Top 10 Best Bass Combo Amps Under $300 2017
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Top 10 Best Bass Combo Amps Under $300 2017

In a world flooded with choices in various formats — mini amp heads that fit in your gig bag, DI boxes that forego amplification altogether, monster stacks — the humble, hardworking combo amp can occasionally get lost in the conversation. Yet, these convenient packages often provide tone and playability beyond their billing, and generally at lower prices than the vast majority of their counterparts.

Since most bass rigs tend to be pretty simple affairs, it makes sense that you’d want a simple amp option, too. The options on this list are on par with our best small combo guitar amps post. They’re primarily aimed at practice and some recording work, but aren’t as likely to be able to cut it at a show. That said, I’ve gigged with a 40-watt bass combo with an assist from the house PA, so you may have similar luck.

As in that guitar combos post, we’ve set the budget at $300. Unlike that post, however, we’re looking for a minimum of 40 watts, not a maximum. We touched on this briefly in our DI boxes post, but the gist is that bass frequencies require more power to amplify, and human perception of these frequencies is diminished even at similar sound pressure levels. There are many factors at work here, but if you plan to do anything but practice with this amp, go for as many watts as you can afford. There are no hard-and-fast rules; if you’re cutting through the mix with fewer watts, you’re in good shape. A good place to start is three to four times the wattage of your guitarist’s amp, preferably with a larger speaker.

If you don’t yet have the bass itself, check out our best basses under $500 post here.

Here are our picks for the top ten best bass combo amps for use at practice, in the studio, and beyond.


1. Fender Rumble 100 v3 Bass Combo Amplifier

bass combo amps, bass amp combo, bass amp

Fender

Much like the counterparts aimed at the guitar crowd, Rumbles are among the most popular bass amps. Just sneaking in under our price cap, the 100 watt version is probably most analogous to the Fender Hot Rod Deluxe in that it’s just enough for gigs and provides a clean palette for your sound.

Controls include three voicing switches (Contour, Bright, and Vintage), a four-band EQ, Master volume, Drive and Level for the footswitch activated Overdrive circuit, and Gain. The Gain knob controls the input level from your bass and affects the compression on the Vintage voice and interacts with the Drive knob when Overdrive is engaged. In the event that 100 watts won’t help you cut through, this features an XLR out with ground lift so you can run directly to the front of house. There’s also an effects loop for the modern bassist with a pedalboard that rivals the guitarist. The speaker in this one is a 12 inch Eminence Special Design.

If you need more power, you can buy this in 200 and 500 watt versions, but those exceed our price cap. The 15, 25, and 40 are all considerably cheaper, but are even less likely to do the job in a live setting. One thing to note is that all of the Rumbles include Fender’s Delta-Comp limiter, which means playing louder or harder results in more compression to help prevent mudding out.

Price: $299.99

Buy the Fender Rumble 100 v3 Bass Combo Amplifier here.



Pros:

  • Built-in foot-switchable overdrive circuit
  • Effects loop and XLR output
  • 100 watts
  • Weighs only 22 pounds

Cons:

  • Some quality control issues
  • Made in Indonesia — could be a turn off for some
  • Good projection comes at the cost of some dynamics
  • Tone may be nothing to write home about

Find more Fender Rumble 100 v3 Bass Combo Amplifier information and reviews here.



2. Peavey Max 110 Bass Combo Amplifier

bass combo amps, bass amp combo, bass amp

Peavey

As someone who has owned multiple Peavey amps in his life, I can tell you one thing is consistent about them: they’re very loud. For their wattage, for their size, for the price; however you put it, Peaveys can project. I can also attest to their reliability as the two I owned were consistently punished and never wavered.

This 100 watt amp is $30 less than the Fender above, largely with the trade-off of the I/O options. Controls include Gain with Peavey TransTube boost circuit, three-band EQ with Mid-Shift switch, and Volume with something the company calls “Psycho-Acoustics Technology”. This is a low end enhancement that does’t overdrive the speaker by boosting harmonics and filtering out the majority of the signal below a certain threshold. (You can read more about how that works here.) There’s also a built-in tuner that mutes the amp when on, as well as inputs for Passive and Active pickups.

