Best Base Amp Reviews for Serious Power 2020

Last Updated on July, 12th 2020

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Our Top Pick

With so many bass amps to choose from, finding the one that will deliver just the sound you want can be difficult. This situation is not helped by the fact that most guitar magazines and review sites focus on guitarists.

That’s where we come in!

We’ve read hundreds of reviews, talked to loads of bassists, and spent hours listening to solid amps, all so we can tell you that if you are looking for a bass amp, the Orange Crush Pix CR100BXT is definitely the one to get. This amp is simply the most adaptable available today, allowing you to fine-tune your sound and easily achieve the perfect tone.

In addition, it is big enough for small gigs, whilst being portable enough for the practice room. If you are looking for the best value bass amp around, go for this one!

Product DescriptionUsers ScoreOverall Score
Editor choice
Orange Crush Pix CR100BXT

Orange Crush Pix CR100BXT

Wow. We have been fans of Orange for quite some years now, because they build bass amps that are among the best ...

User Rating: 4 (1 votes)
2 Fender Rumble 200 v3

Fender Rumble 200 v3

This is simply a great bass amp, and represents amazing value.  The bassists we spoke to for this review insisted ...

User Rating: Be the first one!
3 Hartke VX3500

Hartke VX3500

This is a really serious bass amp.  Providing 350 watts of pure power, it will allow you to play even the biggest ...

User Rating: Be the first one!
4 Marshall MB15

Marshall MB15

A bit of a different beast from the other bass amps we are reviewing today, but included because this is simply the ...

User Rating: 4 (1 votes)
5 Ampeg BA115v2

Ampeg BA115v2

Last but definitely not least, we have the Ampeg BA115 v2. This is also a great bass amp, either for the practice room ...

User Rating: 4 (1 votes)

Best Bass Amps for the Money

ModelSizeWeightPower
Orange Crush Pix CR100BXT 20.9 x 13.8 x 20.1 inches 58.3 pounds 100W
Fender Rumble 200 v3 27.55 x 17.91 x 22.84 in 34.5 pounds 200W
Hartke VX3500 27.5 x 18 x 37 inches 72.8 pounds 350W
Marshall MB15 15.3 x 15 x 9.4 inches 26.5 pounds 15W
Ampeg BA115v2 20.7 x 15.7 x 25.7 in 55 pounds 150W

What is a Bass Amp and How does it work?

Well, pretty obviously, a bass amp is an amplifier for a bass guitar.

Whilst that description might sound simple, the differences between a bass amp and a standard guitar amp are anything but. Bass guitars require completely different sound characteristics than your standard 6-string, and what to look for in a bass amp differs significantly from a standard guitar amp.

Of course, you need bass! Any bass amp will deliver this in spades – generally, the woofer built into these amps is larger than that on a guitar amp, in order to produce the super-low sounds required from bass players.

However, though it might not be obvious, bass guitar requires just as wide a frequency as its smaller cousin. Therefore, the best bass amps come with plenty of features to help you design the perfect bass sound. Whether you are playing thrash or jazz, the bass amps we are reviewing today will all allow you to achieve that perfect tone.

Our focus today is on a range of mid-range bass amps. Whilst it is possible to spend a lot more on a bass amp than on those below, we think these ones represent the best value.

To find more related stuff, check out these guides:

Our Best Base Amp Reviews

What kind of bass amp you need, and the features you want it to have, depend on how you’re going to use it. An amp for practicing in your room is quite a different beast to one you can tour huge venues with.

Some of the things to look for in an amp stay the same, though:

  • Power. A lot of people talk a lot about power, as though it was a measure of how good an amp is. Certainly, if you are playing huge venues, or outside, you will need a powerful amp. However, for practice, a 20W amplifier will easily deal with the task. It will still go incredibly loud, so don’t worry about not being heard!
  • Speakers. A common set-up for bass amps is a 12” woofer coupled with a smaller tweeter, typically 1”. Some amps come with an additional mid-range horn as well, which can potentially improve frequency response and definition.
  • Inputs and outputs. It might sound obvious, but make sure the amp you are looking at has the correct type of inputs, and enough of them, to accommodate all the gear you want to plug in!

Ultimately, there is no substitute for hearing these amps yourself. Everybody has different preferences when it comes to how they want their amp to sound. But you could do worse than checking out these ones:


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1. Editor’s Pick: Orange Crush Pix CR100BXT

Wow. We have been fans of Orange for quite some years now, because they build bass amps that are among the best available anywhere. This model, however, is the pick of the bunch.picture of Orange Crush Pix CR100BXT amplifier

Let’s start with that signature orange fascia. It still looks great, even after all these years, whether in the corner of your bedroom or in the practice room. Where it really stands out, though, is on stage, where the bright orange box draws attention to you as the bass player, often sadly overlooked!

Whilst not the most powerful amp we are reviewing today, this amp certainly packs a punch. It sounds considerably louder than the 100 watts of power it offers, so you don’t have to worry about being heard. In fact, the bassists we spoke to for this review said this amp was powerful enough for small gigs on its own, so get this amp and you will not have to shell out for separate practice and gig amps.

