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Acoustic Image

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Fourstringsonly, Jan 24, 2013.

  1. Fourstringsonly


    Jan 24, 2013
    Another amp I thought was great cause it`s small and light,,was the Acoustic Image heads. I understand they give you what you put in,it doesn`t color the sound much. If I start playing again, I am not carrying a 50lb Peavey Firebass head like I did when I was younger. I see Aguilar has a small one,Eden also.. what are your thoughts on the Acoustic Images?
  2. Jazzdogg

    Jazzdogg Less barking, more wagging!

    Jul 29, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    Love my Focus 2R SIII. I use it with electric and double basses, along with an FDeck HPF/Pre SIII and a Fishman two-channel parametric EQ. Sounds great!
  3. JxBass

    JxBass Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2008
    I use an Acoustic Image Clarus with my electric basses. I like it more than the Genz Benz Streamliner 900, Shuttle 9.0, and Markbass LMII, all of which I liked a lot and sold in favor of the Clarus.
  4. I gigged a number of AI heads through the years as 'tonal alternatives' to the Walter Woods amp I primarily used during that period.

    I would not really get too caught up in the 'don't color your sound' thing. Every amp does, and the AI amps sound much darker and warmer than the Walter Woods Electracoustic, which is also described by many as being 'uncolored'. Relatively useless concept when describing amps IMO. I would agree that the AI is relatively neutral, without a lot of baked in EQ peaks and valleys, etc.

    The positives of AI heads.... very good feature set for DB players, with notch filter/hi pass, hi impedance inputs, dual channel XLR combo jack inputs, and very subtle EQ that is designed to slightly modify the tone of the AI for room acoustics versus the more powerful 'revoicing' EQ of many other amps. They are loud, can work at 2ohms, and are reliable. Service is quite amazing.... they pretty much fix anything that goes wrong pretty much forever, even for a second owner.

    The negatives..... for EB, that limited EQ and more 'DB feature set' puts them at a disadvantage to some of the other micro's IMO. The 'on-board' effects stuff is pretty useless for most.

    Very nice heads though (I think they are down to one 600 watt model for bass now), and they kind of 'sound like they do'... fat low end, warm mids, and a very relaxed, clean top end.

    IMO and IME. VERY nice for piezo loaded EB's like the Rob Allen basses.
  5. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    I had an older Clarus and wasn't happy with the tone I got when I popped the upper strings. I only use my amps for electric bass. I was surprised how much I liked the Focus 1R I got a few years later. The basses I use don't need "help" from an amp as far as coloration so it was a great match. I replaced it with a Clarus 4 Series 2 and it works great for me. I use mine to drive a Glasstone Lil G cab, sometimes using a Pope Mitre Box preamp, more often not.

    The EQ is limited as far as EB goes but inserting an EQ into the effects loop is an easy way to add that functionality. I have a 10 band MXR pedal, tried it once and realized I really didn't need it.

    Great amps, great service... and if you have good cabs and basses you already like they can be a great match. IMO they sound accurate (not sterile), what you put in is what comes out.
  6. JxBass

    JxBass Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2008
    I agree with Ken's and Brad's comments about the AI amps. I find my Clarus to be "warm" in its tone (it replaced a Streamliner 900 which I found too warm and wooly for me). And while I agree that the EQ is more limited than many other amps, I got enough EQ control out of it to satisfy my needs - and I'm someone who uses EQ and do not set it flat. I also use it strictly for EB with traditional mag pickups, no piezo. So as always, it's a YMMV situation.

    For what it's worth, I owned both the Clarus and EA Micro, another amp in the "clear" category, at the same time. They sounded very similar to me, with the AI having a slight edge in warmth.
  7. pbass888

    pbass888 Supporting Member

    Jul 8, 2009
    New York, NY
    Great info.Im an electric guy here in the city. I still use my lm II and 12 cab and even the minimark for small jazz gigs.
    I did find the sound of the AI lovely for some of my db friends. Id love to hear someone play a gig in electric here in NYC.

    Any one here on tb in the city gigging an electric with one?.
    thanks all for the informative post.

  8. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Here's my Clarus 4 Series 2 on a gig last night. With a Michael Pope Design Mitre Box preamp, Glasstone Lil G neo 2-12 and two of my Brubaker sixes. Sounded amazing.

