Another amp on the block as part of my big clear-out of unused gear as I make way for a new, simpler studio & gigging setup.
This is the 'big daddy' of the amazing Multiamp lineup with stereo amps delivering 2x500w into 4ohms, 2x300w into 8ohms or a chunky 1000w if you bridge it!
This complete kit was bought for a very specific functions band project that was going to require lots of different core bass tones plus some synthy, octave, delay and fuzz settings. Unfortunately the gig didn't really get off the ground so it sat in my study as an, expensive, toy to be tinkered with. Very little usage at all, mostly just the odd hour or two scrolling through presets & fiddling with small adjustments. The midi pedal has never even been plugged in and the plastic never removed from the control panel! The 2 close-up pics below, of both front and rear, should show the excellent condition
There are a couple of small marks on the top from when I had some pedals sitting on it & it wasn't in the gig bag. The rest is immaculate. None of the kit has ever left the house, although the gig bag is definitely designed to be used live with little cut outs for the fan on the side.
Mojave wrote a very comprehensive review on it when released and I've taken the liberty of adding that here:
I think bass players fall into two categories when it comes to gear. There are those who like to use lots of tech and often use bigger pedal boards than most guitarists, then there are the players who will have a tuner and possibly a compressor, but will then mostly keep their rig nice and simple.
Given this review, it may surprise that I fall into the latter category. I don’t use lots of gear and I prefer to keep things simple, but I do also find myself being asked to do something in my function band, at a dep or in studio where I could have done with some distortion, chorus or a completely different rig to give a more valve-y overdriven or soulful sound. With my old setup that left me a bit exposed sometimes and I resorted to one of several multi effect pedals I have used over the years but with no great love, satisfaction or worse, a disappointing muddy or “digital” sound.
So to me, the MultiAmp represents a truly “All in One” head and effects rack which, with a choice of cabs, will allow me to turn up and create pretty much any sound/feel required.
There are two versions of the Bass MultiAmp; I chose the mono version. In both cases the input is a single mono input. The mono version has a single power amplifier, running the same as a Little Mark III and all the standard Combo amps, providing 300w at 8 Ohm and 500w at 4 Ohm. The stereo version has [i]two[/i] of the above, and can also provide a choice of output settings to give a stereo output, a bridged mode providing 1000w at 8 Ohm, or a Bi-Amp mode.
The fronts of both the units are identical, but some of the menu options differ. From left to right we have a single mono input with a pad switch, allowing you to select between -6, 0 +6 and +12dB. Along the bottom row there are the same Gain, Low, Mid-Low, Mid-High, High and Master pots you would find on all Markbass heads. The only difference is they are infinite, with the levels of these shown by a ring of red LEDs, as the parameters can all be stored. Along the top row there are three amp model buttons, defined as “Solid State”, “Tube” and “Vintage”. There is an independent “Phones” level control and there is the reasonably sized monochrome LCD display. To the right of the display there is the power switch, a 3.5mm headphone out socket, an SD slot and eleven buttons for the menu system.
On the rear of both units is a “Speaker Out” section, a pair of left and right line outputs, with a pad switch providing -10 or +4 and a ground lift. The ¼” jack outputs are unbalanced, the XLR are balanced and these can be configured in the system menu to allow you to select the DI path between “End of chain, Post Amp EQ or Pre Amp EQ’. You can also configure the output level and whether the Cab Simulation is on or off. There is a USB port for the Win/Mac programming tool, a MIDI in/thru, and an effects send/return loop.
I have connected the XLRs to a desk and, unless I have missed something, the mono version provides the same output signal on each, where the stereo version will provide a stereo image and stereo effects.
Using the MultiAmp
The display is selectable between the lists of various presets available and, once a preset is chosen, a set of eight “slots” is shown, each of which can be turned on or off independently. The only slot that is fixed is Slot 8, which can only be used for the Cab Simulation. Every other slot can have [i]anything[/i] put in it, including multiples of the same effects. The only rule is you can only have one Amp (a bit obvious really!), but this can be [i]anywhere[/i] in the signal path making it incredibly versatile.
So, the process of building a customized patch starts with selecting the amp model and which slot you want it in. Using the scroll keys, find an appropriate slot and pressing the “Slot Select” button, after which you are presented with a choice of functions, the first of which is the amplifier. Using the amp model buttons you choose the amp type you want and each of these has a selection of amps (probably!) as follows:-
Big Bang (Markbass)
Little Mark III (Markbass)
T-Green90 (Trace Elliot)
RB7Hundred (Gallien Krueger)
TTE 500 (Markbass)
Blue ’70 (Ampeg SVT Blue Line)
Red ’96 (SWR Redhead)
TWval115 (Ampeg B15)
Bassface ‘59 (US) (Fender Bassman)
UK120 (Orange OR-120)
JMayor (Marshall Major)
Sunny US (Sunn)
I say “probably” because there is nothing in writing anywhere on the Markbass website or in the documentation to support this but it’s probably a reasonable guess! You confirm your selection using the scroll keys and the “Enter” button, and then you use the standard level/tone controls to set it up as you wish.
