Best Bass Amps for Recording

Best Bass Amps for Recording

Nowadays, most recording studios prefer not to use external amplification when it comes to bass guitars. Even big and professional studios, most of the time, prefer to record a DI input of the bass in order to reamp it later if the necessity occurs.

This is a totally valid way of recording bass, but what if you prefer things the old way? If this is the case, we got you covered in this article,  where we will tell you about all the best bass amps for recording, the old school way if you will.

Top 9 Best Bass Amps for Recording

  1. Orange Crush Bass 50
  2. Bugera BXD15A
  3. Gallien-Krueger MB112-II
  4. Fender ’59 Bassman
  5. Hartke KB12 Kickback 1×12″
  6. Bugera BXD12 1×12″
  7. TC Electronic BAM200
  8. Ampeg SVT-CL
  9. Fender Bassman 800HD

Bass Amps for Recording Buying Guide

If you firmly believe that a bass amp is something that has to be in your possession, then there’s only one last choice to be made. You have to decide whether you want a tube amp, solid-state, or hybrid one.

Tube amps

Since out of the 3, tube amps are the oldest type of technology, they will give you the most vintage and warm sound. And, of course, it should be mentioned that tube amps are significantly louder than solid-state amps within the same power output.

Solid-state amps

Solid-state amps, on the other hand, have a much cleaner sound and generally are more compact and lightweight. And it’s needless to say that solid-state amplifiers usually are more reasonably priced than tube amplifiers.

Hybrid amps

Hybrid amps can give you the best of both worlds, they usually have a tube bass preamp circuitry and solid-state output which means that you can have much warmer and vintage sound alongside all of the benefits of a conventional solid-state amplifier.

Important features

On our list of the best bass amps for recording, we have mostly solid-state amps for budget reasons, but if you want to treat yourself with some tube sound, you definitely wouldn’t feel left behind. And, although, we’ve set our minds on recording specifically, all of the amps on our list are gig-worthy which gives them a bit more versatility. And, of course, all of the amps on this list sound absolutely superb, so you could enjoy your recording sessions even more.

Best Bass Amps for Recording Reviews

Orange Crush Bass 50

Orange Crush Bass 50

Pros
  • Classic Orange tone
  • Active EQ
  • Cab Sim Headphone output
  • Onboard chromatic tuner
Cons
  • None that we know of
See price @ Amazon / @ Sweetwater
Best features and specs

Orange Crush offers you a staggering 50 watts of top-shelf bass amplification with that legendary Orange tone. It has an active 3-band EQ, very convincing Cab Sim Headphone output, AUX input, and an onboard chromatic tuner. Although it has only solid-state circuitry, you definitely couldn’t tell just by its sound.

User impressions

Users are quite impressed with Orange Crush Bass 50 as it provides the exact tone if you’re into rock and metal and gives a warm, clean, punchy live sound. Also, it’s extremely lightweight and portable, making it a joy to bring it in for rehearsals. Users find added Gain and Blend controls extremely useful as it widens the range of sound that you’re getting as a result, starting from slightly overdriven tubes to aggressive overdrive or distortion.

What we think

Surprisingly enough, the best thing that we think Orange Crush Bass 50 can offer you is a built-in tuner. If you don’t have a stompbox or a clip-on tuner, you know what a nightmare it could be to tune up during rehearsals.

Bottomline

Orange Crush Bass 50 is a great choice for someone who is looking for a very portable and versatile bass amplifier with a legendary tone. If just by listening to it you didn’t fall in love, consider how reasonably this little beast is priced. If you keep in mind that it’s an Orange amplifier, the price impresses even more.

Bugera BXD15A

Bugera BXD15A

Pros
  • 1 kW of power
  • Tube inspired sound
  • Onboard compressor
Cons
  • Almost impossible to use it as a practice amp
See price @ Amazon / @ Sweetwater
Best features and specs

Bugera BXD15A delivers staggering 1000 watts of power fueled by solid-state circuitry that emulates the warmth of tube sound. It has a jaw-dropping amount of tonal shaping and a built-in optical compressor to push its versatility even further. Oh, and did we mention that this amp has a one kW power output?

User impressions

Users like Bugera BXD15A as it has great sound and a lot of options firmly packed in a small box. Also, it’s lightweight and durable, which matters when you’re involved in a lot of gigs. Users note that this amp doesn’t distort even when cranked up to high volumes.

