Price paid: A$ 999
Purchased from: Nepean Music
Sound — 10
I play a 20yo MusicMan Stingray 5 and a Godin A5 Fretted. I struggle to find a shit sound with this amp. I put all the knobs at 12 oclock and it sounds ace but with a bit of tweaking I've discovered the holy grail: An amp that can sound great for finger style playing AND slap and pick-style, without needing to be re-tweaked! This is another first for me. I've had a Hartke (yuck) and an Ashdown ABM before this and I could get whatever sound I liked from them but without that versatility. I say that but now after hearing this amp I've worked out that I was only coming close to getting the sound I wanted - it was always just that little bit lacking. The answer for me was the Low and High Mid controls. The low mid gives it a lot more punch and the high mid can be tweaked so it just hides in the back ground and till you up your attack. I use a Schroeder 1212L with this amp and its like having a combo with power. I'm giving the sound a 10 because its just faultless. I thought about getting the Tube version and even the Rocker version but decided the sound out of this was good enough and didn't need complicating. For distorted sounds I just use a Boss Bass Overdrive (OD3) and a Sansamp DI and its rock heaven...
Overall Impression — 9
I play a variety of music ranging from blues to funk, hip-hop, rock and heavy metal to jazz and experimental - its works for everything. Mind you I just use the same tone for everything ha ha. If you're sick of needing someone to help you carry your rig upstairs and want to sell the station wagon for a hatchback AND want to improve your tone by a lot... get one of these.
Reliability & Durability — 8
I haven't had it long enough to worry at this stage however I've never read many issue re reliability. As far as durability, I certainly wouldn't want to drop it and I wont be resting a beer on it anytime soon but I don't think it needs to be wrapped in cotton wool either. The knobs feel nice and secure and it has a sense of ruggedness about its construction. I'll give it an 8 only because the case I got with it had a busted zip which cost me a staggering $3.50 to get fixed at the Vietnamese laundry near my house.
Features — 8
All of the features etc are common knowledge that you can find on their site www.markbass.it and if you're one of the nerdy types that like to know all about the input sensitivity, thats there as well. Its a full solid state head that weighs nothing. The main thing about this amp for me is the balanced input, the Low and Hi Mid controls and the level control for the DI. It lacks a mute switch which would come real handy at live gigs but you could just get one of those leads with the mute switch built in or dare I say it.... turn the amp vol to zero he he It runs at 500 watts with a 4ohm load which is more than enough. I keep getting told to turn it down which is a first for me. I think this is due to the fact that its tone and clarity, combined with the 500 watts make it a lot easier to hear so it doesn't need as much volume. It has the VPF and VLE knobs that all of the Markbass amps have and these are fun for recording but I don't really use em. Overall this amp is not overloaded with features. Its just a single channel, simple amp that sounds ace. I'm giving it an 8 because of this. It'd score a 10 with a mute switch...