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Why did I buy it?

I was playing a fair amount of bass and became dissatisfied with my old marshall amp and especially it’s enormous cab that I couldn’t fit into cars. A couple of my friends had Trace amps which I really liked, so when this one came up on ebay I grabbed it for £400 in around 2004.

How does it sound?

Compared to my friends valve Ampeg SVT this doesn’t compete for sound. However for a middle-of-the-road amp it works and sounds fine. The 11 band EQ allows a lot of control over your sound (almost too much), the noise reduction is effective, the input gain is very helpful with lights to help you judge the optimum input gain and the output volume is enough to compete with a drummer easily. It also has a very cool UV light and a footswitch to control the EQ (although I have never used a footswitch with mine). The 2103x cab is very punchy, and importantly quite small. Although the head doesn’t quite balance effectively on the cab I wouldn’t want to get a bigger cab because of my back. It has a useful XLR output with a pre/post EQ switch (although personally I preferred to use a separate DI box).

Keep or sell?

Unfortunately I have had a few problems with this amp occasionally freaking out and emitting all sorts of crackles and pops. I’ve had a couple techies look at it but they’ve never got to the bottom of the problem. As a result I no longer trust it for gigs, however it works well in my room as a practice amp as I also play my Roland electric drums through it without fear of the bass kick sound destroying anything (for this the input gain control is very useful). As I don’t trust it I don’t think I could sell it in good conscience so it is a keep, but only as a practice amp. Since I don’t actually use it for gigs I have started putting together a pedal board to make my sound as independent of any specific amp as possible (as I never quite know what amp I will end up gigging with). Since I started doing this I have tended to keep the EQ flat in favour of colouring my sound with a Hartke bass attack pre-amp pedal.