbreakable, the metal grill is definitely kick-proof. Never had any problems in this respect. I think I might actually have to give it a ten. // 10

Overall Impression: I can't say I'm overjoyed with the amp, nor too disappointed. I can get the sound I want with additional pedals, but the amp is able to produce the volume I want for practising on my own. Don't get your hopes up if you've got an angry demon for a drummer though or an ego trip guitarist Who seems intent on being the only audible thing in the world. On the plus side though this amp is built like a Kalashnikov. When I was choosing an amp it was between this and a Behringer so the Laney was the obvious choice, though if I were to loose this amp I would go out with a bigger budget and pick up something else with a bit more oomph and better tone control. // 7

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overall: 6
HCM65B Reviewed by: spyinks, on july 07, 2008
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: £ 150

Sound: With all EQ set flat there is still quite a prominent boomy prominence due to the 15" driver and porting. However I don't think it's deep or articulate enough to be impressive, it's kinda dull like the sound of an idling jeep. Turning the bass dial up adds to the boom but really needs to be balanced by an increase in treble to make the bass listenable. Low-mids are better and make the amp workable but not spectacular. Not much difference between the top of the hi-mid range to the Treble knob and I don't really like turning either of them up, although to be fair treble is kind of a guitar specific issue. With a cheap Yamaha bass the treble knob brings out the worst in the instrument, with a Fender P it's not so bad. // 5

Reliability & Durability: It really hasn't stood the test of time; I need to give it some percussive maintenance to get it to work a lot of the time (no joke). I'm not sure wether the direct out/FX loop was ever entirely hiss-free, but it certainly isn't now. The 'kickproof grille' is quite good though, kickproof, fallproof, brickproof but not beer proof which is more of a pressing problem. // 6

Overall Impression: After playing through some better amps and owning some smaller but better practice amps, the HCM65B seems like a weazy and inefficient teenager. It's not good enough to justify it's weight and doesn't sound as deep as a neat little Peavey microbass which passes off a 80hz hump much more efficiently. Seems to me like it was designed as a stopgap between a practice amp and a full grown stack, unfortunately I really wish I'd just saved my money instead. // 5

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