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Aguilar AG500 of ThunderFunk Help!!!

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by dmrogers, Jan 27, 2005.


  1. dmrogers

    dmrogers Supporting Member

    Jan 26, 2005
    Eastman, GA
    This is a very informative forum and the post on the "ThunderFunk TF420 vs the AG500" is the post that I was looking for. I have been interested in the Aguilar DB750 for some time now, and was planning on buying one during 2005. I have always loved the "tube sound" hence my decision to get the DB750, besides I wanted to try out a really high-end head before I pass on.
    Currently, I am playing an Ampeg SVT 3 Pro through an Aguilar GS112 and I really like the sound. I recently started playing with a three piece group at a cafe. We do really old songs with a bluegrass/folk type flavor. Lots of tunes by Tony Rice, Jerry Garcia, traditional bluegrass, singer/songwriter type stuff etc.... We play relatively low volume due to the atmosphere and acoustics. However I still play other types of music and set in with different types of groups.
    My last group was a three piece blues/jam (Gov't Mule, Allmans, SRV, Derek Trucks) band. I played the SVT through a 4x12.

    Now my question:
    The AG500 really peaked my interest. Imagine a light Aguilar head to go with my GS112 with tube tone. Could it be? Then I found this forum, and started reading about the AG500 and ThunderFunk. After years of playing through Ampeg and really old Fender Bassman heads could I make the transition to the AG500 or ThunderFunk. I do like the SVT sound and can get what I want through either of the three cabs that I have. But I gotta have one of these solid state heads! In fact, my interest in the DB750 has passed, I love the idea of a lightweight head with no tubes to worry about. The question is:

    Which one?

    I plan on purchasing another GS112 to go with the one I currently have.

    So, if you will, please offer some input as to which head you think (I understand these will be personal opinions) based on the fact that I really like my SVT 3 and will be playing through 2 GS112 cabs, and a couple of Fender American Standard Jazz basses and a Precision w/Diaddiaro roundwounds. I try to go a clean (piano type) sound with a warm (Double bass) type feel, if that makes any sense.

    This info may help, I aquired a Peavey Firebass (I know it is low-end, I couldn't beat the price) years ago as a backup head. The only way I can get a satisfying sound out of it is to go through an ART Tube EQ.

    So, fire away and Thanks!!!!! :hyper:
     
  2. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    hi, welcome to talkbass!

    There's a very informative thread on that very subject, including a side by side comparison I did:
    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=139903

    At the end of the day, there's no right/wrong choice, both great amps. And your tastes are probably different from mine so what works for me might not work for you. Just read as much as you can, try in advance if possible, and make an educated decision. Thunderfunk give you a 7 day tryout at home, and retailers like bass central give you a shorter tryout period, so you're only out the shipping if you don't like it.
     
  3. dmrogers

    dmrogers Supporting Member

    Jan 26, 2005
    Eastman, GA
    Thanks for the reply!

    Yes, I took the time to read the post you referred to. It was very informative as was your comparison. I guess my biggest fear is going tubeless! I am also wondering if I can get a sound as good as or better (subjective) than what I am currently experiencing.
    My guess is that I certainly can based on what I have read about these two fine heads. I think it is mostly a fear of going solid state since most of my experience with solid state heads/amps were with earlier models that were not what you would call high-end.

    Thanks and keep 'em coming.
     
  4. MrBonex

    MrBonex

    Jan 2, 2004
    New Hampshire
    I'm afraid that I won't be much help, but here's my experience.

    I used to have the solid state pre/amp setup. I've tried many "quality" solid state setups. Setups which are highly regarded here on TalkBass. And I just can't make 'em sing.

    I plug into a tube amp and it's bingo! I don't have to do anything and it sounds "right." I can't explain it other than I've just given up and I lug tube amps (I'm 52 years old).

    I want to say that I have no inherent bias against solid state. But I get what I need to hear from valves.

    I rember gigging at the Rodeo Bar in NYC (a number of years back) and I had my "RIG." I was so effin' proud. Solid state -- state of the art. Then the next act's bass player was up using an old blackface bassman and a small single 15 bin. His tone KILLED. I was so embarassed. I never went back to solid state (although I still use the preamp for practicing with headphones).

    I wish you good luck!
     
  5. Pickebass

    Pickebass Supporting Member

    Jul 12, 2004
    San Antonio, TX
    I'm an aguilar addict, but I don't know if you would be crazy about the AG500 and the GS112s. I recently took this out to a gig and felt the speakers didn't handle the power from the head well. In contrast, I have put more power to the speakers and haven't had a problem.

    I don't think it was the head, just the combination I guess. It could be how the power is delivered to the cabs... I don't know. I own the 112s and LOVE them... just an observation...
     
