LoMax Bass Specialties received in stock of the new Phil Jones Bass Cub Pro combo amp and I thought I would give my impressions as well as do a comparison with a separates setup of a Genzler MG350 amp and a PJB C2 cab. And of course, the Bass Cub Pro with a C2 cab. And with a C4 cab, and a MG350 with a C4 &C2 Cab. Whew!
First off the specs:
Bass Cub Pro
The Bass Cub Pro has two 5” drivers, a well thought out 240 watt amp; 120 watts with internal speakers and 240 watts with attached 8 ohm cab. It offers a 5 band EQ: low bass, high bass, low mid, high mid, and treble controls. It has an effects loop with a send and return jack which offers a dry/wet mix control; this mix control is not something regularly seen with bass amps.
The Bass Cub Pro has an input level gain control with a clip light and adjustable switch for active or passive bass. Also this amp has a master volume control and a separate aux in with a aux volume level control - again something we don’t usually see on every bass amp. It also offers a direct out xlr with a ground lift AND a line out 1/4” jack. And finally, it has a headphone jack, a speakon connector, and a unique speakon connector for one a Phil Jones Bass’s EARBOX near field monitor. I have attacked a pic of the controls. This ultra-small footprint amp weigh in at 16.7 lbs. This combo also offers a flip front tilt stand which gives a better ear angle.
Genzler MG350 with PJB C2 Cab
The comparison system setup is of the Genzler MG350 Amp with a Phil Jones Bass C2 cab. The C2 cab has the same 5” drivers as the Bass Cub Pro, so should sound identical or very close to the speaker cab of the Bass Cub Pro. The ultra small footprint Phil Jones Bass 8 ohm C2 Cab has two 5” drivers and is speced at 200 watts rating and weighs in at 16 lbs.
The MG350 amp has a Power Output of 175W/8 Ohms, 350W/4 Ohms and 350W/2.67 Ohms. The MG350 has an input gain control with clip light, an A/B contour switch with shape control of the contour curve, 3 band EQ with a sweepable mid control, and a master volume control. The amp offers a direct out with switches for mic/line, pre/post EQ, and Ground lift. And finally, this little 3.5 lb amp offers two speakon connectors.
OK, first up, the Bass Cub Pro Combo Amp.
I guess my first impression of plugging in the 5-string Dingwall NG3 was one of WOW!. Such a lot of sound from such a small combo! The low B had a good “round” deep non-distorted sound and those little 5” drivers put out quite a bit of SPL. Even when the Master Volume was maxed out, it still had a nice round non-distorted sound. After comparing to the MG350 AMP/C2 cab setup, I was able to learn that the Bass Cub Pro offers a slightly “warmer” and less of a “hi-fi” sound. And of course less SPL, as the amp has less power. It responded well to EQ, although like many amps if one jacks up the bass control and hits that low B then there was expected distortion. My impression is this amp would be great for home practice, jamming with a single sensible electric guitar, jamming with acoustic groups, restaurant and acoustic act gigs and lite jazz gigs. Nope - not an amp to play rock music with a drummer.
I also hooked up this amazing little amp to a C2 Cab for a VERTICAL stack. Yeah, now we’re talking, my favorite sound, and this SPL would approach drummer levels with a jazz group or lite restaurant gigs. I REALLY liked this setup! And if one adds a near field Earbox monitor, all of a sudden one can hear themselves in those restaurant noisy background gigs where we can’t have a huge volume from our amps.
Next up is the Comparison system of the Genzler MG350 AMP with the PJB C2 Cab.
Actually this is a perfect match with the 180 watts output into the C2 cab. Add another C2 Cab for an ultimate vertical stack of 350 Watts output.
Comparisons always can demonstrate differentials. While the Bass Cub Pro had a “warmer” sound, I immediately heard an increased “hi-fi” sound with this setup. And while not really fair to compare 120 watts with 180 watts, this setup offered more SPL.
I didn’t have a 2nd C2 Cab at the moment as these are real popular cabs, but I do think a vertical stack of two C2 cabs and this amazing small amp would approach lite drummer levels. I could easily see this being used in jazz gigs and acoustic acts for those very small stages. And even sensible rock rehearsal. All while offering one of the smallest stage footprints available. And when I paired this amp with the C2 Cab AND with a C4 Cab it definitely fit that range of performance, even what I would call VERY impressive for such a small footprint, as the C4 cab is a small footprint as well, although not as small as the vertical C2 stack.
OK, this wasn’t meant as a full review but only my impressions.
Soooo, the question is, which of these setups would I recommend? And, as always, the answer is - it depends.
I admit to being a fan of separates and have only owned 2 combo amps my entire life. So I am of course biased towards the MG350 with the C2 cab - such impressive performance for such a small bass rig! And expandability to a 2.6 ohm load of three 8 ohm cabs!
However, the Bass Cub Pro HAS IT ALL IN ONE PACKAGE, a self-contained ultra-small powerhouse for bass players. And while it didn’t achieve the SPL of the separates setup, it was plenty loud as long as one realized it’s intended use. Don’t think of this for your rock gigs, but for the purposes I mention above.
One comment: I had shipped out my last 2.4 lb Traynor SB200 amp stock, so didn’t have one on-hand to compare, but I think it would be a perfect pairing with the C2 cab, while the MG350 would offer an increased SPL. The SB200 would fit a bit better in a vertical C2 Cab configuration as it is 1” less wide. Although the MG350 fit fine but showed an overlap on the edges in the vertical C2 cab arrangement.
One last comment: As I am sure those who have or are considering a Phil Jones Bass Double Four combo will want to know the difference. Yes, I personally own one of these jewels. And yes, the Bass Cub Pro will certainly offer more SPL and expandability. If deciding between the two, look at your use as the Bass Cub Pro does offer many more features, while the Double Four will run on a battery. I would say get both. As after trying the Bass Cub Pro, I plan to do just that. Yeah, I definitely want one.
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