  9. groovecraver

    groovecraver Supporting Member

    Jan 15, 2008
    Thanks Brad for the education on the Lil' G 2x12 ! I am now a proud owner. The Rev. Is the best. View attachment 315155
  10. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Congrats. Same color as mine.
  11. Will Kelly

    Will Kelly

    Mar 3, 2010
    I use an older Clarus 2 that was my main gigging amp for seven or eight years. I played a lot of electric bass through it.

    I kinda retired the amp, really for no reason, in favor of an Aguilar TH500 about a year ago.

    Last night, I was messing around and pulled the old AI out of its case for the first time in a long time and hooked it up. I immediately remembered why I liked it so much. It sounds killer with electric bass IMO, more natural than the Aggie, but still warm.

    No, it doesnt really have the tonal flexibility of the TH, but if you like the sound of whats already going in, the AI is pretty hard to beat.

    Their customer service, as pointed out, is the gold standard by which any company should be graded on.
  12. john m

    john m Supporting Member

    Jan 15, 2006
    I used a Focus 2R for many years. Mostly EUB and some amplified Acoustic (old Kay) gigs. It was great with an
    Eden 112. However, when I brought my BG to gigs when doubling, I didn't really like the sound, although it did the job.

    Overall, I like a modern tone when I play BG.
    My go to rig is a Markbass 121 combo (sometimes with a 121 extension speaker). I like the the one piece combo for quick in and out as well as the tone.

    For rock gigs--- I'm a GK guy (Fender tube pre for oldies and old country.

    IMO, the AI doesn't add color.
  13. Roscoe East

    Roscoe East

    Aug 22, 2011

    I'd certainly second that characterization...I've been using an AI head for 8 or 9 years now, not just with my Rob Allen but with all my basses, for jazz, rock, country, GB, and experimental gigs. I'll agree that teh EQ is fairly gentle, so if you need radical tone shaping look elsewhere...but perhaps ironically, I find that I need less EQ with the AI than I do with nearly every other head I've ever owned or borrowed. With original David-series Eden speaker cabinets I leave all the tone controls on the AI at their center detent position (!) no boost or cut anywhere. With my basses that head sounds perfect just the way it is.
  14. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    A friend stopped by to borrow a couple of my Euphonic Audio VL110 cabs. I'd been using one in my home office with a Markbass LMII. I picked up a Low Down Sound airhead 1x8 3-way cab last year for a song but hadn't really used it. Brought it into the office, the LMII slides in from the back and it works fine. Then I tried my Clarus 4 S2 and realized that this cab was probably made to hold this amp... perfect fit. Sounds great too. Nice job, Don.


    with flash
  15. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    I currently use a Focus 2R Series III and prior to that a Focus 2 in conjunction with a Epifani UL112 which delivers the goods for both BG and DB. This combination also works really well when I'm using the Roland VB-99. I've owned the Mark Bass head and also have the GB Shuttle 6, which I don't use because the AI Focus covers all the bases for me. I'm currently using a Mark Bass NY 604 cab with the Focus for DB on a swing project that I'm doing and it's working out nicely. For me the Focus is a great all around portable amp and has the added bonus of reverb, chorus, flanger and delay built in.
  16. LeonD

    LeonD Supporting Member

    Has anyone tried AI's Ten2 speaker enclosure with an electric bass? That's their 2x10 enclosure with one 10 pointing out and one pointing down.

    Can it be used for more than just smaller gigs?
  17. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    Believe it or not I have actually used my AI Focus for metal! (into a peavey 4x10" monstrosity). I could have used a little more power/headroom, but it got the job done. Fantastic sound! Very warm and present in the all-important low mids.
  18. StephenR


    May 21, 2009
    SF Bay Area
    I have a series III CodaR that I bought primarily to use with my Turner Renaissance five-string. As already noted the AI stuff works really well for basses with piezo pickups. The amp is loud for its size, incredibly portable and is one of the only small amps that I have ever used where I actually have to turn down the bass control a bit. Usually with a small amp I struggle to get anything resembling low end out of them. I would love to check out the newer Ten2 AI combo with the two ten inch drivers and heftier power amp. Nice thing about those also is that you can remove just the amp section and use it free-standing.

    I have gigged my AI amp using electric basses and run into an Eden 4x10XLT. I also have a 2x10 XST cab that works really nicely with the CodaR when I need a small footprint amp. I prefer the sound and flexibility of either my Eden Navigator or SWR pre for electric bass but for a lot of situations the convenience and small package of the Coda R really fits the bill and sounds fine.

    Pretty much agree with the rest of the comments posted and want to give one more shout out for the excellent customer service and warranty that AI provides.