Bass amplification has evolved though many stages, but the basic notion of an amp and speaker in a single enclosure has served bassists well for more than 60 years. The current generation of bass combos make bassists’ lives a little easier with back-saving portability, great tones, and floor-shaking power.

This roundup covers the smaller end of the combo world: the latest 1x12 options. Models of this caliber are often deemed bedroom or practice amps, but here, the manufacturers have more in mind. We often need something smaller than our stadium rig for intimate gigs, writing rooms, or rehearsal, and all these combos bring enough beef to be considered more than practice tools.

We examine the Ampeg B-112, Ashdown Rootmaster 220, Fender Rumble 100, and Hartke HD75 from top to bottom. In each case, the manufacturer attempts to capture its signature big-amp sound in a compact combo that speaks louder than its modest footprint might suggest. In the bass arena, where bigger often seems to be better, these little powerhouses remind us that it’s not about the size of the rig, but how you use it. And did we mention they’re all under $500?

Click the amp you're most interested with or hit next and start with the Ampeg BA-112.

Ampeg BA-112
Ashdown Rootmaster RM-C112-220
Fender Rumble 100
Hartke HD75