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Acoustic Image report part II: Clarus

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by Chris Fitzgerald, Apr 12, 2001.

  1. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Last week I got a Clarus amp on a trial basis from (All Hail) Bob Gollihur. He told me that there was no way to prepare for just how small and powerful this amp was, and he wasn't kidding! I used it on a couple of gigs last week, and a couple of sessions this week, and I have to say (to paraphrase a famous quote) that I regret that I have but two thumbs to raise in praise of this little box.

    The tone is VERY clear, and it packs a huge punch. I've been trying it out with various speaker combinations, and it does well with all of them. I was first interested in the Contra, but the idea of the downward-firing speaker scared me off because of the idea that it would sound extremely different depending on the surface it was sitting on. Those worries may have been unfounded, but even so, I can't imagine being happier with my choice. I used it last week with a custom 1x10" cab (on Thursday) which weighs in at 14 lbs, and then next night I tried a 1x8" cab, which weighs a mere 11lbs. The Clarus drove both admirably, and allowed me to cut through a very excellent guitarist's blistering lines (if you guys have not yet heard of Craig Wagner, I bet you will before all is said and done) with power to spare. Depending on the EQ, it can produce a tone bright enough to get you in trouble and make everybody rush (by amplifying the attack transients too clearly...I experienced this on the first set before I had time to tweak my EQ), or it can get a tone rich and dark enough to satisfy those "vampires" like myself who like a more "nocturnal", natural sound.

    With my old setup - SWR Baby Blue + folding amp stand +cart - I was lugging around about 65-70lbs of amplification in pursuit of "the sound". With the Clarus , the 1x8", and a lightweight telescoping stand that folds up (to get the speaker away from the boominess of the floor and closer to my ears), my total amplification weight is now (drum roll, please)....a mere 19 lbs! And the sound is as good as or better than before. I no longer need the cart, since the Clarus comes with a carrying case w/shoulder strap. Even the case is so small that when I first showed up at the gig last Thursday, the club owner thought it was a camera.

    Many thumbs up, and All Hail Bob G for choosing such good products to promote.
  2. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur GollihurMusic.com

    Mar 22, 2000
    Cape of New Jersey
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music (retired)
    Thanks, Chris, it was good to chat with you about your rig -- the Clarus and those little cabs must make a great and portable rig - the classic "where's the bass amp?!?!" gig rig.

    Glad to say that Acoustic Image is all caught up and shipping again, plus I am keeping an extra Contra and Clarus on hand for special needs... as well as my own! I also just completed the page with all their new stuff and details about them:

    Acoustic Image Contra and Clarus - http://www.gollihur.com/kkbass/accimg.html
    which also includes some photos I took:


    Also, just got one of the new padded cases (made by Levy's) for the Contra amp- very nice.
  3. I have a contra, it kicks butt. The only problem I've had with the downward firing woofer was in a room with thick padded carpetting. On the other hand, I use it every week in a terrible rehearsal space with foam rubber under some cheap area rugs thrown on the floor and have no problem at all.
  4. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY

    When I was considering the Contra, I always wondered if, in such a room as you describe, you could bring your own small reflective surface to get the sound hopping right from the git-go. Has anybody ever tried something like that?
  5. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur GollihurMusic.com

    Mar 22, 2000
    Cape of New Jersey
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music (retired)
    I've had mine in a number of different environments, and none have been a problem; I don't carry anything around. I can't imagine problems except in extreme conditions if you were talking about VERY deep pile carpeting that could actually smother the bottom of the speaker cabinet; in that case I'd probably run out to my car and stick one of the rear mats under it.

    Most stages/commercial areas that are carpeted have the industrial, low pile or commercial stuff. With high frequencies, carpet could hurt the reflectivity, but the Contra is putting those forward, and only the lowest into the floor; carpet is not going to be a problem AFAIK.
  6. JAS


    Jul 3, 2001
    I have been using this roland digital bass amp that is smaller than most other things that i have had, but still heavy. I am very interested in this amp, but i am not sure what the differences are between the different models. Is there one that is just one piece with the amp and speaker in one thing? Does this work for fender bass also? How is that sound? how loud does this thing get? can you play with a drummer?
  7. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY

    The Contra is AI's version of a combo amp, consisting of a Clarus built into a speaker cab featuring a downward-firing 10" speaker and a 5" midrange speaker. Some like it, some prefer the versatility of the Clarus head matched with various cabinets for different types of gigs. I use mine for both DB and Plank, and it works fine. It's great for jazz gigs with a drummer, and I even used mine on a gig with a 10 piece rock band last year (Running 2.67 Ohms) and it did great. If you plan on doing any gigs with Megadeth, I'd get something bigger.

    Here are two threads from the Newbie Links about the Acoustic Image stuff if you haven't seen them already:

    Acoustic Image (General)

    AI: Cabs and Clarus
  8. abaguer


    Nov 27, 2001
    Milford, NJ
    I use the Clarus with either a Razers Edge Twin 8T or an Acme B1 with my EUB and Realist fitted Kay. Both sound terrific.
    I even used the Clarus with both speakers (running a 2ohm load) and my Precision for a singer/songwriter gig and it sounded really good with electric. It's too bad the plans for a 600 watt model were shelved.

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