Normal guitar amps don’t sound as good when used by acoustic bass. This is why you need specialized bass amps. Check out this article for more info on the difference between bass amp and guitar amp.
The best amp for acoustic bass is the Ampeg ba 110 v2. It is a very affordable amp (less than $200) that produces beautiful bass tone right out of the box. Compared to the likes of Fender, this is a true sounding bass amp.
Ampeg Ba 110 vs review
I recommend the Ampeg ba 110 v2 for the following reasons:
- Value for money: It is hard to find a similarly priced amp with such solid bass sounds
- Fantastic tone: The sound is so clear that you can easily hear characteristic of your acoustic bass. If you like passive pick ups, this amp offers plenty of that.
- No rattling: This amp doesn’t rattle. If the ampeg you own rattles, it is mostly due to a manufacturing fault. The cause is due to some of the internal screws not being tight enough. Either DIY to solve the problem ( It is not difficult to tighten a few screws) or take it to a service center.
- Loud volume: At between 0 to 1, the volume is loud enough for bedroom practice. For small venues, a single one is sufficient to wow the room. Even for large venues, 2 of these will let you easily cut through the mix. The good thing is that even at high volumes, there is very little noise coming out.
- Headphone jack: Comes with headphone jack for bedroom practice. For more recommendations on such amps, click here to read my article on amps with headphone jacks.
- Made in USA: This is not cheap China made product
- Heavy: It weighs 30 lb and will be considered heavy when compared to those portable amp. However, among bass amps, this is considered one of the lightest. With that weight, it can still be moved around without much help.
- Scrambler: Doesn’t make any significant difference to the sound
Protip: Add a 15″ extension cabinet and the sound will transform into something even more awesome.
Donner 25W review
The Donner 25W is a cheaper alternative to the Ampeg ba 110 v2. The trade off comes in lessor power and features.
For self practice, the Donner 25W is great. For gigs, it is not so ideal.
- Clean tone: Like the Ampeg ba 110, the Donner 25W also offers a wonderful clean tone. Even for low B string, the sound is distinct and clear.
- Portable: The Donner 25W is pretty compact and weighs around 20 pounds, which is lighter than the Ampeg.
- Headphone jack available
- Accessories: The Donner amp comes with a set of useful accessories that include a right angle guitar cable, a short male/male 3.5mm connector, and some jack adapters. These would cost you more money if purchased separately.
- Protection: The amp has a nice carpet covering that protects the amp’s corner from any accident bumps.
- Ratting for largest string: The frequency from the 5th string is enough to cause the amp to have strong ratting. So I suggest buying this only if you are playing with an 4 string instrument.
- Simple EQ controls: The EQ comes with four controls: Volume, Treble, Middle, Bass. This can be a benefit for beginners but might not offer sufficient flexibility for advanced players.
- No effects or loops
Aguilar DB112 cabinet – amp for 5 string bass
For non beginners who is willing to pay for quality, check out the Aguilar DB112. It is a fantastic cabinet, and when paired with the right amp head, can produce wonderful bass music.
If you need an amp head recommendation, go for the Tone Hammer TH500. It is portable and light. Best of all, the sound from the fan is very minimal.
When paired with the cabinet, the combo sound is unbelievable good on the low end and wonderfully relaxing on the middle.
- Beautiful tone: You will get a deep and smooth bass tone. The sound feels rich and yet not over powering.
- Big sounds: This cabinet is definitely suitable for playing gigs in bigger venues.
- Beautiful design: The styling is vintage. I love the chocolate colored version as it makes the design pop. Displaying them in your living room is going to grab some visitors’ attention for sure.
- Price: It is not cheap but you get what you pay for.The good news is during sales, the prices can go as low as below $400 so do keep an eye out.
- Weight: It is a heavy cabinet. If you intend to carry this around, prepare some trolleys.
- No dust cover provided
Aguilar db112 vs sl112
A common question being asked is comparing between these 2 Aguilar models.
The main difference between an Aguilar db112 vs SL112 is the weight difference of 20 pounds. In terms of sound, while the db112 can perform better in extreme cases, you can’t really tell the difference between the two under normal playing circumstances.
Another potential implication is which model will be discontinued. There are rumors that the SL112 might be discontinued. If this is true, getting replacement parts will be a problem down the road.
Buying guide for acoustic bass amp
When deciding on a suitable amp for acoustic bass, below is what I look for:
- True bass sounds: If you enjoy bass music for a while, you will know what this means. Some amp try to get close to the bass tone but is still lacking that punch, especially at the low b string range.
- Headphone jacks: For those who want to practice without disturbing your family or neighbors, this is a must.
- Ratting: This is the number one turnoff for me. Non bass amp tend to rattle especially when the largest strings are played.
A dedicated bass amp can definitely bring out the best in acoustic bass guitars. If you are a beginner or just want a better bedroom experience, the Donner 25W and the Ampeg Ba 110 v2 will be enough.
For advanced 5 string players, the Aguliar db112 will sound so heavenly that you might not want to stop playing.