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Review – Wayne Jones Audio WJBA & WJBA2 Amplifiers and WJ 2×10 Cabs

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Wayne Jones Audio WJBA & WJBA2 Amplifiers and WJ 2×10 Cabs Review…

A while back, Bass Musician Mag reviewed a couple rigs from Wayne Jones Audio, including some of their exceptional bass preamps and powered cabinets.  I remember being struck by the build quality, feature set, and above all, killer tone of Wayne’s gear.   Well, he’s at it again, and true to form, he’s blowing the roof off with a line of incredibly powerful and feature laden bass amplifiers and speaker cabinets.   The WJBA and WJBA2 amps offer bassists well thought out features and options that leave professional players wanting for nothing in terms of volume, flexibility and tonal options.  He also sent over a pair of his new passive WJ2x10 cabs to check out, which incorporate some smart updates from his line of powered cabs, and similarly (and most importantly), have tone for days.   I am as blown away by this rig as I was the first batch of Wayne Jones Audio gear, and it’s nice to see the more conventional approach of powered amplifiers and passive cabinets, since most of us are more accustomed to this configuration.  It’s pretty obvious from the get-go when you unbox and power up Wayne’s gear that he’s not messing around here. The rig looks serious, feels serious, and sounds very serious.  Let’s take a closer look.

Wayne Jones WJBA and WJBA2 Amplifiers

The flagship of the new line is the formidable looking WJBA amp, a 2 channel, 2000-watt bass amp monster that at first glance can appear a little overwhelming.

Designed in collaboration with, and incorporating feedback from Wayne Jones Audio endorsees Andre Berry (David Sanborn, Brothers Johnson, Peter White) and Scott Colley (Herbie Hancock, Michael Brecker, Jim Hall), the WJBA has been designed to meet the demanding volume and flexibility needs of working professionals.   Once you spend a little time with the amp, it becomes clear that Wayne’s extensive history as a pro bassist has helped him develop equipment that serves players with smart features and flexible signal routing, to help support even the most demanding gig needs.  Calling its power output “robust” would be a bit of an understatement.  Under the hood of the WJBA is dual 1000w Pascal amplifiers, which allow the amp to deliver 2000w at either 4 or 8 ohms.  You can run the amp: in mono with one bass, with 2 basses (each with a dedicated channel and EQ), with stereo output basses like some Rickenbackers, or in true stereo, to accommodate stereo effects, via its stereo FX loop. Each channel features an optical compressor, 6 bands of active equalizer, and a 30 Hz boost switch.  The EQ points are designed to correspond to the fundamental frequencies of each string, allowing you to balance the instruments output for an even response.  However, you can also use it as you would a conventional EQ, shaping the highs, mids and lows to taste with 6 bands of control.  The output section includes a pan control, to adjust the relative volume of each output/cabinet, as well as a master volume control for the amplifiers overall volume level.   As with his previous products, there is ample LED metering on the front panel for the input gain (of each channel) and output level of the power section.  This helps with proper gain staging to make sure you have the signal optimized for headroom and clarity.  Additionally, channel two offers a dual input for XLR or 1/4” inputs, and selectable 48v phantom power for upright microphones.   Truly, this is a great option for doublers who need both a solid one-stop solution for taking full advantage of amplifying their upright, as well as a slamming no-compromise electric bass rig.

Moving to the back panel, you’ll find all the connectivity you could ever want for signal routing options and flexibility, including: XLR and ¼ output for each channel, “preamp outputs” for each channel (ideal for using powered cabinets), a stereo FX loop, Speakon connections for each channel, 1/4” and 1/8” aux inputs, a headphone output with level control, and a dedicated DI output with a level control and a ground lift switch.    It can also accommodate 115 or 230 volts, for ease of use Stateside and abroad.

The WJBA2 amplifier is essentially a 1 channel version of the WJBA2, and offers up 1000w bridged into 4 or 8 ohms, in a slightly smaller and lighter package, and without the XLR input and phantom power.

WJ 2×10 Passive Cabs

When I reviewed the powered Wayne Jones 2×10 cabs in the past, I was struck by how incredibly big, quick and clean they sounded.  They were certainly remarkable sounding for a 2×10 and sonically dwarfed a whole lot of 2×10’s I’ve owned or played.   At the time, my only issues had to do with the form factor and challenge of carrying of the cabs.  The handle placement made it difficult to pick up and move, and their extra depth (20.4”) made it a little awkward to carry.   Wayne updated the new passive WJ 2×10’s with handles on the top and bottom, and improved the handle design to make them more comfortable to hold. This dramatically improved the schlep factor, and despite their size and 64 lb. weight, I find these to be much easier to cart around.   Additionally, he moved the control/input panel from the top of the cab to the back of the cab which allows these to be stacked in a vertical fashion, whereas the powered cabs had to be stacked horizontally, due to the panel/jack location.    Wayne also omitted the built in wheels and telescoping handle found on the active cabs, shaving some weight.  The only other change is the new smooth vinyl covering, now used on all cabinets in the product range.  The vinyl looks sharp, but was more prone to scuffs and scrapes than the carpeted covering. Getting covers for them would be a wise investment, to avoid minor damage that can happen when loading in/out.