What we think

It’s hard to imagine that you would use Bugera BXD15A as a practice amp any time soon unless you practice in the stadium or in the middle of a cornfield. But clearly, it wasn’t designed for that, so if you want to use it in your studio, make sure that your tone room has proper sound insulation.

Bottomline

Bugera BXD15A is a great choice for someone who is looking for a device that can be used in demolishing a building sonically, but at the same time makes a very versatile bass amplifier. Considering how it’s packed with features and how many different tones you can get from it, the price might rather surprise you in a good way.

Gallien-Krueger MB112-II

Gallien-Krueger MB112-II

Pros
  • 200 Watts of power
  • 4 band active EQ
  • XLR direct out
Cons
  • Off-center handle
  • The line out is a bit clumsy
See price @ Sweetwater
Best features and specs

Gallien-Krueger MB112-II delivers 200 watts of a very precise and transparent sound. If you feel like this amount of power is somehow not enough, it has an XLR output to go straight to the mixer. It also has a 4 band active EQ to shape your sound exactly as you want it to.

User impressions

Users say that Gallien-Krueger MB112-II is versatile, portable, and powerful enough to provide you with the loudest, natural, and articulate sound possible. Users add that even when this amp is on half volume, it easily gives you the right tone without any unwanted faltering.

What we think

Although Gallien-Krueger MB112-II is a sub-compact and extremely lightweight bass amplifier, it isn’t very convenient to carry it around since the handle is way off-center. Other than that, it’s a perfect amplifier, especially if you prefer to build your workflow around more modern types of music.

Bottomline

Gallien-Krueger MB112-II is a great choice for someone who is looking for a bass amp with decent power output and a very clean and transparent sound. Although it has a very simple layout, it is still versatile enough to be extremely efficient both in-studio and during live gigs. Although it’s a bit pricier than previous entries on this list, it is still on a reasonable side of things.

Fender ’59 Bassman

Fender '59 Bassman

Pros
  • Legendary Fender sound
  • All-tube circuitry
Cons
  • On the pricey side
See price @ Amazon / @ Sweetwater
Best features and specs

Imagine that you can have something that was built ages ago, but all of the components are completely new. This is exactly what you get with Fender ’59 Bassman since it’s a very thorough and precise recreation of a legendary bass amplifier from the 50’s.

User impressions

Users like Fender ’59 Bassman for the awesomeness that it gives you by looking so vintage and chic and giving killer sound. Users say that this amp is the closest reproduction possible to the original one from 1959. Though it won’t give you the same amount of power as other modern-day bass amps, for home recording, it’s perfect.

What we think

Nostalgia is a kind of a trend these days, so Fender ’59 Bassman, in this case, is more than trendy. It doesn’t get any more vintage or analog than this amplifier, considering that every part of its circuitry is powered by tubes.

Bottomline

Fender ’59 Bassman is a great choice for someone who is looking for a vintage amplifier with very fresh internal components. It looks the part, too, since its design meticulously recreated the original one.  And although it’s on the pricey side of things, the original 59 model would cost you even more.

Hartke KB12 Kickback 1×12″

Hartke KB12 Kickback 1x12"

Pros
  • Very powerful
  • Has a solid build
  • Tight and controlled sound
Cons
  • No auxiliary input jack
See price @ Amazon / @ Sweetwater
Best features and specs

Hartke KB12 Kickback 1×12″ is a mighty solid-state amplifier that delivers a staggering 500 watts of power. It has a 3 band EQ section and a dedicating low-end boost with which you can emphasize the low end within 100-900 Hz frequency range.

User impressions

Users agree that Hartke KB12 Kickback 1×12″ is very powerful, well-built, versatile and it gives a perfect warmth with some punch tone. Also, it has a nice and tight response. Users say that controls are very interactive and are intuitively laid out.

What we think

What is interesting about Hartke KB12 Kickback 1×12″ is that you can put it at a 45-degree angle towards the bass player. This doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, but it makes a lot of difference on stage, particularly. It’s always nice to be able to hear what you are actually playing.

Bottomline

Hartke KB12 Kickback 1×12″ is a great choice for someone who is looking for a very powerful solid-state amplifier that was designed for more accurate monitoring. Considering its power output, it’s rather surprising that this amp is so reasonably priced. This amp also has an XLR output which makes it big venues friendly.

Bugera BXD12 1×12″

Bugera BXD12 1x12"

Pros
  • 1000 watts
  • Optical compressor
  • Exclusive Dynamizer technology
  • Balanced DI out
Cons
  • Doesn’t have a headphones jack
See price @ Amazon / @ Sweetwater
Best features and specs

Another entry from Bugera on this list, but this time in an even more lightweight and compact package. Other than that, you get the same 1-kilowatt power output, onboard compressor, and a 3 band EQ with mid-frequency control.

