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Darkglass Electronics’ Exponent e500 is a bass amp that turns into a multi-effects unit via your phone

Darkglass Electronics has announced the Exponent 500, a classy bass amp head design that features five assignable control dials to control your choice of parameters across a range of 22 effects, available via an app.

On the surface, the Exponent 500 (or e500, for short) is a smart-looking 500-watt bass head. Round the back, it has an effects send/return, XLR direct out, headphone socket, ground lift, plus USB and MIDI connections.

Darkglass Exponent e500

(Image credit: Darkglass Electronics)

Head to the front and there are seven dials mounted on the front panel, five of which are assignable ‘Quick-Pots’ with LED level indicators. By default, the control knobs relate to four-band EQ controls and a preset control, and there are five presets already onboard. There’s also a nifty little mute switch which simultaneously fires up a built-in tuner when engaged.

The head will function in isolation from its accompanying tech, but things get more interesting when using the partner app, Darkglass Suite, which connects to the amp via Bluetooth.

Darkglass Exponent e500

(Image credit: Darkglass Electronics)

According to Darkglass, this offers an array of 22 effects (with more to come), including overdrive, compression, octave, delay, noise gate, flanger, EQ, chorus, reverb, cab sims and more.

Users can then build effects patches, route outputs (eg, the position of headphones or effects send/return within the signal chain) and map any control – from any effect in the chain – to one of the five dials on the front panel.

The USB connection also allows the e500 to function as an audio interface.

Darkglass Exponent e500

(Image credit: Darkglass Electronics)

Much will depend on the final tones and the usability of the app but taking it at face value, the e500 looks like a nice take on the quest for that sweet spot between the hands-on functionality and digital convenience.

We can see this suiting a lot of players who face a variety of gigging demands but want (simple) control at their fingertips – particularly those deterred by the price and complexity of high-end modellers. 

The Darkglass Electronics e500 retails for $999. Head to Darkglass Electronics for more information.

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Matt is a freelance journalist who has spent the last decade interviewing musicians for the likes of Total Guitar, Guitarist, Guitar World, MusicRadar, NME.com, DJ Mag and Electronic Sound. In 2020, he launched CreativeMoney.co.uk, which aims to share the ideas that make creative lifestyles more sustainable. He plays guitar, but should not be allowed near your delay pedals.