  6. Craig Garfinkel

    Craig Garfinkel

    Aug 25, 2000
    Hartford, CT
    Endorsing Artist: Sadowsky Guitars
    :meh: Really Pickle? I'm an Aggie Addict too, and I use the AG500 and 2 GS112s. IME the AG500 delivers plenty of power. I also own a DB750, and although there's certainly a tone difference, I've yet to feel the AG500 doesn't cut it.

    dmrogers, I have no experience with the Thunderfunk, so can't help you there. But I can tell you the AG500 will be amp enough for you. Paired with two 112s it'll be loud enough for all but the very loudest of gigs (like maybe Ozzfest). The DB750 is an awesome amp, but unless somebody schleps your gear for you I'd go for the AG.
     
  7. eots

    eots

    Dec 18, 2004
    Morris, IL.
    I'll try not to be biased, since that's what I bought, however, to me it's a closer comparison to an AG500 (500watts,class D amp) than it's db750 brother. It uses a gain/master vol. setup with the same effect as a tube amp and you can set it to start breaking up depending on how hard you dig in, or go full bore distortion if that's your thing. What I really like about this amp is that it's got 5 changeable presets that can go from solid state to tube to modern to fuzzy or slap style with one press of a button. I can use my ART X-11 midi pedal to shift between presets as well and it doesn't even need programmed . It's output is 500 watts @ 2 ohms so I got 2 EA wizzy cab's to make it's potential available but the GS112's should still sound great with it. I was considering those but went with the 30lb. wizzy. I had the head in a 4 space rack which kind of defeats getting a 10 lb. head plus that made it wider than the wizzys so I removed it. Now my 500 watt rig is only 70 lbs. I can't say it sounds better than an Aguilar cause I haven't played thru one but it sounds way better than my old GK800RB.
     
  8. Pickebass

    Pickebass Supporting Member

    Jul 12, 2004
    San Antonio, TX
    No saying it doesn't cut it. I tried the same amp with a 2 berg 112s and didn't have the problem. I don't think it was the head. I agree the head defintely has enough power, but for some reason the combination didn't work for me.

    There is definitely a difference between the ag tube heads and the ag500, but as you mentioned the weight difference is huge also.
     
  9. dmrogers

    dmrogers Supporting Member

    Jan 26, 2005
    Eastman, GA
    How would you explain the difference between the DB750 and the AG500 (comparing both channels of the AG)? Does the AG500 have the warmth?

    I'm sure the AG500 would be more than enough power for me, especially for my current gig.

    Picklebass, how would you categorize the difference (soundwise) between the DB570 and the AG500?

    Keep in mind, I currently use a SVT 3 Pro and have more than enough power. Tone, and flexability that's the question. I am also interested in the channel two sound. Does it have more of a tube sound or not?

    Thanks guys!
     
  10. Craig Garfinkel

    Craig Garfinkel

    Aug 25, 2000
    Hartford, CT
    Endorsing Artist: Sadowsky Guitars
    Ooops...didn't meant to erroneously call you "Pickle", Pickebass. :oops:
     
  11. rayzak

    rayzak

    Jan 13, 2001
    Louisville, KY
    Hey Pickebass,
    I'm in no way disputing what your ears heard but, it would seem odd that Aguilar would pair the AG500 head to the GS112 and 212 cabinets for their first combo amp if it didn't sound pretty darn good. Could it have been the room/bar you played the gig in perhaps?
    Anyway, i'm running mine through the Aggie 212 and will certainly post a review when I get to play with it a bit.
     
  12. Well, I have also noticed that the combo AG500 with one GS112 doesnt handle the power very well. (250watts @ 8 ohms))
    I don't push the set too hard (about 12 o'clock), but I notice some kind of distortion. The preamp is surely not clipping.
    I don't know if its the amp or the speaker.

    odd enough, I don't notice that with 2 GS112's...

    Does anyone play the AG500 with 1 x S210?
    How does this setup work?
     
  13. Craig Garfinkel

    Craig Garfinkel

    Aug 25, 2000
    Hartford, CT
    Endorsing Artist: Sadowsky Guitars
    Remember, using a single GS112 isn't the most effecient way of getting the most out of the AG500 because you're only getting half the power with an 8 ohm load. You get the full 500 watts using two 8 ohm cabs or a single 4 ohm cab.

    For those who feel they're not getting enough from the AG with the GS112s, how are you utilizing the Deep and Bright switches? Engaged or not? What kind of bass are you using, passive or active?

    Using both my Sadowsky 5 and my Smith MD7 I always have both Deep and Bright switches engaged (+6db boost), my EQ settings are fairly flat.

    With my AG500 and two GS112s I get all the fat, warm and punchy tone I need and headroom with a capital "H".

    I guess YMMV, but it really shouldn't.
     
  14. dmrogers

    dmrogers Supporting Member

    Jan 26, 2005
    Eastman, GA

    Honestly, I haven't considered any other head. I have looked at some of the specs of other heads, but pretty much ruled out anything other than a hybrid head (one with more than just one 12AX7 in the pre-amp section). That is until my interest in the AG500. In the past, my rule of thumb was to keep it as simple as possible, I have never used effects with bass, and never went the hi-fi route. However, the thought of a versatile, light, dependable, solid state amp really interested me.
    It will probably come down to me traveling to a dealer and actually trying out at least the AG500 and the DB750. I'm not sure if any dealers around me even carry the ThunderFunk. If I can find one, I would like to try it as well.