You then do the same for any effects or functions you may wish to add to any of the other slots. The parameters for each slot can then be configured by selecting the slot and pressing the enter button. Some of the amps also have further options which are shown in the same way including, for example, the VLE/VPF filters for the LMIII/Big Bang and the “Colour” for the TTE500.
The effects currently available are:-
This includes all the MB effects, a bunch of others, a volume pedal and the ability to patch and switch the effects loop.
The MultiAmp allows you to store up to five banks of 128 presets, 640 in total, which can also be saved onto an SD card to back up or have additional libraries.
There is now a Mac/Win programming interface available which I have been playing with today.
Like most it is fairly self-explanatory, with the eight slots taking most of the screen – not big on fancy graphics but all the controllability there, available and simple to use. It has a neat feature that you can drag and drop the slots if you wish to modify the signal chain order, though you will need to find yourself a Male A to Male A USB cable to connect to the MultiAmp, rather than the usual “printer cable” style, but I easily found a choice of lengths in Maplins.
In a live situation the MultiAmp can be controlled from the front panel or using MIDI (I don’t know any detail and don’t quote me, but I have also heard a rumour that there may be a dedicated MB pedal in development. The DVMark guitar version is already available on their website). The MIDI implementation is an area I have not yet done too much with, but the demo MultiAmp at the LGBS was configured with a Keith McMillan SoftStep, which facilitated patch switching, toggling effect slots, volume pedal, tap tempo and a mute/tuner. I already own a SoftStep which I use on my Behringer X32 desk, so am going to start by uploading the configuration MSL have given me and take it from there.
The build quality of the unit is exactly what you would expect from Markbass. This kit is built, like all other MB kit, for producing high quality professional sound and trust me, it is in a completely different league to any modelling multi-effects pedal I have ever used (and as said before I’ve been through a few!). The software is very quick with no latency at all that I can detect. It all feels very warm and natural and the amp models are incredibly high quality; it is all very quiet when your instrument volume is off. There is a high degree of controllability to all amps/effects, from almost un-noticeably subtle to utter madness.
The platform is very actively being developed; it is one of around six different models of MultiAmp if you include the guitar versions in the DVMark range and the list of features had already grown when the v2 firmware became available, including some additional effects and significant improvements to the MIDI functionality.
At the London Bass Guitar Show the MultiAmp generated a lot of interest. There was a mix of people who looked at it and either got it immediately, or said “nah, too complicated for me”. I do completely get both views, but….
While I would agree it [i]will[/i] take a couple of hours of sitting down and pre-configuring, I am not finding this at all difficult or complicated. There are those who will want to set up hundreds of patches and optional configurations but I won’t be doing that myself. I am already most of the way to programming a selection of basic patches for each of the amp models I know I will use, with a selection of useable effects in each.
So is it good value? If you are happy with one sound and no effects then possibly not. If you want the versatility of a choice of amps and a quiver of high quality effects, in a simple to use “all in one” rack mountable box, then I personally think it makes complete sense.
Though predominantly with studio based technology, guitarists have had a broader choice of similar multi-functional products for a good while now (the DVMark Guitar MultiAmp is proving very successful in that market too), but this is a different concept for many bass players. Having led the lightweight gear revolution, for which my back will be ever grateful, I see this as the next and very logical development.
Specifications - from Anderton's
INPUT: 1 jack mono
OUTPUTS: 2 jack mono (left/mono,right), 2 XLR male (left/mono,right), speaker outs , headphones
CHANNELS: Solid State / Tube / Vintage
CONTROLS: Gain /Phones Level / Master
EQ CONTROLS: Low / Mid Low / Mid High / High
STEREO MODE: [email protected]
ohm | [email protected]
BRIDGE MODE: [email protected]
MIDI Connections: In / Through
105 Live Mono Factory Presets
105 P.A. Factory Presets
105 Live Stereo Factory Presets
> Virtual Amps
> Speaker Cabs and Microphones
> External Memory (SD card*)
DIMENSIONS: 2U standard rack / depth 12.76"/324 mm
WEIGHT: 9.48 lbs /4.3 kg
Price based on collection or local meet-up - assume roughly £15 to ship.