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Markbass Marcus Miller CMD 101 Micro 60 review

Can usable bass combos get any smaller? We take a look at a compact powerhouse that defies all expectations

Markbass Micro 60
(Image: © Markbass)

Our Verdict

A very impressive combo, well worthy of investigation, the Micro 60 stacks well with other Markbass cabinets for an easily expandable rig with impressive performance for five-string players. But on its own it's a formidable little amp for its size.

For

  • Simple, effective, versatile.
  • Good design.
  • Portable.

Against

  • Limited output, but this can be addressed with an extra cab.

With bass amps becoming ever lighter and smaller, the lines of separation between a home practice combo and a functional live amp are becoming increasingly irrelevant. In-ear monitors and minimal backline requirements on gigs are blurring those lines even further. 

This unit from the Marcus Miller range of amplification from Markbass is small, portable, and compact, and although its output rating is limited at 45 watts – or 60 watts with an extension cabinet – it comes equipped with all the necessary features required of a home practice combo. So... is it up to the job?

Build Quality

Finished in a black felt covering and furnished with plastic protective corners, metal grille, and a top-mounted carry handle, the Micro 60 bears all the hallmarks of a Markbass combo, and can easily be stacked atop other similarly sized Markbass cabinets.

The familiar yellow 10” speaker is supported by a piezo tweeter, with the obvious intention being that clarity and definition are not compromised. To ensure a solid low-end response, the rear of the cab has extensive rear reflex porting.

In terms of features, the control set is limited but gives you everything most of us will need: Gain and Master volume controls, a three-band EQ, an auxiliary input for adding a music source, headphone and XLR DI outputs, and an additional speaker out enabling the addition of an extra cabinet. A clip indicator LED shows the player when the bass signal is a little too hot, safeguarding the speaker’s performance.

As it weighs in at 25 pounds, portability has been addressed, assisted by some effective unit dimensions. Not only can the unit be carried with ease, it will take up very little room at home or on stage – very useful for those small club gigs where space is at a premium.

Markbass Micro 60

(Image credit: Markbass)

Sounds

We tested the combo with a variety of basses, concluding that the Micro 60 is capable of delivering a surprisingly full low-end performance. Whether presented with a passive, active, four-string, five-string, fretless or acoustic instrument, the individual tonal characteristics are conveyed with a fair degree of power and finesse. 

Slapped and tapped passages benefit greatly from the addition of the tweeter, making subtle playing stand out without getting lost. Obviously, as the unit is fitted with a 10” speaker, the probability of concocting a truly bass-drenched signal is fairly low.

Markbass Micro 60

(Image credit: Markbass)

The simple but effective control layout makes dialing in your tonal requirements easy. It may lack frills, but on a unit such as this, which has been designed to do a simple thing well, why would you want frills? A great, usable tone is the order of the day and the Micro 60 certainly delivers that. 

Fingerstyle and pick applications are conveyed with authority, although once you start digging in and pushing the unit, you may find that its limitations start to become obvious. This is where attaching an additional cabinet comes into play, and shows sensible forethought from the Markbass team.

60 watts may not sound like much, but with an additional 8-ohm cabinet attached, the low end is further reinforced, making the setup more efficient when it comes to conveying the spread of frequencies. This will definitely appeal to five-string bassists, who want the notes to jump off  the B string, not merely make a thud.

In use, the tweeter makes a lot of difference to the overall performance and gives the combo versatility, creating a full tonal display with articulation and detail. Thankfully, increasing the Treble control doesn’t result in a thin response, but rather a sweeter high end. Using the combo with basses equipped with active EQ showed no limitations as such; adjusting the onboard preamps merely highlighted how capable this combo actually is.

Conclusion

Markbass combos are popular for their portable nature and useful control set, and this example certainly carries on in that tradition. Its simplicity is apparent, but that is the ace up its sleeve. Sure, it has limitations, but I can see many players making full use of it at home, at rehearsals and live. 

Specs

  • PRICE: $449 + sales tax
  • MADE IN: Indonesia
  • POWER: 60 watts at 4 ohms, 45 watts at 8 ohms
  • FEATURES: Gain, master volume, low, middle, high, dual voltage switch, internal speaker on/off switch, ground/lift selector Speakers | 1 x 10” Markbass custom speaker, piezo tweeter
  • DIMENSIONS: 366mm (H) x 370mm (W) x 334mm (D) 
  • CONNECTIONS: 1/4-inch jack input, 3.5mm auxiliary input, balanced XLR DI output, 1/4-inch jack speaker output, 3.5mm headphone output
  • WEIGHT: 25.35 lbs
  • CONTACT: Markbass