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This article was originally published in issue #23
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Faithful Bassment readers (you are all faithful Bassment readers, aren't you?) will have read our review of TC Electronic's BG250-112 combo and BH250 head, back in issue 14 ( http://licklibrary.ceros.com/iguitarmag/richie-kotzen-guitar-interactive-magazine-issue-14/issue14/page/124 ). We reckoned they were a great addition to the bass family, so the chance to review a new, diminutive addition to the range was not to be missed! The '208' model we have here could be considered a follow on from those, as the amplifier specifications are still very much the same but now we have a more upright combo cabinet featuring two eight inch speakers in a 'briefcase' style format.
As to be expected from TC Electronic the build quality of this review unit was very good, though I did spot a little peeling of the 'tolex' covering around the back of the combo. Just needed a bit more glue on the edges I feel! I like the form factor of the cabinet. Being taller and slimmer it's easy to carry beside you rather than if the speakers were mounted horizontally. It's not particularly heavy either, so younger bass players won't have to struggle with carrying it as they would some of the larger, heavier offerings on the market.
Tonally, there's much to enjoy! As I described in the video, the EQ section is very clever. Unlike most equalisers that boost or cut the same frequency when moving the relevant knob back and forth, this EQ will cut a different frequency when turning anti-clockwise to that of its clockwise boost, allowing a wider scope of tonal adjustment. TC has found that more often or not, the sorts of frequencies that users cut are not the same as those chosen for boost and they have tried to get the best of both worlds with this intuitive tone section. This is typical TC thinking - and very much to be applauded in our view!
Next up, of course, we can't do without mentioning the “TonePrint” section of the amplifier. I ran over this briefly in the review video so you didn't have to sit through hours of 'how to' and I'll try to keep it to the point here, too. In short, using either an Android or iPhone handset loaded with TC Electronic's TonePrint app, you can 'beam' effects and their parameters to your amplifier. In the review video you'll see the function in action. You can store two effects and use a TC foot switch to toggle between the two - for example, a tasty chorus and a deep overdrive. It's a great idea, especially as major artists are contributing their own settings for you to download from TC's site! Who better to give you ideas and pointers than the professionals themselves? Notable contributions come from the likes of Nathan East, Hadrien Feraud, Mark King and Richard Bona as well as Janek Gwizdala.
Also on board is a tuner, capable of tuning five and six string basses as well as four stringed instruments, using just four LEDs. There's also a mute switch for silent tuning so as not to annoy your band mates! Next to the input jack a 'pad' switch has been included for instruments with a high output that might overdrive the input. Engaging this switch will lower the volume to the input section and help to stop any unwelcome noises!
Round the back of the amplifier, there are sockets for auxiliary in (to play along with your favourite MP3 tracks), a headphone socket for silent rehearsal and an 'external speaker' output jack. There is a foot switch socket, as mentioned earlier for TonePrint selection too. You'll need to buy the optional pedal though, unfortunately.
Sound-wise this is a little combo with quite a lot of volume. However, don't expect it to deliver earth shaking low-end: that's not what it is about. Certainly you'll have problems hearing yourself if Mr 5150 is feeling like giving his rig a wind up, too, but for writing sessions, recording and quiet jams, this combo is more than capable. The two eight inch speakers sound good and one of them also contains an integral tweeter element for top end sparkle.
As ever with bass, there is just no escaping the laws of physics. Put 8” speakers into a small box and however clever you are, there is only so much low bass you will get out of the combination. Providing you understand that, then this is a fine little combo - just don't expect too many miracles.
That said, it's a great little combo featuring the BH250 head and makes for a useful and fun piece of kit. Well done TC Electronic, 11Kg of usefulness!