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View Full Version : Blackline Fly3 Bass great cheap combo



katysax
11-10-2016, 05:39 AM
U-Bassers I want to give you a heads up about a fantastic inexpensive, small portable combo - the Blackline Fly3. For $109, you get a battery operated bass combo that gets good sound and is adequate for accompanying up to about 15 acoustic uke players. It weighs about 2 pounds.

Blackline came out with the Fly 3 guitar combo about a year ago and it is been a huge hit. They just came out with the Bass combo.

A few things are important. They sell a kit that includes the main combo, an expansion cabinet and an AC adapter for $109. They also sell the main combo with no adapter for $69. In my view the real value is the kit and you will need the two speakers to get the good sound. The main combo is 3 amps and when the speakers are joined you get 6 amps. You also get more depth of sound with the two speakers. Just the combo itself is no better than a 3 watt vox amp.

I find that the quality of the bass tone is comparable to the Yamaha THR 10 on the bass setting with a little more dimension and volume.

I own or have owned just about every possible battery powered small amp option. None of them is perfect. Don't expect to rattle the foundations with this tiny amp. Don't expect to play outdoors beyond a very small circle. But within its limitations this is a fantastic amp.

kohanmike
11-10-2016, 11:25 AM
Sherry, I read your other posts then I took your advice and just bought the rig from B&H for Saturday delivery since no one in LA has any in stock. Next Wednesday a few of us from The CC Strummers are going to play at the UCLA/Mattel Children's Hospital to which we donated 9 ukuleles. We have to be highly portable so I'm going to "wear" the rig by adding a shoulder strap and hook/loop or brackets to hold them together.

http://www.kohanmike.com/uploads/Blackstar Fly 3 pack.jpg

8 tenor cutaway ukes, 3 acoustic bass ukes, 8 solid body bass ukes, 8 mini electric bass guitars

• Donate to The Ukulele Kids Club, they provide ukuleles to children's hospital music therapy programs. http://www.theukc.org
• Member The CC Strummers: https://www.youtube.com/user/CCStrummers/videos (https://www.youtube.com/user/CCStrummers/videos)

katysax
11-10-2016, 07:19 PM
Sounds great Mike. I've seen pictures of the wearable rig you've been using. This might not be as loud, a few less watts and small speakers but will give more of a true bass tone.

At the price the Fly3 is a whole lot of fun. You really can't go wrong.

kohanmike
11-11-2016, 07:52 AM
Sounds great Mike. I've seen pictures of the wearable rig you've been using. This might not be as loud, a few less watts and small speakers but will give more of a true bass tone. At the price the Fly3 is a whole lot of fun. You really can't go wrong.

Judging from the video reviews, the Fly 3 seems to put out very well. My little 10 watt does not do a bass justice, but since I had it, I figured I'd use it. Looking forward to testing the Fly 3 Saturday.

8 tenor cutaway ukes, 3 acoustic bass ukes, 8 solid body bass ukes, 8 mini electric bass guitars

• Donate to The Ukulele Kids Club, they provide ukuleles to children's hospital music therapy programs. http://www.theukc.org
• Member The CC Strummers: https://www.youtube.com/user/CCStrummers/videos (https://www.youtube.com/user/CCStrummers/videos)

katysax
11-11-2016, 11:06 AM
If anyone buys the Fly3 setup to replace a Roland Bass Cube RX ------ I will buy your Bass Cube RX. We need a couple of them.

Fly3 does not replace the cube Rx. Totally different power output and speakers. I sold the rx because it farted too easily and the sound did not carry or cut through.

katysax
11-11-2016, 04:27 PM
Whoa. I am not saying you should get a fly 3 instead of an rx. The fly3 will not wrk for that. I was using the rx in large rooms and outdoors where I could not put it against a wall. The Phil jones double 4 does the job that the rx could not. If the rx works for you, then great.

However I was trying to make clear for others who are reading that the fly 3 is not a substitute for the rx. The fly 3 is what it is. But it is for practice alone or with a few acoustic players in a small space.

kohanmike
11-11-2016, 05:16 PM
I'm planning to use the Fly 3 to hang on me for the very small space hospital room gigs that we will do from time to time. I also have a Double Four with battery to use in small venues, and for big places, a Carvin MB15 200 watt combo to which I add a Carvin 115MBE cabinet for 250 w, running on a very compact and reasonably light powerful (and expensive) 25wH lithium battery with 500 watt inverter for large outdoor gigs that can also power a 4 mic wireless system and 6 channel mini mixer.

