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Best Bass Combo Amps Under $500


Whether you simply need a good cheap bass combo amp for practice and rehearsals, or something more powerful and gig worthy yet just as portable, this page will compare the top combo picks under $400.

Bass amps obviously need to have a strong, defined low end presence, and a lot of cheapies will lack the deepness required to articulate anything more than a flabby rumbling along side the drums.

The 50 and 150 watt combo amps below will give you a clear, punchy and dynamic tone that will hold up in most band/live situations.



Cheap 50 Watt Bass Combo Amp

A genuine workhorse, the Ampeg BA-112 is highly praised across forums and gear sites. A no frills bass combo that's so versatile even 6 string guitarists have found usable tone through it, and with a deep bottom end that you'd expect from larger cabs. Simply great value for money.

Ampeg BA-112 Bass Combo Amp

Ampeg BA-112 Bass Combo Amp

Overall Rating

9 / 10

Reviews

Harmony CentralAmazonZzounds
Musicians Friend

Best Deal

  Est. $280

Key Features

50 Watts through 12" speaker. Tilt back cabinet. Especially deep, punchy response for a combo. Style selector with 5 preset tones.


Spec

50 watts / 12" speaker / 3-band EQ / Style selector with 5 basic tone options / Balanced TRS line out / Headphone jack / RCA input for connecting a CD or tape player / Tilt back cabinet

What users say

A versatile bass combo with simplified features. Active/passive inputs, standard 3 band EQ with master volume and a tidy 5 way "style" selector switch to help shape your tone. Jacks include aux/CD input, line out and headphones. The only thing it's truly lacking, as many users have pointed out, is a balanced XLR output, although the 1/4" line out is balanced.

Note that the aux input bypasses the EQ or style controls which is useful if you want to jam along to track as it was originally mastered.

Fifty solid state watts drive a 12" speaker. Tilt back cabinet which gives you a more directional sound with all its mid and high end clarity. Great for gigging and easy to carry, but very ruggedly assembled - another major talking point among users. It really is one of the most solidly built amps you'll come across.

With the EQ balanced, the BA-112 delivers a thumpy, warm, rich and round tube-like tone that doesn't distort at high volumes and handles the lows with just enough tightness. It's a very clean amp which is why it's also favoured by keyboard players. This in part makes it ultra responsive to the EQ and style settings. If you're sick of sterile sounding solid states, the 112 will be a breath of fresh air.

The style switch starts off deep, low and fat and can take you right through to bright and zingy. Mixed with the EQ you're sure to find that sweet spot for your needs.

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Cheap 150 Watt Bass Combo Amp

A favourite among budget conscious bassists, the Fender Rumble 150 offers the perfect balance of features, rugged, portable design and sweet, versatile tone. Here's one of their beefiest combos...

Fender Rumble 150 Bass Combo Amp

Fender Rumble 150 Bass Combo Amp

Overall Rating

8 / 10

Reviews

Harmony CentralAmazonZzounds
Musicians Friend - Music Radar
Ultimate Guitar

Best Deal

  Est. $325

Key Features

150 Watts with 15" speaker. Overdrive with gain and blend controls. Shape switches for additional tone control. Wheels for easy cabinet transportation.

Spec

Amp Type: Solid State / Input(s): Two / Output: 150 Watts / Line Out: 1/4" for direct recording or live use / Speaker: 15" Fender Special Design + piezo tweeter horn with on-off switch / Controls: Volume, Overdrive Gain, Overdrive Switch, Overdrive Blend, Punch EQ preset, Scoop EQ preset, Bass, Low Mid, High Mid, Treble / Covering: Black Vinyl / Effects: Overdrive (Footswitchable)

What users say

Fender have tweaked their Rumble range. In a nutshell, you get more features, updated design and improved sound.

The wheel afixed cabinet hosts a feature rich control panel. Plenty of tinkering to be done. Active/passive input, 4 band EQ (including semi-parametric low mid and high mid controls), mid scoop switch, overdrive switch with gain and blend control. A unique feature is the ability to switch off the 2" tweeter to cut the highs, built in compression and the standard effects loop, headphone jack and an XLR line out for balanced PA connection.

150 watts gives you enough power for small to medium size gigs with wheel on, wheel off convenience.

Virtually any sound can be dialled in due to the wealthy array of dials and switches. Whether you need a cutting pick attack or thumping finger grooves, the Rumble will deliver. The low and high mid controls allow you to layer your tone with increased precision.

The distortion is footswitchable (footswitch is an extra $30) and will give you all the grind you need for heavier styles without muddying up your settings. You can use the blend knob to balance the clean and gain tone - much deeper than simply adding/removing gain, it's about layering your tone so that all the definition of the clean tone isn't lost amidst the distortion, but complemented and enhanced around the edges.

Users report no unwanted distortion or buzzing at high volumes and the built in compressor does a subtle but effective job of keeping your tone rich and complex, giving you plenty of initial punch and letting that buttery warmth bleed through.

The mid scoop seems to be a favourite feature of many 150 owners, enhancing the punch and pop for some very fat, percussive slaps.

Overall, the 150 gives you all the power and tone of the popular 100 in the previous Rumble line, with that little extra wattage and vastly more scalable features... and for the same price.

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Compare Bass Combo Amps

BA-112 Rumble 150
Best For Bassists who want a simple, versatile combo for practice and small gigs. Bassists who want enough power for small-mid sized gigs in a portable combo.
Defining Features Tilt back cabinet. Style selector. Deep bass for such a small combo.  Wheeled cabinet for easy transportation. Overdrive. Loads of tone shaping controls.
Output 50 Watts 150 Watts
Speaker
12 inch 15 inch
EQ 3 band + 5 way style selector 4 band + gain + blend
Switches N/A Enable Overdrive. Punch. Scoop. Ground Lift. Tweeter Horn on/off.
Additional Inputs/Outputs High & Low inputs. Aux In. Line Out. Headphones. FX loop send/return. Aux In. XLR Out. Headphones. Footswitch.
Price $280 $325
More Info Click Here Click Here


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