Pro Music Australia | Expect to pay: $439
It wasn’t that long ago when modelling technology was a myth. Something that was used by niche audio professionals in specific applications that required lots of computing power for something and provided nothing anywhere close to the feel, response and natural saturation of an actual amplifier. Well, it’s now 2021 and look how far we’ve come!
Modelling technology is improved in leaps and bounds, and combined with the various innovations taking place in the VST and plugin realms have resulted in a golden age for modelling and emulation both in the software and hardware realm alike.. But, wait a second, why would you want to model something that you already physically have?
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Well, through Impulse Response technology, it’s now possible to make your small footprint, practice sound like a more expensive, more sought after and larger amp to the point where, even the most humble of practice amps can now be loaded with enough sophisticated technology to transform them into a totally versatile tonal machine, with a voicing and character to fit practically any application—which is exactly what makes the NUX Mighty Bass 50BT such an exciting prospect.
This compact, feature-packed bass amp goes over the top with its functionality, especially considering its entry level price point. It features a 50 watt Class D power amplifier, Bluetooth audio streaming, USB connectivity, a four channel EQ, inbuilt effects, amp modelling, a footswitch for triggering loops and that’s just scratching the surface of what this thing can do.
The speaker itself is 6.5” which contributes to its small form factor, which makes it a prime candidate for miking up or running the direct out and doubling up through the board for live gigs, but for playing at home or recording, this will more than hit the spot. It’s voiced loudly enough to hold it’s own in a stripped-back rehearsal or small venue, while the quaint size of the chassis means you’ll have no issues lugging it between locations or finding a spot for it in the room. The whole thing weighs a very light 7.2kg, which is stunning if you’re planning on transporting this amp between the studio and home frequently.
Connecting to the amp via Bluetooth allows you to play along with your favourite songs, another plus for home bass players. This jack of all trades amp also features looping and drum playback functionality, through the bundled NUX NMP-2. You can record loops with one footswitch and trigger drum loops with the other, which adds another level of practicality as you could write a cool bass line and want to learn how to play it before you head to your friends place or maybe you just like experimenting with bass loops.
Utilising their free MightyAmp Mobile App is where this amp really stands out. Some music tech manufacturers tend to cop flak for their app-paired modelling amps, usually due to the app having a clunky interface or the inability to register with your gear. As such, I was pleased to see the Might Bass 50BT pair well with the MightyAmp app upon use, and the app was simple and swift in use.
Unlocking the potential of the MightyAmp app is easy. First off, you can pair just by placing your phone on the amp, and then unlock all the features this thing can do. Then, you can add a gate, then a virtual FX pedal, choose an amp simulation, then an Impulse Response, before adding Modulation, and Reverb and saving them on one of the three provided channels.
With these features, you can quickly swap between a fuzzy, over distorted funky bass tone into a clean jazz tone with the press of a button. Neat. Oh, and did I mention that each stage of audio processing has multiple sliders available to tweak to your heart’s content?
For the real audio buffs out there, how about loading in your own Impulse Response to use with this amp? That’s right, if you can track down the IR for that ultra rare vintage Fender cabinet you’ve been dreaming about all year then this thing can replicate it. Pair that with one of their three amp simulations including an Aguilar, a Fender BassMan and one titled ‘MLD’, which is their Melvin Lee Davis signature and you’re grooving now.
Regarding recording capabilities, the NUX Mighty Bass 50BT has some options for you. Firstly you can utilise the DI out to plug into your audio interface of choice or alternatively, plug the amp straight into your computer and you’ll be able to record audio directly.
You can select to send the Impulse Response output to the DI and/or the amp individually which is handy for recording a clean bass sound out of the DI with plans to reamp it later whilst hearing a crunchy tone in person. Very cool.
This might be one of the most intriguing offerings for practicing musicians as there is nothing that I’ve seen that can do so much, and be used in multiple settings while sitting at this price range. For home playing, practice and recording applications, it has all the makings of an awesome workhorse, and multi faceted, small scale bass rig.
Another potential use of this thing would be busking, as the amp, although small, punches well above its weight in terms of diver throw and dispersion. Pair that with the easily changeable tones, the convenient stand to deliver sound upwards and looping capabilities, and you have an awesome and versatile mobile solution for ad-hoc performance.
Considering everything on offer here, it’s apparent that the NUX Mighty Bass 50BT might just be one of the best practise amps on the market. It’s a seriously impressive unit that showcases the fundamentals of amp modelling brilliantly, and the fact that it’s loaded with so many useful features just helps sweeten the deal even further.
Head to Pro Music Australia to check out the NUX Mighty Bass 50BT