8 tenor cutaway ukes, 3 acoustic bass ukes, 8 solid body bass ukes, 8 mini electric bass guitars

• Donate to The Ukulele Kids Club, they provide ukuleles to children's hospital music therapy programs. http://www.theukc.org
• Member The CC Strummers: https://www.youtube.com/user/CCStrummers/videos (https://www.youtube.com/user/CCStrummers/videos)

Booli
11-11-2016, 05:38 PM
...Now Duracell makes a solid one for $150. With it also comes a air compressor, jumper cables, built in large flashlights......

Might you please share the model number of this kit or a link to it somewhere? I am interested in this as well.

Mahalo !

kohanmike
11-12-2016, 09:17 PM
B&H screwed up the order, I didn't receive the amp today. Have to call them in the morning.

8 tenor cutaway ukes, 3 acoustic bass ukes, 8 solid body bass ukes, 8 mini electric bass guitars

• Donate to The Ukulele Kids Club, they provide ukuleles to children's hospital music therapy programs. http://www.theukc.org
• Member The CC Strummers: https://www.youtube.com/user/CCStrummers/videos (https://www.youtube.com/user/CCStrummers/videos)

Booli
11-13-2016, 01:04 AM
B&H screwed up the order, I didn't receive the amp today. Have to call them in the morning

Mike, sorry to hear that.

B&H is usually really good when I have ordered from them in the past. I can select ground shipping and usually get items to my house in 2 business days to NJ from NYC.

katysax
11-13-2016, 04:50 AM
I have had spotty experience with B&H; Sweetwater is my first choice.

Regarding the battery inverters. I've got a couple of the battery kits for charging. The ones that have AC usually contain a modified sine wave converter which you should avoid using for your amp. For an amp you need a Pure Sine Wave Converter. However, you can buy one of those battery charging devices and get a separate pure sine wave converter. If you do some searching around the web you'll find people have had mixed experiences with the Duracell and other kits for running amps.

Someone should make a musicians power supply specifically designed for powering amplifiers. This seems to be something a lot of people want.

kohanmike
11-13-2016, 05:10 AM
Mike, sorry to hear that. B&H is usually really good when I have ordered from them in the past. I can select ground shipping and usually get items to my house in 2 business days to NJ from NYC.


I have had spotty experience with B&H; Sweetwater is my first choice.

I've been buying from B&H for over 20 years, literally never had a problem until now. I just talked to them and they're going to refund the overnight shipping fee and overnight it free on Monday. He assured me it would arrive on Tuesday, cutting it close, but I do have my other little amp.


Regarding the battery inverters. Someone should make a musicians power supply specifically designed for powering amplifiers. This seems to be something a lot of people want.

If you've seen my other posts, I wanted a really powerful battery/inverter setup, so I researched and decided on a rather costly combo ($500) of a 25wH (300w, 50amp) lithium battery and 500w pure sine-wave inverter to power my Carvin MB15 200/250w combo amp with 115MBE cabinet, plus a 4 mic wireless receiver and 6 channel mini mixer. Sucker lasts about 8 hours at good volume.

http://www.kohanmike.com/uploads/1 Battery strapped 600.jpghttp://www.kohanmike.com/uploads/3 Battery in cart back 600.jpg

8 tenor cutaway ukes, 3 acoustic bass ukes, 8 solid body bass ukes, 8 mini electric bass guitars

• Donate to The Ukulele Kids Club, they provide ukuleles to children's hospital music therapy programs. http://www.theukc.org
• Member The CC Strummers: https://www.youtube.com/user/CCStrummers/videos (https://www.youtube.com/user/CCStrummers/videos)

katysax
11-15-2016, 06:53 AM
Yesterday I used the Fly3 with two different groups. Mid day we had a rehearsal of the Topanga Ukulele Revival. This group has about 50 rotating members; yesterday we had a core group of 12 people. We rehearse in a library conference room around a table. I put the Fly 3 on the table. It sounded great but I actually had to keep the volume on the low side as, believe it or not, this 3 watt amp could easily be overpowering.

Then I used it with the Happy Little Ukulele Club of Thousand Oaks. This group meets in a large rec room of a mobile home community. We had about 20 ukuleles last night. Most of the group are strong players so they can generate quite a bit of volume. I almost always use my Double Four, and sometimes my Phil Jones Cub with this group because a large room can swallow the sound and the group can be loud. Sometimes there are 35 to 40 people at the group. As an experiment I used the Fly 3. Much to my surprise it worked great. I'm not sure that it would work with a larger group though. I had the volume open almost as high as it can go before it breaks up and it was plenty loud. No one asked me to turn it down. With the Double Four I have to fidget a bit to keep the sound from being too loud.

