Thursday, December 15, 2011

Genz Benz Shuttle 3.0-8T Bass Amplifier Review


Hiya!

This Genz Benz Shuttle 3.0-8T has to be the cutest and highest power miniature bass combo amplifier I have ever played. I have no idea why I thought I needed it, but it was a tremendous deal that I could not pass up.

I have had great luck with Genz Benz amplification over the years, and my Shuttle 6.0-12T combo has been my workhorse for years (which is a lifetime in my world).

As I said it is small and cute, measuring about 12” wide by 14” tall by 11” deep. It is also super light, coming in at only 13.5 pounds (including the amplifier and cabinet). I find this truly amazing.

The amplifier can be easily detached from the cabinet, and it is really tiny. It has an approximate footprint of 8“ by 9”, and a total weight of 2 ¾ pounds. This cigar-box sized amp can put out 175 watts at 8 ohms, or 300 watts at 4 ohms.

The 3.0 uses a class-D solid state power amp to get this much output without a weight penalty. It loses the tube pre-amp that is found on the 6.0, but it is still able to put out a warm tone. I do not find it to be as crunchy and overdriven when I dial a lot of volume into the pre-amp circuit, but to get it smaller and cheaper they had to give up something.

The amplifier has plenty of useful features. On the back are an effects loop, a dedicated tuner out, a single Speakon output, a ¼-inch speaker out, an AUX input, an XLR output and a headphone jack. The power switch is on the back too, which is a horrible place to put it.

On the front are volume for the pre-amp, the 4-band EQ with parametric mids, a mute switch (I use this all the time), three signal-shaping switches and a master volume control. And, once again, the world’s brightest LEDs.

The cabinet is an STL-8T that has been adapted with an amplifier bracket on top and a built-in ¼” speaker cable. This cab is loaded with an 8-inch Neo speaker and a 1-inch tweeter with a 5K crossover. It measures about 12” on each side, and it is ported in the back for better bass response. It can handle 175 watts at 8 ohms, and has a frequency response of 58 to 20K Hz.

Unlike the 10 and 12-inch cabinets, this one does not have the nifty spring-loaded tilt-up stand on the bottom. Bummer.

Together, the head and cabinet are loud and sound pretty good (for its size). Obviously a single 8-inch speaker is not going to knock you down, but it is great for practicing, and would be appropriate for a coffee house or casual house party.

However, when I stacked it on my Genz Benz Shuttle 12-inch extension cabinet, it came alive as I was then able to get the full benefit of the 300 watts. It performed well with both cabinets, and I got a very fat tone out of it with my passive P basses and active PJ basses.

I would not hesitate to recommend picking one of these up, if you can get it cheaply enough.

The Genz Benz Shuttle 3.0-8T has a list price of $929 and a street price of $699, but I have seen dealers selling new amplifiers as demos on eBay for $450. That is one heck of a deal!

Mahalo!

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