Clean bass tones from a small, stout combo that can go from desktop to practice to gig with grace.
Music and technology have changed plenty since Traynor rolled out their fist bass amp in 1963, but the company’s name remains synonymous with solid amplification that won’t break the bank. The latest addition to their line of Small Block lightweights is the 15-pound SB106. It’s a rugged-feeling, super-compact combo that pairs the circuitry of their SB200H head with a 6 1/2" driver, so with 200 watts, it’s got enough juice to serve as more than just a bedroom-relegated practice amp.
The simple but complete front panel houses active and passive inputs, a mute switch, a gain dial, and a 4-band EQ along with a low-expander dial for, yes, expanding the low frequency. Around back is a tuner out, aux in, and an XLR out with selectable pre/post EQ. With the gain at 2 o’clock, the EQ set flat, and the low expander at noon, I got an impressively clean, warm, and smooth bass tone that displayed plenty of headroom. In fact, diming the amp’s gain with my P’s volume cranked didn’t make a mess of things. I wouldn’t necessarily call the touch of breakup that resulted a usable overdrive, but the more extreme settings did show me this little guy can generate some size-defying volume with a bit of growl through its single, small speaker. And when I plugged the combo into an external 2x12 (which automatically defeats the onboard speaker), the tone opened up wide with the additional air to breath. Super compact, a responsive EQ, 200 watts, and versatile—what’s not to like?
Test gear: Fender P, Orange OBC212 cab, Focusrite Scarlett 2i4
Recorded using Fender P with SB106 XLR into Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 interface into GarageBand.
Clip 1 - Gain at 1 o'clock, bass at noon, low mid at 1 o'clock, hi mid at noon, treble at 2 o'clock, bass expander at noon.
Solid build. Small and versatile. Simple but effective circuitry.
Seems a little pricey since some bigger combos can be had for the same price or less (if compactness isn’t your thing).
Ease of Use: