The 9 Best Bass Guitar Amplifiers

Updated December 04, 2017 by Daniel Imperiale

9 Best Bass Guitar Amplifiers
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 43 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. For any budding Flea or Entwistle out there, we've put together a comprehensive selection of the best bass guitar amplifiers available today. Producing deep and rich tones, they come in a variety of sizes to meet the needs of both practicing and gigging musicians. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best bass guitar amplifier on Amazon.

9. Roland CB-60XL

What the Roland CB-60XL lacks in watts it tries to make up for in features and effects. It has everything from chorus to delay and poly-octave, with an added compression and overdrive knob, as well as eight COSM model amp sounds.
  • air flow port for punch
  • compact travel-friendly design
  • controls place quantity over quality
Brand Roland
Model CB-60XL
Weight 42.8 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

8. Peavey Electronics Max Series 112

The high contrast control panel on the Peavey Electronics Max Series 112 makes it easy to manipulate your settings in darker venues when the tone isn't quite right. Its signature psycho-acoustic low-end enhancement adds beefiness at a small sacrifice to clarity.
  • ddt speaker protection
  • simple built-in tuner
  • hard to access fuse
Brand Peavey
Model 03608000
Weight 48.3 pounds
Rating 3.5 / 5.0

7. Hartke HD75

The Hartke HD75 packs a lot of nuances into a very small 1 x 12 package. The top mounted controls feature a seven-band graphic equalizer that users can toggle on and off for different performances. It also has dedicated inputs for active and passive systems.
  • ceramic magnet on primary driver
  • corner-mounted two-inch tweeter
  • no direct output
Brand Hartke
Model HMHD75
Weight 51.8 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

6. Gallien-Krueger MB112-II

The Gallien-Krueger MB112-II takes a no-frills approach to bass amplification, with a simple set of knobs to cover the main frequencies you'd wish to manipulate. It's a relatively small amp, but it puts out a lot of sound for its size.
  • made in the usa
  • strong carrying handle
  • fewer tone options than other amps
Brand Gallien-Krueger
Model 303-0590-B
Weight 33.6 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

5. Ampeg BA115v2

Ampeg's speakers have always been able to push farther into the high end than most bass amps, and the 1" tweeter housed in the Ampeg BA115v2 reinforces the company's preference for sharp, cutting bass sounds. A 60˚ cutout lets you achieve a monitor angle with ease.
  • tube tone emulation
  • all-steel amp chassis
  • stylistically limited
Brand Ampeg
Model BA-115v2
Weight 56.6 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

4. Fender Rumble 200 v3

The switchable contour controls on the Fender Rumble 200 v3 let you jump from one tonal setup to the next without having to write down a dozen different knob configurations. At 200 watts, it's flexible enough to fit most venues.
  • lightweight design
  • 5-year transferable warranty
  • height makes it awkward to carry
Brand Fender
Model 2370500000
Weight 39.7 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

3. Hartke VX3500

For the gigging bassist who needs to fill a large venue without the help of a PA system, the Hartke VX3500 offers 350 watts of high powered, customized sound. The company essentially took their best amp head and permanently integrated it with a sturdy 4 x 10 cabinet.
  • 10 band graphic equalizer
  • center mounted tweeter
  • too powerful for small apartments
Brand Hartke
Model VX3500
Weight 121 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

2. Acoustic B100mkII

Depending on your style, you can toggle the overdrive on the Acoustic B100mkII on or off as you see fit, with controls for both the mix intensity and the volume level of the effect. A 3.5 mm headphone out lets you play in relative silence.
  • -10 db pad switch for active basses
  • direct out level dial
  • solid state preamp
Brand Acoustic
Model B100MKII
Weight 79.5 pounds
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

1. Orange Crush Pix CR100BXT 1x15

While the company may be better known for its iconic guitar amps, the Orange Crush Pix CR100BXT 1x15 pumps out 100 watts of clean, yet aggressive, bass tone, complete with an on-board chromatic tuner and effective presence controls.
  • auxiliary line-in
  • direct xlr output
  • contour knob for tone shaping
Brand Orange
Model CR100BXT B-STOCK
Weight 65.7 pounds
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

A Point About Counterpoint

If you listen to a lot of different rock bands, you’ll notice something very specific about the ones that are both the most financially successful and the most critically acclaimed. It’s a feature of certain groups that separates them from the pack without calling attention to itself, making Radiohead far superior to Muse, and Talking Heads better than pretty much any other band from that era. What we’re talking about here is the rhythm section.

In most rock bands, the rhythm section consists of the bassist and the drummer, and when those two work together in counterpoint to the guitars and vocals, their bands succeed. Of course, creating that counterpoint takes a little knowhow and patience on the part of the songwriters and the rest of the band.