    Thanks
     
  15. I'm not talking about not getting enough out of one GS112...
    enabling the deep switch make things even worse.

    my basses are active by the way; a skyline 55-02 and skyline JO5 with j-retro deluxe.

    I take with rehearsals sometimes one GS112. those 250 watts @ 8 ohm are sufficient.
    The gain is not clipping (about 11 o'clock), and eq is flat.
    I can hear my bass loud enough with enough body, but with the master just after 12 o'clock it starts doing weird stuff.
    some kind of distorted sound (on the clean channel!).

    Any ideas what I'm doing wrong?
    are the S210 's better for handling 250 watss @8ohms with the AG500?
     
  16. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    FWIW, the definition of a "hybrid" head is one that has at least one tube in the preamp section and a solid state poweramp section. how many tubes get used and where they get used is worth considering, but there isn't a mgical # of tubes that makes an amp a "hybrid".

    it always pays to listen with your ears rather than specs. besides thunderfunk, the avalon U5, neve preamps, and the various neve knockoffs (to name a couple) sound fantastic and have no valves.
     
  17. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    exactly. To me the thunderfunk and aguilar sound warmer than a few tube preamps I've tried - most noticably un-tube sounding of those was the swr grand prix
     
  18. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    as far as tone difference between the 750 and the 500........to me the ag 500 sounds a lot like an eden. the 750 sounds a bit more "open". however, i suspect that a part of the tonal difference may be in the power amp section of the 750. i really dig that amp a lot.

    as far as what mrbonex said about tubes, i'm guessing that the difference in sound that he likes is tube Poweramp sections more than preamp sections. it can be very hard to tell tube and ss preamps apart, not so with tube poweramps and ss poweramps. even then there are no clear winners (IMO) some like the flavor a tube power section adds, some prefer the tighter more transparent sound of a ss poweramp.
     
  19. dmrogers

    dmrogers Supporting Member

    Jan 26, 2005
    Eastman, GA
    You are correct, what I meant was, the amps that I was considering had more than one tube in the pre-amp section.

    I agree 100% with your statement, to actually listen to the amp instead of comparing specs, however:

    1. I have enjoyed the discussion on the "new" (to me anyway) solid state amps, and, apparently, how far advanced they are as compared to just a few years ago. In fact the only solid state bass heads that I have any experience with is a Peavey Session Bass (200W) and a Firebass. So that means that I really don't have much SS experience :bawl:

    2. Every post I read exposed more info about the products in question.

    3. I live in the middle of nowhere, it is difficult to find a dealer closer than three hours away. At least one that would carry the products we are discussing. In fact I would think it would be hard to even find a dealer in Georgia that would carry ThunderFunk.

    4. It is apparent that many of the members have had much more experience with a variety of heads that I have never played through.

    In fact, if I had not have stumbled on this forum, I wouldn't even be aware of the ThunderFunk brand! (That pretty much proves that I live in Hooterville :help: !!!

    So keep the replies coming, at least until I am able to actually find a dealer and try some of this fine equipment out.

    One thing I would really like to see, if someone has both the AG500 and the SVT 3 Pro and how they differ.

    Thanks :D
     
  20. Craig Garfinkel

    Craig Garfinkel

    Aug 25, 2000
    Hartford, CT
    Endorsing Artist: Sadowsky Guitars
    I've never owned an SVT3 Pro, but I've played through one on several occasions. I did not dig the SVT3 at all. I didn't know until I just checked the specs on the Ampeg site that the SVT3 is a hybrid amp. I would have thought it was all solid state, because I found the amp to be anything but warm and tubey. It was thin and honky, and certainly didn't seem to me to be a 450 watt amp. Very wimpy IMO. Granted, I never had the time to mess with EQ, etc., but I don't think you should have to mess with an amp much to get a decent sound.

    One of the strongest plusses for the AG500 is that it's very simple to use and has tone for days right outta the box, even with the EQ set flat.

    You could buy an AG500 from Musician's Friend, and they have a 45 day return policy. I don't think you even pay for return shipping. I'll wager you won't send it back. :D

    You'd probably have to direct order the Thunderfunk. Here's their return policy:

    Customers buying factory direct have 7 days to evaluate their purchase and return it for a full refund of the purchase price (not including shipping and a $50 bench charge to check the amp on return). Return shipping and insurance costs are the purchaser's responsibility. Amplifiers must be returned in the original packaging. The amplifier must be returned in new condition. If an amplifier is returned damaged, a minimum 10% additional of the purchase price will be charged, depending on the extent of the damage. Refunds will be by company check. An additional 3% will be deducted if payment was made by PayPal or credit card.