A Skeptic's Review: Ashdown ABM EVO II 500

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by pablomigraine, Dec 19, 2005.

  1. pablomigraine

    pablomigraine Commercial User

    Feb 9, 2005
    New York
    Director of Commercial Sales - Neural DSP
    Thanks guys. I try to be thorough. Anybody wants to send me some gear I'll be happy to try it out for a few years and let everyone know what I think..hahahahah

    Happy Holidays All!!!
  2. Keeaumoku


    Dec 29, 2004
    ...and a Merry Christmas to you, too! :hyper:
  3. robb.

    robb. Gold Supporting Member

    i'm glad you've found a tone you love in your new ashdown, and i'm glad you're getting adequate power from it. that's what it's about. in a head, the preamp section is designed to fully drive the power amp section. this is not necessarily the case with separates.

    i had to modify my own warwick quadruplet preamp to double the output voltage in order to fully drive my crest Pro 7200. many popular amps are designed to require an increase in the input signal voltage (i.e. a decrease in sensitivity) as the output power increases. that way, no matter what amplifer in the series (Pro 5200, Pro 7200, Pro 8200, or Pro 9200) you're using, the same voltage input gives the same voltage output, and only by increasing the input voltage do you get full power out.

    another factor is that many amps have a gain switch that may not be set to its maximum gain (or minimum sensitivity voltage). that will go a long way toward getting all of the watts possible out of your amp.

    of course, for the LT series, the sensitivity is .775V for all amps (and would be for yours, anyway, since it's the lowest power level in the series). also, unlike many crest amps, the LT series does not have a gain switch (since the sensitivity is fixed across the series).

    if you have a crest amp, unless you're lighting up the ACL LEDs on the front panel, you're not getting full power out of your amp. those last few dB are most of the power and loudness.

    for most heads, the preamp is designed to work very well with the power amp, and there aren't any issues with getting all the power out of it. they're usually very harmonious.

  4. fenderx55


    Jan 15, 2005
    So wait for next year?
  5. emjazz

    emjazz Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    Brooklyn, NY
    Probably not unless you need a good deal of overdrive from the amp.
  6. THB_bassman


    Oct 11, 2005
    Great review, and I have to agree. Glad to see others are digging this amp.
    After using my ABM 500 EVO-II a short while, it's replaced the Mesa bass400+ as my number one. (but I still have the Mesa...)

    This amp just rocks, I use a Mesa 1x15 for small gigs and a Genz Benz 4x10 (4 ohm) for the bigger.

    I cannot IMAGINE the volume you play at....my master has never been above 10 o'clock!

    Next to the excellent EQ, my favorite feature is probably the blend knob for the tube. You can get a nice grind on top without losing the solid bottom.
  7. GRoberts


    Jan 7, 2003
    Tucson, AZ USA
    I agree the blend knob dials in some very nice tubey goodness. It was never designed to be a 'distortion' effect contrary to the name of the control: "Grind". It doesn't really grind, but adds some vintage growl in my experience. I love that it is subtle. But oh so effective.

    My Master volume is almost never above 12 o'clock striaght up. But usually at 10 or 11 o clock. I dial the input gain knob usually around 12 to 1 o'clock so the VU Meter does not redline, but see's a strong input signal. That works very well for me.

  8. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    I used that same rig as a rented backline last year. Wow! I mean WOW what a smooth, deep sounding rig. I'm not cashing in my GK & Bag End setup anytime soon, but I was way impressed with the Ashdown/Bergie combination.

    If I were a rocker and not a blues, R&B guy I'd be all over the 400 and an NV 610.
  9. lo-freq

    lo-freq aka UFO

    Jan 19, 2003
    DFW, Texas
    Does the RPM preamp and the Evo 500 II have the same tone controls, etc.?
  10. emjazz

    emjazz Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    Brooklyn, NY
    It does if you get the RPMII.
  11. lo-freq

    lo-freq aka UFO

    Jan 19, 2003
    DFW, Texas
  12. jdawg42042


    Jan 22, 2008
    Morehead, Ky
    Sorry to resurrect an old thread, but how would you compare an Eden WT550 to the Ashdown ABM 500 Evo III?

    I'm looking for a back up amp.

