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mitch 05/25/2012

Markbass Little Mark 250 : mitch's user review

"Mixed feelings"
4

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Solid-state type amp, perfect connection options, jack and xlr input, pre or post-EQ DI xlr output with independent volume control, ground lift (interrupts the ground line when there is noise with the PA), effects send and return, jack and speakon speaker outputs, everything super sturdy and of excellent quality.
It also has a small fan on the rear, which is very silent and discreet.

It has quite some power: 250 w into 4 ohms and 125 w into 8 ohms. That's enough to trouble your neighbors or make the windows rattle.

The controls are excellent as well, the EQ is very effective and very clean, the VLE provides a more vintage sound highlighting the mids, while the VPF provides a more contoured sound, boosting the lows and highs, for slap, for example, or for reggae.
One input gain and one output volume knob.

No noise nor crackles whatsoever, lots of flexibility and great effectiveness, very clean.

UTILIZATION

It couldn't be easier to use. Although at first, it isn't very clear how to use the VLE and VPF filters. But you get used to it. The manual? Haven't seen it.

Is it easy to get the right sound? This is where I'm not entirely happy. The amp has some great qualities, it's light, powerful, nice-looking (to me, at least), very clean, you plug in and it sounds...very flattering. But its cleanness is also its main defect: The sound is a bit cold. Not cold cold, but it's not warm. With the first speaker I used, a MarkBass NY 121, and an American Fender JB I could never find the sound I wanted. I fiddled with the controls in every possible way but it always lacked something. I switched to an Ampeg 115 and it's better. It's a bit less clean, more lively, I have a bit more low mids, the sound is warmer. Probably due to the 15" speaker. But it is still has that MarkBass sound, with the high mids that are a bit harsh, regardless of what you do. You have to love it, like many people do. I don't. Fans of fat sounds should forget about it.

SOUNDS

One thing is for sure, you can play anything you want with this amp. You can easily get any type of sound, especially with the VLE and VPF filters, while remaining a MarkBass. It's pretty impressive. Add to that the quality of the connections and the filters, the lightweight...It's good gear. I play on an American Fender Jazzbass. It sounds good. Since I'm also a percussionist, I play with a bassist who has an active Jazzbass deluxe. With an active bass the amp sounds even bigger. But there's always that clean side to it. It's impossible to dirty it up, you need an effect. A good tube preamp before the head would be very welcome.

OVERALL OPINION

I've been using it for 1.5 years. I have tried lots of amps (Galien Kruger, Roland, Hartke, Ampeg), but given its value for money, this one is the best.

Which feature do you like the most / the least?
+ The weight, the connections, the EQ, the filter, the power
- The MarkBass sound, which is too clean and tiring (you have to love it)

How would you rate its value for money? Very good

Based on your experience, would you buy this product again? Well, no, I'd go for an Ampeg or Hartke, even if it means forking out a bit more money.