The Max Series includes entries at 10, 20, 200, and 300 watts, as well. Only the models at 100 watts and above come with the tilt-back cabinets, though, which could come in handy on some stages.

Price: $269.97

Buy the Peavey Max 110 Bass Combo Amplifier here.



Pros:

  • Tilt-back cabinet
  • On-board tuner
  • Hybrid tube boost circuit
  • Only weighs 35 pounds

Cons:

  • Ten-inch speaker may not move enough air
  • Some complain that the tone is a bit stiff
  • No XLR out
  • Made in China — could be a turn off for some

Find more Peavey Max 110 Bass Combo Amplifier information and reviews here.



3. Orange Crush Bass 50 Bass Guitar Amp Combo

bass combo amps, bass amp combo, bass amp

Orange

I have plenty of nice things to say about the Crush series from Orange, and talked about my 35RT in our small combo guitar amps post. If you watch this Andertons video on the bass versions, Captain Lee talks about that certain quality that good all-analogue solid state amps have. They’re not in tube territory, but for your practice needs, these can deliver surprisingly solid tones.

This breaks even between the Peavey and the Fender as there’s no XLR out, but there is an effects loop and a footswitch in for the bi-amp gain circuit. The other controls are Volume, a three-band EQ, Freq, Blend, and Gain. The EQ is active and the treble can be boosted or cut 20 dB, while the Middle and Bass has a range of 15 dB. The Freq knob moves the center frequency of the Middle control. Blend works with the Gain control and controls the ratio of clean to distorted tones and upper harmonics. This comes before the EQ section at the preamp. The Input has a Pad switch for matching to passive or active pickups. To top it off, there’s a built-in tuner, which I have found very handy on my Orange.

Price: $299.12

Buy the Orange Crush Bass 50 Bass Guitar Amp Combo here.



Pros:

  • Active EQ with parametric mid control
  • Bi-amp style with Blend knob
  • Built-in tuner
  • 12 inch speaker

Cons:

  • 50 watts may not be enough
  • No XLR out
  • Strong odor when first unpacked
  • Made in China — could be a turn off for some

Find more Orange Crush Bass 50 Bass Guitar Amp Combo information and reviews here.



4. Ampeg BA-112 v2 Combo Bass Amplifier

bass combo amps, bass amp combo, bass amp

Ampeg

Ampeg is, of course, a monster of the bass amp game. Everyone knows the SVT and the B-15 Portaflex for their many contributions to music. The company continues to offer innovative solutions and great tones for bassists of every kind.

This offering is pretty squarely aimed at practice settings. At 75 watts, it may be able to gig, but just. With a dedicated AUX Level knob for the AUX input, playing along with recorded tracks is front and center. Other controls include an input pad, Volume, Bass, Mid, and Treble. The overdrive circuit is called Scrambler and features a Drive and Blend knob. Two switches enhance the EQ, with Ultra Hi boosting the 8 kHz frequency by five dB, and Ultra Lo boosting 40 Hz by one dB combined with a 10 dB cut at 500 Hz. The cabinet itself is angled much like a monitor for better projection.

There are two notable drawbacks to this amp. First, the company compares the Scrambler circuit to the venerable SVT drive. This is a fairly generous comparison and should be taken with a grain of salt. Second, there’s a prominent noise from the internal fan. This probably won’t make much of a difference unless you’re recording, but it’s something to be aware of.

If you know you’ll only use it for practice, you could go for the BA-110 40 watt version, which is only $179.99.

Price: $299.99

Buy the Ampeg BA-112 v2 Combo Bass Amplifier here.



Pros:

  • Scrambler overdrive circuit
  • Wedge-shaped cabinet design
  • -15 dB input pad
  • All-steel amp chassis

Cons:

  • Consistent complaints of fan noise
  • Scrambler circuit doesn’t quite live up to the SVT billing
  • Made in China — could be a turn off for some

Find more Ampeg BA-112 v2 Combo Bass Amplifier information and reviews here.



5. Hartke HD75 Bass Combo

bass combo amps, bass amp combo, bass amp

Hartke

Hartke is another well-recognized name for bass amps. This 75-watt offering utilizes an aluminum and paper 12 inch cone to provide the expected warmth along with enough punch to cut through a mix. It might not be a sound to everyone’s liking, but the controls on this unit will more than make up for that.

