It’s sometimes hard to justify the expense of a bass practice amp, especially when players already own a full-sized rig for band rehearsal, gigging, and recording. In order to make the most of playing time at home, however, the thunderous half-stack just isn’t practical. Having a quality bass amp for practice is the solution.
What Makes a Good Practice Bass Amp?
Practice amps should be small and portable enough to cart from room to room should you want to. One of the beauties of playing at home is being able to set up and get comfortable wherever you happen to be, whether that’s your office, bedroom, living room, or dedicated home studio.
Sound is obviously important as well, and as long as you get a nice well-rounded tone out of it, it’s probably more than adequate for practice. Small amps aren’t going to push air and move low frequencies like powerful heads and multi-speaker cabinets do, but they can still sound incredible despite their size and output.
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Certain amps also touted as practice/home solutions come with handy home recording features like dedicated XLR outputs so you can run direct from the amplifier to an interface. Lots of musicians record themselves as part of their practice routine, and if you fall into that camp, consider this feature as well.
What Size Bass Amp Is Best for Practice?
Generally, the smaller the better for practicing at home. We’re talking about not disturbing neighbors, and potentially being able to play during off hours without disturbing anyone. Consider low-wattage options somewhere between 25 and 50 watts for controlled power, and speaker sizes 10″ and under. With few exceptions, we’ve included all low-wattage bass amplifiers well suited to low-volume practice at home.
The 8 Best Bass Practice Amps for Your Home Studio in 2023
The Orange Crush series has been a longtime favorite practice combo for both bassists and guitarists. The Crush Bass 25 is a 25-watt practice amp with a single 8″ speaker. Controls include a three-band EQ with a parametric mid-shaping knob, but it’s all pretty straightforward from there. Other features include a dedicated headphone output for silent practice, a built-in tuner, and an aux input for connecting and jamming along to backing tracks.
Blackstar’s U30 is great for tone-tweakers who want the depth and versatility of their primary rig in practice format. While the hands-on knobs are relatively simple, the amp gets its chameleon-like tone-shifting capabilities from three distinct voices and onboard effects like compression and chorus. The amp also contains an aux input and an XLR/line output for direct recording.
The Rumble series by Fender is another longstanding favorite in the world of smaller bass amps. It’s surprisingly versatile, featuring a four-band EQ and three separate switches for further tone refinement. The Rumble 40 also has an overdrive section for gritty bass tones, which is perfect for heavier genres. Like many modern amplifiers these days, it includes an aux input, headphone output, and XLR output.
Ampeg’s RB-110 is a 50-watt combo with a single 10″ speaker. Visually, it’s reminiscent of old-school ’60s-style Ampegs which fans of the company will love. Sonically, it’s every bit what makes Ampeg such a renowned bass amplification company to begin with. The amp has a three-band EQ with a dedicated SGT grit section for overdriven bass tones. The RB-110 also has the obligatory XLR output, headphone output, and auxiliary input.
5. Hartke HD75
Hartke is another beloved name in bass amplification, and though this amp is on the bigger side at 75 watts, it makes a good home practice amplifier regardless. The 12″ speaker and 1″ tweeter are enough for rehearsal and stages, but you can tame the beast enough for low-level home playing, too. In addition to the standard three-band EQ, the Hartke has a seven-band graphic EQ for more advanced tone shaping — this is a every bit an exceptional bass amp in a smaller package.
The Phil Jones M7 is a mighty combo 50-watt combo with a 7″ speaker and tweeter. Its cubic shape is unique and attractive, and its sounds back up the cool design as well. As far as controls go it’s quite simple: three-band EQ, preamp/master volumes, aux input with a dedicated level control, headphone output, and line output. For practice or even band rehearsal/gigs, this would be a fantastic amplifier.
Here we have a true practice amp in every sense. This tiny, battery-powered amplifier puts out a minimalist 3 watts from a 3″ speaker, complete with onboard overdrive and compression for additional tonal variety. Despite its size, it still has an auxiliary input so you can connect external devices and play along to get the most out of your practice sessions. If you want the ultimate in portability, look no further than the miniature FLY 3 by Backstar.
The MAX 100 by Peavey is a bit beefy by practice standards, weighing in at 100 watts thorough a single 10″ speaker. That makes it capable for band practice and smaller gigs, though, so don’t rule it out if you need an amp that more or less does it all. In addition to overdrive and a three-band EQ, the Peavey has various buttons to engage, including contour, mid shift, and bright controls. There’s also a Kosmo-C button that actually imparts harmonics in the sound for even more versatility.