Wednesday, November 3, 2010

MarkBass CMD 102P Bass Amplifier

Hi there!

Today we are looking a Markbass CMD 102P amplifier from Italy. These amplifiers have been popular since they were introduced due to their low weight and high power output.

How light and powerful? This one weighs in at 44 pounds, and measures about 25 inches wide by 19 inches high by 19 inches deep. The amplifier puts out 500W at 4 ohms, and the 2 neodymium 10-inch speakers and piezo tweeter are rated at 400W. Of course, you can hook up an extension cab to get the full sound out of it.

The cabinet is solidly built of glued and screwed poplar plywood. Tragically it is covered in that fuzzy black carpet crap that pills up and looks like poo. I prefer the vinyl covering more. The cabinet is beveled at the back so it can be angled up, or straight forward. It also makes it easier to roll around in the back of a truck when going around corners or slamming on your brakes.

The amplifier is the same as the Little Mark II head unit. It is a solid-state unit that can put out 500W at 4 ohms or 300W at 8 ohms. On the front is a ¼-inch jack that will take either passive or active inputs, as well as a balanced XLR input. On the back is a Neutrik output jack, a balanced XLR out, a ground lift, an unbalanced tuner out and an effects loop.

There are gain and master volume controls, in case you want to dirty up the tone. There is a 4-band equalizer and a two filter knobs: the VLE (Vintage Loudspeaker Emulator) and VPF (Variable Pre-shape Filter). These filters really change the tone, and I managed to get some pretty killer tones out of this amplifier.

Of course, good things do not come cheap.

The list price on these is $1,829.99 and Guitar Center/Musician’s Friend (the sole importer) will not sell them cheaper than $1149.99. Sounds like price-fixing to me.

I eventually sold this CMD 121P, as I had another Markbass combo (CMD 121P), and this one was not getting much use. Unfortunately, later on it failed, and he had a lot of trouble getting it repaired by them. Not long after, my CMD 121P also failed, which is not a great pattern of reliability (based on a sample of two), as both amps were less than two years old.

I have since moved on the Gen Benz amplifiers and have been very happy with them.


  1. every 3 years I would get one, so far a 3rd one on its way.
    not because it failed, but because i just can.
    I can change basses every 2 to 3 years, up to 10 basses easily.
    Rodriguez Sebastian J Smithenson

  2. you're e a super hero