EBS Classic Session 60 bass combo
EBS has proven time and again that it's a very worthy contender in this portable bass combo field.
Indeed, the firm's heavier duty combos and stacks produce awesome power and projection, which bodes well for the Classic Session 60 we have here - the unit's amp section is essentially a scaled-down version of the meaty Classic 450 head.
"It wasn't so long ago that a good-sounding bass amp with a single 10-inch speaker was nothing short of an impossibility, yet here we are."
The handy tilt-back design is always welcome on something this compact, as it allows the sound to be projected directly at the player, therefore making working at lower volume levels more practical.
This is important, as there's obviously only so far that you can push the volume before a degree of distortion creeps in.
That said, in our tests this little combo puts out far more clean sound than you might expect from something so small.
Compact and sturdily built, the EBS is loaded with plenty of exterior connections (not least the XLR balanced output, which you can use to hook up to a PA), making it ideal for both for practice and smaller gigs.
The removable front grille reveals a ported baffle, 10-inch speaker and a tweeter for a full-range response.
The single input jack means you must use the gain control sensibly for the cleanest results. However, overdo it a little and a valve-like, front-end distortion is introduced - the sort of growl many players like. But beware, if you push it too hard the sound becomes choked, as the amp goes into protection mode.
"It's compact and easy to lug about, yet with good monitors, you could still conceivably use it for bigger stages."
Thanks to the inclusion of the character filter (a preshape EQ), getting an instantly good sound from this baby Classic is easy. Simply press it in to scoop out the middle and boost the bass and treble - you've got an instant 'smiley face' graphic EQ setting beloved by many.
This setting immediately gives body and warmth to the sound and will impress anyone the first time they push the switch. Add even more bass from the tone control and you'll be amazed just how far you can go before the sound becomes, justifiably, woolly and unfocused.
In contrast, the enhance filter is a far more subtle effect, as it introduces a mid-range tone variation by altering the way the treble control operates.
When engaged, advancing the treble reduces the middle frequencies, and reducing treble boosts the mids. This could be particularly useful in the studio, as it creates a cleaner note response.
It's simple, neat and very effective - using either or both of these filters, then finely adjusting the bass and treble as required, creates a whole host of good sounds.
Introducing a little of that front end crunch is perfectly acceptable; it stays warm and throaty before too much gain makes it less usable.
The low end response from this cabinet/speaker/tweeter combination is quite remarkable, but it's also worth noting that we find the bass response is actually better when the unit is positioned flat on the floor rather than in tilt-back mode.
Overall it's a capable unit that performs well; it will even handle the demands of fretless basses and electronic uprights if you wish.
And with the ability to hook it up to a larger PA, this could be a good, low-cost choice for bassists without cars - it's compact and easy to lug about, yet with good monitoring you could still conceivably use it for bigger stages.
Having all the necessary connection opportunities for personal practice sessions, this compact combo seems ideal for home use.
However, it also has the sound and performance quality to make it just as useful in the studio, intimate small gigs or, via PA connection, larger venues altogether.
EBS is keen to keep its well-deserved reputation for quality, so even though these price-busting units are built in China they benefit from Swedish design, expertise and experience. Add that to the sturdy construction and a size that's easy to transport and you get a very desirable and user- friendly combo.
It wasn't so long ago that a good-sounding bass amp with a single 10-inch speaker was nothing short of an impossibility, yet here we are commenting on just how good the low end response is. Now that's progress!
Easy to transport. Louder than you'd expect. Excellent low end response. Good tones.
Hard to fault.
As a first-time buy or as an amp for jam and practice sessions, this is a very worthy choice.
All MusicRadar's reviews are by independent product specialists, who are not aligned to any gear manufacturer or retailer. Our experts also write for renowned magazines such as Guitarist, Total Guitar, Computer Music, Future Music and Rhythm. All are part of Future PLC, the biggest publisher of music making magazines in the world.