Ampeg BA-108 v2 Bass Combo Amp Review

For many bass players, the Ampeg brand is synonymous with high-quality tube-driven bass amps. Between their SVT, Heritage and Portaflex lines, Ampeg has the premium bass amplification market covered. So when I had the chance to try one of their smaller, budget-friendly options, I wasn't sure what to expect. I'm referring to the BA-108v2 -- a 20-watt solid state 1x8 combo bass amplifier that can be had for about $100. While the BA-108v2 certainly won't blow the doors down, this little combo certainly comes packing some nice surprises and plenty of value.

The Features

The Ampeg BA-108v2 is a 20-watt bass combo, featuring a single 8" speaker rated at 4 ohms. As for the controls and settings, Ampeg fans should see a familiar (albeit slimmer) layout. Referred to by the company as their “Legacy Preamp,” the main controls consists of a Master Volume knob, a -15db toggle, and a 3-band EQ. To the right of the EQ section, you'll find a few modern extras in the form of auxiliary inputs (both 1/4" and 1/8"), a headphone output, and an AUX Level knob  -- perfect features for players looking for a capable practice amp.

The Build

As for the build, the BA-108v2 features an all-steel chassis, impact resistant metal corners and a solid-braced cabinet construction that should easily take the beating of being constantly lugged around or even life on the road. And speaking of the build, the BA-108v2 also features a slanted edge design, allowing it to be placed on its side at a 60-degree angle, much like a traditional on-stage reference monitor. And at 28 lbs. and measuring at only 15" wide, 17" tall, it's definitely a portable-friendly bass amplifier.

Ampeg BA-108v2 @ $99.99

Completely redesigned, Ampeg’s all-new BA Series Combos feature legacy Ampeg preamp and tone stack circuits with a wide range of classic Ampeg tones. The modern, flexible designs include a true 60 ̊ sound reinforcement monitor angle that directs sound right to your ears, adding clarity and definition in any situation. Like all Ampeg products, your BA combo is designed by musicians and built using only the best of components. Each combo is tested to confirm that it meets Ampeg's specifications, and Ampeg believes that this combo is the absolute best that it can be.


The Sound

After messing around with the BA-108v2, you'll get a good sense of what kind of tone the BA-108v2 is able to deliver. From the get-go, I was instantly greeted by the familiar round and aggressive tone that Ampeg amps are known for. It might lack some of the boom or rich warmth of the pricier lines but the character remains the in the same ballpark. Bold and articulate, the sound stayed tight even as I began to crank up the volume. With the master knob at the mid position, the BA-108v2 was already getting surprisingly loud, perfect for at home solo practice sessions. Pushed to it's 2 o'clock position, I was beginning to get the characteristic Ampeg break up, and levels louder than you would expect from such a small combo. At max volume settings, the tone was aggressive with some bite but still retained a tight voice, a good sign that the amp has a decent amount of headroom. Overall, it's not going to get you through a full-sized gig but there's enough power in there to make this little monster a worthwhile practice amp or secondary combo that you can easily take to a friend's place for a quick jam session.

Final Thoughts ...

Don't let the small size or budget-friendly price discourage you, the BA-108v2 bass combo has the heart and soul of an Ampeg amplifier. While I would never recommend it as your main workhorse combo for full-sized gigs, it's a perfect portable Ampeg tone machine for jam sessions, small coffee-shop shows, or someone's first learner bass amp. And at only $100, you get true Ampeg tone and insane value for less than most of us pay for our monthly cell phone bill. You truly can't get a better bang for your buck.