Pros: This is a good sounding entry level bass amp.
FENDER RUMBLE 100 BASS COMBO AMPLIFIER 1x15
Back in 1951, Fender introduced the world to the Fender Precision Bass, and the world of music has never been the same since. As any Bass Guitarist will tell you, you need a good bass amp to bring out the sound you are trying to achieve with your bass. Sure there are plenty of high priced bass combo amps on the market that sound great. But what about the beginning bassist? The world of good sounding bass amps designed with beginners is mind is pretty slim pickens. Fortunately, Fender has a heart, and they have designed some nice sounding, relatively inexpensive bass amps with the beginner in mind. One of the nicest bass amps on the market today for beginners is the Fender Rumble 100 Bass Combo Amplifier 1x15. Read on and see if this amp has some of the characteristics that you might be interested in looking for the next time you might be considering purchasing a small bass amp.
Price is always a consideration for most of us when it comes to making any purchasing decision. The Fender Rumble 100 Bass Combo Amplifier 1x15 has a list price of $599.99, but it can be had from most large musical instrument chain stores for as little as $349.99 at a discount. The Fender Rumble 100 Bass Combo Amp 1x15 that I will be discussing today is the smallest member of the current Fender Rumble Bass Amp family. As with any small size amp, the consideration to purchase a small amp usually represents a compromise, which may involve cost and/or performance. As with any compromise, there are pros and cons to be considered, good points and bad points, and ultimately it comes down to individual preferences and needs. I shall try in this review to highlight the pros and cons of this amp, so that you can make an informed buying decision, if you should at some point consider a possible purchase of the Fender Rumble 100 Combo Bass Amplifier 1x15.
A very nice feature of the Fender Rumble 100 Bass Combo Amplifier 1x15 is that the most frequently used controls, are located on the front panel of the amp, and they are simple to understand and readily accessible. As the name would imply, the current incarnation of the Fender Rumble 100 Bass Amplifier 1x15 dishes out an amazing 100 Watts of RMS power into 4 Ohms, and it has one 15 inch, 4 Ohm, Fender specially designed speaker (woffer) and one Piezo compression horn driver (horn). The 15 Inch speaker is rated at 150 Watts, and as such, overloading of the speaker should not be a problem. This amp is surprisingly compact for an amp that puts out 100 watts of power, and it is 25 inches high, 21 inches wide, and 13 inches deep. It is also quite light for an amp that puts out 100 watts of power, and weighs in at a mere 60 pounds. This compact design makes it easy to transport the Fender Bassman 100 Amp easily from one place to another, such as back and forth from band rehearsal. The cabinet is fairly sturdy, and has a tuned port design, which helps to focus the bass response of the low end. The amplifier cabinet is covered with carpeting, and the corners are protected with tough plastic guards. The speaker is protected by a sturdy metal grille. The overall appearance is quite attractive, as well as being functional.
For ease of use, simplicity, and reliability, the circuitry of the Fender Rumble 100 Bass Combo Amp is all solid state. The Bassman 100 has only one Channel, and only one Input for your bass. However, adjacent to the one Input is a switch labeled "-6dB," which you guessed it, lowers the sensitivity of the Input by -6dB. This allows for a cleaner response from bass guitars that have active electronics, or from a bass guitar with a higher output level than the average bass guitar. When this switch is in the "out" position, the Input sensitivity is "normal," and when it is pushed in, the Input sensitivity is reduced by the -6dB just described. Next we come to a push in/push out button labeled Mid Scoop. The Mid Scoop is a mid-frequency cut, which when it is engaged, the mid-frequencies are cut and the bass and high frequency tones are more pronounced. In the out position the Mid Scoop is bypassed, and when the button is pushed in, the Mid Scoop is activated. The "scooping" out of the mid-range frequencies results in a sound that is preferred by players who like to use their thumb to achieve a more modern funky sound when playing.
