Top 5 Practice Amps for Bass Guitar that Won’t Let You Down
Last updated: Apr 30, 2020
61Hours of Research
Bass amplifiers are designed to project the sound of a bass guitar so that everyone in a venue or arena can clearly hear the sound. But when it comes to practicing at home, an amp too loud is not something your neighbors will be impressed with for too long. That means you’ll need to invest in an appropriate practice amp that not only ensures crisp and clear sound, but also is friendly to the surrounding.
When it comes to choosing the best bass practice amp, there are many options and brands to choose from, including the likes of Fender, Ampeg and Roland, and that can be challenging particularly if you’ve never bought a bass amp before. For that reason, we have come up with the top five bass practice amps that you can compare and decide the one that suits your needs and budget. We considered features such as speaker size, watts, controls, as well as brand. For instance, some players prefer front-faced controls, whereas others like the control panel mounted on the top of the amp. You also need to think about tone controls, though many models simply have bass, mid and treble.
Top 5 Bass Practice Amps Review 2020
We spent 48 hours searching high and low from customer reviews to expert reviews before narrowing down our findings in the form of a comparison table, detailed reviews and a buying guide as follows.
Fender is a leading bass amplifier manufacturer and is famous for producing high-quality, high-end bass amps for a variety of budgets. The Fender Rumble 40 v3 is no exception and at its price, it appears that Fender was aiming at the affordable end of the market. This bass combo amp features multiple channels to provide output that matches the sound of your choice. It also benefits from standalone tone controls for each channel, meaning you can easily change the sound during a performance.
Like any other good bass amplifier, this Fender includes gain control feature. This helps regulate the extent of overdrive in the preamp phase. Ideally, by finding the right gain, you can create a comforting overdrive. Damping controls are also available to help you fine-tune the output of the amp to your speakers. These controls combined with resonance can help you produce sharp, intensive sounds from the speaker.
Located on the back of this bass amp is a direct output, which allows you to connect the system to a recording mixer or gear. You’ll also find variable impedance switch that lets you choose between 4-ohm and 8-ohm output to match your connected speakers. The jack type on this one is XLR line output, which connects to speakers, headphones and other recording gear.
Its 10-inch speakers may be on the small side, but it delivers a great amount of warmth and depth. The cabinet has a nice handle on its top to help with portability and it’s really sturdy to last for years. Above all, this product has a 5-year warranty for peace of mind.
Great bass punching
Offers multiple external connections: AUX, headphones, jack input
Footswitch overdrive for improved aggression
Sturdy housing with ergonomic handle
Ideal for practice sessions, rehearsals and small venues
The Roland CB-60XL is another impressive offering for anyone looking for a practice amplifier designed for ease of use and portability. It comes from a reliable manufacturer that keeps its commitment to quality and performance. While this bass amp is really compact and the speaker is only 10 inches, it packs a powerful sound in the form of 60 watts. A great feature that boosts the sound produced by this coaxial speaker is the dual custom-designed air flow port, which ensures a deep and punchy sound.
Onboard this bass amp are 8 COSM amp models, including clean, crunch and the new super low amp, giving you multiple options with your sound. These amps deliver a knock-out punch thanks to custom FFP and COSM technology. FFP, in particular, is one of Roland’s key technologies in which every component including amp, speaker and cabinet, achieve optimal performance and efficiency for maximum power from a compact body.
There are also seven sound effects, including the new poly octave and drive, giving you plenty of options in controlling the music you want to produce from your instrument. In addition, it has a solo function with memory, which you can utilize as a second channel, while a built-in phase looper enables you to construct stacks of sound in real time.
When it comes to connections, it offers a plethora of options including: ¼″ bass input jack, AUX in jack, ¼″ Line out jack, DI out jack, recording out/phones jack, and three foot SW jacks.
All things considered, this mid-size cube-60 XL bass amp is great for taking anywhere you want to practice with a group.
Hartke is a big name in bass amplification and the Hartke HD50 exemplifies its longtime concept of aluminum-coned speakers. The speaker boasts a design called HyDrive, which combines aluminum and paper in the cone whereby the visible aluminum central portion is surrounded by the paper. When combined with a neodymium magnet, the result is the warmth and roundness of paper plus the punch and aggressiveness of aluminum. While this technology can be found in other models, Hartke has integrated it into an affordable 50W combo.