Capable of handling 700w, and with a frequency response of 40 Hz to 20 KHz (extending down to 28 Hz), the Kevlar impregnated drivers with massive magnets are capable of providing tons of output and slam. Dual attenuators on the back panel allow you to cut up to 12Db of highs and mids (mids in the 300-600Hz range) for further tailoring.

Overall, the 2×10 performs stunningly well, and fills out the entire frequency range beautifully from top to bottom.  They are extremely clean and linear sounding throughout the midrange, with no blurriness or congestion, lending them to be excellent options for all flavors of modern bass tone. But considering the awesome tone shaping ability of the WJBA heads, they can be EQ’d to deliver all kinds of great sounds.   The low end extension is remarkable, capable of hitting subwoofer-like lows that many bass cabs can’t quite achieve, especially with some judicious use of the bass knob and the 30Hz boost switch.

To wrap up, the new gear from Wayne Jones represents a very high degree of engineering, design and performance for bass players.

While players who gravitate towards vintage inspired equipment may prefer simpler and more traditional sonic and aesthetic offerings, when it comes to high performance, high output, no-compromise bass amplification, Wayne Jones continues to create a high water mark for what a bass amp can do.    Players inclined towards modern tones are sure to be blown away by the rigs sheer capacity for volume and extension.  I brought the big rig out on a couple gigs and it provided an effortless playing experience, translating every sonic nuance of my playing, and delivering massive headroom and horsepower.   It’s one of those rigs you have to hear to truly appreciate.

For more information and pricing, visit Wayne Jones Audio’s website

Gear News

Bruegel Masterpiece (1565) Inspires BITE Masterpiece (2023)

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Bruegel Masterpiece (1565) Inspires BITE Masterpiece (2023)

Bruegel Masterpiece (1565) Inspires BITE Masterpiece (2023)…

Flemish Master Pieter Bruegel the Elder probably had many things in mind when painting his Hunters in the Snow in oil on oak wood in 1565. This masterpiece tells plenty of little stories about winterly pastimes and precarious livelihoods in the Early Modern Age. What Bruegel presumably did not have in mind was that this painting would, several centuries later, become one of the most popular ones in fine arts globally, displayed in a permanent exhibition at Kunsthistorisches Museum (Museum of Fine Arts) Vienna. The painting’s popularity was lately taken to a different level as it was replicated by hand to design an exclusive BITE bass.

An international art collector and bass player who regularly visits Vienna to immerse himself in the wonderworld of Kunsthistorisches’ Bruegel Hall asked BITE to replicate the painting on a bass body. BITE Guitars, an Austrian premium manufacturer exporting most of their basses to the US, has become renowned for colorful artwork basses, offering a range of manual and digital techniques. The firm’s art director Peter, a trained scenic painter of Oscar and Palme d’Or rank, specializes in photo-realistic reproductions. He also painted the bass for Robbie Williams’ 2023 world tour by faithfully replicating Robbie’s own stage design onto the tour bass.

Peter copied the Bruegel motif onto the bass body in minute detail, little twigs even by one-hair-brush. Positioning the rectangular image section on the body shape proved to be a special challege that he met by repositioning little elements, a bird here, a horse and cart there.

It all came together in a memorable video shooting in front of the original painting in the Museum’s Bruegel Hall: venerable fine arts, premium handicraft and groovy jazz tunes.

View video at the museum: www.youtube.com/shorts/2evdqfR6gUE

What’s the conclusion of BITE’s client, our Vienna, art and bass lover? “It’s a magical bass! When I touch the strings, I feel warm inside.”

Specs highlights:
Bass model: BITE Evening Star, the proprietary BITE premium model with inward curved horns
Pickups: 2 x BITE 1000 millivolt passive split-coils (PP)
Neck: roasted maple neck and roasted flamed maple fretboard

Price tag incl. insured door-to-door express shipping:
New York: 4726 USD
London: 3645 GBP
Berlin: 4965 EUR

Full specs available at bite.guitars/old-master-bass/

Bruegel Hall at Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna: 
khm.at/en/visit/collections/picture-gallery/the-best-of-bruegel-only-in-vienna/

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Bass Videos

Interview With Bassist Ciara Moser

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Interview With Bassist Ciara Moser

Bassist Ciara Moser…

Ciara and I sat down for this interview a few months after the launch of her debut album, “Blind. So what?”