I am actually blown away by the quantity and quality of sound from this little 6 watt amp. I've only been using it on batteries and the original set of alkalines is still operating after about 2 weeks of use. Maybe I just don't have expectations that are that high, but I am really liking this amp. It's not in the same class as the Roland RX or the Phil Jones Double Four, but for many people who want a usable battery powered amp, the Fly 3 might work. It is certainly ample for a ukulele jam of up to about 20-25 people.

kohanmike
11-15-2016, 12:15 PM
I got the Fly 3 today. Wow, it's much better than I was expecting, very good volume and bass sound, much better than my Chinese 10w. I really like all the controls it has, and that you can play an iPhone through it. I attached the two boxes together with Velcro and added D rings for a shoulder strap. Really looking forward to using it tomorrow at the UCLA hospital gig. There will be 6 of us in small rooms so I'll be keeping the volume way down.

http://www.kohanmike.com/uploads/Wearble Fly 3.jpg

8 tenor cutaway ukes, 3 acoustic bass ukes, 8 solid body bass ukes, 8 mini electric bass guitars

• Donate to The Ukulele Kids Club, they provide ukuleles to children's hospital music therapy programs. http://www.theukc.org
• Member The CC Strummers: https://www.youtube.com/user/CCStrummers/videos (https://www.youtube.com/user/CCStrummers/videos)

katysax
11-17-2016, 07:13 AM
Wow Mike. Once again you've come up with an ingenious setup.

I'm glad you like the amp. It's amazing how good it sounds considering the price. The volume is pretty amazing too. It doesn't replace the Double Four, but I am amazed how well it holds up to as many as 25 uke players. I've kind of gotten addicted to battery power because it makes it easier for me to move around and leaves me with one less cable to deal with. The more I use this amp the more impressed I am with the tone. Also, at first I really didn't think that the single combo was enough, but I'm enjoying it for throwing in my lap for practicing scales in my easy chair.

For uke bassists looking for a less expensive battery operated alternative to the Double Four, I think this Fly 3 has potential. I grew to hate the Roland RX and sold it. At first I loved the RX, but compared to the Double Four it was heavy, had poor tone, and did not have enough volume. I know the RX has its proponents, but once I got the Double Four I could never get my mind off its inadequacies. I don't know if the Fly 3 has enough volume for outdoor busking, and it definitely has its limitations, but I do think a lot of uses with ubass can be covered with the Fly 3.

Also a note on the Yamaha THR 10 for bass compared to the Fly 3. The Yamaha THR 10 is more expensive and I think not as loud, nor is the bass tone as good. The Fly 3 does not have a DI or any kind of computer connection. The Yamaha is three times as expensive. I do not find the THR 10 to be adequate as an amp for acoustic jams, but the fly 3 does work in that context.

kohanmike
11-17-2016, 01:18 PM
Thanks K. The gig went great, there were five of us and I had to keep the volume down. In case you didn't see it on my other posts, I also fashioned a holder for my iPhone with the music and attached it to that bass, worked out great also.

http://www.kohanmike.com/uploads/Mount smartphone.jpg

8 tenor cutaway ukes, 3 acoustic bass ukes, 8 solid body bass ukes, 8 mini electric bass guitars

• Donate to The Ukulele Kids Club, they provide ukuleles to children's hospital music therapy programs. http://www.theukc.org
• Member The CC Strummers: https://www.youtube.com/user/CCStrummers/videos (https://www.youtube.com/user/CCStrummers/videos)

katysax
11-17-2016, 01:47 PM
That phone holder looks clever - wouldn't work for me I'd never be able to see the music.

What is the bass uke you are using there?

kohanmike
11-17-2016, 04:28 PM
That's my custom fretless 21" scale made by Bruce Wei in Vietnam a couple of years ago, all solid acacia koa for $480 shipped. I recently put on Thunder Reds and coated them once with powder and they're working pretty well.

http://www.kohanmike.com/uploads/BWA bass uke Elastomeric 800.jpg

8 tenor cutaway ukes, 3 acoustic bass ukes, 8 solid body bass ukes, 8 mini electric bass guitars

• Donate to The Ukulele Kids Club, they provide ukuleles to children's hospital music therapy programs. http://www.theukc.org
• Member The CC Strummers: https://www.youtube.com/user/CCStrummers/videos (https://www.youtube.com/user/CCStrummers/videos)

bnolsen
11-18-2016, 04:56 AM
blackstar fly3 pack 100usd vs 450usd for phil jones double four...seems like they should be in a totally different class. Is it really fair to compare them?

