Alan Wrench
Audio Tutor
Last Update: 04.08.14
Ampeg BA115 HP Bass Amp
SSR Manchester - Alan Wrench, Audio Tutor

POSTED ON – 04.08.14

Ampeg BA115 HP Bass Amp

Hi and welcome to my first blog for SSR.

I shall be writing blogs about equipment, software, music and basically anything else which is related to my teaching at SSR and general music activities in the industry.

We recently took delivery of an Ampeg BA115 HP Bass combo and I’m very impressed with its capabilities.

Here’s what you get.

The amp features a healthy 100 watts RMS power delivered through a 15” driver and Piezo tweeter together with 3 band EQ, tone shaper, passive and active inputs, auxiliary input, balanced XLR and headphone outputs.
It has a suitably robust and roadworthy construction with a steel chassis, protective corners and a durable Tolex TM covering.

Starting at the ¼” jack inputs, you have a choice of normal or -15dB; the latter being designed for instruments with active pick-ups. You have two volume controls: Gain which controls the pre-amp level and Master which controls the output level and overall volume. Adjusting the pre-amp will allow you to increase the degree of overdrive presented.

Tone can be adjusted using the five position style control or with the 3 band EQ; the adjustment ranges are as follows:

Treble 40dB range @ 10kHz
Middle 30dB range @ 500kHz
Bass 36dB range @ 5kHz
Style 1 = -25dB @ 500kHz
Style 2 = -12.5dB @ 500kHz
Style 3 = flat
Style 4 = +5dB @ 2kHz
Style 5 = + 6dB @ 50kHz and below

You can add signals such as a backing track from a CD or MP3 player via the auxiliary input and you can practice silently using the headphone output.

As soon as I plugged a bass into this amp I was pleased. Compared to other models it really brought the Epiphone bass I was using to life, and the degree and range of sounds available was impressive.
It has a really clear sound and plenty of definition in the top end which is something I’ve occasionally had issues with in the studio.

The pre amp allows you to add some subtle overdrive but you will need a pedal to create actual distortion.
The amp is loud enough for a reasonable sized venue so you shouldn’t need to turn it up fully in the studio. Raising the volume does give the sense of increased bass but this is partly due to the equal loudness contours identified by Fletcher-Munson curves.

When the amp is fully wound up it still gives a good sound and does not simply become a wall of noise, also the range of adjustment is consistent from 1-10.

Setting the pre-amp to maximum and raising the output level to the higher settings provides a full and dynamic sound with a small degree of overdrive which will change depending on the actual bass being used.

The range of adjustment in terms of colour is very good; often I’ve found some amps don’t actually change the basic sound that much but here you can find a wide variety of tones from the EQ and Style controls. You should find the Bass Middle and Treble controls responsive and effective in terms of tonal adjustment available.

The XLR output is post EQ so you could use a DI box to capture both pre and post amp versions of your recordings.

The amp weighs 62lb so it’s heavy but not a back breaker!

This amp will definitely be my first choice for recording bass at SSR, so give it a try. I’m sure you’ll like the sound it produces!


Alan Wrench

POSTED ON – 04.08.14

Ampeg BA115 HP Bass Amp

After graduating from Salford University with a BA Hons (in Pop Music and Recording), Alan went on to design and build his own commercial recording studio. Alan’s musicianship and technical ability earned him the John Lennon award for outstanding creative talent in 1992.

He has since produced singles and albums for many bands and artists and his own releases have seen top-10 success in the Dance Charts both at home and overseas.

Alan is the course leader for our BA (Hons) Electronic Music & DJ Practice degree course.