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Aguilar AG500 has arrived!!!!!

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Craig Garfinkel, Jul 29, 2004.


  1. Craig Garfinkel

    Craig Garfinkel

    Aug 25, 2000
    Hartford, CT
    Endorsing Artist: Sadowsky Guitars
    :hyper:

    Yeah man. I'm picking mine up today at G Guitars. I'm very, very psyched. It's been a loooong wait. I'll be posting an in-depth review on Saturday after use on a gig tomorrow night.

    New AG500 with my new Sadowsky Metro. Life is gooood. :D
     
  2. :D

    I bet it is man. Thats a awesome setup, I'm glad you're getting what you want (need :D )!
     
  3. Kurisu

    Kurisu

    Nov 19, 2003
    Saskatoon SK
    Let the EA vs AG battle begin. :D

    I'd like to know how loud those 500 watts are. I keep hearing about how class D (that's what the AG is, right?) are underpowered. For ex. can this head be used in a rock band? Or is it designed mostly for jazz folks?
     
  4. ESP Eden

    ESP Eden

    Feb 9, 2004
    washington mo
    +1
     
  5. I'm really looking forward to your review Craig. I love my DB680/DB728, but there are just some times when smaller (and lighter) would be more appropriate. Let us know how it compares to your DB750 and if it has managed to retain that patented Aggie sound.
     
  6. GRoberts

    GRoberts Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2003
    Tucson, AZ USA
    +1 !

    I will be most interested to hear how it compares sonically with the legendary DB680 or the DB359 (also a tone champ). Also curious to hear any comparisons to other comparable amps known for high quality and exceptional tone such as EA iAMP800 etc. Let the games begin!
     
  7. De Teng

    De Teng

    Oct 27, 2003
    Utrecht, Holland
    Al those fantastic amps... I'm sure you guys must be really happy. Really curious about the 750/500 review!!!
     
  8. Craig Garfinkel

    Craig Garfinkel

    Aug 25, 2000
    Hartford, CT
    Endorsing Artist: Sadowsky Guitars
    Well, in a word...this amp is amazing.

    Before I get to the in-depth review, I'd like to make something clear to my fellow TBers. I know it's obvoius to everyone who is familiar with my posts that I am a total Aguilar nut, and have been since I bought my first Aguilar amp (DB359) three or four years ago. I've been a "cheerleader" ever since, and I rarely miss an opportunity to praise. But I want to make it clear that I have no "affiliation" with Aguilar and my cheerleading is completely unsolicited. I'm not an endorsee, nor do I have any other incentive for presenting favorable reviews. I have gotten to know personally several of the fine folks at Aguilar, and they know me as a loyal customer. But heck, every time they turn around there's another warranty card coming in with my name on it so...okay that's the disclaimer, now on to the review...

    The first thing I was pleased with when I picked up the AG500 at G Guitars was the weight. Next to my 50 lb. DB750, the AG's 18 lbs. feels like nothing. Opening up the box I was pleased to see that the two button footswitch for controlling mute and channel switching was included. The 1/4" cable too. I put the amp in a 3 space rack bag along with my Korg rack tuner. Still nice and light. I always liked the silver-finish faces on the Aggie amps, but the black face of the AG500 is very appealing and looks great on stage.

    I didn't have time to check out the amp at home, so it was right to a trial by fire on the gig. I used the AG500 with my two GS112 cabs. There is a power-up diagnostic function, just like on the DB750, but since there are no tubes the diagnostic takes only a couple of seconds. I was taking a bit of a risk by not allowing myself much time before the gig to dial in an acceptable tone, but my fear was completely unfounded. EQ on the amp stayed flat all night long. I set the "clean" channel (channel 1) EQ to completely flat, set the gain at about half way (was still not clipping at all) and started with the master between 1/4 and half way. It was so loud I had to quickly reduce the master to around 1/4. The headroom is absolutely amazing! I find it hard to believe that this amp has "only" 500 watts. It's every bit as loud and punchy as my DB750. I engaged the "deep" switch and got an instant woody. OMG! Oh btw, I was playing my Sadowsky Metro, and had the bass boosted ever so slightly and the treble boosted a tweak more. The tone was just ridiculous. The lows are just crushing, with a very desirable subwoofer-like quality without losing any mids or highs. There is so much tube-like warmth, it's really hard to believe this is an all-solid state amp. Finger-style was clean, smooth and fast, and slap-style had perfect snap with no harshness. There are no holes in the tone at all. Then I checked out Channel 2, the distortion channel. I'm generally not a distortion kind of guy, but dial in just a tad of distortion and you get an awesome old-school SVT-like crunch that even I appreciated. I cranked the distortion all the way just to check it out, and it was very, very cool. Rock and metal guys are gonna love this feature. Even with the distortion up, you lose none of the fundamentals. Bass is thick and punchy and the highs are never annoying. You can also use the 2nd channel's contour and presence controls for a compression kinda thang, but I've yet to explore that. With the footswitch you can use Channel 2 as an instant tone-shift for distortion, an enhanced slap channel or even just a boost for soloing. Very cool.

