As the company philosopy goes, the Fender Rumble Series represents a ‘mighty leap forward in the evolution of portable bass amps.’ Fender is hardly the first to make that claim, and in aiming a lightweight range of heads, speaker cabinets and combos at the working bassist, Fender is in direct competition with the likes of EBS, Markbass and TC Electronic. Here we inspect the Rumble 500, Rumble 100, plus the diminutive Rumble 25. In most respects, including the control panel layout, these combos are all pretty similar in terms of features, with the exception of the more compact Rumble 25, which looks ideal for anyone contemplating a practice amp. The baby of the bunch is fitted with a single 8-inch speaker with a power rating of 25 watts @ 8ohms. Both the Rumble 100 and Rumble 500 are designed with upgraded Eminence drivers, premium HF compression tweeters and a newly developed overdrive circuit. The control knobs comprise four EQ controls, master volume, gain, drive and level overdrive controls and three selectable push-buttons that put Fender’s voicing pallate at your disposal.
So how does the Rumble Series measure up? The first thing that strikes you when plugging in any one of these combos is how full-sounding they are. Even the Rumble 25 has a fairly large presence both in terms of tone and volume. The Rumble 500 covers clean sounds as comfortably as classic rock, and even at high volumes it retains plenty of attack and definition. As long as you’ve got a conventional sounding band behind you, both the 100 and 500 versions will cope admirably. Working through the EQ settings and the three voicing controls delivers a broad range of tones and colours to choose from. Effects send and return sockets can be found on the back panel, along with a line out and aux input. The overdrive circuit is a definite bonus and relatively simple to use, with some convincing sounds to boot. It’s true that these combos can’t do it all, but what you do get here, however, is a very solid build quality and a range of muscular bass tones that will please a wide range of players. The Rumble 100 in particular looks like excellent value for anyone contemplating a first bass amp. Visit www.fender.com
Power: 500 watts @ 4 ohms (with external speaker), 350 watts @ 8 ohms (internal).
Features: master volume, gain, drive & level overdrive controls, 4-band EQ, bright, contour & vintage voicing buttons, line out, FX loop, headphone socket, aux in, ground lift, ext. speaker input & horn on/off.
Speaker: 2 x 10-inch Eminence-designed ceramic magnet.
Dimensions: 584(h) x 485(w) x 355(d) mm.
Weight: 16.5 kg (36.5 lb).
Power: 100 watts @ 8 ohms.
Features: master volume, gain, drive & level overdrive controls, 4-band EQ, bright, contour & vintage voicing buttons, line out, FX loop & aux input.
Speaker: 1 x 12-inch Eminence special design.
Dimensions: 469(h) x 419(w) x 355(d) mm.
Weight: 9,97 kg (22 lb).
Power: 25 watts
Features: master volume, selectable overdrive & contour, 3-band EQ, headphone socket & aux input.
Speaker: 1 x 8-inch Fender special design
Dimensions: 387(h) x 152(w) x 279(d) mm
Weight: 9.5 kg (21 lb)