User impressions

Users like Bugera BXD12 1×12″ as it’s very powerful, versatile, lightweight and has a nice tight deep, punchy and crisp sound.

What we think

Let’s be frank, 1000 watts of power is a lot, especially for a bass amplifier. So it would be wise to test such an amplifier before you buy it to make sure that this amount of power is something that you are comfortable with. However it may be, we couldn’t get clear conscience to recommend it to use at home unless you live in an isolated mountain cabin.

Bottomline

Bugera BXD12 1×12″ is a great choice for someone who is looking for a very powerful amplifier with a very compact and lightweight body. This amplifier also could be placed at a 45-degree angle, so you get more accurate monitoring on stage.

TC Electronic BAM200

TC Electronic BAM200

Pros
  • Very reasonable price
  • Extremely portable
Cons
  • None that we know of
See price @ Amazon / @ Sweetwater
Best features and specs

TC Electronic BAM200 is an extremely compact 200-watt bass amplifier designed specifically for studio work, although could be as easily used on stage. Even though it’s a solid-state amplifier, it implements special technology to recreate a feeling of a tube sound.

User impressions

Users are quite impressed with TC Electronic BAM200 as it gives lots of power and control and a clean tone as well. Also, it is very tiny and extremely lightweight, so it’s pretty easy to have it around at all times. When plugged into the cabinet, it gives great tone, lots of bottom, clean, articulate mids, and clean volume.

What we think

Have you ever thought that one day you will have a bass amplifier that you can easily fit in your pocket? Well,  TC Electronic BAM200 is exactly that kind of amplifier and moreover, it’s in no way inferior to its much larger counterparts.

Bottomline

TC Electronic BAM200 is a great choice for someone who is looking for a very compact but yet powerful bass amplifier with subtle tube flavor. It’s simply perfect for studio work and considering how reasonably it’s priced, this amp truly is a bargain.

Ampeg SVT-CL

Ampeg SVT-CL

Pros
  • Iconic Ampeg sound
  • Powerful
Cons
  • On the pricey side
  • Heavy
See price @ Amazon / @ Sweetwater
Best features and specs

Ampeg SVT-CL is an extremely powerful all-tube bass amp that delivers an iconic and silky sound. It has a very contained but yet posh design and carries a legendary badge that will only add value to your studio.

User impressions

Users say that Ampeg SVT-CL works marvelously with any bass plugged in, making it bigger, girthier, and more thunderous. It is versatile and will give extra for any kind of music, including rock, R&B, funk, blues. Some users find its weight to be a downside as it’s heavy and not that portable, to say the least. But for the majority of users, this amp is a dream come true as it satisfies all their needs and desires.

What we think

If you plan to use this amp in your studio exclusively, it would be extremely hard to find a worthier alternative. But if you add some gigging to the mix, things don’t look as bright and optimistic any longer. Ampeg SVT-CL is an extremely heavy and bulky amp head, which means that it would be rather inconvenient to carry it around with you.

Bottomline

Ampeg SVT-CL is a great choice for someone who is looking for a legendary and iconic all-tube sound in a body with even more iconic looks. Although it’s rather pricey, we believe that it would be an addition to your studio that would only make it more valuable.

Fender Bassman 800HD

Fender Bassman 800HD

Pros
  • Hybrid amp
  • Vintage tone
  • Iconic design
Cons
  • A bit bulky
See price @ Sweetwater
Best features and specs

Fender Bassman 800HD is an iconic and legendary bass amplifier with quite a few modern bells and whistles. It has a separate overdrive channel that could be blended in with the clean sound and a hybrid circuitry gives you plenty of flexibility when it comes to shaping the tone.

User impressions

Users like Fender Bassman 800HD for having classic bass sound with enhanced tone. Also, the overdrive channel is super cool. This amp makes it easy to create new dark and gritty tracks and it sits perfectly in the mix.

What we think

Fender Bassman 800HD is a very reliable amp from more than a trustworthy manufacturer. Surprisingly enough, it’s rather lightweight despite that it’s not even remotely a small amp head.

Bottomline

Fender Bassman 800HD is a great choice for someone who is looking for a very flexible and reliable bass amp from a manufacturer with a great lineage and reputation. Although it’s rather pricey, it’s hard to imagine that you would feel that this amp wasn’t money worth spent.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.