Distributed by: CMC Music | Expect to pay: Combos - $1150 - $2995; Heads - $995 - $2150; Cabs - $1650 - $2395
For this special, we’re turning our focus to one of the most essential aspects of any genre: the bass. Whether it’s jazz, punk, pop or beyond, it’s all about that bass, and to celebrate, we’re spotlighting the finest instruments, amplifiers, tools and effects available to the modern bassist today.
Markbass Marcus Miller Signature Series
Key Features: What do you get when the greatest bass players of the modern era joins forces with one of the most forward-thinking amplifier manufacturers in the industry today? Enter the Markbass Marcus Miller range: a signature run of amplifiers, cabinets and combos from Italian firm Markbass tailor-made to suit the demands of the legendary jazz-fusion bassist. With Miller himself taking an active role in the design process for this range in order to give it his signature touch, you can expect nothing but the utmost of tonal quality and low-end performance from the Markbass Marcus Miller series.
For a quick, portable solution for the bass player on the go, the Markbass Marcus Miller signature series provides four different Little Marcus heads, which are available in 250, 500, 800 and 1000 watt variants. Like most heads in the Markbass range, each of these units is super compact and lightweight – miraculously, the 1000w model weighs under three kilograms – and boast an arsenal of nifty features such as a footswitch input, DI output and an effects loop to make them truly versatile beasts whether played in the studio or the stage.
What makes these Little Marcus heads stand out from the pack, however, is found in the EQ section, with Miller adding two Old School and Millerizer controls in addition to a five-band EQ to provide a myriad of tonal possibilities.
While the five-band EQ lets you shape your tone from 65 Hz to 3.8 kHz, the Old School and Millerizer knobs respectively function as a low-pass and band-pass filter to further sculpt your tone: the Old School knob in particular is perfect for nailing that thumping vintage Motown sound, whereas the Millerizer is best suited for slicing through the mix with a savage slap bass solo. These filters are also footswitchable, allowing you to flick between the two tones at the push of a switch for even further tonal versatility.
The Markbass Marcus Miller signature series is also reinforced with two different cabinet options, the Marcus Miller 102 and Marcus Miller 104, which go together with the Little Marcus heads like champagne and caviar. When Miller was designing these cabs, he specifically requested for them to have ‘more booty’ than anything else offered by the Markbass range, and his request certainly paid off.
Both cabinets pack a formidable amount of low end due to their rear-ported design, with Markbass also opting for a 1” voice-coil tweeter of Miller’s specification to carry the high frequencies and create a balanced yet powerful tone for the demanding performer. Each cabinet also features a slanted design to allow players to angle them to their own personal preference, which is a great touch for those who wish to use their cab as a floor monitor or to minimise floor rumble.
For the best of both worlds, the Marcus Miller signature series is rounded out by four combo amps: the pint-sized CMD 101 Micro 60, and the larger CMD 102 250, CMD 102 500 and CMD 103 500. These latter three combos squeeze all the features of the Little Marcus 250 and 500 heads into ported cabinets specifically designed alongside Miller, providing players with an all-in-one solution for rehearsals and performance.
Meanwhile, the CMD 101 Micro 60 functions as a compact option for bedroom practice and small-to-medium gigs, and despite missing the Millerizer and Old School controls of its larger siblings, it’s definitely not lacking in the feature department: an Aux in allows for playing along with tracks via your smartphone or MP3 player, while a balanced out on the back lets you hook the CMD 101 up to a PA or mixer.
Mixdown Says: Of course, anything adorned with the name Marcus Miller immediately lends itself towards funk, soul or jazzy stylings, but you’d be mistaken to presume this series to be a one-trick pony based on Miller’s namesake.
Each unit in the Markbass Marcus Miller signature range provides an impeccable platform for all your low-end exploits: regardless of whether you’re slapping, popping, plucking or picking, these amps and cabs are bountiful in tone colour and pack a mean punch for power, making them a practical fit for all sounds and styles.
Meanwhile, the footswitchable Millerizer and Old School filters of the Little Marcus heads are an absolute masterstroke in design for players looking to push the potential of their amps to the fullest, while the extra low end of the cabinets is immediately recognised when using a five or six-string bass.
These rigs are suitable for so many different applications, and from the perspective of a bassist, it’s a thrill to play through a set-up that’s been approved by one of the greatest bassists to ever do it.
Overall: A wonderfully versatile signature series that truly delivers on all fronts. There’s something for everyone in the Markbass Marcus Miller signature range, and when you take into account the sheer power, weight and auxiliary features provided by each unit in the series, it’s incredibly difficult to find any fault with what’s on offer here.
Head to CMC Music to find out more about the Marcus Miller Signature series today.