BGRA: MarkBass CMD102p

Manufacturer MarkBass Model CMD102p
Reviewer Tim Wright
Experience 3 Item owned Less than 1 month
Review Date 2006-05-27 Price paid NZ$2300
Dimensions59cm wide, 48cm high, 48cm deep.
Power280 watts into 8 ohms, 450 into 4.
Speakers2X10 neodinium + pizeo tweeter
Othertuner out, effects loop, DI out, DI in, extra cabnet out.

I haven't been gigging for 30 years and I've never owned an Ampeg. However, after my first gig with this amp, the sound guy came up to me and said "you sounded fantastic". That kinda sums up this amp.

I play a Jack Cassady bass through it, and with this amp it just sounds superb. No other amp I've played through sounds anywhere near as good.

As a complete bonus, it's light and loud. At practice, I have it turned up 1/4 of the way. At gigs I have it just shy of half way. Our drummer isn't the biggest hitter of all time, but I still cut through on the odd moments when he is going for gold.

I have the EQ flat except for the highs, where I back off a bit, and the VLE (vintage loudspeaker emulator) which I have turned on about 1/3 of the way. These settings cut down my finger noise. I haven't had a chance to play with the VPF (variable pre-shape filter) yet - it drops the mids and boosts the bass and treble, so could be good for percussive-style players. I'm not a slapper : )

There are two slightly strange things about it: First, the effects loop is wired in parallel, not series. This means that if your pedal's battery dies, you'll still have an input signal to the amp. Apparently this is changeable reasonably easily "by a qualified service person" (I've read you have to change a jumper). The second is that the DI is pre-eq rather than post-eq. Again, this is changable "by a qualified service person" (again, change a jumper). I haven't changed either. Given I don't own any effect pedals, I'm unlikely to change the first one anyway.

One of the best things is I can carry this amp in one hand and my axe in the other. A little gear bag slung over my back is the only other thing to move my entire rig in one go!

So, after a week of ownership, I'm in love.

construction (100%)
clarity (100%)
versatility (100%)
volume (100%)
portability (100%)
value (98%)
I managed to get it wholesale rather than retail. It is quite expensive.
overall (100%)
The BGRA is generously underwritten by David King of Bass Guitar Systems.
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