I’ve been struggling with bass amps ever since I decided to go to a combo setup. There was a time when I had a monstrous rack mounted rig and a 4×10 SWR cabinet, but I play in bars mostly and it was way overkill. I traded all my gear in for a Hartke and blew up the speaker after a year. I blew two entry level Eminence speakers until I sprung for a pro audio level neodymium magnet model that crushes. Unfortunately through one misadventure or another I’ve destroyed several pricey amps along the way. Hartke, Markbass and Carvin all bit the dust. I have a class A powered Hartke amp that’s simple and will destroy your bowels, but it weighs as much as a Buick.
So, with that I went on the hunt and I have to say that there are a few really good options for combo amps these days. For me it came down to the Fender Rumble 500 and the GK MB210-II. I wanted a 2×10 system because I need the punch and clarity of the smaller speakers. I also wanted to stay with the higher power of a 500 watt amplifier so that I can run an extension cabinet if need be.
After sitting with both and A/Bing between the two I decided on the Fender Rumble 500. Both have switchable horns and XLR out, and they both sound really good but Fender outclasses the GK in a number of areas. First, the Rumble has a foot switchable drive channel which is useful in live situations where you can’t easily get to the amp to turn the drive on manually. Second, there are more options for tone shaping with the preamp options. And third, it weighs significantly less than the GK which for me really was a big deciding factor since I have to lug the thing in and out of my car and up and down stairs.
Every musician who has heard me play through this amp has raved about the sound of both the room filling bass and the clarity. I’ve played Fender basses forever, so I guess it was about time to go in with the amp. I can’t wait to put it through the Summer gig season