The Traynor SB115 Bass Combo features
- 200 watts into 4 ohms
- 15" LF speaker with tweeter
- Passive and Active (-6db) inputs
- Limiter switch to prevent power amp clipping
- Gain and Master controls
- 4 band EQ - Bass, Low-Mid, High-Mid, Treble and Low Expander
- Aux-in TRS jack for external sound source, post-EQ
- Headphone Jack (defeats speaker outputs) perfect for practice
- Tweeter in/out button
- XLR direct out, pre-EQ
- 31 pounds (15" x 18" x 21.5")
- Made in Canada
- List price: $729
Highly efficient and cool-running Class-D amplifiers have been the muscle behind the explosion of lightweight powered speakers, and Traynor has adapted this technology to the easy-to-carry SB115 200w bass combo amplifier. This same amp is available also as a 1x10 and 1x12 combo, but at only 31 pounds we jumped right up to the big boy. We checked out his amp with a G&L SB-2 passive bass with MFD pickups.
As we've previously experienced with our Small Block 500 head, the SB115 has a good amount of clean headroom. The gain control can be cranked up pretty high and the sound is still clean. Think of it more as a definition control, and higher levels of gain will impart a grainier tone with more apparent high frequencies. Adjusting the gain to our tonal preferences and setting overall volume with the master control, the SB115 pumps out a generous amount of volume. One could certainly handle small club gigs with a drummer and not have any issues. For those situations where you need to fill a larger space, there is an XLR direct output that will send a pre-EQ signal directly to a mixing board or PA system.
The active tone controls all have wide 15 dB boost/cut range, with the center position being the neutral setting. That's a lot of potential gain at any particular frequency band, and we found that only minor tweaks were needed in any particular range to obtain the sound we are looking for. The Low Expander control enhances the low frequencies, while also contouring the middle frequencies in the 400 Hz range. This is a good control to adjust first while the other controls are set on neutral. This will "set the stage" for the overall response of the amp, at which point you can fine tune to taste with the four band EQ controls.
For a small combo that lacks the cabinet size and surface area of our "big" rig (a 4x10) the SB115 is pretty impressive. Low frequencies were tight with good apparent low end extension. Even with some energetic slap bass we never felt like the speaker was reaching its limits or bottoming out (we kept the limiter on, but never really audibly felt its presence). There is plenty of adjustability in the midrange section, and the Low-Mid and Hi-Mid controls are the critical knobs for fining tuning the overall timbre. If anything, this is not an overly bright combo, even with the high-definition MFD pickups on our SB-2. The effect of the tweeter is rather subtle, and our preference is to leave it in for a little upper frequency spaciousness.
Overall this is a pretty impressive package that does not sound boxy or thin. It won't breathe and move air like a multi-speaker cabinet -- after all you can't fool physics -- but you can pick it up with one hand. And with its ability to produce club-capable volume and solid low end performance in a size no bigger than a typical guitar amp, Traynor has come pretty close to fooling physics.
Long resigned to hauling large and heavy equipment, the Traynor SB115 is a liberating piece of gear for bass players. Perfect for small-to-medium rooms, or practice, the SB115 provides excellent tone and plenty of EQ shaping in a package that will save your back.