Who Are Markbass?
Founded in Italy by mastermind Marco De Virgiliis in 1996, Markbass are known for their colourful, forward thinking line of bass amps. They were one of the first bass-specific manufacturers to use lightweight neodymium speakers in their builds. In some cases, these can cut up to half the weight of a combo or speaker cabinet.
One of Markbass’ biggest selling points is portability. Their amp heads and even the bulkier combo designs are made from the off to produce high performance tone in an easily transportable template. And when it comes to bass gear, very few of us want to be hauling big cabinets or finnicky valve heads round in the back of a van or abroad.
But it isn’t just size that’s doing it for Markbass. Their amps are right up there with some of the best we’ve heard. When you’re not tweaking a five-band EQ on a Little Marcus amp head, you’re getting great tone off the bat from their rock-solid combos.
You’ll Love Markbass If…
…You want an amp with all the major benefits of Class D solid-state design, plus plenty of Italian flair. Markbass specialise solely in solid state amps – this means there are no valves or delicate parts to go wrong, just reliable components and plenty of nifty features to make your life easier. Ground lifts, effects loops, and of course direct line outs to run your signal into a PA system come as standard on most models.
Popular Markbass Artists
You’ll certainly recognise a few names who opt for Markbass: the incredible Jeff Berlin, who’s performed with Yes, Allan Holdsworth and Issac Hayes; the influential Stuart Hamm, bassist for Steve Vai and Joe Satriani, and jazz veteran Richard Bona.
Arguably the biggest of all is Marcus Miller, who has his own stunning Markbass range of amps and combos, of which we’ve highlighted below. Markbass really do it all, from super tight shred tones to dynamic jazz and reggae genres.
What are the Best Markbass Amps?
Andertons are lucky to have an extensive line-up of Markbass compact heads, varied size cabs, sleek combos and all the accessories to match. Markbass cater to lots of price points stretching from their Micromark 1x12 combos right up to high-end the Alain Caron signature amp. Bedroom jammers and touring musicians alike will benefit from what Markbass have to offer.
Markbass love a good bass amp head. This is where you’ll find the meat of what they make and the most diverse range of tones, sizes and prices.
Starting off with the flagship Little Mark series, these small format bass heads are at the core of what Markbass are all about. They provide incredible quality and versatility at prices that won’t cost the earth. They include both fully solid state and tube models. The former are geared towards players who like to keep things simple, but house nice additions like the FX loop and a tuner out. The latter, meanwhile, are driven by natural valve preamps delivering gorgeous compression.
The 250W Black Line is their lowest wattage head, but it doesn’t skimp on the six-band EQ, even incorporating a vintage loudspeaker emulator. The smallest Markbass head in literal size is the Nano Mark 300 and is the best option for players on the go.
Moving up to the big boys at 500w, Markbass introduce the dual channel EVO, packed with six specifically crafted sounds catering to different musical genres. There’s also the Big Bang, which includes headphones out, a mute and two filters to dial in your perfect sound.
Want to keep going? The Little Mark Ninja is Richard Bona’s super high power 1000w head in a small, tidy package. Equalling that is the Bass Multiamp S, a fully stereo head perfect for bassists using two speakers and multiple effects.
Markbass would be worse off without Marcus Miller’s Little Marcus bass amp heads. These are real head turners, and not just because they look great. The four core models are voiced specifically to Marcus’ preferences but also include two unusual EQ filters so you can craft your own sound. The ‘Old School’ control lets opens up the dynamic range and cranks the vintage vibes, while the ‘Millerizer’ takes you right into the tonal realm of the man himself.
The Limited Marcus takes all the punch, beautiful definition and dynamics of the Little Marcus and installs gold plated circuits and selected components to create the cleanest sound possible. The controls grant an even wider berth of tones whilst leaving the Millerizer out completely.
Bass combo amps are difficult to pull off, because the more you crank the volume, the more it’s going to rattle the preamp electronics. Markbass’ solid-state design is exactly why they excel in this area.
The flagship CMD combos are a great balance between affordability and great tone in a light and portable size. You get all the benefits of the head’s setup integration features and core sound, plus the ease of use with the speaker all ready to go. If you’re ever in need of more oomph, you can simply hook them up with a Markbass speaker cab.
There’s also a choice of Richard Bona and Marcus Miller signature amps in combo form. These house exactly the same tones in the versatile format. You can even get your hands on a Marcus Miller with 3x10 custom speaker configuration. If you’re in need of something smaller, the Minimark will serve you well as they're equipped with 8-inch speakers.
Those of you after a more established or old school setup to go along with your Markbass head will find lots on offer in the speaker cabs selection. Markbass make sure to cover every occasion. The extremely portable 1x12 New York and STD cabs are great for smaller gigs or practice sessions.
Markbass’ Standard range incorporates all you’d want from a top quality cab, from the flawless build quality to the neodymium speakers. These are available in 1x12, 1x15, 2x10 and 4x10 configurations. Meanwhile, the Traveler range is as you’d expect from Markbass’ leading lightweight, portable designs. Perfect for pub and club gigs, offering a powerful full range sound.
You’ll need a few extras to make your Markbass setup complete! Keep your combo or cab safe when you’re travelling with a large protective cover. Of course, these are made to measure so your precious gear fits snuggly under the padded materials.
Alternatively, check out the carry handle amp head bags – small enough to even takes on a plane as hand luggage. The perfect solution if you’re ditching the cabinets at home to run your setup straight into a PA system.
What Markbass Amp Should I Buy?
Out of the massively extensive selection of Markbass amps and cabs, there’s certainly one out there for you. The Little Mark heads are genuinely inexpensive answer to portable gigging amps because of they’re great setup flexibility with pedals, direct out and cab compatibility. Consider one of Markbass’ EVO, Ninja or Multiamp for the full customisable experience.
The Markbass combos are equally brilliant as gigging amps and pack a lot of the same features as the heads. If you want to make sure you’re getting what you know from a neodymium speaker, these are the pick. If you’re simply in the market for a matching cab to go with you Markbass head, you genuinely can’t go wrong with a Traveler, New York or Standard model.