Review: MarkBass MB58R CMD 102 PURE

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Review: MarkBass MB58R CMD 102 PURE

Mark Bass MB58R
Words By Lewis Noke Edwards

Mark Bass MB58R | CMC Music | RRP: $3095

MarkBass produce some of the best products for bass instruments in the business, and are used by the likes of Marcus Miller, Randy Jackson, Vulfpeck’s Joe Dart and Behemoth’s ‘Orion’ to name a few. Their artist roster spans the entire world, from their home in Italy to some of the biggest bands in the US and the UK. Their products traverse genres, being an equally reliable source of amplification for electric upright basses to modern solid body electrics and everything in between. MarkBass are always moving with the times, offering their customers the newest technologies as they’re available, and the MB58R CMD 102 PURE bass combo is another forward thinking release. 

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While MB58R CMD 102 PURE might be a mouthful, this is a combo amplifier from the MB58R series with 10” x 2 Neodymium Custom speakers, an increasingly common ingredient to the perfect bass rig. The MB58R CMD 102 PURE features onboard EQ and Gain, as well as MarkBass’s ‘Old School Filter’ for a mid-focused Motown style sound. There’s a line out for direct to FOH and an optional ¼” jack for a footswitch to toggle the ‘Scooped’ or ‘Flat’ switch as well.

The MB58R CMD 102 PURE has a maximum power rating of 500W RMS @ 4 ohm or 300W RMS @ 8 ohm, with additional speaker outputs available via 2 x ¼” speaker outputs or a single speakon cable. The line out is via an XLR connector, and there’s a ground lift if needed, as well as a dedicated, independant volume for the line out. For tone, there’s a Gain control and Clip/overload indicator, and a scooped or flat toggle that can also be controlled via the ¼” footswitch input. There’s a four band EQ, made up of Low, Low Mid, High Mid and High, followed by the ‘Old School’ filter that slowly filters the sound for a less hi-fi sound per se, but a mid-heavy sound that pokes through for genres like funk, jazz or RnB. Finally, there’s a master volume and a Mute switch, the Mute again being footswitchable if needed. 

The speaker cabinet is a lightweight material, making the MB58R CMD 102 PU very portable, helped along by the custom Neodymium speakers. Speaker weight makes up more of the weight of a cabinet than you’d realise!

Neodymium is an ultra lightweight material used to build the magnets that allow speakers to operate, pushing and pulling to recreate soundwaves. Neodymium magnets are an alloy made from Neodymium, iron and boron to create a lighter speaker than more conventional options like alnico. The lightweight nature of the Neodymium magnet allows them to react faster to soundwave information, producing more clarity, as well as saving your back from lugging a heavy speaking cabinet around. The speakers in the MB58R CMD 102 PU are both 10”, so they’re well suited to reproducing low frequencies, with MarkBass’s own hi-fi tweeter for the highs.

The sound from the MB58R is both crisp and clear, and warm and growly at the same time. The clean sound from the unit with no EQ has a commanding, controlled tone, without being super modern or over-refined like some contemporary bass equipment. With a little shaping from the EQ, it brought out the best in my PJ bass, and the mid scoop toggle helped me slip into an arrangement really easily to make way for all those instruments that occupy the mids. Driving the gain offers some additional growl, without it becoming overbearingly fuzzy or muddy at all. The two bands of Mid EQ allow for additional tone shaping, a really important area for low end instruments. Low frequencies can eat up a lot of energy, and subtly caving them away can do wonders for your own bass tone, as well making space in an arrangement. The Line Out is clear and very handy to have, allowing the front of house engineer to refine your sound for the audience in a variety of different sounding rooms and venues.

MarkBass know bass, and the MB58R combo is the culmination of years of work refining their designs. It has a seemingly simple set of controls, but every knob really makes a difference to the sum of all these parts. The Neodymium speakers are both lightweight and perfect for reproducing powerful low end, while MarkBass’s own hi-fi tweeter handles the high mids and highs, spreading the load between multiple speakers so none of them are overwhelmed. There’s a single input for your bass, and multiple outputs to route your signal around, or add extra speakers for bigger shows (or sometimes just louder shows in smaller venues, your call!) The onboard EQ is refined, while footswitchable options like a mid scoop or mute allow you to slip in and out of focus in a live set, or mute entirely between songs for a more dynamic performance overall. When the band kicks back in, the dual 10” speaker will have your low end singing and a crowd grooving. The simplicity of the MB58R CMD 102 PURE is what makes it great, allowing you to focus on your playing – the MB58R will just amplify whatever comes of that.

For more information, head to MarkBass. For local enquiries, visit CMC Music.