Having one of those play toy danelectro honeytones I'm a bit skeptical of the blackstar's ability to perform.

Guess my problem is that I would have no way to test drive either the phil jones or the blackstar.

I do know that my ampeg ba108v1 with upgraded driver doesn't much like the strong fundamental of a ubass. For amp upgrade I've been patiently waiting for a used fender rumble 100v3 to come up cheap (22lbs, 12" driver). I've seen fender rumble 40v3's (18lbs, 10") come up locally for 120usd several times in the past year, but wanted a bigger upgrade over my little (but heavy) ampeg.

About batteries: it's insane how some of these little lithium battery packs are sold in these car jump start kits.

katysax
11-18-2016, 05:26 AM
I'm not saying they are equivalent at all. What I am saying is there are not enough battery powered alternatives. Some people want a lightweight battery powered amp for jamming with acoustic groups and can't afford or don't want to spend $500 on an amp. The fly 3 will work for a lot of those people. Is it the ultimate tone? No. It is limited in its usefulness. However it sure beats lugging a 40 lb amp for jamming with a few people.

ampeep
03-16-2017, 12:02 AM
I used to be jealous of my friends that had Trace Acoustics compact guitar amps. Wished there was a way to get a 5" cube that sounded like 2 - 15" speakers. The Fly3 Bass pack doesn't sound like a 15" speaker but it's even smaller than the Trace Acoustics amps.

katysax, kohanmike, I ordered the Fly3 Bass pack from Amazon based on your reviews. I had to strap my 80's-era Roland SuperCube Bass amp & Peavey Dyna-Bass onto a dolly & push it a block to get to one ukulele gathering. Now I can carry my amp in a shopping bag! :) Intend to use it for a gig next month.

While waiting for it to arrive, I saw it at a music store & thought 'it's not gonna work - it's waaaay too small'. After unboxing the pack & trying it at home, thought to myself, it's not loud enough. However, it worked fine when I took it to a ukulele group session.

kohanmike
03-16-2017, 05:07 AM
Good for you Ampeep. I have a Chinese 10w with a 4.5" speaker and the Fly 3 out does it hands down.

8 tenor cutaway ukes, 3 acoustic bass ukes, 8 solid body bass ukes, 8 mini electric bass guitars

• Donate to The Ukulele Kids Club, they provide ukuleles to children's hospital music therapy programs. http://www.theukc.org
• Member The CC Strummers: https://www.youtube.com/user/CCStrummers/videos (https://www.youtube.com/user/CCStrummers/videos)

ampeep
03-16-2017, 10:52 AM
I would have thought that 10 watts with a larger speaker would be louder. I envy your Carvin 200 watt rig; must sound impressive! Guess you'd NEED to wear earplugs!

bnolsen
03-16-2017, 11:31 AM
Likely the 4.5" is terribly inefficient. It might be worth replacing with a better 4.5" driver. Sadly this is the only 4.5" i see at parts express: http://www.parts-express.com/replacement-speaker-driver-for-bose-901-4-1-2-1-ohm--290-922

ugh 1 ohm but 91.5db sensitivity..... looks like there's more options at 4"

kohanmike
03-16-2017, 11:38 AM
Not worth it, I'm going to give it to my friend who recently started playing harmonica (I inspired him) and wants a small practice amp.

8 tenor cutaway ukes, 3 acoustic bass ukes, 8 solid body bass ukes, 8 mini electric bass guitars

• Donate to The Ukulele Kids Club, they provide ukuleles to children's hospital music therapy programs. http://www.theukc.org
• Member The CC Strummers: https://www.youtube.com/user/CCStrummers/videos (https://www.youtube.com/user/CCStrummers/videos)

Deaks
05-28-2017, 04:18 PM
Really usefull thread, thanks. I had already decided to get the Fly 3 Bass later this week but now I'm confident it will fit the bill for practice and club sessions and it will save my taking my Laney AH40 and running mains across the room we use.

ampeep
06-29-2017, 05:38 PM
My friend gave me a Peavey Max 126 bass amp & I thought - good, I can use that when I need something bigger than my Blackstar Fly 3 Bass pack but less than my Roland. The Peavey has a 6 1/2" speaker & 10 watt output; was really surprised to find that the Blackstar had more bass/midrange was also louder.

kohanmike
06-29-2017, 08:27 PM
My friend gave me a Peavey Max 126 bass amp & I thought - good, I can use that when I need something bigger than my Blackstar Fly 3 Bass pack but less than my Roland. The Peavey has a 6 1/2" speaker & 10 watt output; was really surprised to find that the Blackstar had more bass/midrange was also louder.