Controls are in the form of volume, bass, mid and treble, meaning you can adjust according to your sound needs. This model looks phenomenal for something inexpensive. The construction includes a perforated steel grille, texture vinyl cover and a robust control panel. The corners are covered by steel to aid in durability, while every switch, knob, and jack is well-installed. The fact that the control panel is on the top may seem like a design downside, however, you will appreciate its neat lettering straightforward, no-frills layout.
This bass amp also includes essentials such as stereo jacks for input from external audio sources such as for playing along or headphones. The tone of this bass amp tends to be strong in the low mids and a bit subdued in the highs. It doesn’t sound cheap at all even when you take in on overdrove. Needless to say, this HD50 is pretty lightweight and portable. All in all, this bass amp is a great choice for beginners and experienced players alike, and you can rely on it for rehearsals and quiet gigs.
Orange amps have been around since the late 1960s, but there has been a resurgence of popularity for the brand in the last decade. Nevertheless, they have a fantastic bass amp in this Crush PiX CR50BXT. A 50W bass combo amplifier, this model is equipped with a single 12″ 4-ohm Orange Crush speaker. The addition of an auxiliary speaker 0.25″ output allows you to add another 4-ohm or greater speaker to double the sound.
The whole unit weighs 41 pounds and measures 16.54 x 18.5 x 11.02 inches and you can choose between orange and black tolex. The control panel is laid out on top of the bass amp and there are just five knobs – gain, master volume and 3-band EQ. There is a headphone output, a single input jack, a 0.25’’ direct output, and a 1/8-inch input so you can plug an external source to play along.
An onboard tuner is included with some red and green LEDs as an added bonus. The power cord goes into the back and that is also where the ON/OFF switch is hidden. This bass amp is not going to produce a terribly loud sound and if you keep this in mind, then you’ll not be disappointed.
Besides looking pretty, this Orange Crush CR50BXT is a very versatile bass amplifier. This product makes a perfect practice amp, and you can practice in the middle of the night thanks to its headphone output. It covers the bass range from clean to overdrive, making it the perfect amp for any style of music.
The Ampeg BA110V2 is a top choice for producing classic tones designed for practice and rehearsals alike. A unique aspect of this bass amp is that it comes it features a front-facing control panel for easier and better access during performances. As if that’s not enough, Ampeg added a Bass Scrambler overdrive to produce that true bass sound. Inside this 34-pound amp, you will find a powerful 40W speaker which is pretty loud when you want it to be, yet quiet enough for use in domestic setup.
Another thing you’ll appreciate on this amp is a 3-band EQ, allowing you to customize and shape the sound coming out of your bass guitar. The amp includes 1/4-inch AUX input for connecting your iPod, smartphone or any such external source for playing along. There is also a headphone output that lets you practice silently without disturbing anyone.
What’s more? This bass amp boasts a modern cabinet design with a genuine 60-degree sound reinforcement monitor angle which improves clarity. The design is flexible in a way that directs sound at your ears even in tiny spaces. With its protective all-steel chassis, rugged embraced enclosures and impact-resistant metal corners, this Ampeg BA110V2 is no doubt built for the long haul. The amp is also ready to go anywhere you want as it is quite portable, thanks to the top handle. Overall, a highly affordable but equally high-performance bass amp.
Excellent high-quality construction designed to last for years
Powerful 40W 10-inch speaker for a superbly clear sound
An integrated 3-band EQ
Built-in AUX input and headphone output
Bass scrambler overdrive
Sound reinforcement monitor angle
Noisy fan, which may affect sound clarity
Finding the right bass practice amp can make all the difference in how a crown perceives your music. If the tone is off there is a high chance that the sound distortion produced will affect the audience. Before setting out to buy a bass practice amp, there are a few things that need to be put into consideration. We will discuss these considerations below.
What an ideal bass amp for practice should be like
There are many models in the market, but finding an ideal one may take a bit more of your time. If it is your first-time shopping for a bass practice amp, here are a few hints on what an ideal one would look like:
Selecting a combo-amp saves you time as all you need to do is plug in and you are good to go. Instead of dividing your focus on tweaking a separate amp and speaker, you can settle for the combo amp. They combine all the features and controls you need under one roof. At least all the models we’ve covered above are combo types.
It is good to give every manufacturer a chance to prove that their products are of quality. However, if you are unsure of the brand, it is always good to go for the more reputable and established brands like Ampeg and Fender. At least you will be assured that they are capable of providing high-quality products.
Bass practice amps do not have to be as large as those used in large concerts entertaining thousands of people. This means that the cost of purchasing these smaller amps is more pocket-friendly. Select a model that not only fits in your budget, but the quality is not compromised.