    My Eden is in the shop and I really can't A/B the two in front of me :(

  13. jwindham


    Sep 17, 2006
    In my experience, the Ashdown has a warm sound, but I found difficultly in eq-ing a strong midrange presence that cuts thru the mix. I also felt the evo III was just a tad underpowered compared to other lighter-weight amps (including a pf-500). The new evo IV model supposedly addresses those issues, but I havent tried one myself. I also tried the more powerful class d abm 1000. It certainly had more headroom and push, but I still experience a similar unease dialing in a cutting, natural sounding midrange presence. That said, the circuit has been tweaked a bit over the years, and many regard the original abm evos to be industry workhorse amps. I'd love to try one of the the new evo IVs at some point! Ashdown has been around a long time, and they have built/continue to build some compelling bass amplification.
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2015
    SandCBass and jdawg42042 like this.
  14. jdawg42042


    Jan 22, 2008
    Morehead, Ky
    But what about compared to Eden?
  15. jwindham


    Sep 17, 2006
    Hm, the Edens Ive tried were pretty nice amps. Plenty of power, with the ability to sculpt a very cutting, punchy midrange. The Ashdown has a lot of tweaking capabilities, but I felt that the low-mid fundamentals were a bit hollow in comparison to the Eden tone (even with the shape engaged). I actually find GK amps to be a lil closer in tonality to Eden. Cutting, sharp, but plenty of punch in the mid-mids/low mids if desired. I once compared an mb 500 fusion to an Ampeg svt heritage thru a heritage 810e. I was quite surprised how similar I could get those amps to sound. Through the sealed 810, the Ampeg cl had a bit more depth, botttom. But, thru a ported genz benz 212, the mb500 was actually a bit more clear, punchy, and loud. Now, the gk tone is not everyone's taste, but works for many players and worth checking out. Those amps are not playing around when it comes to output!

    Note: my experience is fairly limited to in-store testing with Eden amps!
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2015
    jdawg42042 likes this.
  16. SandCBass


    Dec 4, 2011
    Big Lake, MN
    I've owned both an Ashdown ABM 500 EVO III (1 year so far) and the Eden WT800 (owned for 3 years). I have been using both with a P Bass with SD SPB-2 (Hot) Pickups, and another P Bass with EMG split P actives, and I can say that the Eden has a more focused mid punch as @jwindham had stated. The Ashdown is a bit darker in tone, in that the upper end (2K and up) is more rounded, and not as clear. Also, that the Eden had a more solid and refined low end, not as "wooly" as the Ashdown.
    When you turn up the input gain on the Ashdown, you get a bit more saturation out of it, and can drive the amp into a slight overdrive for that old school sound, but dial it back just a little bit, and carry it with master, and it will have a nice mid punch that is not too assertive. The EQ on this amp is very very versatile, but can get excessive when not monitored correctly. The extra drive knob that can be engaged is my favorite part of the amp. Usable from a small amount, as in less than 11 o'clock we'll say, which provides a nice "thickener" added to the sound, to a somewhat gnarly OD that is much like what you'll hear from other 12AX7 based pre's when cranked. Combine that with the EQ and its pretty fun.
    The Eden though, with the input gain knob, doesn't change much of anything other than how much signal can hit the bypassable compressor (which isn't worth its weight in gold...). However, the EQ points on the Eden are in just the right spots to get a variety of tones, from a Reggae/dub level super bass boom, to a good upper mid punch that isn't too honky, and whatever else you'll most likely need. The "Enhance" knob is Eden's own mid scoop knob, they say you can use it to "simulate what your amp on full swing would sound like but at a reasonable volume" but I found if played at any level above bedroom volumes, be very careful with this as it will cause your amp to clip from too much bass freq. I was huge into Asian Kung Fu Generation when I owned this amp, and was younger with the mentality of "If X owns this amp, I have to as well." Well, it served me well throughout its life with me, and was my first "professional" level gear purchase, but over time, the "Eden tone" wore on me, as I wanted something I could push to a dirty sound.

    If I were to compare the compressors on each, I would pick the Ashdown 9 times out of 10, as the Eden's compressor is far from something that is enjoyable (IMHO/YMMV). The Ashdown can be engaged and set to a low level (9 or 10 o'clock) and give your sound a slight punch much like a tube amp will give you, and can be cranked to give full compression and leveling of your sound. The Eden's compressor wasn't very audible, unless you cranked the input level, and then you had a huge squish effect going on, which I didn't enjoy very much.

    I ran the Eden with an Eden D410XLT, and ran the Ashdown with this cab for a little bit, and then switched to the Ashdown ABM410T.

    I love both amps dearly, but if it came down to it, I would probably take the Ashdown with a Berg NV215 for my ideal rig.

    TL:DR Ashdown is slightly more versatile in EQ, and provides tube "warmth" a little more than the Eden, which is what my "flavor of the year" is right now.
    dcbassist5, jdawg42042 and jwindham like this.
  17. jdawg42042


    Jan 22, 2008
    Morehead, Ky
    Thanks man!!!!
    SandCBass likes this.
  18. bottomzone

    bottomzone Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 21, 2005
    I have an RM-C112T-500 EVO combo amp and am very impressed! For such a compact amp, it has a huge soundstage and is easily the best combo amp that I've ever owned!
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