Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by Nuno A., Dec 11, 2001.

  1. Nuno A.

    Nuno A. Velvet Strings Customer Service

    Jul 9, 2001
    I would like to ask you if you think the acoustic contra can deliver a good bottom sound and suitable to play with a drummer.Currently i'm playing mostly with a jazz,
    blues trio(piano, bass and drums), but once in a while i do some rockabilly,jump blues gigs in which i need to play with more volume but still with an acoustic sound of course....
    Wold it be a good choice for me this little amp that i had heard so much about it???
    I cant find nobody near me who got it so that i could try it and no dealer around me so,all information would be greatly apreciated....i guess if i'll order one it will have to be based on somebody else opinion.
    All the best

  2. Don Higdon

    Don Higdon In Memoriam

    Dec 11, 1999
    Princeton Junction, NJ
    The AI is absolutely sufficient for that trio. As for the blues band, it depends on what the other players are using. My sad experience with a blues band is that each guy cranks up his own sound, and the end result is cacophony.
  3. daveemac


    Dec 6, 2001
    SF, CA
    Just my 2 cents here.

    I went back to hear the contra again the other day and have to say that it doesn't work for me.

    It sounds congested and small to me. Yes, it gets pretty deep, and yes, it has a good amount of volume for how small it is, but for me the amp SOUNDS small. The best way I can put it is to say that notes don't bloom the way they do in other amps, and also I find the usable volume to be lacking, even for a louder trio jazz gig.

    I haven't gigged with the amp, only heard it (on two different occasions, a year apart) and perhaps I would learn to adjust to the sound, but for me it's not really acceptable except at very low volume levels. I have heard the clarus with different cabs, however, and thought that the AI head was great. It's just the box that doesn't work for me. Try to hear it first, or make sure you can return it.

  4. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    I use the Contra to get a good sound onstage and to get a little "bump" on low to medium level gigs. Anything louder, I go into the P.A. If I push the Contra too hard, it just breaks up. It is very bass heavy, which is nice when trying to balance out a trebly pickup. I wouldn't use it when the drummer is slammin'.
  5. Bijoux


    Aug 13, 2001
    My Contra works well with the underwood pick up but I can't get a good sound with the Realistic, anyway I wonder if anybody know what's different on the new improved Contra, when I e-mailed AI the answer was very unclear, and they sent me a "sound lifter", supposedly it "lifts the sound" ( a piece o metal shaped triangular to be placed underneath the amp to lift one side), thanks for your help.
  6. I've found the Contra to be a great little combo, but its effectiveness seems to depend largely upon the venue and the band's volume. For your jazz trio, you should be fine, volume-wise (provided that your drummer can control her/himself). As far as the jump blues band goes, I would say that you might find yourself struggling with volume and less-than-optimal tone.

    I've recently learned a key ingredient to getting a good sound and plenty of volume out of the Contra: turn the bass EQ level down to about 25-30%. To me, this seems to alleviate the bloomy bass seemingly inherent to the Contra's bottom-firing woofer design. Also, reducing the amount of bass seems to free the amp up for more headroom.

    I really like my Contra, but I am VERY interested in the new Clarus 1H (?) head - allegedly 350 watts into 8 ohms and 600 into 4 ohms. Using that head and a clean and even cab (Euphonic Audio CXL112 perhaps?) sounds like a most formidable combination to me.

    I hope this helps! :)
  7. vanderbrook

    vanderbrook Heretic Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2001
    Denver, CO, USA
    I got my Contra about 10 days ago (Thanks, Bob!), and have brought it to a rehearsal with one quartet and a small club gig with another quartet. While I'm sure that bigger/louder situations might overwhelm the li'l guy, I love how it works for me in these smaller situations. I had been using an SWR Workingman's 15. Without exception, every other member of the quartet commented positively on the sound of the Contra (and marvelled at its size). When I first got my K&K Bass Master Pro pickups, I was pleased but not thrilled with the sound through the SWR. "Your bass, only louder" was what I wanted, but I didn't really have it. Now, with the Contra, I do.

    At various points in its life, the Contra has received the following enhancements (not necessarily in this order):

    1. dual-voltage capability (110/220)
    2. more headroom
    3. improved EQ control
    4. better cabinet feet

    Unless you're planning on venturing into big-band stuff, or play with a really (I mean REALLY) loud drummer, I can enthusiastically endorse the Contra. Especially if you really love the sound of your unamplified instrument. And most especially if you're using the K&K pickups.

    Anybody wanna buy a really spiffy, folds-down-to-nothing hand truck I no longer need? :p

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