Next we come to the Volume Control, which obviously controls the volume of the amp. Next we come to the EQ section of the amp, and there are 4 dials that are Bass, Low Mid, High Mid, and Treble. The four dials allow the user to adjust tones in each of the four frequency bands. Each dial permits sound shaping control of up to 15 dB of reduction or boost with the center or "0" position being one where the frequencies are not being effected. These four EQ dials permit the player to have greater control over all of the frequencies of the amp, for even more sound shaping possibilities. Each EQ dial designates the specific frequency you want to adjust, and this permits the player to boost or cut (by up to + or - 15dB) the specific frequency designated by the EQ dial. This is a very useful feature of this amp, and provides the player with a greater degree of tone control than a mere Bass and Treble Control that is found on most amps in this price range. For example, cutting out some of the mid-frequencies makes for an accentuation of both the high and low frequencies, and this is a sound that is great for slap bass sounds.
Next we come to two RCA input jacks that can be used with a portable CD player, MP3, Drum Machine, etc. These input jacks are not controlled by the Rumble 100's controls, but are instead controlled by the controls on the device that is being plugged into the RCA inputs. Next we come to a jack labeled Pre Amp Out. This jack can be connected to the input of an external effects device, such as a stomp box of some type. Adjacent to this is a jack labeled Power Amp In, and one can connect this jack to the output of an external effects device. We now come to a jack labeled Headphones. This is an output jack enabling the player to listen to what they are playing through a set of headphones. When a set of headphones is plugged into this jack, the signal going to the speaker is automatically disconnected, and that permits the player to jam all night long without fear of disturbing the neighbors.
The next dial that we come to on the Rumble 100 is labeled Line Level knob and adjacent to it is the Line Out Jack. This first dial allows for control over the level of the signal that is coming out of the Line Out Jack. The Line Out Jack permits easy connection to either a sound system board or to an outboard recording device. A Ground Lift switch can also be found next to the Line Out Jack, which when pushed in, will serve to disconnect the ground pin (pin # 1) of the Line Out Jack, which may reduce hum resulting from connections to improperly grounded equipment in some circumstances. Lastly we come to a Power Indicator which lights up when the amp is on, and next to this is the On/Off Switch.
Like I mentioned earlier in this review, the Fender Rumble 100 Amp is an inexpensive, small amp, and inexpensive small amps usually represent a compromise between price and quality. If you are looking for a thundering amp, with concert hall capabilities, I am afraid you will be disappointed, and you will have to look elsewhere. This is a good practice amp and one that is also suited to playing small gigs. It is limited in its sonic capabilities as well. For example this amp has a built-in Deltacomp adaptive limiter which is designed to prevent the power amp from distorting. At first this may sound like a good thing, but unlike higher priced amplifiers, one has absolutely no control over the parameters of this limiter. It is always on, and when one is playing at higher volumes, it can make the sound of the bass a bit sterile and not exciting. Although this amp is described as being suitable for handling small clubs, it is not very loud and does not fill up a room with presence or bottom. Further, depending on the size and/or acoustics of the room you are playing in, the type of music you are playing might have to be somewhat subdued in volume for you to be heard clearly and cleanly. I also feel that an amp that weighs 60 pounds really ought to come with casters. It would make transporting this amp a lot easier.
In short, the Fender Rumble 100 Bass Combo Amp 1x15 is an adequate amp for practice purposes, as well as being suitable for very small gigs, such as a coffee house. It sounds quite good at low volume settings, but tends to sound a bit muffled and unclear at higher volumes, and I believe this is due to the built-in Deltacomp circuitry, which is always on, and can not be adjusted or turned off. The 15 inch speaker does not yield room filling bottom. I would not advise using this amp for performance purposes, for any but the smallest of gigs. However, if the Line Out is connected to a good sound system for support, then we are talking a whole different ball game, as the use of a good P.A. would certainly compensate for this amp's sonic limitations. On the positive side, this amp sells for a discounted price of $350.00, and when you think of how other amps in this price range compare, then I must say that the Fender Rumble 100 Bass Combo Amp 1x15 is a good deal in this price range. Spending an extra couple of hundred dollars or so, will put you into an amp that can do a lot more, but ultimately you must decide on the extent of your needs, versus the limits of your budget. Personally, even with the limitations that I noted earlier, I believe that this is a good value for the money. If you recognize that it is a small entry level bass amp, and not a stadium filling monster, I do not think you will be disappointed.
Well thank you for taking the time to read my review. But now, if you will excuse me, I must get back to my practicing.