Friday, December 3, 2010

Markbass CMD 121P Bass Amplifier

Hey there!

Today we are looking at the other Markbass amplifier that I have owned: a CMD 121P combo amplifier from Italy, the home of quality electronics. Heh.

This is a powerful and lightweight amplifier. It weighs in at 29.3 pounds, and measures about 15 inches wide by 17 inches high by 14 inches deep. The head puts out 500W at 4 ohms, and the 1 12-inch speaker and piezo tweeter are rated at 400W. You can add an extension cab to get max volume.

The cabinet is super-sturdy, and is built of glued and screwed poplar plywood. I cannot stand the fuzzy black carpet covering on these amps. It never holds up well, and eventually pills up and looks like poo. I prefer a vinyl covering. This amp would definitely benefit from a built-in stand that would angle it up some (like the Genz Benz Shuttle has).

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.

The list price on these is $1,459.99 and Guitar Center/Musician’s Friend (the sole importer) will not sell them cheaper than $899.99. What is the point of having a list price, if there is only one seller in the country? Whatever.

I realize that this all sounds very good on paper, but my reality was a bit more disappointing.

I had plenty of troubles with this amplifier. It would shut down when it got hot, and it eventually shut down and never turned back on again. Markbass had the amplifier for more than 6 months before they sent it back. I sold it right away and vowed to never buy their products again.

For a great alternative to this Markbass amplifier, I would recommend the Genz Benz Shuttle 6.0 combo. I have been using one for awhile and it is a fantastic amp.

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