Bass amplifier or “head” and an overview of some of them

Dive into the world of bass amplifiers, where thunderous lows meet pristine highs – discover the ultimate guide to bass amp 'heads' and explore a diverse selection!
Bass amplifier

“Bass amplifier… How many are there?! How to choose the one that is right for me?! Tube or semiconductor? Equalizer, compressor, limiter? These questions concern many beginning (and not only) bass players. Therefore, this article examines some worthy (but at the same time different) examples.

Bass guitar Amplifiers

So, most bass guitar amplifiers currently output at least 100 watts. It is a fact. But many musicians prefer to have 350 – 500 W at their disposal. This is completely justified. The equipment available with various options can vary quite a bit between different bass amplifiers.

But all “heads” have one thing in common. The sound from amplifiers from different manufacturers has its own characteristic color. The same bass through an Ampeg and, for example, a Peavey will sound different. Whether it’s significant or not is up to you to decide.

More about equipping amplifiers. Some of them may have various equalizers, crossovers, limiters, compressors, effects, and cascade amplifiers in their arsenal. And some can boast of tone control and an input signal level control (gain) and that’s it.

Ampeg :: Heritage SVT-CL

Further. When choosing a bass guitar amplifier, you can find semiconductor, tube, and hybrid (i.e. most often it is a tube preamplifier and a semiconductor “end”).

Let’s first look at some of the most popular models of all-tube devices. The Ampeg SVT Classic is a prime example of this. Equipped with two 12AX7 tubes in the preamp and a full six 6550 tubes in the end.

The power of this device reaches 300 W. It has very few different “bells and whistles”: a low-frequency regulator, a semi-parametric mid-range regulator, and a high-frequency regulator and that’s it. However, this does not prevent it from remaining one of the favorite devices of many bass players.

Mesa Boogie Bass 400+

Another all-tube device is the Mesa Boogie Bass 400+. Equipped with as many as twelve 6L6 lamps and boasts an output of 500 watts. That’s how things are.

Mesa Boogie Bass 400 w/ shock mount ATA rack case | Reverb

But no matter how good tube amplifiers are, hybrid versions, and even semiconductor ones, are also worthy of attention. As you know, not everyone can afford a “lamp”. But getting a clean, “juicy”, “and tasty” sound is the desire of all bassists.

Bass amplifier Ashdown EVO series.

It is notable for the fact that it combines both a standard and graphic equalizer. Those. it (the equalizer) is expanded with two pairs of sliders for adjusting low, mid, and high frequencies. There is also a very nice option, represented by a black bypass button.

With its help, you can disable all custom equalizer settings and return the sound to standard. This can be used both for comparison and for various experiments, including recordings, concerts, etc. The arsenal also includes an octave, which cannot but please the user of this device.

The PERFECT Amp for Small Gigs // Ashdown ABM 300 EVO IV - YouTube


An interesting type of equalizer was used by Euphonic Audio in the iAmp Pro series. In the image, you can see that the amplifier is equipped with mechanical gain/attenuation controllers for all frequencies, as well as “sliders” (under the controls) that serve to select the required range of adjustable frequencies.

Euphonic Audio: An Interview with Larry Ullman – No Treble

It is also worth considering the manufacturer Hartke. His amplifiers are also worthy of attention, in my opinion.

For example, the HA series. It has versions of bass “heads” with a tube preamp, a compressor section, and also with a powerful ten-band graphic equalizer. There are simpler ones. For example, a semiconductor device with a 4-band equalizer and that’s it. No frills.

Hartke HA5000 Bass Amplifier Head Previously Owned Reverb, 60% OFF

What is a bi-amping amplifier?!

Bi-amping. Are you familiar with this word (phrase)? Maybe you know what a stereo “head” is. If you know, great! But still. Bi-amping is an amplifier with double stages. An excellent “machine” if you know how to use it. The operating principle of such a device is not very complicated.

One amplifier is connected to a cabinet (speaker) to reproduce exclusively low-frequency signals. The other one goes to the next column for reproducing mid- and high-frequency signals.

By the way, the crossover frequency between low and mid frequencies can be adjusted using a crossover.

By controlling the balance level, you distribute the voltage supplied to each speaker.

As a result, you get amazing Hi-Fi sound. But we must take into account that when using such amplifiers it is very important that the speakers are of high quality.

Otherwise, “the game is not worth the candle, but the result of labor,” as the hero of “our” time sang.

You can see an example of a bass amplifier with double stages in the image – this is the Gallien-Krueger 800RB.

Gallien-Krueger 800RB New Bass Amp Emulation From, 44% OFF

Digital technology and Bass amplifier – what do they have in common?

Nowadays, digital technologies are used all the time. They didn’t ignore bass guitar equipment either. Manufacturers have begun to widely use digital technology in their designs. A striking example of this phenomenon can be considered SWR Mo’Bass, for example.

As you can see, with such a device “you don’t need any bells and whistles.” Here you have overdrive, chorus, synthesizer, and octave. This pleasure is not cheap, to be honest. But it’s probably worth it. Attached to this amplifier, as you probably already guessed, is a floor switch for ease of use.

SWR Mini-Mo' Bass Preamp | Reverb | Mini mo, Mini, Led indicator


That’s all. I look forward to comments and feedback from you, and you are waiting for new articles. See you again on Bass-player.!


Posted By:

Muhammad Tahir

A sound product specialist with a passion for helping others make informed decisions about audio equipment. With years of experience in identifying quality products and their features, I'm excited to share my honest experiences and recommendations with you. Let's connect and get started on your audio journey today!


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