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Looking for a great bass amplifier for your practice sessions? Want a great sound but may or may not play shows in future? Well we’ve reviewed the best options for this situation.
All will make your bass sound amazing, but without breaking the budget like some performing bass amps will.
So read on to find our selection of the best bass practice amplifiers for the money.
1. Fender Rumble 40 – Best Overall
- Combo Amp Type
- 10″ Fender Speaker
- 40 Watts Output
- 8.16 kg
- 12″ x 16.5″ x 16.5″
Seeing the Fender name on any instrument does not mean that it is good, but in most cases, the brand name indicates quality. The Fender Rumble 40 is a clear example of a brand living up to its reputation.
The Rumble series has been made for guitarists and musicians just starting out in their careers. Therefore, it is also a great fit for anyone that wants to play recreationally.
The Fender brand is known for its iconic combos and cabinets. These were really exciting and attractive to many people. However, if you are looking to be wowed by design, this is not exactly the pick for you. It comes as a box with a speaker.
Right from the design and form, it is clear that this is a good choice. It comes in a compact and lightweight form, which greatly enhances its portability. As such, it can not only be played indoors for practice, but it can be used in lightly larger spaces. With dimensions of 12 x 16.5 x 16.5″, this is easy to carry around. The design includes a detachable front grille and a ported enclosure.
Inside this compact form are interesting features that make it stand out from many others in this category.
Also, despite the compact and lightweight form, this is one of the more durable options on the market. Fender realizes that most people would love taking this around with them, which is why the cabinet has plenty of strength in its construction.
The controls are made of plastic, which is a disappointment. These are not as durable as we'd have liked, and they just feel cheap. Apart from that, though, the design is nice overall.
Performance is an even bigger consideration, and this product boasts of some of the best in its category. First of all, the 10″ speaker is designed for the cabinet, and the product has a power rating of 40 watts. While that seems small, it will be perfect for bass practice as it will not make plenty of noise.
The sound it produces is the most important aspect to consider, and we must say that for a portable, beginner, practice amp, this is quite excellent. When set at a good volume, it is nearly perfect for practice. Part of the appeal lies in the onboard that provides you with more shaping options for your sound. As for depth, it is great without feeling overwhelming. However, as you increase the volume, you might run into some issues with sound quality. This is not too surprising for a 10″ speaker.
One of our favorite things about the sound is the Vintage control option. This gives you room for growth, especially if you are looking to use the model in the studio.
What we didn't like
Well, as we have earlier pointed out, the controls feel cheap. Also, at 40 watts, this is not very loud, which places limits on the versatility. We also did not like some of the controls and circuit that doesn't really add anything to the overall sound.
If you are looking for a bass amp for practice, then this is great for you. It is recommended for hobbyists and budding musicians.
- Solid construction
- Lightweight and portable
- Great Vintage setting
- Loads of connectivity options
- Good overall sound
- Not very loud
- Confusing controls
2. Hartke HD50 – Worthy Alternative
- 50 Watts
- 10″ Speaker
- AUX-IN & Headphone-Out
- Combo Type
- 16 x 17.5 x 12″
The next product on our roundup is the Hartke HD50. The Hartke brand is a very popular brand, especially when compared with several other brands. However, the Hartke HD50 is one of the best bass practice amps on the market right now and is a worthy alternative to our top pick. It comes with several similar features that make the Fender the best in this category.
One of the things that makes this an excellent option is the build quality. At the relatively low price, it is easy to assume that the manufacturer would focus on other things other than design and build quality. However, we were pleasantly surprised to discover that this model is an excellent choice when it comes to the build quality.
Part of the build includes a perforated steel grille, a sturdy control panel, and a vinyl cover. Furthermore, the edges are coated in steel which makes the product even more resistant to impact. Unlike our top pick, this product has controls made out of good materials that will last for a long time. They feel great and durable.
Another thing that sets this apart is the sound quality. With 50 watts of power, it is one of the more powerful models on this list. The power is considerable when you think about the price category the product falls in. There are some things that make the sound better than that from other products, but perhaps the most noticeable feature is the HyDrive found in the speakers. This technology is the combination of aluminum and paper in the cone. The aluminum center part is covered by paper. This mechanism is coupled with a neodymium magnet. All of these combined make up the HyDrive and are responsible for the extra rich and warm sound you get from the model.
Although this technology is found in some other products, only this model has managed to combine it with 50 Watts of power. In addition, the amp sounds premium and better than the price. It retains its superb sound even when it is in overdrive.
The controls are another feature that benefits the user. You can adjust the volume, mid, treble, and bass. Therefore, you have more control over the sound that you create.
Also, there are other accessories like the stereo jacks that offer you more connectivity options.
What We Didn't Like
There isn't a lot to complain about here. However, although this is a compact and portable product, the handle feels flimsy. Therefore we were not fully comfortable holding it with the handle.
This unit is excellent for use in small locations and rehearsal spaces. It is also recommended for use in bedrooms. Also, the headphones output means that they can be used by anyone looking to practice wherever they want quietly.
