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Acoustic Image Heads

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by KJung, May 17, 2005.

  1. I had one of the early AI Clarus heads for a while, and found it wonderful for Fretless Acoustic Bass Guitar (Rob Allen MB2), but not very good for fretted electric (tubby low end and not enough 'zing' and punch). I like a punchy sound with plenty of high end and play active basses with bright round wound strings.

    Has anyone tried both the Clarus and the new Focus. From a previous thread, I understand that the Focus is totally digital (digital amp and switching power supply). Is the Focus more 'modern sounding and more appropriate for fretted electric bass than the Clarus?
  2. Wilbyman


    Sep 10, 2003
    Parkersburg, WV
  3. Reefer

    Reefer Guest

    Mar 9, 2003
    More yes, but still lacking for fretted electric.
  4. Wilbyman


    Sep 10, 2003
    Parkersburg, WV
    I think it depends alot on your speakers and bass. The Focus is flat. What goes in comes out. I think of it as a total non event, tonally, in my signal chain. You can EQ in *some* zing, burp, or booty, depending on the situation...but it won't significantly alter your tone IMO. That's what I like about it. I think of it kind of like a hi-fi mic pre.

    Everytime I think that the Focus might not be as good for electric as "dedicated electric" heads, I try one. Last time I borrowed a WT400 and compared. The WT400 had a more flexible EQ, but it just gave me a bunch of sounds that weren't as good sounding as the Focus. The Focus is much quicker and punchier. However, the Focus won't allow you to EQ a dark cab bright or vice versa. I use Bergie and Epifani cabs and like the way they're voiced, so I'm happy. I also like the sound of my basses.

    However, I'll aver that if you didn't like the Clarus, you won't like the Focus...they're not that different. However, the Focus is brighter, more muscular and punchier than the Clarus. Still, they're not VERY different.

    Hope that helps more than my flippant yes. Sorry.
  5. Sounds like the Focus and Clarus are similar beasts. It's interesting that people think the Clarus is flat. It seems to color the sound much more than my Walter Woods. I'm beginning to think that 'flat' is a myth. What is 'flat'... is it a straight line if you plot the frequency distribution from 20hz to 20K? Every amp to my ear has a distinct sound. It's funny how different manufacturers 'flat' amps sound very different!!!!
  6. Wilbyman


    Sep 10, 2003
    Parkersburg, WV
    I'd agree with that...I'm not really sure what flat is either. I just think of the AI as flat because its pretty similar to my direct-to-board sound. I've heard the Woods imparts a certain high-mid zing and color to one's sound, but I haven't heard one for a while. (only used an MI-100 a few times back in the day). Maybe my ears have just gotten so used to the AI heads that I think of them as my baseline "flat", while another pair of ears has another baseline. But, you're right...the Focus and Clarus are really similar.
  7. Cool! Your comments actually got me thinking about the whole 'flat' thing, so I started another thread. I look forward to the discussion. I guess it all comes down to what sound you hear in your head, and what gear best reproduces that sound :)
  8. Wilbyman


    Sep 10, 2003
    Parkersburg, WV
    Agreed! I'm not a facist when it comes to this stuff. If someone tells me X amp or Y bass sounds bad (to them) and gives a reason, I think its totally valid and gives me insight into what I'm hearing. I'm sure the "flat" thing has been discussed before, but I'll check out the other thread fo shizzel. I would love to compare the AI to a Woods, but I'm happy with it to the extent that it seems like a silly $2000 experiment.
  9. Larry Kaye

    Larry Kaye Retailer: Schroeder Cabinets

    Mar 23, 2000
    Cleveland, OH
    not having owned a Clarus you must take this comment accordingly:

    I'm addicted to a 31 band eq in my bass signal chain and no matter what head I use, I can't get the sound I want without it, plain and simple. Now others have gotten my bass to sound "nice" through their setups but I haven't!!!

    That being said, I have a Focus 1 with no reverb and a Schroeder 1210 with Mike Lull basses, a M5v J bass active, a PJ5 passive and a PJ4 passive. I agree entirely with the comment earlier that there's not "enough" adjustability tonewise on the Focus alone to significantly undarken a dark bass or cab, or really thicken up a thin sounding bass.

    My Lull basses are not in these categories. The J has a lot of on board everything so I can run the focus fairly flat with the eq. With the PJ's, there's a little more bottom needed from the head and the Focus has "enough" bass boost to make that happen. Also, there's enough "headroom" on the preamp to make up for the pickups being fairly low output.

    The combination of the Focus, Schroeder, and Lull basses for me is absolutely killer. big lows, punchy, clean, nice but not overbearing highs....but as one other person said, I think it's the combination of this all and one's personal perception of what's "flat" what's not, what sounds "good" what's mushy, what's "punchy" and all those descriptors that are totally different to our individual taste.

    I think the Focus is a really great amp....but if there's any way you can try it out with your other rig components, I'd have to recommend that first.


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