In addition to Volume and parametric Bass, Mid, and Treble knobs, there’s a seven-band EQ. Each of the bands can be boosted or cut up to 12 dB for very precise tone shaping. You can dial back on some of the midrange that this amp produces while boosting the lows. Otherwise, there’s an AUX in, effects loop, and headphone jack. The input is capable of handling high and low input sources, and there’s a built-in limiter.

The 15, 25, and 50 watt versions are all under $200, while the 150 watt comes in at $379.99 and adds an XLR out.

Price: $249.99

Buy the Hartke HD75 Bass Combo here.



Pros:

  • Aluminum-paper 12 inch cone and one-inch tweeter
  • Seven-band EQ
  • Effects loop
  • Parametric bass, mid, and treble controls

Cons:

  • No XLR output (HD150 has one, however)
  • 48.2 pounds among the heavier in this category
  • Chassis may require tightening to avoid rattling on some units
  • Aluminum in the cone may contribute to a punchier, more mid-range sound

Find more Hartke HD75 Bass Combo information and reviews here.



6. Acoustic B100mkII 100W Bass Combo Amp

bass combo amps, bass amp combo, bass amp

Acoustic

A favorite choice in the late 60s, Acoustic amps have a small but dedicated following. Jaco Pastorius and John Paul Jones both played one, and the lineage retains some of that pedigree. This is a relatively unassuming amp that produces well-rounded, musical tones. The use of the 15 inch speaker is an improvement over the previous options on this list, so consider that if you need to move more air.

Controls include an input pad, Gain, Volume, and four-band EQ. There’s a switchable Frequency Notch knob for a -10 dB cut of frequencies from 50 Hz to 1 kHz. Finally, an overdrive circuit is controlled by Overdrive and Overdrive Level knobs. This amp has among the better I/O options on this list to include an effects loop and an XLR output with ground lift, dedicated level knob, and an option to output pre or post EQ in order to perfectly match the house sound.

If you can give up a few options and 70 watts, the B30 is only $149.99.

Price: $299.99

Buy the Acoustic B100mkII 100W Bass Combo Amp here.



Pros:

  • 100 watts
  • 15 inch speaker
  • Effects loop
  • XLR output with ground lift, pre/post EQ, and level

Cons:

  • 63 pounds is getting pretty heavy
  • May not be built to withstand the rigors of touring
  • No footswitch input to engage overdrive circuit
  • Made in China — could be a turn off for some

Find more Acoustic B100mkII 100W Bass Combo Amp information and reviews here.



7. Bugera Ultrabass MXD12

bass combo amps, bass amp combo, bass amp

Bugera

It’s possible that you might recognize this amp despite its new livery. As part of the Behringer realignment that sent their pedals to TC Electronic in the form of their new big-box, ultra cheap pedals, Bugera inherited some things from the amp line. That includes this Ultrabass with a Turbosound 12 inch speaker. There are some nifty features in this amp, which uses class D power like the Fender above. Bugera advertise that this is a 1,000 watt amp, but there’s just no way; all that power into one speaker would not sound great, so the reality is probably more like 300. Which is still significant for the money.

Controls include an input pad, Gain, switchable Comp, three-band EQ with five-way Mid Freq knob, switches for Ultra High and Ultra Low EQ, and a Master volume. There’s an XLR out, effects loop, tuner out, AUX In, and Footswitch in to control the must or loop. This, too, is a tilt-back cabinet for better projection.

If you can get over the spurious power claims, there are a lot of useful features in this amp. And who knows, maybe it really is that loud?

Price: $299.99

Buy the Bugera Ultrabass MXD12 here.



Pros:

  • XLR out, tuner out, and effects loop
  • Class D power (claimed 1,000 watts)
  • Wedge-shaped cabinet
  • MOSFET preamp and built-in compressor

Cons:

  • Almost certainly nowhere near 1,000 watts
  • Pad may be necessary even with passive pickups
  • Legacy Behringer product repackaged
  • Made in China — could be a turn off for some

Find more Bugera Ultrabass MXD12 information and reviews here.