About a month ago I bought the same amp from Sweetwater for in home practice, but it was bad out of the box so I returned it and now only use the Fly3.

ampeep
06-29-2017, 10:42 PM
kohanmike, surprised that you bought the same amp & came to the same conclusion. Thought you would have used your Double Four for home practice.

I liked how the Peavey looked w/ the chickenhead knobs & because it's a lot bigger than the Fly, was expecting good things from it. Peaveys that I've used over the years haven't had the best sound but they were always LOUD.

banditcosmo
06-30-2017, 05:47 AM
There's a new Vox Adio Air BS 50W 2x3 Bluetooth Modeling Bass Combo Amplifier. I think this may a nice amp being that it is 50W it's also battery powered. It's suppose to be available next month. Looks like it will be selling for around 300.00
I like that it's 50 watts. You probably can't play it with a drummer but it should be fairly loud. I've not been able to find any sound samples yet.



Vox Air BS (http://www.guitarcenter.com/Vox/Adio-Air-BS-50W-2x3-Bluetooth-Modeling-Bass-Combo-Amplifier.gc)

kohanmike
06-30-2017, 06:50 AM
kohanmike, surprised that you bought the same amp & came to the same conclusion. Thought you would have used your Double Four for home practice..

I use the PJD4 for rehearsal twice week and keep it in a gig bag, but don't want to break it out all the time for home practice. I use the Fly 3 once every 6 weeks for hospital gigs, so it sits on my desk plugged into the wall, making it much more convenient for practice

The first amp I used with my bass uke is a Crate Limo 50w 10" speaker with dry cell battery. It was fine for rehearsal and small gigs, but when I used it for an outdoor gig, it couldn't handle it. I bought the Double Four at 70w thinking it would do better, but no, so that became my rehearsal and small venue amp since it's so much lighter and sounded that much better than the Crate.

8 tenor cutaway ukes, 3 acoustic bass ukes, 8 solid body bass ukes, 8 mini electric bass guitars

• Donate to The Ukulele Kids Club, they provide ukuleles to children's hospital music therapy programs. http://www.theukc.org
• Member The CC Strummers: https://www.youtube.com/user/CCStrummers/videos (https://www.youtube.com/user/CCStrummers/videos)

ampeep
08-22-2017, 01:45 PM
Last week, my friend let me try another amp, a Fat Boy 15 watt bass amp. It was better than the Peavey, but still not as good as the Blackstar. Am thinking I'd have to go up to a Fender Rumble 40 to get something more than the Blackstar. The thing is the 40 with a 10" spkr is actually bigger than my Roland with a 12" spkr! Decided to order a 4 wheeled luggage cart to bring my current amp if I need to.

ampeep
04-10-2018, 03:26 PM
I currently use my Blackstar Fly3 bass amp for almost about all practices & gigs. Only used my Fender Rumble 40 twice where I connected to the PA via XLR.

After hearing/trying mine, two bass players have bought the same Blackstar. One plays a ubass & the other plays an upright acoustic bass.

Much thanks to those who posted in this thread - I never would have considered it.

kohanmike
04-10-2018, 09:07 PM
Glad to be of service.

8 tenor cutaway ukes, 3 acoustic bass ukes, 8 solid body bass ukes, 8 mini electric bass guitars

• Donate to The Ukulele Kids Club, they provide ukuleles to children's hospital music therapy programs. http://www.theukc.org
• Member The CC Strummers: https://www.youtube.com/user/CCStrummers/videos (https://www.youtube.com/user/CCStrummers/videos)

JohnRC
05-01-2018, 06:13 PM
Many thanks to all of you for talking about this amp combo. I have had my bass for a week and am enjoying it very much. Lot of grinning as I learn and practice.
The amp arrived today and now I am into another level of grinning.

As I read over this thread since last week I kept wondering if all the positives being said about this amp could really be true. Yes, they are!!
I do not have a preamp on my bass and wonder if it will be even better sounding with a bass that has a preamp.
Any thoughts?

I think for world ukulele day I will try my first circle with the bass.

John