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Acoustic Image Contra and Coda Series questions

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by Farin, Jan 18, 2006.

  1. Farin


    Oct 19, 2004
    Akron, Ohio
    I have a couple questions about the AI Contras and Codas.
    First, I am looking at buying a used AI Contra (Series II) with an extension cab. The deal isn't to bad, and its temping.
    However, I was also looking at either a new series III Contra or Coda. Whats the big diffrent between the AI Series III and II, and also, does the entension cab really give you that much power?
    I noticed that the Coda also has two channels and effects, what would be the benifit of this?
    Finally, if I did decide to buy an new AI, where should I order it? I know Upright Bass Bob's got an ok deal on them with free shipping.
    I'm just trying to get this whole thing straight, I need a smaller amp for my upright, and quick.
  2. bolo


    May 29, 2005
    Apex, NC
    Farin, I'll take a stab at this part of your question.

    IME, adding the extension cab does not really "double" the volume, output, whatever. It just gives you more of that unique Contra sound, slightly fuller, and somewhat more 3-dimensional.

    To elaborate, I bought a Series I Contra in 1999. Although I liked the sound at the time, I found that on some gigs it just wasn't loud enough for me or my bandmates. So I bought the extension cab thinking it would solve my problems. But it didn't really.

    It's hard to explain, but I think it has to do with the downfiring woofer and the diffused nature of the Contra's sound. Using the extension cab gave the sound more spread, filled it out some, and gave it more depth. But to me I didn't sound twice as loud if you will.

    As a comparison, even though it has a single 12" driver and a Whizzer cone, my EA Wizzy combo sounds "louder" to me and to everyone I play with. One piano player who always used to complain that he couldn't hear me with the Contra + extension cab says he can always hear me now just fine w/ the Wizzy. In fact, he says I am too loud sometimes.

    This example is kinda apples & oranges, but my point is that the extension cab does not double your oomph, IME that is.

    Admittedly other folks may have obtained different results w/ the extension cab.
  3. bolo


    May 29, 2005
    Apex, NC
    I think the two channels are primarily designed for those who want to blend a pickup and a mic.

    I think the effects are geared more towards folks who use the Contra w/ bass guitar vs. upright.

    I think I need to find a new way to start each sentence.
  4. mje


    Aug 1, 2002
    Southeast Michigan
    Adding a second cab changes the impedance the amp sees from 4 ohms to 2ohms, which raises the power from 200 watts to 300 watts. That's only a 1.76dB increase, which translates to approximately a 1dB increase in perceived volume- a just noticible difference. It does improve the efficiency a little, and probably lets you get a little more volume before clipping.

    The Wizzy is a much more efficient speaker than the stock AI cab. From AI's web site: "Our combos use a lower efficiency, smaller diameter speaker (10 inches) which results in a lower output level at a given input level. So, our combos aren’t as loud as the typical bass or guitar combo." The Wizzy, by way of contrast, is an extremely efficient cab, producing an advertised 103dB/watt @1m. That's higher than just about any musical instrument speaker you'll see other than a horn.
  5. bolo


    May 29, 2005
    Apex, NC
    Thanks mje, right you is I reckon.

    In addition to the extra 100 watts, Farin would also have twice the speaker surface area of course w/ the Contra extension cab, which I'm sure would increase the overall perceived volume by some factor. But just like the watts and the dBs, the increase would probably not be a simple factor of 2x.

    I guess I interpreted Farin's question about "more power" to mean "Will the EX cab help me go significantly louder?"

    I think I wanted to let him know that IME, it won't. Not significantly, that is.

    I could be wrong, YMMV, etc.
  6. joda76


    Jul 24, 2005
    Erie, PA
    Has anyone found a stand / tripod system to elevate the old AI Series I Contra? My ears need to be closer to the to that 5" driver.
  7. bolo


    May 29, 2005
    Apex, NC
    I know what you mean about the importance of that 5" driver.

    The solution that AI came up with for the Series I Contra were small metal triangles that lift up the front of the cab, similar to the retractable pin in the Series II and Series III models that followed.

    But even w/ these magic triangles, the cab still basically sits on the floor, just tilted up at an angle a little.

    On another note, I am expecting delivery of a QuikLok amp stand any day now. Some TBers have suggested using milk crates, but that just won't cut it for some of the venues that I am fortunate enough to frequent. Not really my style anyway. And there are times when just I hate scouring for a chair to put my amp on.

    I bought the amp stand thinking of my EA primarily, but I will see if it can securely hold the Contra too. If it does, I'll post it here in a couple of days.
  8. joda76


    Jul 24, 2005
    Erie, PA
    Thanks bolo. I'm appreciating the Contra more and more, especially with any good extension, like the AI EX, B-1 or LDS. By itself though, those magic triangles just can't get enough of the highs up to my ears. I'd like to have it off the ground and it's a tricky fit for any amp stand I've seen so far ...due to the AI's cylindrcal shape. Spoke with Rick at AI and he suggested that I try the Forum.
  9. ctcruiser


    Jan 16, 2005
    West Haven, CT
    Thanks to the tips from talkbass.com, I sent an e-mail to Acoustic Image inquiring about where I could purchase a triangle for my older Contra model.

    Rick replied and said that all I had to do was send my address and he would send me one for free. It arrived this weekend!

    It suits my limited needs so far. I am not playing out just yet.

    Thanks again for the tip.
  10. bolo


    May 29, 2005
    Apex, NC
    There is at least one amp stand that will work w/ the Contra. It’s the QuikLok BS-619.

    [ Note: I used a Series I Contra. If the footprint of the Series II and/or Series III models are smaller, the results described below would probably vary. ]

    I was able to position the cab approx. 28” off the ground with one setup. That's measured from the floor to the bottom of the cab. It seemed stable enough, as long as nobody accidentally collides with it.

    I also adjusted it another way and got the cab up to 33”. With this set up the feet aren’t spread quite as far apart, and it becomes a little less stable. But again, I wouldn’t call it flimsy. It’s just top heavy (obviously) if you will.

    Worth noting to some perhaps, I could not find a way to orient the Contra safely in a tilt-back position.

    Although I haven’t plugged in with this configuration yet, I think what may eventually be most interesting is that this is not like putting your Contra on a chair. On a chair, the downfiring woofer is firing into a surface that’s still inches away, just like it would on the floor. But with this amp stand, the sound from the 10” driver is gonna travel over two feet before it hits a surface. I'm expecting to hear some kind of a difference, but maybe not. I dunno.

    I don't use the Contra on gigs much anymore, but I am anxious to try this arrangement out.
  11. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    MARCO: you could always use one of those folding PA stands that weigh about 2 lbs. and simply hang the contra from the handle while playing. That way, you could set it as high or low as you wanted...even over your head if you chose. Let us know how your experiments turn out.