Portability – If you’re going to be playing gigs all over town and lugging around your bass amp from place to place, you’re going to want to invest in a lightweight model that can still pump out a quality sound. This will take a little more research to find the best quality lightweight model.
Bass Amp Combo Buyers Guide
What Is A Bass Amp Combo?
A bass amp combo is short for a bass combination-amplifier. It is called that because it’s a bass amplifier that incorporates a bass pre-amp within the speaker cabinet design. This saves you from the need to buy both head and cabinet to hook together.
Sometimes but not always, a combo amplifier for bass guitar will house 2 or more speakers within its enclosure.
The pre-amp is the part that usually holds all of the equalization controls separately from the speakers itself.
Combining the two is not only space and power-saving but makes general life easier, especially as far as practice and rehearsals are concerned. For this reason, combo bass amps have risen to popularity, and a decent combo amp is usually considered the more convenient way to go.
For live stage use, you may want to consider branching out and getting a larger amplifier with a dedicated pre-amp, as it allows for better control over your signals. Pre-amps often pack more options in as far as multi-effects and equalization are concerned.
Some of those we have reviewed today are lower-watt options, excluding the Peavey. These combo bass amps aren’t intended for gigging. That’s not to say you can’t take a small combo amp to a small, local venue, because you can.
In this scenario, you’ll probably want to DI out to the principal or house P.A system and use your combo amp for personal monitoring, or as a part of a softened back-line at an intimate gig.
What to Look For in a Bass Amp Combo?
A bass amp needs to have a durable build, quality, and a decent-sized enclosure. It also needs to have some venting or reflex port to ensure the sound isn’t subject to wave cancellations.
As it’s a guitar combo amp, your focus should be on the integrated pre-amp section though just what you require depends on your needs. For the most part, typical three-band EQ and gain control and volume controls will give you access to a range of bass tones. Most of which can be adjusted with the addition of multi-effects pedal if you wish in the future.
If you play heavier genres, you may want to look for a driving adjustment. If you play precision and jazz-based amp models, you might fancy the bright or even a little reverb. Funkier bassists may want a whole host of additional settings to access.
More importantly, when it comes to the best bass amps, you are going to need a high-quality large-aperture speaker or speakers.
Generally speaking, an amp relies on a more prominent speaker cone to respond to the lower frequencies demanded of it. For practice needs, people tend to seek out something much more compact, which unfortunately tends to restrict the speaker size immediately.
Ideally, you want a speaker size of 10-15 inches minimum in diameter. This renders some of today’s picks useless. But, in terms of personal practice, you are going to find that these best bass amps will suffice even if the lower end reproduction isn’t quite up to scratch.
We must stress that those who have made the best today have been selected for very different reasons. Our best compact model is the Donner, which is the smallest of the lot, but not quite small enough for our mini-amp reviews category.
The best beginner is the Fender rumble because of its simplicity.
The best for bedroom practice amps are the Hartke bass amplifiers as they offer proper tonal scope. They play at an understated 25 watts of power which won’t rock the boat with your roommates.
Our best all-rounder is the Orange Crush, which offers up a diverse set of sounds. This is due to the Cabsim filters and bi-amp modeling. Our best overall is the Peavey for undeniable reasons.
You will notice there is also a reflection of abilities that goes hand in hand with the budget. Realistically, you should never expect much from a combo-amp for bass that’s retailing below the hundred dollar mark. You should ideally set your sights on something that’s at least $300 if you want it to wow.
A bass amp combo presents a much more convenient bass amplification option. It’s an all-in-one solution, which provides the EQ control you require.
Many cheaper combo guitar amps on the market have smaller than average bass speakers. Smaller bass speakers can limit their handling, as our buying guide to guitar combo amps will have pointed out. For practice needs, this can be inconsequential.
We have chosen a good mix today, each of which offers its own benefits. Most of which are practice-focused in their designs. Of course, we have included a beefier Peavey option for the more power-hungry among you.
Hopefully armed with knowledge, and the electric guitar amps we have highlighted, you will be able to choose the right combo for you.
If you like the dual speaker inclusion of the Vox we listed but fancy something that packs a punch and offers more in terms of the pre-amp section, then we highly recommend the Laney RB7. The RB7 gives versatile tone control via its seven separate mini-EQ-sliders.
Did you Know
The Ampeg bass amps company played an integral role in the creation of bass capable guitar amps with early amp models, such as the Super 800 and the Portaflex, which incorporated a rear venting system.