Ampeg BA112 Bass Amp Review
Good sounding practice amps are tough to find, especially one that still has enough power to play small gigs. I was recently searching for such an amp, with my main thoughts being something around 50 watts, not too heavy ,with a decent speaker and a good tone.
Well I'm pleased to say that I've found it in the Ampeg BA112 Bass Combo. This cool looking, box like amplifier has 50 watts powering a 12" custom Ampeg speaker.
The controls are very basic, a volume knob, treble, mid and bass controls plus a handy "style selector" with 5 different tone options. There's also a line out and headphone jack for quite practicing. The black Tolex and cloth grill cover gives the amp that classic old school look. The BA112 weighs in at a very manageable 39 lbs, and features a handy tilt-back cab design.
The main bonus about this amp though is the sound. It has a real nice, warm tone that you don't often hear from a solid state amp in this price range (new they run about $280, but I got this used one for $160). I usually run my Sansamp VT Bass pedal through any solid state amp to give it a more tube like vibe, but this amp doesn't need it. The sound is really good on it's own with a pleasing round warmth and punchy tone.
The Real Test
Running my flatwound strung 62 reissue Fender Precision Bass through it with the style selector at 3, treble and mid flat and bass slightly boosted , produced a nice early 60's Motown sound. With the selector turned to 1 and the bass cranked a bit, it's Dub city. For a good, solid classic rock tone I had the selector at 4 with all the controls flat. The low notes never bottomed out, sounding crisp and full even with the bass turned way up. This is in part due to the rear ported cab, which helps the lows sound fuller and more detailed.
Eventually with the volume cranked past 8 I noticed some clipping and distortion, but that's to be expected with an amp of this size and as most bassists will be using it as a practice amp, they probably won't ever get much past 5 on the volume knob.
Unlike the bigger BA115 model this amp doesn't have a tweeter, and I'm very happy about that. I used to own the BA115 and eventually disconnected the tweeter because it produced an annoying high pitched hiss without any real benefit in tone. Overall the BA112 is nice and quiet with no real hiss or humming even through the headphones.
The little amp will be able to handle small, lower volume gigs and practice sessions but don't expect it to compete with a loud drummer or full up guitars, unless it's miked through a P.A. The amp is best thought of as great practice tool with some added benefits, including the tilt back design....which makes it ideal as a stage monitor.
Bottom line is that this a great small amp with a cool look and fantastic tone. I recommend the Ampeg BA112 Bass Combo to any bass player looking for a quality, small, lightweight amp with some versatility.