Genz Benz Shuttle 9.0 Head and Uber Bass 410T-UB-4 Cab
Genz Benz, genzbenz.com
Shuttle 9.0, $1,099.00; Uber Bass 410T-UB-4, $1,449.00
Originally published in Guitar World, January 2010
The Shuttle 9.0 sets a new standard for high-powered, low-weight bass
amplification, with proven Shuttle tone, flexibility and portability.
Ever since ultra-lightweight Class D amplifiers and digital switch-mode power supplies became popular with bass amp manufacturers, companies have battled over bragging rights for the lightest, most powerful rig on the market. Genz Benz made a big splash last year with the release of its Shuttle line, comprising 300- and 600-watt heads that offer great tone and, with a weight of just three pounds, insane portability. Not satisfied to rest on its laurels, Genz now introduces the Shuttle 9.0, which can deliver a mighty 900 watts into four ohms and weighs all of four pounds.
The company has also expanded its cabinet offerings with the new Uber Bass Series, which consists of traditional shelf-ported boxes with neodymium drivers that create a lighterweight cab with a heavy sound.
The Shuttle 9.0 shares the same control layout as its predecessors: mute switch; gain; volume; low, mid, mid-frequency, and high tone controls; three-band preset signal-shaping filters; and master volume. Although it’s pint-sized, the Shuttle does not skimp on the features, which include a tube preamp, effect loop, DI (with pre/post EQ, mic/line level and ground-lift switches), headphone out, tuner out, aux in, two Speakon speaker outs, switchable voltage, a variable-speed fan, and a connector for the optional footswitch.
The Shuttle 9.0 features Genz Benz’s patent-pending P.H.A.T. (Proprietary Heat Abatement Technology) topology, which allows the amp to push far past the 600-watts-at-four-ohms limit of Class D amps. The Shuttle’s extended range input gain structure works seamlessly with active or passive basses as well as piezo pickups. In addition to the power increase, the 9.0 is voiced for a deeper low-frequency response, which makes pushing big cabs like the Uber Bass 410 a breeze.
The Uber Bass 410T-UB-4 is built from three-quarter-inch, 13-ply birch-and-poplar plywood, and uses Genz Benz’s “smooth tone” shelfport design, in which all the edges are radiused to create less turbulence as the air escapes the cab. The box is covered in a rugged, nubby vinyl and has rear-mounted casters and three edge-lift handles. The neodymium drivers keep the weight of this cab down to 72 pounds, which is considerably lighter than a traditional 4x10. The speakers are mounted in a tight array to keep the tone focused and punchy. The compression horn adds the high-end sparkle for slap and harmonics, but it’s well balanced within the overall signature of the cab. The resulting tone is more like that of a full-range studio monitor and lacks the shrill edge of some modern cabs. The tweeter has its own 100-watt level control, so it can be blended in as much as you prefer or turned off. The Uber 410 is rated for 1,000 watts of output, and its four-ohm load enables the Shuttle 9.0 to supply its full power.
Having used the Shuttle 6.0 extensively, I was very familiar with the basic performance of the amp. The 9.0 however immediately impressed me with its extended low-end response, greater headroom and increased power. These factors gave the overall impression of the 9.0 being warmer and fuller than the 6.0 when set flat, though the 6.0 can be dialed in to duplicate this. I tried the 9.0 with my two Shuttle 12-inch cabs and found that I had to be cautious with the volume and low-frequency control. While the 9.0 will fit into the sleeve of the 6.0 combo, this head can easily push the smaller Shuttle cabs too far. I wouldn’t recommend it as a higherpowered substitute for the combo.
But the 9.0 kicks butt at driving the big rigs. It’s kind of freaky to see the tiny little amp sitting on top of a huge stack, in fact—you may want to put some damping material underneath it, as the cabinet vibrations will toss the amp right off the top. Mated with the Uber Bass 410, the 9.0 can produce head-banging volume, but it’s flexible enough to produce ax-grinding grit or clean and pristine tones. The Uber cab is burly and takes the punishment in stride.
The rear casters and edge-lift handles are helpful for loading the cab into the car, and skid rails on the back keep the cab from getting torn up by your tailgate. On the other hand, carrying the four-pound Shuttle 9.0 is a piece of cake, especially if you go with the optional shoulder bag, which has a pocket for cables.
THE BOTTOM LINE
The Shuttle 9.0 sets a new standard for high-powered, low-weight bass amplification, with proven Shuttle tone, flexibility and portability. The Uber Bass 410 is an efficient, high-fidelity cab with serious punch and clarity, and its lighter weight makes it easier to transport than a standard 4x10 cab.
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