After toting the GK MB150S to every gig for over a decade, I decided it’s high time for an upgrade. It’s portability/value is still unmatched, but I’m in a place now that I want to hear the aspects of sound that had been sacrificed for so long. And high-quality components of personal amplification have been getting much more manageable over the last few years.
So far, I’m very impressed with the little amp & the company that manufactures it. After painstakingly researching which products carried the most desired/necessary features within an affordable price range, it all boiled down to 2 amps; (1) the Euphonic Audio iAmp Doubler, and (2) this Markbass Little Mark Tube 800. Both are roughly the same cost, and both carry my most sought-after feature of two channels. Moreover, each amplifier’s 1st channel supports balanced XLR input & can provide 48v Phantom power for usage with a condenser microphone. The biggest difference between the two seems to be tone production. The EA Doubler handles an impressive frequency range from 20Hz-20kHz and is said to reproduce the sound of your bass in a way that is uncolored by the amp. This description is similar to that of the Phil Jones Bass combos that I have tried & liked (Super Flightcase!). On the other hand, the Little Mark Tube 800 has a frequency range from 40Hz-10kHz but has a number of ways to purposefully color the sound of your bass. So at this point, it’s a toss up between personal preference. I certainly do love the natural sound of my unamplified upright bass on a hardwood floor of a small room. But the acoustics of the rooms I gig in are usually less than ideal (why is that!?!?). So the ability to profoundly color the tone might come in handy. After a few minutes of tweaking out various tones on an electric bass in Guitar Center (Heaven forbid), I decided to put it to the true rigorous test of ownership.
I’m currently using it to power a single 300 Watt Hartke HX112—also a new purchase—but the amp has plenty of juice to drive a pair. Can’t wait!
Some other features are 4-band EQ, VLE (Vintage Loudspeaker Emulator) & VPF (Variable Pre-shape Filter) which both help shape the mid range, Mute, Tube/Solid State Blend, and Balanced XLR Line Out with Ground Lift, Pre/Post EQ, & Line Out Level (rare!). This sucker is only 6.3 pounds, which is actually more than twice the weight of the EA Doubler, but still pretty damn manageable! Sadly, it did not come with any type of carrying case, but I’m handy enough to make it a nice sleeve and stuff it into a man-purse with all necessary cables & such.