Genz-Benz Shuttle 9.0
If you like the idea of a micro bass amp and want the oomph of a big rig, the Genz-Benz Shuttle 9.0 should fit the bill nicely. Although a micro amp in terms of size and weight, the Shuttle 9.0 packs a serious wallop with 900 watts RMS and a bevy of sound-shaping features, including a 12AX7 preamp tube with variable gain and output level. The seven, metal knobs on the Shuttle’s front panel are knurled and sturdy, and while the indicator dots are black and don’t stand out particularly well, there are helpful notches above the dots. There are also four, metal push-buttons that handle the muting function and EQ pre-shaping.
The front panel of the Shuttle 9.0 is nicely organized into four, well-labeled sections. The Tube Preamp section, which includes the Mute button, allows for overdriving the preamp tube (or not) while also managing the signal level it sends to the EQ section. Although the EQ setup is the basic, 3-band arrangement, the added semi-parametric control provides a generous sweep of center frequencies that nearly spans the gap between the high and low bands. The Signal Shape section includes three pre-shapes—a bass boost, a mid scoop, and a high boost—that can also be controlled by a Genz-Benz 4-button foot switch. Finally, the Master Section not only wrangles the final volume level, but also offers a platoon of status indicator lights to help you see what’s going on while you play.
Flipping around to the back of the Shuttle 9.0 unveils plenty more features. Rather than automatically detecting 110 or 220 voltages, there’s a bright red switch that toggles between the two. A pair of speakON jacks handles the speaker connection duties. There are also the usual effects loop jacks, an aux in, and tuner out. The DI includes three small switches for ground lift, pre/post EQ send, and DI output level (line or mic), which is a handy way to send the right signal to the board.
In all, my experience playing through the Shuttle 9.0 found punch, focus, and authority without being overly aggressive. Between the tube section, 3-band EQ, and three pre-shapes, this amp provides a versatile array of sounds that will cover nearly any musical venue you might be facing. If you don’t need this much power and want to save a little money from the $829 price tag, Genz-Benz also manufactures the Shuttle in 300- and 600-watt models with essentially the same feature set.