Thursday, October 13, 2011

Ampeg B-15T Bass Amplifier Review


I have been a bass player and gear hound for years, so it is surprising that it took so long for an Ampeg amplifier to come into my life. It is a B-15T, which is not exactly regarded as the nicest planet in the Ampeg solar system.

The B-15T is a combo amplifier that was introduced in the early 1990s, and was only produced for a few years. This is the solid-state equivalent of the legendary Portaflex, and shares the same fliptop design.

These amplifiers put out 100 watts @ 4 ohms. The front panel has a pair of inputs (one of them is -15db), a ground lift, effect loop jacks and the power switch. The controls include gain, a 4-band EQ with puzzling push-pull pots, as well as master volume and balanced line out level controls.

On the back of the head is a mute switch, a ¼-inch headphone jack, a single speaker output, an auxiliary effects loop and a balanced line output.

The compact cabinet measures about 24-inches tall (with casters) by 21-inches wide by 14-inches deep, and the whole thing (with the amp) weighs in around 75 pounds. It has removable casters on the bottom, so it is easy to move around as well as a rod that threads into the cabinet so it can be tilted back. The B-15Ts were originally equipped with a 15-inch speaker: either a 100-watt Ampeg or an optional 200-watt EV EVM 15L; the speaker enclosure uses a twin triangular port design.

The one we have here shows a bit of road wear, but still works fine. It has the original EV EVM 15-L speaker, and still has all of the factory hardware, including the casters and the prop rod. I picked it up from a guy on Craigslist along with some other gear, including a Gallien-Krueger 400RB.

After playing it for awhile I’ve decided that the B-15T is just an ok package. It provides plenty of volume for smaller gigs or practice, but the tone is thin and muddy. It definitely does not have the traditional thunderous Ampeg tone. The EQ controls with the push-pull pots are pretty wonky.

But if you set aside the head, this speaker and cabinet design kick it. I’ve put my Genz Benz and GK amplifiers through this speaker and it sounds incredible. The cabinet does rattle a bit, so I need to go through it to tighten up the fasteners and install some weather-strip around where the fliptop lid fits on the cabinet.

I would not pay a whole lot for an Ampeg B-15T, but it is an acceptable starter or practice amp (as long as it has the optional EV speaker).



  1. hi,
    i have one of these and was thinking about selling it. what is a reasonable price to ask? i'm not into ripping people off so i'd like to know before i decide.

  2. They do not sell very well in today's market. I see them selling for $300 or $400 at the most.

    Thanks for checking in!


  3. Hi
    I Just got one of these and decided to use the cab with a diffrent head. What's the Cab's impedance?

    1. They're 4 ohm cabs and I use them with a 70's SVT, either one or two, the original 100 Eminence speakers sound good too which is what in the two I have. They can handle the SVT as long as you don't crank it and sound really good.

  4. Oh, The 100 watt amp with it doesn't sound that bad but yes it does sound a little smaller and drier than an SVT but they're nice for small gigs and do have ultra lo and ultra high boosts along with two midranges with two different tone centers depending on whether the knob is in or out.