We try and find the best portable bass amp, and choose the 7 we feel are great for practice at home, rehearsals, busking and smaller gigs
Dragging that 4x12 up a flight of stairs to rehearsal or a gig is a nightmare for bass players, so we decided to provide some options as you don’t always have to have a massive amp to get a massive sound!
To save your backs and try and help you reduce the amount of hate you feel when you try and load the van or your car with your gear, here’s our top 7 best portable lightweight bass amps that you can use for rehearsal, practice at home and the smaller gigs you want to play.
1. Blackstar FLY 3 Bass Stereo Pack
When we’re talking about the contender for the best portable bass amp, we have to include the awesome Blackstar FLY 3 Bass Stereo Pack as it’s become an industry standard bass amp ideal for rehearsing at home, recording and busking sessions. This fantastic lightweight bass amp can be powered via 6 x AA batteries making it a fantastic option for those on the go, or you can use the included power supply if you don’t want to rely on batteries.
As the amp is under £100, it’s totally affordable and firmly aimed at players of all levels. You have 6 watts of power to play with - more than enough for practice sessions, and the two selectable channels (Overdrive/Clean) allow you a range of tonal options especially when you utilise the EQ control and built-in compression. The 3” speakers on the head and cab provide a full range sound and the MP3 / LINE IN jack built-in to the head allows you to connect to your MP3 player to jam along to your favourite tracks or use the FLY 3 Bass as a set of speakers for your PC or laptop.
2. Ashdown AAA Series, Tourbus 15 Bass Combo
The Ashdown AAA Series, Tourbus 15 Bass Combo is a 1x8” bass combo amp with 15 watts of pure power designed to provide bass players with a highly portable option to take to small gigs and rehearse at home without destroying their windows. It’s lightweight construction (5kg) makes it one of the best portable bass amps available on the market today.
Simple to use and even easier to set up, the Ashdown Tourbus 15 is a plug and play amp designed to get you gigging and playing in seconds, keeping it simple with volume, bass and treble controls so you can sculpt your tone instantly. There’s also a headphone output for silent practice as well as a MP3/CD input so you can use the amp as a speaker and jam along with your favourite tracks. By far one of the best portable bass amps that you can still gig with.
3. Fender Rumble 15 v3 Bass Amplifier Combo
The Fender Rumble 15 v3 Bass Amplifier Combo amplifier is widely regarded as one of the best portable bass amps found on stages and in studios thanks to the fact it makes use of every watt to pump out beautifully rich harmonics and lush low-end tones through its 1x8” woofer.
You have a 3 band EQ so you can sculpt your ideal sound in seconds. Practice in silence thanks to headphone out and enjoy jamming along to your own tracks vie the 1/8" Mini Jack Aux input that allows you to hook up your MP3 player or audio device to the cab.
At way under £100, the Fender Rumble 15 V3 is a budget friendly bass amplifier capable of providing you with the sound you need onstage, in the studio or at rehearsal. Ideal for acoustic gigs and those impromptu jam sessions too!
4. Ampeg BA-112 Bass Combo
We’re going for the middleweight champion of the Ampeg combo range here with the Ampeg BA-112 Bass Combo as it’s a highly portable option that gives you all that massive Ampeg bass tone relied on by pro musicians everywhere, but still remains easy to carry around. The 12” Ampeg Custom 12 speaker pushes some serious air around thanks to the 75 watts of RMS power.
The cool thing about this amp is the fact you also have the Bass Scrambler overdrive built-in for that coveted SVT grind, providing you with some serious grit when you want to stand out in the mix.
This amp makes our best portable bass amps blog thanks to the fact it’s been designed for lugging around! The braced cabinet construction is almost indestructible and the protective all-steel amp chassis keeps all the inner workings are safe. At just over 19kg its easy to carry around too!
If you’re finding it hard to hear yourself in rehearsal, the true 60° sound reinforcement monitor angle allows you to lay the amp down on its side and face upwards, meaning you can hear everything you’re playing!