Orange Crush Pix CR100BXT

Whilst not the most powerful amp we are reviewing today, this amp certainly packs a punch.

In addition, of course, the Orange Crush Pix comes with a variety of other advantages:

PROS:
  • The power offered by this amp is more than sufficient for any purpose. This 100 watt model is incredibly loud, and the amp, on its own, is more than capable of playing even quite large rooms, and links well with PA systems.
  • The EQ options on this amp really help it to stand out from the crowd. Each channel has a dedicated five level EQ, which is simple and easy to adjust. This is perfect for beginners as well as pros. For those just funding their sound, having a wide range available makes it easy to create something unique. If you are an experienced player, you will be able to replicate the sound of your old favorite amp with ease!
  • The amp is remarkably compact, especially considering the power and extra features it includes. The bassists we spoke to for this review praised this, because it meant that they could easily carry the amp to practice sessions. Ultimately, this means that you will not have to buy separate practice and gig amps, saving an awful lot of cash.
  • The amp also offers an auxiliary input, which is great for beginners. Plug in your phone, and play along with your favorite tracks, and you will be playing killer bass n no time.
  • This amp will last forever. It has become a favorite amongst even the most famous bass players because it can stand the worst punishment. If you are lucky enough to be flying all over the world to play gigs, it is nice to know that your amp will arrive in perfect working condition, with no broken valves, sounding just as good as it did on the day you bought it!

CONS:
  • In truth, none. If you are looking for a classic bass amp that will deliver great tone for years, no matter how badly you treat it, this is the one to get!


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2. Fender Rumble 200 v3

This is simply a great bass amp, and represents amazing value. picture of Fender Rumble 200 v3 amplifier

The bassists we spoke to for this review insisted that we include this amp, as it has become famous not only for its great sound but also for its build quality.

Of course, like all Fender amps, this one feels incredibly strong and sturdy, and we are sure that it will provide many years of reliable service, even if you are throwing it into your truck twice a week to go to band practice! We have seen Fender Rumbles backstage all over the world, and for many bass players this series of amps has become a trusted friend.

Take a quick look to see why the fender is one of our top picks.

Fender Rumble 200 v3

The bassists we spoke to for this review insisted that we include this amp, as it has become famous not only for its great sound but also for its build quality.

And, again like every Fender amp, what you are paying for here is that gorgeous signature sound. We don’t pretend to understand how Fender manage to replicate their unique clear,  warm sound, even in an affordable bass amp like this one – all we know is that we like what we hear!

In addition, this amp has these great features:

PROS:
  • The audio adjustments on this amp are exactly what bass players require. There is a three band EQ on each input channel, allowing you to find the perfect sound quickly and easily.
  • The distortion offered by this amp is amazing. The overdrive circuit on this amp has been completely redesigned, and provides plenty of low-end punch. If you play metal, or other forms of hard rock, this is absolutely perfect, and your guitarist will be jealous of the deep, gritty sound you are getting.
  • The amp is well suited to beginners, coming with a headphone output that allows the aspiring bassist to practice silently. Even the most experienced players need to keep  practicing, and this feature takes out some of the hassle.
  • The build quality of this amp also makes it stand out from the competition. Fender have built an excellent reputation amongst gigging musicians, who value the fact that their larger amps will put up with even the longest tours. This amp replicates that great quality, and we are sure that it will provide years of reliable service.

CONS:
  • None, for the price. If you are looking for a bass amp with that signature Fender sound, this is the one. The only disadvantage we can see is that your rhythm guitarist will envy the sound you are producing at half the price of their own amp!


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3. Hartke VX3500

This is a really serious bass amp. picture of Hartke VX3500 amplifier

Providing 350 watts of pure power, it will allow you to play even the biggest venues with ease.

This amp has been designed with gigs in mind, so if your stadium tour is coming up, have a look at this amp.

This is the most powerful amp we are reviewing today. It is so powerful, in fact, that most musicians will never be in a position to push the volume it will produce. All that power gives it great advantages even at low volumes though, providing better control of the speaker cones and sound produced.

The power here in channeled through four ten inch paper cone speakers – more than enough to produce incredibly clear sound, even at the loudest volumes!

If you are playing large venues, and need an amp that will deal with even the largest halls, this is the one to go for.

Hartke VX3500

This amp has been designed with gigs in mind, so if your stadium tour is coming up, have a look at this amp.

In addition, this amp comes with some great features:

PROS:
  • The amplification circuitry in this amp is little short of amazing. Hartke have cleverly combined the vintage with the modern in order to get the bet sound quality – the amp combines tube amplification with solid state, in order to capture every nuance of your playing.
  • Along with being the most powerful amp we are reviewing, as you might have guessed, this is also the heaviest. Whilst this may seem like a disadvantage, if you are spending this much on a bass amp you want it to be solidly built, and one look at the Hartke will tell you all you need to know – it is built like a tank!
  • The ten-band graphic EQ is amazing, offering a wider range of sound than the majority of bass amps available today. If you are serious about getting just the right sound, or are the kind of bassist who really likes to play around with some weird noises, this is the bass amp for you!
  • Last but not least, the sound offered by this amp is truly outstanding. At both high and low volumes, every nuance of your playing is reproduced perfectly, and that big cabinet really helps when it comes to the lowest notes!

