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Aguilar DB680 GAS: Useful EQ range?

Discussion in 'Amps [BG]' started by jwasbury, Jul 10, 2012.

  1. jwasbury

    jwasbury

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    First off, while I am a relative newb in this place, I have been plucking bass strings for about 25 years. I must admit that until I discoved these forums, I never thought much about the "science" of the gear. After hours of reading, I feel as if I am just discovering how to really use the semi-parametric EQ section on my SWR Grand Prix (after owning it for 15 years or so). So it had been enlightening to me to now be thinking about frequencies as opposed to blindly turning knobs.

    So, I find myself suffering a bit of GAS for an Aguilar DB680. When I look at the specs, I see that the frequency ranges for the EQ are 40hz for the Bass knob (shelving type). There is also a "deep" switch that adds boost at 30hz. When I look at the frequency response of most speaker cabs (including my Berg AE210s), they seem to sit around 40hz on average. So is having a bass control at 40hz or a deep switch at 30hz really all that useful?

    The lower of the two fully parametric controls starts at a low of 180hz - and goes up to 1.2k and the higher range is 1.3k to 7.5k.

    Curious of other people's thoughts about the usefulness of the EQ ranges of this preamp. I know its well reviewed...suppose I am probably just trying to talk myself out of it. Probably what I should do is spend some more time tweaking the knobs of my SWR to get a better sense of what I really like before I spend any $.
  2. JGR

    JGR The "G" is for Gustav Supporting Member

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    The 680 is one of the best preamps I've owned. I generally struggle with Aguilar's EQ on their other units but the 680 has plenty of options and a great natural voicing, making it very versatile IMO. It's clearer and less wooly than say the 659 or 750.

    I like the parametric mids - I boost a bit around 180Hz and 1.5kHz, and found they work best with the Q control at around noon. I don't like the bass and treble controls on most of the Aguilar stuff for some reason, and the 680 isn't really any different. Upside is I really like the deep and bright switches and use them quite a bit. Even though the deep is listed as 30Hz, it sounds great and doesn't get woofy if you have the right bass and cabs - the bass control on the other hand clouds things up a bit IME. Specs on EQ controls can be a bit misleading for various reasons, so it all comes down to how they are implemented in the circuit.

    So with the 680, I like to play with the deep, bright, and mid controls, leaving bass and treble flat. Gain has a great range too. Killer preamp.
  3. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

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    +1 I guess I would just agree with the above and say that the DB680 is very 'not Aguilar' sounding. I actually love the warmth and punch of the 659 (assuming that is the single rack space pre... the names mix me up sometimes!), which to me is what the DB750 'should have been'. The DB680 is very 'tube clean', and VERY unforgiving... very transparent and full range. This can be a good thing or a bad thing.

    +1 on the shelving points, etc. It all interacts with the hi passing, shelving slopes etc. I wouldn't worry about the actual center point of the boost or starting point of the shelving slope.

    Wonderful unit if you want it very clean and VERY articulate and unforgiving. If you want to vibe more of an 'all tube bass amp' thing, the DB659 is more of that vibe.

    IMO and IME.
  4. JGR

    JGR The "G" is for Gustav Supporting Member

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    Yup, both the 659 and 680 are great units and worth checking out if you can find them. I had a 659 for a while and had no problem getting nice tones from it, but I always wanted a bit more flexibility in the EQ, and a bit more clarity. I couldn't quite get there rolling tubes.

    I never paid much attention to the 680 because I am more of a "rock" guy, but I was blown away when I heard a fellow TB'ers and picked up two of them shortly thereafter. I can see the 680 being able to cover a lot more ground, and I can get some great rock tones (including nice grit) out of mine, but this also has to do with my basses, cabs, and technique (or lack thereof :)). It can do some beautifully huge, deep, clean (but warm) tones as well. Good stuff in there. I'm down to one but I'm hanging on to it - I use it as a gold reference against my own pre.
  5. pedulla1

    pedulla1 Supporting Member

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    I have one as a backup and the fully parametric eq is extremely responsive and very flexible. Totally changes the character of the amp depending on settings. If you run across one you should pick it up. It's weird in the sense that it sounds clean yet phat at the same time. It's also very quick in response. Makes my bass sound highly eq'ed with a wide response.
  6. DrumsAndBass

    DrumsAndBass

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    I gig with my DB 680 and it always sounds great on stage. It actually blends very well with the band. I use a very clean tone. I very recently re-tubed it - all 5 tubes! (bit of a hassle yet overall positive learning experience for me) and now it sounds better. About useful EQ range: I've noticed that it's just enough to access great tones although for myself I largely just set the eq knobs only once when possible. Extreme knob positions don't make extreme differences in tone change. As if Aguilar designed it to not allow the user to over eq the tone. The overall tone is fat, chewy and warm. It's a strong tone and can be commanding with dynamic playing. But it's a pleasing tone. I come from a SS bass amp state of mind. I've been inching towards tube preamp designs in recent years but have been on the fence about the little glass bottles. I dove head-long into tube bass preamps with my DB 680 (5 tubes!). Yes, the EQ range is useful. I do have to work with it because I only use passive basses.

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