I originally bought this for my friend, Kevin Galloway, to accompany the Aria Cat Bass that I never seemed to get back to him. Later on I bought Kevin a Behringer Bass V-Amp instead, and so I wound up keeping the Bass Ace.
I owned one of the original Rockman X-100 guitar amps, but I never owned a Rockman Bass amp. So I can’t tell you how it might compare to the Bass Ace. But I often used my X-100 to record bass back in the early days, and was fairly impressed with the sound I got out of it. Compared to that, the Bass Ace is disappointing.
In all fairness, the only thing the Bass Ace has in common with the early Rockman gear is the name. These are made by Jim Dunlop now. Tom Scholz hasn’t had anything to do with the Rockman brand in a very long time. And while the Bass Ace may have inherited some Rockman circuitry, it doesn’t feel or sound like a Rockman to me.
These units are made a lot cheaper than the Rockman gear in its hey-day. When you held a Rockman X-100 in your hands, it had a heft to it. This Dunlop era Bass Ace feels like it’d waft away on a breeze.
But everything’s crap nowadays, right? Who cares, as long as it sounds good?
Well, I have to say that it sounds good enough. It sounds like what it is. Dunlop took some great-sounding technology (in the Rockman circuitry) and reduced it to the lowest common denominator. The technology that was originally conceived as recording gear has now been reduced to nothing more than cheap headphone practice amps. And while there’s a faint hint of what Rockman used to be, overall the Bass Ace sounds like just another headphone practice amp to me.
If you’re in the market for a headphone practice amp, do yourself a favor. Spend the extra $25 and get a Behringer Bass V-Amp. There’s nothing to see here.