Sound — 9
I personally like a range of different sounds from my bass, for which this particular model provides ample choices! The equalisation settings allow you to create sounds ranging from stringy trebles to smooth, rolling lows, and the bass booster allows you to add that extra rumble which is guaranteed to shake the windows with the two DX4 humbuckers! The sound never drops below amazing quality, even paired with a fairly mediocre amp, and the volume is awesome when played through a larger combo or stack! The active electronics help form the sound further, and add extra variety to the range of tones available.
Overall Impression — 9
I usually play indie and rock along the lines of the vines, jet, the kooks, stone roses, and due to the range of tones the bass can create, I find no difficulty adjusting the EQ to suit the style. Having been playing for a mere 2 years, this was the ideal option for me, with a low price tag a student can easily afford, and great value for money. Overall, I think it was a very solid investment, although in the fairly distant future I am thinking of investing in a Fender Jazz to complement the slightly harsher tones of this bass. If stolen or lost, I have this bass insured, and I have to be honest in saying that I would buy a slightly more expensive model in the Ibanez BTB range. I have also played the BTB550, which was an incredible guitar, but out of my price range by some way. The Bartolini pickups and natural finish really do make all the difference though. At the time, I was considering other options as well, including a Squier P-Bass, which I tried out but subsequently decided against buying, and it wasnt until I hear an Epiphone thunderbird played at a small gig that I decided to try out a bass with the two humbuckers. I originally thought that this would create too harsh a sound for my style, but then after playing my bass for a while, realised that the humbuckers provide a power and refinement which can be let loose or confined and focused to create an amazing sound and accuracy which I find highly desirable in an instrument. If you can afford to buy a higher range Ibanez model, then do, but otherwise, the BTB200 is a highly competent lower price range instrument, which runs the opposition into the ground. Almost every aspect of playing it is enjoyable, particularly drowning out the other 2 guitarists in our band when I whack my amp up to full! As a bassist who likes to be heard in the band, and who likes an easily playable bass that keeps on giving and giving in terms of sound and service, then this is the ideal choice! I would also reccomend investing in an Ashdown or Warwick amp, both of whom I find to be ideal partners to this bass, and who increase sound quality even further!
Reliability & Durability — 8
The bass, althought a little lacking in build quality in some areas, is a very solid model, and although it has a bolt-on neck, I have no doubt that the sturdy design will withstand live performances. The hardware should last me a long time, and over 3 months I have noticed no deterioration in sound. The strap buttons are also very firm, and the overall impression of reliability is that I can run this bass into the ground and still get faithful service from it! The finish is also very solid, and there is only one chip in the body, which was due to a particularly nasty knock, so I wouldn't worry about treating it too much like a lady! It's up to the challenge.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
I was not overly impressed with the build quality for my particular bass, as there are some minor details which provide me with some grief, such as occasional stick on the central EQ knob, and the fact that the bridge was mounted on to the body at an angle, which does not affect the sound in any way, but doesn't look normal compared to exemplar models of this bass. The manufacture of the internal components seemes to all be in order, and as I said already, the bass cannot be faulted for quality of sound! The design of the bass is incredibly well thought out, with a super-slim neck for fast fretting action, but some aspects of the quality don't do the manufacturers justice.
Features — 8
Made in 2005 in Japan by Ibanez. 24 fret neck with good upper access and an outrageously thin width at the nut! Laminated top, maple neck with rosewood fingerboard, agathis body with an opaque iron pewter flat finish, although an optional choice of damp green flat is available. Active electronics powered by a single 9 volt battery with 2 DX4 humbucking pickups. One volume, one pickup selector knob, and a phat II bass boost control.