    To answer your questions oddio, the AG500 has all of the signature Aguilar tone, and then some. I think it stands up very well next to the DB750, and even the 680/728 combo. It's only been one gig, but already I like the AG500 at least as much as my DB750, and considering practicality and functionality, it may even have the edge. I was quite frankly hoping that the AG500 was at the very least better sounding than the GK700rbII I was using for rehearsals and such. It far surpasses my expectations. As much as my past experiences with Aguilar should have prepared me, I wasn't prepared to be this blown away.
     
  9. De Teng

    De Teng

    Oct 27, 2003
    Utrecht, Holland
    Wow man, that really sounds fantastic. I think I know what my next (well... after I buy a great bass) purchase 'on the amplification level' will be. I am so curious testing it out!!! Mainly because I just really love the tone of the DB750 (my local dealer has one, with a 410 cab) which I use for the basses to try out. If this baby really digs the 750 out, then it must be a gorgeous product!
     
  10. Great review. Thanks much, Craig! I guess that I'll be ordering one on Monday.
     
  11. ole Jason

    ole Jason Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    Louisville, KY
    About how much do these run for in stores? I saw the list was around 1500
     
  12. jokerjkny

    jokerjkny

    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PA
    hmm...

    lets be a little realistic, shall we? :smug:

    if anything, i'm sure it'll be like the DB924 outboard preamp, but with waaaaaay more functions, and a nicer tweak to the tone. but like the venerable all tube setups? dunno 'bout that. still, the 924 is nothing to sneeze at, and like my Sadowsky onboard pre, sometimes i wished it came in a head form. (ya listenin' Mr. Sadowsky?!?!? :p)

    but great review, Craig! sheesh, you get all the good stuff. :p

    btw, as for 500 watts vs. say 800 on my iAMP-800, thru my Acme 1x10 pair, the iAMP-500 interestingly enough sounded more inyourface, maybe even louder than my 800. still, the low end on my 800 was WAAY tighter and punchier. just a thought.
     
  13. Your point is well made. Personally I won't be expecting an equal to the DB680/DB728 pair, but if the AG500 retains the overall Aggie sound in a small and light package it will actually fulfill a need. I certainly wish it had a wee bit more power though.
     
  14. jokerjkny

    jokerjkny

    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PA
    and that's all we ask, aint it? :cool:
     
  15. Craig Garfinkel

    Craig Garfinkel

    Aug 25, 2000
    Hartford, CT
    Endorsing Artist: Sadowsky Guitars
    This was my thought when I first heard the amp (at too low volume) at Winter NAMM and even later when I played through it at medium volume for a lesson last week. I was dubious that 500 watts would be capable of the kind of headroom I like to have. One of the things I really dig about my DB750 is the headroom 750 watts allows. I like having "too much" power. Last night on a loud rock and blues gig the AG500 was way too loud at just past 1/4 of the way up on the master. You could have told me this amp was an 800 watt amp and I'd have believed you. With the deep switch (bass boost) engaged incredible amounts of air were being hurled from my GS112s. I could literally feel the bass deep in my bones. There were three bass players at the gig, one of whom I know well and really knows his gear, and all were very impressed.

    ole Jason...Musician's Friend has the AG500 for $1195 (although I think they're still in "backorder" status), so I'm sure most dealers would match that. Chris at G Guitars http://www.gguitars.com (shameless but honest plug) is great to deal with and he's expecting another shortly.
     
  16. Craig Garfinkel

    Craig Garfinkel

    Aug 25, 2000
    Hartford, CT
    Endorsing Artist: Sadowsky Guitars
    And it does exactly that, IMO. :cool:
     
  17. inazone

    inazone

    Apr 20, 2003
    Colorado
    Nice review, thanks! :bassist:
     
  18. basss

    basss

    Aug 27, 2001
    NYC
    I had the same reservations about wattage when I moved from an aggie db659/ stewart world 1.2 to an iAmp 500. So far I have yet to push the iAmp much past half way. Last night I did a trio gig with a hard hitting drummer and it was plenty loud with the master at about 8 o'clock! This was into a single 1X12. I think that a lot of companies overrate their wattage rating but these smaller companies that produce high quality gear give you the actual advertised watts. 500 watts can get plenty loud especially with enough cone area/speaker sensitivity unless your playing huge clubs/outdoors/death metal.
     
  19. ole Jason

    ole Jason Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    Louisville, KY
    Wow that's not bad at all. I can't wait for these to start popping up on the used market, almost anyone will be able to get a taste of the Aggie tone then. :)
     
  20. De Teng

    De Teng

    Oct 27, 2003
    Utrecht, Holland
    500W through a 4.10" is way louder then a 1.12"...quite dependent what speakercombination you have, then really the watts themselves.