Choose the best bass practice amp by the following features
The quality of features you select are important as they will affect the kind of results that you get while playing your bass guitar. Some of the features to look out for include:
There is a notion that the larger the speaker, the better the music. That is not so accurate because larger speakers tend to deliver a mushy or heavier sound. Selecting the right size of speaker will produce a tighter sound that won’t rumble the whole house up. A 10–15-inch speaker will do well depending on the size of your practice space. In fact, a 10-inch speaker but with a powerful output such as the 60W Roland CB-60XL can be sufficient for practicing with a group in a relatively larger room.
To get the best sound from your amp means tweaking the controls provided to suit the sound of your music. In a reliable bass practice amp, you have controls such as 3band EQ (equalizer), gain control, and volume control. These make up the basic controls that you need to tweak your sound. Any other control features are there to make your life run a bit smoother by providing more options.
Power in watts and volume
Being that these amplifier units are for practice only and not professional work, they do not need a lot of power to produce the high volume. Getting a speaker with a large power output does not mean that the volume will equally be high. A 100W amp will only be slightly lower compared to a 50W bass practice amp. If you are not trying to wake up the dead, we suggest you settle for an amp with a power output intended for practice use instead of professional work.
Ease of use
The placement of the amp controls and the input ports is important as you want to have easy access to them. Many of the models in the market place their controls at the top back of the amp, while some such as the Ampeg BA110V2 have front-faced controls which are easy to reach.
Having the controls placed at the back-bottom position may cause people with injuries to strain in order to reach the controls.
Additionally, the knobs/ buttons should be well illustrated and made of quality material to prevent disintegration over time.
Audio compressors do a good job at preventing amps from overloading and damaging the speakers. Look for a model that offers some kind of overload protection so as to avoid irreparable damage.
Any amp in the marketplace needs a solid and durable construction so as to keep up with constant use. We can come to a consensus that for practice/rehearsals you do not need the tube amplifiers. They are more expensive and produce a warmer tone required for professional use. That is why solid-state amps are preferred for beginners. They are normally made of thick wood and heavy bracing so as to keep up with the vibration produced. They are not as expensive as tube amps, and therefore, they make economic sense.
Purchasing electrical products and the availability of warranties only makes sense. Nobody wants to be electrocuted or end up buying sub-standard electrical products. It is important that you get a warranty so that if the product is faulty, the supplier will be liable to offer a credible solution. Depending on the brand you purchase, you may get a warranty ranging from 1 to 5+ years. That is adequate time to assess the quality of the bass amp you got. Once again, no one seems to beat Fender in this aspect as the Fender Rumble 40 v3 has an impressive 5-year warranty.
Always transport your amp in an upright position to avoid any internal damage.
Purchase a case to prevent the amp from being exposed to dust/smudges and unnecessary physical impacts.
Always take your time to balance your EQ so as to get the best sound out of the amp.
Avoid placing liquids on top of the amp. If the liquid spills over the controls, electrical damage may be experienced.
Well, in most cases, you get what you pay for. Finding a cheap amp will probably save you some money, but you are not guaranteed the durability of the amp. Additionally, the features provided may produce a sub-par sound that will not be pleasing to the ear. You can take a risk and take a shortcut or just save up and get an amp that will offer you great service for years to come.
Tube amps are expensive and preferably used for professional purposes. If you are just beginning your journey, a solid-state amp will serve you well. They are more affordable and won’t have the neighbors in an uproar every time you are busy practicing.
One could always use a more powerful amp, but that comes with time. When beginning, it is better to start with a bass practice amp of low wattage. Working with models below 100W is preferable before your skill matures and it is ready for the big leagues. When you are doing larger gigs in big spaces, you can go as high as 1000W.
It’s clear there are many options to choose from, whether on this list or elsewhere, as far as the best bass practice amp goes.
In our opinion, the Fender Rumble 40 v3 stands out of the crowd, thanks to its ability to produce all kinds of bass ranges. It also houses a powerful 40W speaker that’s ideal for operating with all levels of volume. The whole thing just weighs 18 pounds, making it perhaps the most portable bass amp out there.
With many practice amps having only basic features, the sophisticated Roland CB-60XL with its eight COSM amp models, seven effects and 60 watts of power is a fantastic upgrade.
And for anyone interested in a budget bass amp, the Ampeg BA110V2 is the real deal. Its base scrambler overdrive together with 3-band EQ make it superior to other models in its price range, while it has been solidly built to serve users for years.