Blind since birth, she is a powerhouse of talent; she is not only a professional bassist, but also composes music, and is a producer and educator. I am just blown away by her talent and perseverance.

Join me as we hear about Ciara’s musical journey, the details of her album, how she gets her sound, and her plans for the future.

Visit online:

www.ciara-moser.com 
IG @ moserciara
FB @ ciara.moser

Photos by Manuela Haeussler

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Gear News

New Gear: Black Ice Boost and Distort, Battery-Free Modules for Bass and Guitar

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New Gear: Black Ice Boost and Distort, Battery-Free Modules for Bass and Guitar

Black Ice Boost and Distort, Battery-Free Modules for Bass and Guitar…

Black Ice Enterprises introduces Black Ice Boost and Black Ice Distort, small, battery-free devices that can be easily installed in a bass or guitar.

Black Ice Boost offers two selectable stages of up to 7 dB of boost, broadly concentrated in the midrange frequencies to add humbucker-like qualities to Strat®, Tele® and other types of single-coil pickups. Black Ice Distort is an overdrive module that can be configured to offer anything from slight overdrive to distortion. Both models are compatible with all passive guitar pickups and electronics (they’re not compatible with battery-powered active pickups).

Black Ice Boost (SRP: $119.95; MAP, $79.95) can be installed using several wiring options, including a simple “stealth” install that utilizes a single push-pull pot, and a dual-switch option that allows users to select between two different levels of boost. For those using the boost along with Black Ice Distort, a second push-pull pot or switch can be used to select a clean or distorted boost.

The Black Ice Boost module is approximately 2/3 the size of a 9-volt battery, and can be easily installed in most instruments with no routing or permanent modifications required. The tone of the instrument remains completely unaffected when the boost is bypassed.

In addition to use with popular single-coil pickups, Black Ice Boost can also be used with other pickup types. Use it to fatten up a P-90 style pickup, or add girth to a low-wind humbucker. Jazz Bass® players can use the additional midrange content provided by Black Ice Boost to produce a sound that’s reminiscent of a P-Bass® or soapbar-type pickup. Black Ice Boost is not recommended for use with high-output humbuckers and other dark-sounding pickups.

Black Ice Distort (SRP: $27.95; MAP, $21.95) is an overdrive module that can be configured for just a touch of grit, or a more aggressive grind, all the way to a 1960’s-flavored fuzz. While its battery-free circuit will never replace the more refined sound of a well-designed pedal, it provides handy, there-when-you-need-it access to a variety of fun old-school flavors, and is a great way to add additional textures to an already overdriven amp or pedal. Bass players will especially dig its raw dirty grind.

Like Black Ice Boost, the sugar-cube-sized Black Ice Distort provides a lifetime of tone with no maintenance or power source required. A variety of wiring options are included that let you activate the Distort via a switch or push-pull pot, or by easily converting your guitar’s tone control into a control for the Black Ice Distort circuit. It can be used in conjunction with the Black Ice Boost for a wide variety of useful tones.

Black Ice Boost and Black Ice Distort are now shipping.

Visit online at www.blackiceoverdrive.com

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This Week’s Top 10 Basses on Instagram

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TOP 10 Basses of the week

Check out our top 10 favorite basses on Instagram this week…

Click to follow Bass Musician on Instagram @bassmusicianmag

FEATURED @loritabassworks @meridian_guitars @alpherinstruments @phdbassguitars @mgbassguitars @mauriziouberbasses @utreraguitars @sugi_guitars @branco_luthier @blasiusguitars

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New Gear:  D’Addario’s New Humidipak

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New Gear:  D’Addario’s New Humidipak

D’Addario’s New Humidipak Absorb Protects Instruments Against Excess Moisture…

Utilizing two-way humidity control technology, D’Addario’s new Humidipak Absorb protects against damage to wooden instruments in environments with too much humidity. 

Humidipak Absorb allows players to safely return an instrument and case to the ideal relative humidity level. Using Boveda’s patented two-way humidity control technology, Absorb automatically soaks up excess moisture at a safe rate, re-establishing the right humidity level and eliminating the guesswork of revitalizing your instrument. 

Like all the Humidipaks before, using Humidipak Absorb is easy—there’s no dripping sponges or manual adjustments. All players need to do is put the humidification packets in the included pouches and place them in the instrument case, close the lid, and relax. The instrument and case will remain at the optimal 45-50% relative humidity level for 2-6 months. 

D’Addario’s other Humidipaks, Restore and Maintain, are still available for those who need to increase and sustain the humidity around their instrument. 

To learn more about Humidipak Absorb, visit ddar.io/absorb-pr 

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