Whether you are a beginner or an experienced player, we believe you will have a great time with this model.
- Powerful performance
- Strong sound
- Great build quality
- Compact and portable
- Clean controls
- Flimsy handle
- It doesn't offer plenty of effects
- Minimal sound shaping
3. Ashdown Studio 10 – Premium Upgrade
- Headphone Output
- 50 Watts
- Solid-State Amplifier
While we have considered relatively affordable models so far, the bass amp market also is home to some other picks that are more expensive. One of such is the Ashdown Studio 10.
The Ashdown brand does not get a lot of love from users. However, the recent offerings from the manufacturer have shown that anyone that overlooks it is doing themselves a disservice. This particular model is one of the best that we have considered, and if you are looking to make a premium upgrade, then you should consider it.
At first glance, it is clear that this is a very special option. It sports some of the most beautiful designs that we have seen on a bass amplifier. For example, the corners are plated with chrome and tolex, which gives it a stylish and premium appearance. These plated corners are not just for show as the tolex and chrome corners are bound to keep the unit protected from impact and similar hazards for many years to come.
Weighing 8.5 kg, this is one of the lighter models on this list. Coupled with the compact form factor, this is one truly portable option. It is made of poplar ply, which cuts down the weight without damaging the tone.
One of the best things about this amplifier is that it is a solid-state option. Solid-state amplifiers have been around for more than 40 decades. And since their first appearance, they have steadily seen improvements in their capabilities. This model is certainly no exception. The technology behind it rivals several valve amp models on the market without incorporating some of the drawbacks these are known for.
The design of this unit, as with most solid-state amps, is lightweight and portable. Therefore, it is a perfect companion for the musician on the move or anyone trying to practice in a small space.
Despite the small size and design, this belts out some of the best tunes and is quite powerful. The sound is rich and warm. Also, it is reliable even when the volume is increased. One reason for this is that instead of the delicate valves used in several other amps, this unit uses transistors.
One of the other things that we like about this model is that it is a rather basic option – it does what it is meant to do with no bells and whistles. Our testing found it to sound pretty great in a variety of positions.
As a combo amp, portability is not an issue. There are also rubber feet for the different positions that the machine can do.
Furthermore, this unit is fitted with almost all that is required to have a great tone even as you remove it from the box. The EQ is already set for you and will require very little fiddling before you can get the sound that you want.
What We Didn't Like
One main downside of this equipment is that it is not a multi-channel option. It is only available on one channel.
If money is not an issue, then this is arguably the best for anyone that wants to play their instruments quietly.
- Has headphone-out
- Durable construction
- Beautiful design
- Powerful performance
4. Peavey MAX 100 – Most Powerful
- Combo Type
- 100 Watts
- 10″ Speaker
- 17 x 21.5 x 16″
For several years now, the Peavey brand has been one of the most popular and best-selling brands in the industry. In fact, it is only second to the Fender brand. In particular, the AX series from the brand has set the benchmark for bass amps all over the market. While many players have often overlooked the brand, more and more people are flocking to the Max series from the manufacturer.
According to many users, this is among the best amps that beginners have laid their hands on. Out of the models in this series from Peavey, the Max 100 repeatedly stands out as the best option, especially for beginners. What makes this so special? Well, the models come with different features like an angled baffle design, a built-in tuner, and DI that contribute so much to the benefits derived from this product. The design also is innovative and makes the best use of space.
What is more, its power is just unmatched. At 100 Watts, there is no other product on this list that can produce the sheer power of this unit. If you are all about practicing amps, you will find it pretty tough to find amps that deliver as much power as this unit.
Away from the power, this model has some of the best bass output that we have tried. It might be 10″ in size, but the speaker produces a sound that is quite superior to what other units might give. Also, the pyscho-acoustic enhancement of the product ensures that the speaker does not exceed its limits – but it still gives more than what a typical 10″ product would deliver.
During our testing of this unit, we loved the controls on display. With this equipment, you get a three-band equalizer. This equalizer is combined with up to four different switches. The result is that you have plenty of sounds that you can make. The Pre-gain control here is also superb and incorporates plenty of sounds as well.
For a unit that is so rich in features and power, it is interesting to find that the operation is quite a breeze. We observed that the controls and interface are absolutely intuitive, and most users will be able to use them without a lot of fuss.
When choosing a bass amp, you need to think about the connectivity. Well, the equipment has relatively sufficient features in this regard. For example, there is a 1/8″ jack for AUX and another for the headphone.
What We Didn't Like
This is a relatively bulky product, which is not much of a surprise when you consider the power that it gives. However, if you are looking for portability and ease of transportation, you might be better off with the other products that we have reviewed so far.
This is a powerful unit that is recommended for all players – whether beginner or expert. It might be more expensive than most, but it is worth the cost.
- Incredible power
- Has AUX input and Headphone Output
- Intuitive controls
- Durable construction
5. Orange Crush 20 – Budget Option
- 20 Watts Output
- 3-Band EQ
- Analog Signal Path
- Foot Switch
The last option on our roundup is this excellent equipment for players on a budget: the Orange Crush 20.
