Read the full article
This article was originally published in issue #68
To read the article in its entirety, view the digital magazine
Pretty much the best of everything in one good looking shell.
Professional, Studio quality signal processing.
Free future updates.
This amp is absolutely plug and play, but some features will require you to read the manual!
Power Section: 350W at 8-Ohms, 700W at 4-Ohms, 800W at 2.67-Ohms and 800W at 2-Ohms
Dimensions: 10.5″ x 8.375” x 3.75”
Bergantino's B|Amp is a smart amplifier. It features a unique signal path which allows for complete control over all of the parameters that help you get the bass sound that’s perfect for you and ideal for where you’re playing. No other bass amplifier on the market can manage both the speaker, amplifier, and the overall system quite like the B|Amp, and with the latest software update of 5.15 Dan Veall takes another look at this exciting product.
Before I get started, I need to direct you towards my original magazine review of the Bergantino B|Amp (Gi Issue 45). I will immediately mention that there is a very good reason that we have covered this amplifier a second time. The physical device itself hasn’t changed; however, if you have already read my first review, you’ll already know that the amplifier’s whole operation is controlled by digital signal processing architecture. Thus since 2016, the time of my last review, Bergantino Amplification has been fine-tuning the signal path and constantly updating features.
This isn’t just a sudden update either. I commend Jim for being totally connected with his customer base. (You’ll find him on TalkBass and Facebook groups where he absolutely listens to experiences of bassists in real-world settings.) Thus, the features that have been added have been greatly influenced by the very people needing them.
The B|Amp is quite the chameleon, and a demonstration of just a few of the classic tones that can be achieved with modern processing opens up my own creativity, especially when the amplifier delivers the solid foundation of sound that I want behind me.
In my video, I run through the front panel features and, well, there’s so much to talk about, I ended up using the menu system as my guide! Honestly it is not as complicated as it looks! Easier than a modern smart phone and nearly everyone these days has one of those!
Down to the nuts and bolts, the B|Amp consists of an efficient D Class power amplifier capable of driving 800W RMS in to a 2 ohm load and uses software sensing to determine optimum operating conditions. Coupled to this powerful module, a DSP preamplifier that in theory can offer endless tonal options.
Here’s a brief run-down of the feature set including the 5.15 updates.
A four band parametric equaliser (each band of the equaliser can be individually set for gain and frequency as well as Q (or “Quality”, which is the width of the bands being adjusted).
Variable High and Low Pass filters - explained in detail in my video, but in short, allows for a controlled roll off of the low end or treble frequencies. Removing sub frequencies from a bass sound can tighten it up but also help to reduce over excursion in smaller cabinets that can’t reproduce lower frequencies. The low pass filter could be treated like an electronic tweeter control or in extreme settings access instant “dub bass” sounds!
B|Amp has an effects loop, variable ratio (parallel) compressor and three types of drive structure. All of these are programmable:
What makes B|Amp so useful is the ability to save your individual settings in three memory locations that can be accessed via the uncluttered front panel or via a wireless bluetooth pedal. I used a two button version in my video, but as I write this review, Bergantino have just announced new updated wireless controllers for B|Amp and the other amplifiers in the range! Wireless!! No cables! Brilliant!
The three drive effects are included that in conjunction with the variable high and low pass filters gave me instant access to some amplifier characterises I know and love. It’s hard to attempt to go through all possible examples that you will want to hear, but dialling my “SVT-esque” sound was a breeze. I started by setting the High Pass filter to mimic the roll off of an 8x10 cabinet which from memory is around the 55hz mark. I then went on to simulate a vintage cabinet without a tweeter by using the low pass filter to gently roll away the top end without having to touch the tweeter on my Bergantino 2x12 in the review. Bergantino’s “Smart Drive” functions have been designed to keep the low end too and thus dialling in some grit took the amplifier in to that familiar territory that I was after. The drives are touch sensitive much like our favourite valve amplifiers, but for me the new parallel compression effect on board lifts everything in to life.
If you have read many of my effect reviews, you’ll know already that I am a huge fan of parallel compression. - This style of compression mixes in your non-compressed signal with the effect. This may seem counter-intuitive, but it is a great dynamic effect that adds that magic to a drive sound and punch to everything else :) It has been my secret weapon for well over 20 years!
I should add, if I didn’t mention it after my opening play through in my video, I set up the B|Amp to behave like three different amplifiers to demonstrate a rock sound, an 80’s (British amp) slap tone and a more finger friendly small combo-amp with accentuated upper mid range. Again, dialled in with ease and saved ready for any gig. I could have just as easily set up sounds for solos or chordal work instead.
Speaker cabinet matching profiles: If you are running a Bergantino cabinet, well, as per my original review, the B|Amp uses a profile system that matches the amplifier to the cabinets in the same way that modern PA DSP pairs amplifiers and speakers together as active units. I had so much to cover in this review, again I will leave you to see my previous video, but my opinion hasn’t changed: Bergantino are really pushing bass gear performance in a very position direction. PA companies have been doing this for years, and us Bassists are only just getting to enjoy these fruits. We know that bass requires a huge amount of energy to be heard, so why not maximise that transfer with intelligent management? I’m all for it - because it works! Bergantino include a generic profile for non-brand cabinets which works beautifully too and suggest trying their own profiles on similar cabinets (like-for-like 4x10 as an example).
B|Amp can operate without a cabinet so even for gigs where you are on In-Ears only, well, here’s a preamp with those three sounds going straight to front-of-house via the noise-free DI.
Rounding up, the B|Amp is actually very easy to use - and just because it has these extra functions, you needn’t have to add then to your core tone. When you do though, you’ll discover that you don’t just have one amplifier style, but dozens.
Cabinet: Bergantino CN212 2x12 Neodymium
Bass: 1976 Fender Precision
You can follow me on social media via @DanVeallBassist for posts, updates as well as behind the scenes sneak-peaks.