This isn’t the 70’s, and we’re not all getting around with panel vans or Kombis capable of stashing an 8X10 cabinet and a massive tube head. But Markbass understands that we still want big, loud, powerful bass tones, even if we don’t want to put up with the backbreaking impracticalities. To that end they offer the Nano Mark 300, their smallest ever bass amp.
The Nano Mark 300 is a professional-grade amp weighing only 3.20 pounds /1.45kg, which doesn’t hint at all as to the hefty 300 watts of power lurking in its teeny tiny frame. This amp gets bonus points for those concerned about portability: I’m sure you could pop it in the pocket of your cargo pants if you had enough confidence in your belt. Markbass says it’s seen a lot of small bass amps developed by other manufacturers, most of which fall down in a crucial area: “About all the bass amps on the market use the same power amp from different manufacturers, which are not specifically designed for bass,” they state on their website. “At Markbass, Marco De Virgiliis invested a lot of resources in R&D to develop a proprietary power amp technology, specifically designed to respect and glorify the tone of your instrument.”
You get controls for Gain, Master Volume, Ground Lift, Pre/Post EQ, Low (40Hz with +/-16dB), Low Mid (360Hz with +/-16dB), High Mid (800Hz with +/-16dB) and High (10kHz with +/-16dB). There’s a balanced XLR line out, effect send and return, tuner out, and quarter inch/Speakon speaker output. By the way, the look of the Nano Mark 300 is a little bit more zany than previous Markbass models, with a sort of bubbly, arching font used for the control labels. It’s just a small touch but it helps to give the amp some visual personality.
This is a great amp for those who need a lot of tone-shaping on the go. It’s not the most bells-and-whistles-loaded amp out there but it does give you a lot of range of control. One thing it doesn’t do is emulate an old-school tube amp, so if you’re after those big grunty SVT sounds you might need to use a pedal to get you there. And the Nano 300 is great with pedals, working particularly nicely with a TC Electronic chorus and a Seymour Duncan overdrive during testing.
But really, what this amp is about is giving you a clear, loud, sculptable version of the sound coming out of your bass and outboard gear. It gives you lots of clean volume, and you’re able to dial in just the right input gain level, but it’s not going to unnecessarily colour your tone.
Hits and Misses
Versatile tone stack
Not much gain for those who like grunt