MarkBass was started by Marco De Virgiliis in 1996. Marco had ample experience in the amplifier industry as he had worked for Parsek, where he was responsible for sales, marketing, and support. In the late 1990s, he met with Sterling Ball. The collaboration led to the creation of Music Man’s audiophile series. Initially, Marco began by installing speakers made of neodymium in the housings of the loudspeaker.
The duo then further collaborated with B&C, which was a company based in Italy. This was the same company upon which MarkBass relied on for its cabinets. Then, finally, in 2001, Marco introduced the brand “MarkBass” with the help of Paresk. Today, MarkBass is known for its speaker cabs and lightweight bass amps featuring yellow accents. Since the brand has been making the rounds for quite a few years, let us discover how it has helped with the progress of the amplifier industry.
The founder Marco De Virgiliis did not belong to the music industry. He was just an engineer who had sufficient experience in building amps. While he worked on amplification designs, Marco was working in the field of telecommunication and studied electronic engineering. Therefore, it was only right that he knew what he wanted to build and create. On one occasion, Marco was participating in a jam session with his friends where a bassist happened to notice the amp’s sound built by Marco. The same friend asked if he could purchase it from Marco and then from there onwards, several friends came up with the same requests. At the time, Marco had not given it any name.
As already mentioned, Marco had come up with a brand prior to MarkBass known as Parsek. He had put in several years, refining the designs until he met and collaborated with Ernie Ball. As a result, Marco came up with a 500-watt amplifier along with 210 and 212 cabs called Audiophile. Although the amps received positive reviews from the bass community but the brand was destined to live a short life. Ernie Ball sold the remaining bass amps at throwaway prices.
It was Marco who had introduced neodymium speakers in bass enclosures. This became a popular invention as every manufacturer wanted the same speakers for their amps as well. There were certain bugs at first but with time, they were sorted out. Almost two decades later, MarkBass is recognized for its Little Mark Series of amps. The brand has also introduced a line of pedal effects and guitar amp series apart from the regular amplifiers.
Sound of MarkBass
Amplifiers across the globe are known for their sounds. MarkBass amplifiers produce a unique sound due to focus on clarity and loyalty to the source of the sound. What this means is that MarkBass prefers to keep the source sound original and does not tweak it in any way to make it sound good. Perhaps, that is the biggest advantage of the brand, to begin with.
If you are using MarkBass with any type of guitar, you could be hundred percent positive that the sound produced by the amplifier will be as original as produced by the guitar. While other amplifiers are described by using terms such as clear, aggressive, honest, and warm, MarkBass users credit it with allowing them to hear themselves authentically and originally.
The Unique Color Choice of MarkBass
If you were to observe, bassists across the globe prefer colors such as silver, black, and grey. In some cases, it was also brown but the combination mainly consisted of dark colors mentioned earlier. With MarkBass on the forefront, it wanted to provide prominence and visibility to the bassists on stage. Since the company was making equipment used primarily by bassists, it wanted them to be visible on stage and not hide under the shadows.
The yellow color on MarkBass amplifiers was received well by bassists and it indeed captured its purpose. Even though it still plays a crucial role in the identity of the brand, MarkBass is not that concerned. It decides to be more focused on developing equipment that displays quality at consume friendly prices.
The team at MarkBass is fortunate to be passionate enough when it comes to creating quality amplifiers. It is built on enthusiasm, passion, and teamwork. Overall, this has been the strongest point of the company. For them, the area where they build products is not a factory, rather home. From assembly testing to packaging, each individual is trained to perform just the right job. They are well-aware of the vision and mission and do not allow compromises of any type whatsoever. While the day ends, the employees could be observed letting themselves loose but still talking about amplifiers. It is something hard to forget when you are involved in the same process during the day.
Furthermore, the immense passion displayed by the MarkBass team has also led to amazing innovations. For instance, they have been able to come up with VPF and VLE filters to set just the right tone. This is literally “magic” in your hands. You could set the tones from vintage to hi-fi sound without teasing the EQ section. Furthermore, the introduction of F series amps has made their way into the spotlight as well. Smaller in size and possessing the ability to produce a crisp and clear sound, the F series has gained popularity in a short amount of time.
MarkBass Speaker Cabinets
Speaker cabinets tend to play an important role when it comes to producing sound and MarkBass has been really careful about that throughout the years. The range of speaker configurations and sonic character, provide the bassists an open opportunity to satisfy their needs and tastes. The focus as mentioned before is to give the bassists original sound. This allows them to feel themselves and produce just the right sound at gigs. While many other cabinets will only sound good in a music room or a studio, MarkBass speaker cabinets will make you shine wherever there is a loud gig.
What’s Next for MarkBass?
While other amplifier manufacturing brands have outsourced their production to save costs, MarkBass keeps it at the same place. It is proud to say that it creates its products in Italy and will continue to do so as that is the only way to ensure quality. In addition to that, MarkBass controls every step of the process, therefore, from designing to production, everything is under constant check.
If MarkBass was to outsource its products to countries like Asia, it would seriously risk its customer base. Inflexible and long-term production schedules cannot be afforded by the company. Therefore, even if the production costs are high, it allows the company to give shape to its innovations quickly.
Concluding, it could be said that MarkBass by focusing on both quality and innovation, has been able to survive the competition. Renowned bassists have and still use MarkBass amplifiers for their loud gigs. Since the amplifiers are designed to produce original sounds, it is no surprise that it has settled well with the bassist community. Considering the continuous progress in the amplifier industry, it is evident that MarkBass does not want to lose the race, ever.