Warwick Gnome Series: What is it?
There is something of a humanitarian aspect to contemporary bass amplifier design. We no longer need the body of Charles Atlas to get our rig up the stairs – and there is an expectation of portability whenever one of the big hitters unveils their next design.
Even so, by any standard, the Warwick Gnome series of Class D solid-state amplifiers is particularly compact and user-friendly, with USB connectivity allowing you to use them as an audio interface.
There are three in the series; the Gnome and Gnome i offering 200-watts at 4-ohms, while the Gnome iPro is rated 280-watts at 4-ohms. As the “i” suggests, these models are fitted with USB outputs. As the name suggests, these are positioned to compete with the ever-popular Trace Elliot Elf.
The format and front panel designs vary little. The build is super tough, with solid steel chassis finished with a brushed steel finish.
The controls are straightforward, with dials for Gain, Bass, Middle, Treble and a Master Volume. The 1/4” headphones input is positioned on the front of the amp, while round the back you’ll find a power switch, a speaker output, an XLR out with ground lift, and you’ll find the USB output on the compatible models.
Warwick has done a lot with these but they still fit neatly in the pocket bass amp category, and can be mounted on a RockBoard pedalboard – though you will need the RockBoard QuickMount Type D mounting plate, which is sold separately and priced around £18 street.
Even so, the Gnome series is competitively priced, with the most expensive iPro model offering all the power the gigging bassist might need plus the digital compatibility to make it a useful tool for home recording.
Warwick Gnome Series: Performance and verdict
The portability might get the headlines but the ease of use and fuss-free design is similarly key to the Gnome series’ appeal. Dialling in a sound is a piece of cake, and not only that, the controls at your disposal allow for plenty of tweaking.
Gain and EQ controls interact beautifully, and yield a rich seam of musical bass tones, from old-school plummy thump to a metallic pop that’ll serve percussive styles, and indeed a detailed growl for the rock and metal crowd.
• Ashdown Ant and Tone Pocket
Two very attractive options for the bassist on the move, Ashdown's Ant is as portable as bass amps come, while the Tone Pocket's double life as an audio interface and headphones amp makes it a very attractive practice and recording tool.
• Trace Elliot Elf
We can heartily recommend the Elf as a ‘plug and play’ amp, ideal for those playing small to medium gigs, and its portability will win it many admirers.
With 15dB of boost or cut, there is a lot of travel on those EQ dials, while the onboard compressor/limiter instils a sense of discipline in your sound.
While the entry-level model is more than capable of doing a job for small gigs and is priced so competitively that it is hard to fault, we would be inclined to recommend the USB-equipped models, because that extra functionality outweighs the extra finance involved.
Hook these up to your DAW and use them as an audio interface. Sure, serious home recording enthusiasts would most likely gravitate towards a standalone unit in time, but for quickly jotting down ideas or for no-fuss tracking it is a great tool. Then, once the track is digital, you can send them anywhere, you can process them, you can get creative. And that’s the point.
A headphones output is on hand for monitoring and for silent practice, should you keep one at home. But at this size, you’ll want to take your Gnome everywhere.
MusicRadar verdict: Competitively priced and modestly proportioned, the Warwick Gnome bass amps are ideal travel companions to gigs or rehearsal, but if you pay a little extra for the USB-equipped model, you’ll find them handy at home, too.
Warwick Gnome Series: The web says
"These are straightforward, easy-to-use amplifiers, available at a very bassist-friendly price. The sonic possibilities, especially via software when connected to a DAW, are extensive – and as for the ease of transport? Priceless."
Bass Player Magazine (opens in new tab)
Warwick Gnome Series: Hands-on demos
Framus & Warwick
The Pedal Guy
Warwick Gnome Series: Specifications
- PRICE: Gnome is priced £129, €139, $199 / Gnome i is priced £169 / €179 / $249; Gnome iPro is priced £199 / $299 / €222
- MADE IN: China
- OUTPUT: Gnome/Gnome i 200 watts at 4 ohms, 130 watts at 8 ohms; Gnome iPro 280 watts at 4 ohms, 180 watts at 8 ohms
- FEATURES: Gain, Bass, Middle, Treble, Master, signal level/compressor LED indicator, LED power indicator, automatic limiter/compressor, Class D power amp section with clip, thermal, DC, over current and short circuit protection
- CONNECTIONS: Front panel .25” jack input on front for active and passive basses, .25” jack output headphones; Rear panel Post EQ balanced XLR DI output with ground lift switch, .25” jack speaker output, USB type B Digital audio output, IEC power connector, power switch
- DIMENSIONS (LxWxH): Gnome/Gnome i 6.7 x 4.6 x 1.8” Gnome iPro 7.9 x 5.4 x 1.9”
- WEIGHT: Gnome/Gnome i 2.2lbs Gnome iPro 3 lbs
- CONTACT: Warwick (opens in new tab)