Reviewed: Markbass New York 122 Ninja

CMC Music | cmcmusic.com.au | Expect to pay: $1750

This Richard Bona signature model bass cabinet was released back in November 2015, and has been a popular fixture on the live circuit worldwide ever since. It features 2x12” custom loudspeakers, alongside a custom tweeter driver. It is an 800W piece running at 8 Ohm, weighs in at 18.5kg, and measures 72 x 38.5 x 36.5cm. Depending on your age and stature, you probably won’t need a trolley to cart this cab around, but compared to other Markbass cabs, it’s not exactly easy on the back muscles.

Aesthetically, the New York 122 Ninja is a well-designed bass cabinet, with the familiar felt exterior and a metal grill to protect the speakers. The ports are located on the back, so your cords and cables won’t be in the way when you’re on stage.

 

I paired it with my trusty Nano Mark 300 amplifier, and was in awe of the brute power of this thing. Even with the Master at 12 o’clock and Gain at 9 o’clock, I’m fairly sure most of my street would have been privy to some of my bass grooves over the ensuing couple of hours. I jammed for a bit using my Ernie Ball MusicMan Stingray, and felt that this cab really captured the tonal definition of the instrument in its entirety. The fingerstyle grooves were boomy without sounding muffled in the slightest, and the trademark percussiveness of the Stingray really shone.

 

Meanwhile, the picked bass parts I played cut through like a hot knife through butter. I wanted to test the Ninja 122’s high frequency capabilities, so I hooked up my Boss Chorus pedal and dished out some New Order-era Peter Hook for my lovely neighbours. The cab captured the swirling frequencies that makes the Boss Chorus as renowned as it is, and I definitely began to appreciate the role of the tweeter driver in facilitating this. The highs are crisp, but not harsh or brittle in any way.

 

Soon thereafter, a bass student of mine came around for his lesson and gave me a perplexed look as he spotted the New York Ninja 122 right beside my very own Markbass Traveller 2x10 cab. I explained that I was tasked with reviewing this beast, and asked if he wanted to play his new American Fender P-Bass through it. We put a mute under the strings and worked on some Jamerson lines. I encouraged him to crank the gain up to 12 o’clock, and he gladly obliged. As I made my way to the other end of my house, the unmistakably sumptuous “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” bassline warmed every square inch of my home, and it was superb. The tone, despite being dampened as per tradition, carried so evenly around the house. Being a good 15 metres or so away from the cab only allowed me to better ascertain its capacity for sustain, and get at least some idea of what it would sound like in a live setting.

 

There’s no doubt that the Markbass 122 Ninja is very reasonably priced for a cabinet of that power and size. The thing is, it is an incredibly loud piece of equipment, and unless you’re a semi-professional bassist consistently gigging in large — and I mean properly large — venues, then I would probably suggest starting with the similarly-priced Markbass Traveller 2x10, which is 4 Ohm but has more than enough grunt for a cab of its relatively diminutive stature and is perfect for smaller venues. But if you are looking for something with guts that will consistently do justice to every bass guitar you ever put through it, look no further than the Markbass New York 122 Ninja.

Hits and Misses

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8 Ohms means plenty of booming frequencies

Treble comes through really nicely thanks to the tweeter driver

Terrific for (semi)-professional musicians playing large events, i.e. weddings, corporate functions etc.

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A little bulkier than some Markbass cabs

Not necessary for smaller venues

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