Gear Review – Markbass CMD 102P Bass Combo
The extremely versatile Markbass CMD 102P combo seems to have all of the features many bass players are looking for in a bass combo. Featuring 2 x 10″ speakers, plus a piezo tweeter, this combo pushes 300 watts (500 watts with an 8 Ohm extension cab) of clean, articulate power. The built in VLE and VLF filters provide a wide range of tones in conjunction with 4 bands of EQ, Gain and Master Volume. It’s front-ported cabinet design is angled, allowing it to be used either as a floor monitor or in standard vertical position. Additional features include a Line Out with a Pre/Post EQ switch and Ground Lift, an FX Loop and a Tuner Out. And all this in a compact package that only weighs 44lbs.
Part of the magic of Markbass amps are the VLE and VPF Filters. The VLE (Vintage Loudspeaker Emulator) filters out high frequencies in a very musical way, giving you a mellower, less modern sound. The VPF (Variable Pre-shape Filter) boosts lows and highs, while cutting mids, which is especially great for slap and pick playing.
I don’t know how Markbass did it but the CMD 102P 2×10 combo has unbelievable, crisp, clean lows. Even at high volumes, there is little to no breakup in tone. For band rehearsals, and smaller gigs 300 watts should be all most players will ever need, but it is nice to have the option to add an external cabinet for increased power should the need ever arise.
I had heard that Markbass amps are somewhat transparent, and found that each of my basses sound distinctly different through it, which I guess is what is meant by that statement. Once I got it home and played around with it a bit, I had a little difficulty dialing in a tone I liked. Not to be deterred I decided to take it to band practice and set the EQ flat with both filters turned off as I figured this would be my starting point. Well low and behold, as soon as we started playing I was smitten. My tone sat perfectly in the mix, letting my notes punch through clearly and articulately. The only control I touched again was the Volume, as I was way too loud. This little guy cranks! It seems when it comes to the VLE and VLF filters, less is more.
The cost of the Markbass CMD 102P Combo is towards the high side for a combo amp, but the quality and reputation seem to be there. It is a very powerful, compact, lightweight combo that should fill the needs of most gigging bassists looking to get away from the traditional refrigerator stacks.