CONS:
  • Very few. The only disadvantage we can see is that your bandmates will complain you are drowning them out!


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4. Marshall MB15

A bit of a different beast from the other bass amps we are reviewing today, but included because this is simply the best bass practice amp available. picture of Marshall MB15 amplifier

Even the professional bass players we talked to for this review recommended this small amp, as the sound it produces is truly amazing for such a small device. In addition, even if you own a 300 watt monster of an amp, lugging it backwards and forwards from band practice three times a week can quickly get tiresome, and having a small practice amp like this will ensure you don’t end up with a bad back!

Though Marshall are more often chosen by guitarists, their expertise in building amps really shines through in this bass amp. They have taken the same technology they use to produce excellent tones on their guitar amps, and applied them to bass guitar very well. The sounds produced by this amp are clean and crisp, right up to its volume limit!

So if you are looking for your next practice amp, or are just starting with bass guitar and need an amp to start on, you could do much worse than giving this small Marshall amp a go.

Marshall MB15

A bit of a different beast from the other bass amps we are reviewing today, but included because this is simply the best bass practice amp available.

In addition, this amp has several big advantages:

PROS:
  • It delivers more than enough power for most players. With 15 watts of power, you will not have to worry about being heard in the practice room, and we have even heard of bassists playing gigs with this amp, as long as a decent PA system is available!
  • The build quality of this amp is something else. From the moment you receive this amp, you will be impressed with how solid it feels, and we are confident that it will put up with years of abuse without complaining.
  • The clean sound of this amp is perfect for blues players! That signature Marshall sound is well represented by this amp, which will go incredibly loud with little to no distortion, and even when pushed to its limits the tone stays clean and responsive.
  • The CD input on this amp is also a great feature for beginners. Plug in your phone, put on your favorite track, and play along. The reproduction on this amp is pitch-perfect, and practicing by playing along with your favorite artists is a great way to motivate you to practice more, and to learn skills quickly.

CONS:
  • Very few. When you start to play large stadiums filled with thousands of adoring fans, you may need to upgrade to a more powerful amp, but for practice purposes this amp is simply the best available at the moment!


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5. Ampeg BA115v2

Last but definitely not least, we have the Ampeg BA115 v2. This is also a great bass amp, either for the picture of Ampeg BA115v2 amplifierpractice room or small gigs, developing 150 watts of power and delivering huge volume.

The bassists we spoke to for this review insisted that we include an Ampeg amp, as the sound is difficult to beat, and impossible to describe! Seriously, go down to your local music store, give this amp a listen, and you will instantly be a convert!

Something about the mixture of gain and clarity that Ampeg bass amps produce means that they have become favorites of musicians the world over, and this 150 watt model continues that proud tradition.

This amp, if it is important to you, also looks great. The controls and styling are really understated, meaning that the amp looks like a serious piece of equipment. This simplicity in design also means that within a few days of using this amp you will be really used to adjusting it, letting you focus on what matters the most – playing!

Ampeg BA115v2

Something about the mixture of gain and clarity that Ampeg bass amps produce means that they have become favorites of musicians the world over, and this 150 watt model continues that proud tradition.

Of course, this amp also has several more advantages:

PROS:
  • It delivers more than enough power for most players. With 150 W of noise, it is perfect for either the practice room or small gigs. If you are playing larger venues, it will easily connect to PA systems.
  • The tone options available on this amp are simply incredible. Ampeg amps, including this one, offer super high and super lo tone shaping, which gives this amp the capability to produce a much broader range of sounds than most of the competition, and ensures that the perfect tone will always be within your reach!
  • The Bass Scrambler overdrive circuit in this amp is perfect, producing a distortion that sounds great. This feature can also be activated by a footswitch, meaning that you can incorporate both clean and overdriven bass sounds into your tracks, and not have to worry about fiddling with your amp mid-song.
  • This amp has been designed for gigging, and as a result is extremely easy to carry around and set up. The new cabinet design offers a 60 degree cut-off corner, which means the amp can be set up at the optimum monitor angle.

CONS:
  • Very few. If you are looking for a classic bass amp that still delivers great overdrive sound, this is the one to go for!


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Our Final Thoughts on the Top Base Amps for the Money

So which to choose?

Well, your choice of bass amp is yours alone, of course. Nothing can beat hearing these amps in the flesh, and finding one that perfectly matches the sound you want to achieve. All of the amps we reviewed today offer incredible sound that we are confident will please even the most discerning player.

When buying a bass amp, it is important to consider the power offered by it, and what you are going to use it for. A small, light, compact amp for the practice room or for the beginner is quite a different item to a 350 watt monster that will play the largest gigs.

Our overall choice, though, is the Orange Crush Pix CR100BXT. This amp is simply the most adaptable available today, allowing you to fine-tune your sound and easily achieve the perfect tone. In addition, it is big enough for small gigs, whilst being portable enough for the practice room. If you are looking for the best value bass amp around, go for this one!