Anyone who has experienced Ampeg's mighty SVT rig is fully aware of the awesome power and projection produced by that combination. Wouldn't it be amazing to have something similar for smaller gigs, or even when practising at home?
Well, now you can, thanks to the introduction of the Micro-CL Bass Stack, which, like all other Ampeg bass heads, is designed with the sounds from the SVT firmly in mind.
While the Micro-CL is one of the smallest stacks around, its robust construction and ample weight give it a bigger sound than you would imagine: the head delivers a mighty 100 watts into the 2x10 speaker cabinet. It looks the part, too, with all the usual Ampeg styling of vinyl covering, grille cloth, metal corners and general fittings.
The control panel offers a choice of two inputs, a standard 0dB and a -15dB for use with active basses. The controls are very basic, with just master volume, treble, middle and bass, and there is an additional auxiliary level control, so when you plug in your media player, you can balance between the track and your bass.
Mini jack sockets are provided to connect external media and 'phones, and when your headphones are plugged in, the speaker is automatically shut off. This allows for silent practising, and also means you can use the head purely as a headphone amp, without using the speakers at all.
When you consider how compact the complete unit is, it's remarkable just how much of the classic SVT sound the Micro-CL manages to pack in. Naturally, there are some limitations in tonal adjustment and speaker projection, but it's still big on tone. What's also interesting is that there's an immediate vibrancy about the whole thing when you plug in, which brings your bass to life.
By today's standards, having just three tone controls may seem restrictive, but it actually helps you maintain your focus, rather than overwhelming you with the tonal possibilities. If something isn't quite right, you know exactly which control to move.
It's just as effective with passive or active basses, whether you're going for enhanced low-end traditional sounds or tighter, more modern sounds with added middle and top. And, of course, push both the bass and treble and roll back the midrange and you unleash those super funky sounds at which Ampeg has always excelled. Slap players will adore this tonality, but we achieved very fat and solid tones, too, and despite having just two drivers, it's still pretty darned impressive and should suit players of all styles.
It's been four years since Ampeg introduced the Micro-VR into the bass market and, now, the Micro-CL presents another step forward. While it's even more compact, it still manages to perform with authority and visual style, whether on those smaller gigs, rehearsals or practice sessions at home.
Easy to transport and with a good, solid construction throughout, this is a fine addition to Ampeg's bass amplification range and, at this price, the Micro-CL is a very affordable place for the beginner to experience Ampeg tone right from the start.