Phill Jones Cub
I have to say, I LOVE the sound of this little amp, the Phil Jones BG-100 Cub.
It’s tiny 12x9x7 and it has only 2 little 5″ speakers pushed by 100 watts. Phil Jones is know for making these impossibly small speakers sound great. Their pre-amp and power sections are super hi-fi. Plus, it’s a beautiful little package, mine happens to be red tolex and came with a great bag.
I’ve owned other Phil Jones amps in the past and found my Briefcase model to be under powered. I was always running it at 10 and had to push the pre-amp to distortion. But I came across this little 2×5 Cub with only 100 wats. It sucked me in. it was small, solid and cool looking. So I just had to take it home with me.
Plugging it in:
This little amp that has two channels that look the same and according to the web, they are supposed to be the same, but they are definitely voiced a little different from each other. Channel one has a combo input that can take a 1/4 ” or 3 pin mic. It has a little switch for mic/active/passive. Since I play upright bass, I used this channel on the mic setting with a Fishman preamp. It seems to have a hi-pass filter to kill some boominess. It sounds really very natural. But it is easy to overdrive the input (true on both channels). The basic 3 band eq is exactly what you would expect. And unless you have the master above half, you are not hearing much. Channel 2 has a 3 way switch, off/active/passive. The tone of this channel is much warmer. The tone quality over all on both channels is not “aggressive” it’s mello and hi-fi.
If I were a professional reviewer, I’d know what type of compression this amp uses and how the single knob works. But I’m going to tell you my experience. You have to have it on because the amp gets loud quick and although they claim the speakers do not overdrive, the do fart out when you smack it. On the up side. This is such a beautiful, smooth, transparent compressor that I used it more, even with my upright, than I typically would. And it is really responsive to the tone controls. If you roll off some bass, the compressor almost sounds like it’s exciting the tone, add some extra bass and it squashes harder to control and balance the output.
Location, location, location!!!
This is the craziest part of the amp, and the lesson that I’ll be using with all my other amps from here on out. This tiny amp is designed to sit on the floor, with the bottom handle used to aim it up a little. Now, put it one to three feet from the back wall of the stage and even better if you can get it in a corner. Now stand about 2 feet infant of it…BOOM. Well, boom is now the right word but it fills up the space. It can be tough to find the right balance because everything becomes part of your sound, shaping your tone knobs, tweaking compression and adjusting the amps placement in the room really makes a difference.
Practice, rehearsal, gig?
Yes to all of these. The amp is designed as a practice amp. 2 inputs makes it great for lessons. I keep mine under my desk at home. It is great sounding with my upright and with my electrics. I’ve been bringing it to rehearsals with my band; drummer, 3 guitars, mandolin, 3 singers. It’s holding up pretty well. Some days I put it on top of other amps near my ear, then I run a line out to one of the crappier bass amps jut to add a little extra low-end. As for gigs? I dont do many low volume gigs these days. So, I won’t be bringing it out in the clubs. But I feel like it could handle it. I know it could fill a room for any gig that doesn’t have drums. And if I were playing electric, well, it could probably work for all my basic club gigs. Even with my 5 string. But since most of my gigs are with the upright. I dont think I’ll take it out.