What’s smaller than a half-loaf of bread, runs on batteries, and just may inspire you to practice more?
Miked with Audio Technica ATM650 into Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 interface into GarageBand.
Clip 1: ‘70s Epiphone Scroll bass with both pickups engaged. Gain at 11:00 o’clock, level at 1:00 o’clock, tone at 1 o’clock, and tilt at 11 o’clock.
Small and light. Priced right. Aux in, headphone, and LSI jacks.
Can be touchy at higher volume/gain settings.
Ease of Use:
Laney Amplification knows a thing or two about designing amps for paint-peelin’ hard-rock tones. The tiny new Mini-Bass-NX that bears the company name isn’t going to peel anything, but it’s a nifty little desktop/travel bass amp that will provide some volume when and where you’re inspired to practice. The amp is powered by six AA batteries (or optional DC supply) and the 6 watts it musters drives a pair of 3" speakers.
Set flat, the three-pound amp has a somewhat boxy sound that favors the mids, but it houses tone and tilt dials for tone tweaking. No, you’re not going to gig with it, but it is plenty loud and clean for a jam with acoustic-toting friends, and light and small enough to throw in your bag and go wherever. I favored engaging the shape switch and setting the tilt around 10 or 11 o’clock to warm up and round out the tone. You can even dial up some overdrive thanks to the gain dial, but be mindful: Getting too enthusiastic, with the gain and volume past 2 to 3 o’clock, will cause the Mini to clip out. That’s not a knock: It’s a tiny amp! The Mini also houses Laney’s proprietary “LSI” jack, which allows you to interface with your smart device and preferred tone-generating app, and head down a rabbit hole of available digital bass sounds.
If you’re being real about what you can rightfully expect from a hundred-dollar bass amp with tiny speakers, the Mini-Bass-NX certainly does what it’s supposed to, and then some.
Test gear: Traveler CL-3BE, late-’70s Epiphone Scroll bass, Focusrite Scarlett 2i4, Audio-Technica ATM650