This model is a straightforward combo amp that offers you value for your money. Although many are skeptical of solid-state amps, many users are impressed with the performance of this unit.
The Orange brand is no baby in the industry and has a record of making some truly satisfying products. That is why many feel comfortable trusting in an amp from this manufacturer. In terms of design, this is one of the best that you will find at this price. Inside the equipment, the design dictates that there are no tubes that will require replacement. What this means for you is that you should be able to use this for a long time.
When it comes to the value for money, then you cannot beat this product. It is quite affordable and will serve as one of the best small gig amps you will ever use.
Overall, this unit sounds so good at such a lower price that you cannot find anything that gives the value at this price. The Crush sounds pretty good, and we found it's able to create a wide variety of sounds. You can hear sounds ranging from classic to metal and blues.
Importantly, the model has ¼” ports that let you connect to headphones and play your instrument without disturbing anyone. There is also a footswitch at the back of the amp for switching between channels mid-performance.
What We Didn't Like
Well, this model does not come with onboard effects. This is one of the things that we did not like about it. Another downside is that it doesn't offer enough connectivity options. For example, there is no Bluetooth or USB connectivity.
As you might have surmised, this is a product that is meant for players that are on a budget. It might not have as much power as the others we have considered, but it will be satisfactory for anyone looking for an affordable practice amp.
- Wide range of tones
- Beautiful design
- Simple interface
- No memory bank
We considered five of the best bass practice amplifiers that you can find on the market right now in the section above. In this section, we show you some of the important features that we considered when making our list. With this information in hand, you can also head out to choose the best model for your requirements. You will see the features to look out for when buying bass practice amps.
1. Tone Controls
Tone control is one of the most important considerations when buying a bass amp. Any bass amp that is worth its salt will give you control over the bass, middle, and treble frequencies to ensure you get a pleasing sound.
Some of the best models on the market have even more advanced controls. These might include parametric equalizers that enhance tone shaping. There are yet others that feature a bright switch that can improve the clarity of sound. We have also come across models that offer tone controls like shape and contour circuits. And some of the best have equalizer settings geared to give you retro bass sounds or play specific genres.
2. Multiple Channels
The best amps that you can buy will likely come with more than one channel. With such a feature, it is easier to achieve the sound that you are going for. Not only do some have these multiple channels, but they might even have independent tone controls for each channel –enabling you to change switch sound in the middle of a practice section.
3. Gain control
Another feature that you should look out for is the gain control. It involves giving you control over the amount of overdrive. When used correctly, this feature will make your sound richer and warmer.
4. Switchable Impedance
Many good models (which is certainly what you should be aiming for) come with switches that let you select the output to match the speaker you are using—these outputs range from between 4 to 16 ohms.
5. Multiple Speaker Jacks
Speakers and cables are made by a wide variety of manufacturers, which means that they might offer different quality. That is why it is ideal that the bass practice amplifier you choose comes with various types on the back panel. With such a design, you will have an amp that can connect to the other equipment you decide to use with as little fuss as possible.
This is arguably the most important thing that you need to consider. The amplifier is an important part of your rig, and there are two main styles out there, which means that you need to choose the best one for you.
The main styles are the combo and stack.
Combo style has all the parts of the amp in a single unit. Therefore, you only need to move one device. On the other hand, the stack style has the amplifier and speakers separate, so you have to move them together. If you are often on the move, the combo style is probably the best fit for you.
Many suppose that larger speakers will give you better sound. However, that is a mistaken view. While there is some merit to it, the truth is that a larger speaker will give a heavier sound – which might not necessarily mean a better sound.
Therefore, when choosing your bass practice amps, you need to choose the correct size that will give a tight, delightful sound. Most of the models that we recommended in this list come with 10″ speakers, but when selecting, you can go with options that have up to 15″ speakers.
The power of the equipment is another important consideration. However, since you are selecting amps for practice, you might not really want something that produces a lot of power. And having a speaker with large power output does not automatically translate into a high volume.
If you aren't trying to make a lot of noise, just buy an amp that has its power output designated for practice.
9. Ease of Use
A practice amp is no use to you if you do not know how to use it. That is why you need to consider how easy it would be to use the device. To that end, check out stuff like the amp controls and input ports. It is important that these are well made and are easy to reach. Many models have the controls located at the back of the amp, while others have these easily within reach at the front.
You also need to consider the construction of the amp. Go for amps that are built solidly because they are likely to last for longer.
Top Bass Practice Amps, Conclusion
There are numerous options to choose from when trying to purchase the best bass practice amplifier. As we have considered so far, the Fender Rumble 40 is the best overall. It is a versatile option that can give you several ranges. The speaker is powerful and can work under different volumes. It is also lightweight and easy to handle.
Apart from that, the other products we have considered have features that set them apart from the competition. We hope that you find one that fits your budget and your needs. Happy playing!