8. Fender Bronco 40 Bass Combo Amp

bass combo amps, bass amp combo, bass amp

Fender

As an alternative to the Rumble amps at the top of this list, Fender also makes this offering. Though 40 watts is the lower limit for this list, this nevertheless includes an XLR out, so it could feasibly still be used live. Given the on-board effects, this is aimed more at beginners who want to sample a variety of sounds.

That modeling includes eight amp models — Rumble, ’59 Bassman, Bassman TV, Bassman 300, SWR Redhead, Rockin’ Peg, KGB800, and Monster — as well as a host of effects like chorus, flanger, octave, delay, and more. Additionally, you can utilize the FUSE app to edit the 24 presets and save them to the amp, giving you really fine control.

Definitely more on the guitar side of bass amps, but this could be a good option for practice, inspiration, and beginners. Again, with the XLR out, this could make a decent recording option, too.

Price: $249.99

Buy the Fender Bronco 40 Bass Combo Amp here.



Pros:

  • On-board effects and modeling with 24 presets
  • Works with Fender FUSE app
  • Built-in tuner
  • Only 30 pounds

Cons:

  • Not as powerful as its Rumble cousin
  • Modeling effects not for everyone
  • Not quite in the same tonal league as others on this list
  • Made in China — could be a turn off for some

Find more Fender Bronco 40 Bass Combo Amp information and reviews here.



9. Ibanez Promethean 20W 1×8 Bass Combo Amp

bass combo amps, bass amp combo, bass amp

Ibanez

Our last two picks stray away from our established criteria a bit for those with slightly different needs. Although this one is only 20 watts, it’s also under $100, making it a fine choice for absolute beginners or as a backup noodling amp. It’s a straightforward yet surprisingly responsive choice that won’t take up too much space alongside your more powerful amps.

Controls include a -10 dB pad, Low, Low Mid, High Mid, High, and Master volume knobs. Aux In and a headphone jack round out the top panel. No other bells and whistles here; just plugin and get playing.

Price: $99.99

Buy the Ibanez Promethean 20W 1×8 Bass Combo Amp here.


Pros:

  • Inexpensive
  • Weighs less than 20 pounds
  • Four-band EQ
  • Great for practice or backstage

Cons:

  • 20 watts won’t get you through a gig
  • No XLR out or effects loop
  • Eight inch speaker won’t move a ton of air
  • No built-in overdrive

Find more Ibanez Promethean 20W 1×8 Bass Combo Amp information and reviews here.



10. TC Electronic BG250-115 MKII Bass Combo Amplifier

bass combo amps, bass amp combo, bass amp

TC Electronic

If you can afford to bust the price cap by $50, you’ll be rewarded with gig-level power and advanced features. This amp features TC Electronic’s TonePrint in two dedicated slots. You can independently control the levels of two separate effects at once, which may forego the need for a pedalboard.

Controls include Gain, three-band EQ, TonePrint A and B, Master volume, mute, and a switch for pre or post EQ for the XLR out. There’s a built-in tuner for up to six string basses. The pedal input works with TC’s Switch-3 pedal, which allows you to turn on and off the TonePrint slots or mute the amp for tuning. Six different effects are available for the TonePrint slots: Flanger, chorus, overdrive, octave, compression, and vibrato.

Combine these with 250 watts and a 15 inch speaker and you’ve got a fully-capable, super flexible amp for virtually any setting. If you only wanted to go over budget by $30, there’s the BG250 112 with a 12 inch speaker, but it was out of stock at the time of this writing. Besides, if you’re going over budget anyway, might as well go for the 15 inch.

Price: $349.99

Buy the TC Electronic BG250-115 MKII Bass Combo Amplifier here.



Pros:

  • TonePrint enabled
  • 250 watts
  • XLR out with pre/post EQ switch
  • Built-in tuner for up to six string basses

Cons:

  • Over our $300 price cap
  • Chassis may require tightening to avoid rattling on some units
  • Made in China — could be a turn off for some

Find more TC Electronic BG250-115 MKII Bass Combo Amplifier information and reviews here.


Now that you’ve picked out an amp, don’t forget that pedals are great for bass, too. Probably the best ones for bass are fuzz pedals or Big Muffs.


Heavy, Inc. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to Amazon. Our product recommendations are guided solely by our editors. We have no relationship with manufacturers.
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