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Amplifiers & Speakers:
SB110 Lightweight Combo Bass Amplifier
Shipping Cost: Starts at $25.00 to most East Coast destinations
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We know not everyone wants to (or can) spend the bucks to get a boutique amp for their upright bass. We proudly offer and recommend (and use) amps in the Acoustic Image and Euphonic Audio lines, which are highly respected, top-quality brands. But, let's face it - they don't come cheap.
We've always aspired to provide a decent amp option for buyers with more modest budgets. But as you may have read on our site, the gear we sell has to pass the "Bob and Mark Test" - meaning, if we wouldn't use it ourselves, we won't sell it. It takes an amp with particular character and the right technical specifications to reproduce the acoustic sound of an upright bass.
With this new (Summer 2013) amplifier from Traynor, we believe we've found a great new option for those buyers. We previously recommended the (still quite fine) TB100 amp, which was a larger, heavier model with a 15" speaker that sounded quite good for both upright and electric bass. However, this offering, from Traynor's new "Small Block Series" is a big step up (and only a little more money.) It's much lighter and more compact, just as powerful, and features more extensive EQ controls and better i/o options. And yet it's still very affordable!
Knowing how well the original Traynor amps had worked, we figured we'd start with the smallest option -- and got them to send us the 1x10 SB110 you see here. As soon as we (Christopher and Mark) plugged in and turned on, we were very pleasantly surprised. The amp carries a surprisingly deep sound -- especially for a 1x10 -- and doesn't exhibit as much "boxiness" as you commonly hear from speakers of this size and weight. It's rear ported, and that port moves a lot of air (we laughed as playing a low E moved a packing peanut across the floor!) But it doesn't "whistle" or huff, even at high volumes.
Speaking of which, how is this little amp so LOUD? It's only rated at 100w, but with my carved bass with the Realist Soundclip on it, plugged directly in with no preamp (the input impedance is reported to be around 1 MegOhm, which should be good for most piezo pickups), the amp had full, deep sound. It's only a 14-inch cube, but turning it up, we could shake the walls pretty good in our little showroom. And that was with the EQ set "flat." Tweaking the 4-band EQ -- and not even touching the "Low Expander" control, which is probably better-suited for electric bass -- provided even more sonic options. Nice!
It's constructed in Canada with real plywood, not fragile particle board or heavy MDF. It uses a genuine brand-name Eminence driver. Its styling is clean and unassuming, not flashy, but classy. All this, and a solid 2-year warranty.
Not surprisingly, it also sounded great with electric bass; my 5-string had full-bodied tone all the way up and down the neck, and the extensive EQ controls made it easy to instantly dial in a contemporary electric bass tone. So this amp can do double-duty - it works equally well with electric or acoustic bass.
- Status LEDs - Power (red for warmup, blue for "ready") and Clip
- 0dB/Passive and -6dB/Active Inputs ¼-inch phone jacks
- Gain (Volume) Control - One knob for volume control
- Tone Controls – 4-band EQ includes Bass, Low-Mid, Hi-Mid and Treble
- Low Expander Control - This is a Bass Boost/Mid "Scoop" control, which is best used by electric bass. But feel free to experiment, perhaps you'll like it!
- Aux Input – ¼-inch phone jack - Line Level
- Phones Jack – ¼-inch Stereo/Mono Headphone Jack
- Line Out – XLR jack for DI-style connection to a mixing board
- Tweeter Defeat/Active Switch - reduce high-frequency "clack" by turning off the tweeter!
|Pros and Cons:
- In spite of its 100 watt rating and compact size, we find the amp can get quite loud without distortion.
- A four-band EQ is incredibly useful for upright bass; and unusual on an amp in this price range.
- Volume and headroom are very good for this price range, but it's not quite a fair comparison to match it up with the much higher-powered combos from Acoustic Image, or the 550w Micro/Doubler from Euphonic Audio.
- It's very lightweight and portable, especially compared with the TB100 amp it replaces in our product line.
- It's got one channel only (though with the AUX 1/4" jack input you can add additional sources) and it has no microphone input.
- The DI output provides connection to "the house" (Balanced Pre-EQ only)
- It can power its internal speaker only; there is no external speaker jack.
- Its 10" driver sounds quite full range - and isn't overly boxy. Tonally, is it up to the level of an Acoustic Image or EA rig? Not quite -- but for less than half the price, it's certainly a great alternative!
- Lightweight, Compact and Durable Cabinet Design
- Made of Real Plywood
- Built in Canada
- 4-band EQ (Bass/Lo Mid/Hi Mid/Treble, ±15dB)
- Low Expander Control: boosts lows and cuts mids; not particularly useful for URB
- Active and Passive Instrument Level Inputs
- XLR Balanced (Pre-EQ) Output
- 1/4" Auxiliary Line Input
- ¼ inch Headphone Output
- Power: 100 watts
- Burst Power - 2 cycle: 125 watts
- Speaker: 10 inch woofer w/separate Tweeter
- Frequency Response (Hz +/-3dB): 50 - 15k
- Inputs: two ¼ inch (passive, active); 1/4" auxilliary jack
- Controls: one each Volume/Gain, Bass, Low Mid, High Mid, Treble, Expander
- Line Out: XLR Pre-EQ
- LED Indicators: Power, Clip
- Headphone Jack: ¼ inch
- Speaker Jack: None, the unit is designed to drive the internal speaker only.
- Dimensions 14 x 14 x 14 inches / 35.5 x 35.5 x 35.53 cm
- Weight: 21 lbs. / 9.5 kg.
- For best sound with the upright bass, turn the "Low Expander" control OFF. As in, all the way to the left (not at the midpoint.) This control "shapes the tone of the bass by extending the low frequency and reducing the mid frequencies (around 400 Hz)." That creates an unnatural "scooped" sound with exaggerated bass response - and while that can sound cool for electric bass guitar, it detracts from the neutral tone character that better serves the sound of an upright.
- Tilt the amp upward to hear yourself better.
- Is the sound of the highs too harsh? Too much finger noise? Turn off the tweeter, that will "round off" the top end and provide a bit more natural tone for upright.
Note to International Customers:
The Traynor SB110 is designed and configured for use in the USA and Canada (110-120v mains power). It does NOT have the capability to switch to 230-240v operation.
Is this product returnable? Click here for our return policy.
Is there a Factory Warranty? Click here to find Warranty Information for all of our manufacturers.
International customer? Click here for important information about ordering from outside the USA, and what to expect concerning taxes, VAT, delivery times, and more.
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Some of our customers have told us what they think about this product.
Check out what they had to say!
I have some comments about the amp. It really is a great system for upright bass. I've had some interesting results, also, from trying different mid-range and treble settings, then playing around with the low expander knob. There are so many options and yet, the EQ-ing setup is simple - five knobs plus the tweeter switch. Brilliant! And I haven't even had the volume up to half-way yet, plugged into the passive input. Maybe not even 1/4!
Bottom line is that it reproduces the natural sound of my instrument and has plenty of power to spare. Great find, guys! Thanks for making it available and for the wonderful service you provide for bassists.
—Ed W (August 2014)
I received the Traynor SB110 amp yesterday and checked it out immediately, with my acoustic 3/4 upright and my (passive) Fender P bass, following the recommendations on your website. This amp is awesome! Light-weight, well- made, small but super powerful (walls shaking at half- volume), great & versatile sound with both (very different) basses, and some nice features too (XLR line out, active & passive inputs, 4-band EQ, tweeter on/off button, great price). Thanks for selecting this amp to include on your site and for your informative description, review, and setting recommendations.
—Asher S (January 2015)