Buying an amp for your bass guitar is a bit difficult since they need a bit more power to deliver their tones. However, more power equals a larger and heavier amp which is not attractive for a lot of reasons. The first and foremost being that a heavier and larger amplifier requires more space in your band van for transporting, and on top of that set it up on the stage is always a hassle. Fortunately, Fender seems to have delivered the best package when it comes to balancing out the ratio between power and weight which is very interesting to see. Then again Fender is always a manufacturer to be reckoned with and we have not seen something that has disappointed us from the company’s lineup.
The Fender Rumble 200 is one hell of a bass guitar amplifier. It isn’t something a novice would need, as it delivers some impressive power and it is designed for more experienced bassists out there. What I am trying to say that it is nothing like the smallest versions of the Rumble series which are more of practice amps. This one is made for gigging. That is what I see at least from this amplifier. However, we will see with further testing and closer inspection if it can handle those things. I don’t like second-guessing Fender, as I can be considered a bit of a fanboy, but for the sake of the review, I am going to put this amp through its ropes.
Specs and Features
Just by looking at the price of the Fender Rumble 200, you would expect some great features coming in from the Fender Rumble 200. Of course, the large power output is its biggest selling point. But then again it should have more features packed it to give some kind of tonal shaping and high-end sound output and speakers. Looking at the spec sheet you will see that it delivers some excellent devices, and you won’t be disappointed. Let’s see.
For those that do not know, we are talking about the latest version of the Fender Rumble 200, which is the third in the series. The Rumble series has deserved an upgrade for a long time now and it is nice to see has received the updates that were needed in this amplifier. The band said that the newest Rumble is “a mighty leap forward in the evolution of portable bass amps”. That is quite bold but Fender really did a number with this one. For example, this amplifier has a 140watt power output at 48 ohms. This much power output requires a large body and a heavy one as well. However, this one weighs about 23x19x14-inches in total and weighs 34.5-pounds. For those in the know, this is very surprising, as 140watts of power requires large chassis.
Some users expect this to deliver 200Watts of power, and it can actually with the help of an extension cab, such as the super solid Fender Rumble 115 Cabinet, which will expand the tonal range and power extensively. Yes, the power is important but the most interesting thing about this one is the 15-inch Eminence speaker that is pretty light in weight for its size and it delivers some excellent performance overall. The reports have stated that the speakers have delivered a superb low-end performance that is quite impressive overall.
On top of all this, the Fender Rumble 200 has some pretty impressive features such as the switchable horns and front porting that delivers a great directionally forward sound that makes things better for a bassist. The Fender Rumble 200 has just one channel though, however, it has different selectable switches to deliver different controls, and you can also choose the overdrive channel through it. Besides that, you can check out the bright switch, contour, and vintage. and the compression tweeter which makes things impressive overall.
When I think about large bass amps, I picture them as super large and heavy devices that are very hard to carry around. Every bassist dreads them, I hate them with my whole existence. However the Fender Rumble 200 is not scary at all, it measures 23x19x14 as I mentioned and it weighs just 15.6 kilograms, and it doesn’t look big or unpleasant. I have had some prior experience with the Rumble series and this one as well as the same design language with an amazing built quality. It has classic styling with modern features. It has the black textured vinyl coating and it has chromed corners that look great. In the front face, it has the classic Fender silver face grille with the logo on the top left. moving on it has the ivory-colored radio knobs that worked wonders overall.
While we are at the knobs it is worth talking about the controls of the Rumble 200, because surprisingly there are a lot of them. But first, let’s talk about inputs. Besides the main input, all of the others are located in the back including the power input, external speaker, effects send and return, aux in, phones, and others. The control panel is on the top, and there is the gain knob at first and there are the bright, contour, and vintage buttons for tonal shaping. Then you have the knobs and button for the overdrive, including drive and level knobs. After that, you have the four-band EQ with the bass, low mid, high mid, and treble knobs, and the master knob in the end. I would recommend you buying the affordable Fender 1-Button Footswitch for control ing the overdrive at your wish.
For testing out the Fender Rumble 200 I plugged it in with the excellent Epiphone Thunderbird-IV, which is a pretty excellent bass that delivers some special tones for an attractive price. The tonal shaping is excellent with this bass amp though, with the contour adding some great bass boost, and the vintage delivering some heavy retro tones that were popular in the 60s. The bright function adds a bit of extra bite and sharpness. On top of that, the main controls alter the sound properly. I also liked the overdrive performance which added some dist and it is nice overall. However, I would still suggest opting for a proper distort or overdrive amplifier for better tones. For example the Boss Bass OverDrive ODB-3.
Well for gigging purposes, I think that the Fender Rumble 200 is one of the most impressive amps out there, that is if you are not planning to perform on larger venues. It delivers some great retro Fender sounds, great tonal shaping, and plenty of power for its size. I think that the price is very attractive as well. One of the most interesting amps out there, but it needs an external cab to reach its full potential and it has no practice value.