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Acoustic Image Focus

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by Chris Fitzgerald, Jun 1, 2004.

  1. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I'm just curious to discover folks' reactions to these when they finally make it from the trade show booths to the hot little hands of working bassists. I played an extremely loud show the other night with my regular old school Clarus pushing two 1x12" cabs, and it produced absolutely wonderful tone, but pushing it that hard made me worry a bit about overloading. This new amp has twice the power at the same size...how do they do it?

    Please post reviews when you get yours!
  2. JohnThomasson


    Feb 3, 2003
    Nashville, TN
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Supro, Mesa Boogie, DR Strings, Source Audio, Pigtronix, & Fishman
    I can't wait to hear one. I have been using my jazz amp (AI Clarus II/ Bergantino 1-12) for rock gigs lately and it blows my mind how it fills the stage. Guys in other bands are always impressed that I am getting that much sound out of such a small amp while they are hauling in big arrays of 10s (4,6 or even 8-10s) plus a big head. I run a sans amp for my electric before the AI because it can sound kind of sterile for some styles, but considering everything else and how well it sound with my string bass, it amazing. I want a Focus! :hyper:
  3. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    Wouldn't it be lovely if I could send my Clarus in and for a nominal fee, they just put the new power internals in leaving with a Focus. The think has the same footprint as a Clarus and looks like it has all the same controls.
  4. NeedMoreBass

    NeedMoreBass unregistered

    Feb 14, 2003
    Actually the Focus is more than twice the power. The Clarus pushes 200 watts @ 4 ohms where the Focus is 600 watts @ 4 ohms. I can't wait to get my hands on one of these and how it compares to my WW.
  5. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur GollihurMusic.com

    Mar 22, 2000
    New Joisey Shore
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music
    I have floated the question to AI and will report back. However, I have to note that it would have to be more than a nominal fee, given that a new Clarus 1 is $579 and a Focus 1 is $1179. That's a $600 difference before you get to labor and shipping costs.

    Methinks liquidating your Clarus might be the least expensive road to go, but I don't have any official word on that.

    BTW, last week, when I last spoke to AI, they told me they should be shipping me Focus heads in mid-June.
  6. pjhandlin

    pjhandlin Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2002
    Grand Rapids, MI
    I emailed the crew at AI this very question about one month ago with the very same thinking. I know of a few people who have upgraded their integrated amp heads (eden is one manufacturer that I remember off the top of my head that will do this) to higer output poweramp sections.

    Unfortunately, the reply from AI was that the internal workings of the Focus are substantially different from the Clarus, and that a power upgrade was not possible. I'm paraphrasing, and I don't remember the specifics. Looks like I deleted the email reply, so maybe Bob will come back with more details soon.
  7. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    I'm anxiously awaiting some feedback myself. The idea of getting rid of my SM400S and my Contra, and just using the Focus with a cab of choice for both upright and electric is a dream situation.
  8. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur GollihurMusic.com

    Mar 22, 2000
    New Joisey Shore
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music
    AI confirms that they won't be doing power section upgrades. There are "configuration issues" and he notes that the cost would make it economically wiser to buy a Focus and sell the Clarus used.
  9. NeedMoreBass

    NeedMoreBass unregistered

    Feb 14, 2003
    The Focus is shipping to the dealers on 6/28! :bassist:
  10. valentine


    Jun 22, 2004
    Who's tried the acoustic image focus?
  11. hensonbass

    hensonbass Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2004
    Atlanta, GA
    I've tried out the Focus on a couple of gigs. What a piece of art! The band thought I had a hard drive on top of my EA 112L cab. Every aspect of that amp is just killer, and combined with the EA cab both my upright and electric where as clear as the day is long. The Focus has a very warm - tubey sound to it. I guess I won't be needing my Kern preamp anymore. I recorded with the Focus through the DI and it was perfect. I think this amp is going to be a big hit for those that can afford it. And to those that can't - start looking for a lot of used gear popping up in the classifeds 'cause the Focus is taking over.

    :hyper: Goodbye to big rigs for me
  12. awwwwwwwwwwwwww - I've been so good about avoiding gear purchases for so long and you have to go and say something like this...
  13. LowNote

    LowNote Supporting Member

    Jan 31, 2002
    Edinburgh, Scotland

    Have you or anyone else who has had some time with the new Focus also used a Woods Ultra and/or a Clarus? How would you compare the sound of the Focus to these two amps?

    I currently own a WW Ultra that I use primarily for BG and doubling gigs with an HT112 and an Acme B1, and a generation 1 AI Clarus that I use with the Acme B1 for upright gigs. With the release of the Focus, and my guitar player's desire to buy a used Clarus like I have, I've begun to think about making some changes.

    I spent a couple of hours with both BG and AUB this afternoon A-B'ing the WW and Clarus for both instruments. I finally came to the conclusion that I like the sound of the Woods better for both instruments, particularly the BG. At higher volumes, the Clarus sounds a wee bit "congested" like it is working too hard to push the Acme B1, and it doesn't sound as natural as the Woods with my string bass. I don't know if this is because of the differences in the amps themselves, or is it simply the difference in power. I'm also really splitting hairs here, since I've been using the Clarus/B-1 combination for over a year and get raves on the sound from it from other musicians and listerners.

    Maybe I could reduce my investment a bit by selling the Clarus to my guitarist, selling the Ultra to whomever, and going to the Focus as my sole amp? Could you provide any input on this?

    Erik Hansen
    Los Angeles

    P.S.: The Bergantino cabinet, etiher alone or with the Acme B-1, is a wonderful cabinet for bass guitar and acceptable for louder string bass gigs. However, I love the sound of the B-1 alone for string bass--very warm and deep. You just need a lot of power to drive it cleanly. Of course all of the above is only one man's humble opinionl and the readers may have very different views.
  14. NeedMoreBass

    NeedMoreBass unregistered

    Feb 14, 2003
    I own both the Focus and a WW Ultra. While I really like the Focus and is a much better amp than the Clarus, it doesn't touch the WW. I like having both but if I had to choose one it would be the WW.
  15. B String

    B String Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    Whats the difference in sound between the focus
    and the woods? I would imagine the woods has more
    headroom, but how about tone, and tone shaping?
  16. hensonbass

    hensonbass Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2004
    Atlanta, GA
    I have never played through a Walter Woods. The only other AI product I have used is a contra combo (for upright great, for electric kinda whimpy)

    The Focus provides everything I need for every kind of gig I do. I'm really surprised how warm this amp sounds and I never run out of volume either.

    I dunno, maybe the Walter Woods is a better amp - i know it costs a lot more so maybe it should be a better amp.

    I'm still experimenting with this amp for the electric sounds. I bought a Boss Me-50 B effect unit to run through the effect loop and I've been having a blast with it. I'm taking my upright sound to new heights. I think this might also help with adding a little grit to my electric sound as well.

    The AI preamp has a very clean sound so I would be inclined to want to color it a bit for the electric but for the upright I would leave it alone.