Here at Geekanoids we will be bringing you some alternative reviews over the coming months. Something to get you away from that screen, maybe a little different creativity, or something for the weekend. Hot on the heels of this review will be some excellent percussion instruments, the RMP-5 drum practice pad and the HPD-10 hand percussion pad. We also have Marshall's excellent AS50D amplifier, and a Yamaha APX500 electro-acoustic guitar.
To kick things off the kind people at Marshall Amplification lent us their MB30 bass amp, which we wanted to test with the Roland RMP-5 drum practice pad. Before I continue with my impressions here is a little about the MB series. There are ten different models in the range, starting with the MB15, which delivers 15 watts of amplification, right up to the MB4050H, a two box affair capable of up to 450 watts. All have similar styling, being black with white accents and controls.
The MB30 which we have on test, yes, you guessed it, delivers 30 watts of amplification via a single 10-inch speaker. It is a two channel amp, measuring 438mm x 400mm x 260mm, and weighing in at 13.6kg, so is pretty easy to move around. The front sports one input jack for your bass guitar (or in this case drum unit), plus there is also an input for a CD player or other suitable line-in device, like an MP3 player. There is also a headphone out socket, which when used mutes the internal speaker. The rotary dials from left to right control the volume, compressor control, classic gain and volume, bass, voice shift, voice and treble equalisation. There are also push buttons for turning the compressor on and off, and for switching between the MB30's two channels (modern or classic).
Around the back you will find sockets for connecting a footswitch, a send socket that could go to an external effects processor, return input for completing the loop between that external effects processor and a line out that can go to a recording device.
So, as you can see, the MB30 is very well endowed in socketry and controls, but how well does it perform? Well, when used with the RMP-5 this little amp really kicks ass. I was expecting things to sound a little muddy, as this amp really is not designed for the drum pad. At first things did sound a little flat, but upping the treble and moving the voice shift to position 3 to boost the mids and things seemed to fall into place. The low thumps of some of the RMP-5 effects were shuddering, whilst the MB30 still managed to deliver the intricacies of a cymbal almost to perfection.
It would have been unfair to bring you this review without testing an instrument that the MB30 was designed for, so we ran a Yamaha RBX774 bass through it. Again, the sound was very full, with plenty of authority and well controlled.
The features and control that the MB30 delivers at this price point and fantastic, and although 30 watts may seem at the low end, it goes plenty loud enough. For home practice it is ideal, for the percussion we tested it was surprisingly very capable, and with the RBX774 it performed way above its asking price. If you need a bass oriented amp then look no further than the MB30 or another model from the series.