In order to understand counterpoint, you have to realize that all music is rhythm, not just the rhythm section. All instruments and vocals occupy rhythmic space. They also occupy certain frequency ranges, and if all of those components are mashed together on the same beats within the same limited range, you end up with music that sounds amateurish. The key is to find empty spaces in the rhythm of music as the songwriter composed it and to fill those in with color from another frequency range.

The problem here is that most songs originate on an instrument like a guitar or a piano. Vocal lines will most likely marry very closely to the frequency ranges and rhythmic qualities of these instruments. When the songwriter takes his of her tune to the rhythm players, there isn’t a lot of space for them to play, and they often end up just following the patterns already established.

Writing, then, requires an extra step or two. After bringing the song to the rhythm section and teaching them the changes, the songwriter must shut up. It would be ideal if, at this point, lyrics haven’t yet entered the equation. Let the drums and bass carry the changes for a while, and have the bassist pluck his stings as few times as possible to make those changes apparent, preferably in sync or at play with the rhythms of the bass drum.

Then, and only then should the songwriter begin to reintroduce the guitar or piano, and this should happen piecemeal, one key or one string at a time, so that no unnecessary fodder finds itself haphazardly glued to your opus.

This kind of writing and its ultimate performance in front of crowds requires that the bassist has a high-quality amp. Some bassists will send their instruments through a venue’s PA system as a way to save both a little money and a bit of equipment hauling. One problem here is the lack of control over your sound, but the most crucial shortcoming of this setup is the difficult time your drummer and the rest of your band will have hearing you. By placing a powerful amp close to the drummer on stage or in the practice space, the rhythm section will be more in sync, and the rest of the band can take its cues from it, which, as we’ve covered, is the ideal scenario.

Top-Tier Low-End: Choosing The Best Bass Amp

Evaluating the bass amps on our list should take a backseat to evaluating your sound and its requirements. When you have a good sense of the control you need and the style you play, making the right choice will be a lot easier.

For example, if you play primarily classic rock, your bass sound is going to be rather straightforward. Everyone in that era, from the Beatles to Zepplin, took a pretty simple approach to their bass tones. That style also finds itself in a lot of rowdy bars with sub-par PA systems, however. With those two elements combined, you’ll want an amp with some serious watts and simple controls. With more juice, you won’t need to mic the amp unless it’s actually going to improve the sound. With a simple three-band EQ, the experience is practically plug-and-play.

Indie rockers, avant-garde jazz musicians, and other experimental players should look for an amp with a lot of built-in effects. Even if all you do is add a little reverb and chorus to the sound, it can make your instrument stand out. You can afford to sacrifice some power in these genres, as well, since experimental acts — rather unfortunately, I must say — tend to play for smaller crowds. When these acts do break into bigger venues, those engineers almost always have the ability to skillfully mic your amp.

As you can see, a little investigation into the kind of player you are and the type of settings you most often grace with your playing will give you a good idea of which amp you ought to grab.

A Few Extra Points To Specify Your Sound

If you’ve ever listened to Parliament, you know what Bootsy Collins’ bass sounds like. His settings, effects, and playing style were truly unique for his time, and while plenty of imitators have cropped up with similar approaches in the years since, his name comes to mind when you hear them.

To create your signature sound, you’ll need more than just the amp you select today. Investing in a few good pedals can make a world of difference to your sound, both in broad and narrow strokes. There are effects pedals out there that are specific to the bass guitar’s natural frequencies, and this is probably where you should look first. Other pedals, however, like tuners and equalizers, can work for multiple instruments.

Don’t be afraid to apply guitar effects pedals to your bass, however. Many of these might compress your sound a little too much, but you can equalize that out with the right settings and pedal combinations to completely expand your range of experimentation.

Try a few different brands and gauges of strings, as well. As you hone in on your tone, the difference between two gauges might be the breakthrough that gives you your signature sound.



Statistics and Editorial Log

0
Paid Placements
4
Editors
43
Hours
4,853
Users
15
Revisions

Wiki Granular Update & Revision Log


help support our research


Patreonlogoorange psj5g7Wiki ezvid low poly earth xdypeb

Last updated on December 04, 2017 by Daniel Imperiale

Daniel is a writer, actor, and director living in Los Angeles, CA. He spent a large portion of his 20s roaming the country in search of new experiences, taking on odd jobs in the strangest places, studying at incredible schools, and making art with empathy and curiosity.


Thanks for reading the fine print. About the Wiki: We don't accept sponsorships, free goods, samples, promotional products, or other benefits from any of the product brands featured on this page, except in cases where those brands are manufactured by the retailer to which we are linking. For our full ranking methodology, please read about us, linked below. The Wiki is a participant in associate programs from Amazon, Walmart, Ebay, Target, and others, and may earn advertising fees when you use our links to these websites. These fees will not increase your purchase price, which will be the same as any direct visitor to the merchant’s website. If you believe that your product should be included in this review, you may contact us, but we cannot guarantee a response, even if you send us flowers.