5. Roland Cube 20XL Bass Guitar Amplifier
The Roland Cube 20XL Bass Guitar Amplifier is the most portable of the CUBE bass series, but don’t let its smaller size fool you as its packed with 20 watts of power, an 8-inch custom speaker, loads of effects (delay, reverb, Poly Octave and more) and six COSM amp models to provide you with a whole host of different sounds. It’s essentially an entire studio’s worth of bass amps and effects in one portable amp that’s under 10kg and around 30cm in height. Easily carried and easily set up.
The built-in bass tuner is extremely handy for those practice sessions and the Power Squeezer technology ensures you have a huge sound at lower volumes. However, before you start thinking this is just a tiny practice amp, you’ll be pleased to know that it can easily back you up in a small gig and can even act as an audio interface thanks to the Recording Out/Phones jack. By far one of the best portable and lightweight bass amps around.
6. Vox VX50BA Bass Guitar Amp
New for 2017, the VOX VX50BA Bass Guitar Amp is an extremely powerful 50 watt portable bass amplifier powered by NuTube technology found in the coveted VOX MV50 amplifier heads.
This bass combo amp provides you with a lush tube sound without the ACTUAL tubes thanks to the brand new NuTube technology. This means you get all that lush response of a tube bass amp with the reliability and instant gratification of a solid state amplifier.
There’s a 4 band EQ on board for easy sound sculpting, a built-in selectable compressor as well as an overdrive that can really bring your bass out in the mix.
You do have 50 watts of power to play with so the VOX VX50BA Bass Guitar Amp can easily provide you with all the sound you need in rehearsal or at a small gig. However, should you want to go louder or play direct to desk, the Direct Out socket can allow you to hook up to the PA.
A great portable bass amp from one of the best amplifier companies in the world!
7. Orange Crush Bass 25w Bass Guitar Combo Amplifier
Last but by no means least, we have the awesome Orange Crush Bass 25 – a powerhouse of a bass amp from the renowned Orange Crush range.
Straight out of the box you get all that juicy Orange tonality thanks to the all-analogue signal path and the 25 watts of power make it a great amp for smaller gigs, rehearsal and home practice. The 3 band EQ provides all the control you need over your sound and the lightweight 8.3kg construction makes it easy to cart to gigs or the studio setting. Integrated CabSim technology allows you to enjoy the sound of a mic’d up Orange 4x12 cabinet through your headphones and can also be used in the studio scenario via the headphone socket. Simply connect your desk or PA to the headphone jack and your 8” bass combo will sound like a massive Orange 4x12 combo!
If you taking the amp to practice you’ll enjoy the fact you have an onboard chromatic tuner and the smaller dimensions for easy transport. This is one of the best portable bass amp options and one of the most widely used options too!
Honourable mention - Ashdown OriginAL 300 Watt Bass Amplifier Head
Ok, we’re not using a combo for this last option, but if you already have a cab or want to plug straight into the PA and forego the cab altogether, you can’t go wrong with the absolutely awesome (and extremely portable) Ashdown OriginAL 300 Watt Bass Amplifier Head. This lightweight amplifier head has 300 watts of power waiting to be unleashed. Sculpt your sound via the 5-band EQ and utilise the active/passive switching depending on the output of your instrument.
The Ashdown OriginAL 300 Watt Bass Amplifier Head has a DI output as well as an independent FX send and return for hooking up pedals and an uninterrupted signal path, whilst the handy headphone output allows for silent practice.
As we’re fighting for the crown for best portable bass amp, we have to mention the fact that the Ashdown OriginAL 300 Watt Bass Amplifier Head basically fits in the palm of your hand, has been constructed with a steel and alloy chassis and finished off with scuff proof paint – it’s been designed for travel and almost indestructible. The 5 year warranty ensures you’re covered for quite a long time too!