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View Full Version : NBAD - New bass amp day - Phil Jones Double Four is just great!



kohanmike
06-05-2015, 04:06 PM
After using my 15 year old Crate Limo USA built 50 watt battery amp with a larger capacity lead acid battery, which is big and heavy, I decided to splurge for a Phil Jones Double Four bass amp that's 70 watts and 1/3 the size and weight. I first saw it at NAMM in January and was amazed how small it is, and that you could use a standard laptop external lithium battery with it (which fits perfectly in the carry handle of the amp).

I've been using it for the last hour with my Gold Tone MicroBass and Rondo Hadean solid body, both with Pahoehoe strings. It sounds great, clean and clear with good deep bass. It cost $450, the 23,000mA battery was $100 and should last about 4-5 hours per charge.

Crate Limo
http://www.kohanmike.com/uploads/Crate Limo.jpg

Phil Jones Double Four and Lithium Battery
http://www.kohanmike.com/uploads/PJD4 & Battery.jpg

kohanmike
06-06-2015, 08:51 PM
The more I use this amp, the more I find that the Rondo Hadean solid body is sub-par for sound quality. My Gold Tone MicroBass sounds great on the amp, but the Hadean solid body is muddy and out of balance. I have a feeling it's the low quality of the electronics inside, and maybe the pickup as well. I'm waiting for my blue solid body to come back from being modified and will see how it compares. (I'm posting this in the Hadean thread as well.)

Patrick Madsen
07-09-2015, 06:36 PM
I took my Chennell down to my luthier to see about a better pickup. The passive pickup is fine; it's my 25 watt Fender Rumbler 30 that's the problem. Its too weak to drive the passive pu. He suggested either a Baggs para preamp or thought the idea of the PJ double 4 was a really good idea.

He told me to stop by the music store and try the bass out on a 70 watt amp. "Watts are watts. the sound can always be cleaned up and if the 70 wts drives it, the PJ would be an excellent choice." I took it over to the store and tried out a 60 wt Roland. The volume could have blown out the window; slight exaggeration.

So with a B'day coming up next month I think I'll splurge on the Double 4 or perhaps the Cub BG100. It's small and light. I'm from the old days of a Fender Bassman so seeing something that small and light, I naturally balk thinking the PJ won't handle it.

Any thoughts or suggestions on the D4, Bg100 or something else? I'll rarely play without it plugged in so will give the lithium battery a bit of thought. Will more than likely buy cause if I don't, I know circumstances will come up to where I'll need battery power.

mrufino1
07-09-2015, 06:58 PM
Impedance matching with a passive piezo is important, so it's very possible the fender's input is low impedance. I know my tc head has a low impedance to the input, which is not a problem for magnetic pickups. But on the acoustic uke bass I made the pickup passive was scratchy and thin, then when I got the endpin preamp, which takes care of the impedance issue, the low end came back and the highs were bearable.

However, no argument either that the phil jones is a better amp, they make great stuff.

kohanmike
07-09-2015, 07:37 PM
Reading my post above, I see that I should add that I removed the shim under the saddle of the Hadean solid body and boy what a difference that made. It's now well balanced and more open, sounds really good on both my Crate and the Double Four.

Jon Moody
07-10-2015, 02:05 AM
So with a B'day coming up next month I think I'll splurge on the Double 4 or perhaps the Cub BG100. It's small and light. I'm from the old days of a Fender Bassman so seeing something that small and light, I naturally balk thinking the PJ won't handle it.

That's usually the first thing people think/say when I walk into any gig setting with the Double Four; it can't handle it. Five minutes in, they're usually fine.

If it helps, I've used the Double Four in a theatre pit setting, in as large a group as 40 people and the soundman can always CLEARLY hear me through the mix.

Nearly every other manufacturer that makes a small practice amp offers it more out of convenience and an extension to their product line. Phil designed the whole thing from the ground up.



Any thoughts or suggestions on the D4, Bg100 or something else? I'll rarely play without it plugged in so will give the lithium battery a bit of thought. Will more than likely buy cause if I don't, I know circumstances will come up to where I'll need battery power.

I've had both, and also gig regularly with the PJB Briefcase (their "flagship" model for over a decade). The BG100 is very nice; it uses Phil's Neo speakers which give a more "traditional" tonal quality to the amp (in comparison to the Briefcase, which use the PJB Pirahna speakers). It also has two channels, the first of which also allows either a 1/4" or XLR cable, perfect for using with a double bass (channel one has a mic and channel two the pickup) or for vocals and bass. When I used the BG100, I used it to double between ukulele and bass and it works well; Phil's stuff is pretty full-range in terms of sound reproduction so you could easily plug any instrument you want into it and it would sound awesome. It's also got a handy "kickstand" on the underside of the amp, so you can tilt it up a bit to be heard as well as an actual DI out, if you're running to the front of house (the Double Four only has a 1/4" line out, which serves the same purpose but not as handy).

The Double Four however, was what made me sell the BG100. While yes, it's only 75w compared to 100w of the BG100, it's designed in such a way that I honestly couldn't tell a difference. The speakers are a third design, which I find marries the warmth of the Neos with the punch of the Pirahnas (this is probably why when I A/Bed them, it was hard to tell a volume difference). They both have the same 3 band EQ where the BG100 has a Limiteer you can also employ if you want. I don't personally need the option of the lithium ion battery, but it is very handy to have if you do need it.

At this point, I'd choose the Double Four out of the two, unless the extra options that the BG100 offers (2 channels, limiter, DI, kickstand) would fulfill your needs better.

mrufino1
07-10-2015, 03:10 AM
And if you can hear it onstage and then the band needs to be louder, just DI to the PA and you're all set.

katysax
07-10-2015, 04:38 AM
This is just a great amp. It is so incredibly versatile. I've had a lot of amps and this one has gotten the most use in more situations than any other. It even works as an acoustic amp. I had a Polytone guitar amp for 30 years that I used for bass and a million other things. I got it in the days when there were no acoustic amp. It was relatively small (albeit big compared to the double four). The Polytone died from age, and after since them the Phil Jones - which is actually overall a much better amp except that the Polytone was a fabulous guitar amp - has become my - it can do anything in a pinch and isn't too heavy amp. The Phil Jones has the added benefit of incredible bass tone.

Patrick Madsen
07-10-2015, 05:25 AM
Thanks guys, this really helps a lot. My last bass amp purchase was the tube Fender bassman back in the late '60's. Things sure have changed.