Here at ProAudioLand, we’re huge fans of Quilter Labs. With products that offer amazing tone, high-quality construction, and unique features, Quilter Labs is a perfect example of what a great boutique manufacturer can bring to the table. I've taken a few of their guitar combos amps and heads for a spin and always come away impressed at just how much power and performance Quilter Labs is able to cram into such small packages. With that in mind, I decided to take a look at one of their bass offerings, the Bass Block 800 head to be exact. And from my time with the miniature bass amp head, it looks to be no different.
The first thing that jumps out with the Bass Block 800 is undoubtedly its very small size. Coming in at a little over 8 inches long, 7 inches wide and weighing less than 4 lbs, it is one of the smallest professional grade bass heads I have ever used. What makes this even more impressive is the amount of power this little bad boy is able to crank out -- 800 watts to be exact.
And just in case it's small frame might make you feel as though the Bass Block 800 is a delicate device, fear not as the housing is made of ultra-strong pro-grade aluminum. And if it's anything like other Quilter Labs gear that have the same aluminum framing, expect it to take a good beating and keep going for years to come.
Quilter Labs have never been known for cramming a huge amount of features and settings into their products but that never stops them from being great tools capable of producing a wide variety of sounds. And while the number of tonal controls on the Bass Block 800 continues the tradition of being on the slim side, they remain as powerful and versatile as ever.
On the front end of the Bass Block 800, you have four knobs - Gain, Master, and two bass specific EQ controls labeled Depth and Contour. While Gain works exactly like it does in any other amp, Master handles your desired wattage output, anywhere from 40 watts to 800 watts. So whether you're rocking a full sized stack or are about to hit the studio, the Bass Block 800's master voltage selector has you covered. Depth and Contour are where the bulk of the EQ-crafting lies and while it's hard to believe that two single knobs are enough to keep all kinds of bassists satisfied, they honestly pack an impressive amount of tonal variety.
As for connections, the Bass Block 800 gives you a lot more to play around with. Featuring two instrument inputs (active or passive), XLR in, XLR out, 2 speaker jacks, a Speakon jack, and a headphone output, you have plenty of options as far as connectivity goes. So no matter whether you have active or passive bass pickups, rock two full sized stacks or need to connect directly to a DI box or console, the Bass Block 800 is easily up to the task.
One of the things I first noticed while I was putting the Bass Block 800 through its paces was the tone. Specifically, no matter what volume level I was playing at, the tone remained the same. While cranking out overdriven tones as you push up the volume is a hallmark of guitar tube amps, bass players tend to need a clear a consistent sound. So whether you're next gig is a small coffee shop show or a mid sized venue, you'll be able to count on the Bass Block 800 to deliver your desired tone regardless of the required volume levels.
And speaking of tone, there's a lot to love in the Bass Block 800. As mentioned above, the lack of numerous controls doesn't stop the 800 from delivering the goods as I was easily able to craft a large number of useful sounds using a few different basses and speakers. In fact, having only two controls actually made finding the perfect tone blazingly fast to the point where I could go from the perfect thumping bass-heavy line to clear and articulate with just two quick turns. And I'm not just talking about ball-park, close enough sounds either but the exact type of tone I was looking for.
If I had to sum up the Bass Block 800 in just a few words it would be a powerfully versatile pint-sized bass head that was made to be a tonal workhorse. Whether you're a professional jazz bassist looking to reduce your gear weight load without impacting the quality of your sound or an up and coming rock bassist that needs a good bass amp head for playing those weekend gigs and recording that upcoming demo, the Quilter Labs Bass Block 800 will deliver. Not only that, it's built tough and comes at a very competitive price point for what you're getting. All in all, it's another winner from Quilter Labs.
If you have any questions regarding the purchase of the Bass Block 800 or any other piece of gear we carry, don't hesitate to chat with one of our friendly PAL pros by using the live chat feature below or by calling us toll-free at 1 877-671-2200!
Built specifically for the bass guitar, the Bass Block 800 represents the culmination of years of research and development. Unlike many of today's compact bass amps, the Bass Block 800 is not simply an existing consumer-grade power module married to a pre-amp, but a comprehensive power system that responds dynamically and musically to the player’s instrument and touch.
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