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Aguilar AG500 thoughts..

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Dude Chapman, Apr 13, 2004.


  1. Dude Chapman

    Dude Chapman

    Apr 11, 2004
    Anyone here heard/tried the new AG500?? After reading about it it looks like a great head. What does everything think?
     
  2. AJ Love

    AJ Love

    Oct 8, 2002
    Madison WI USA
    is it out yet? not sure, gotta call Bass Northwest about something else anyways, so I'll ask about the AG500...it looks like a great amp. street price at $1100 or so brings it a LOT of competition from similarily powered amps that cost a little less
     
  3. AJ Love

    AJ Love

    Oct 8, 2002
    Madison WI USA
    Bass Northwest said they don't know when the street date is for them, but they aren't out yet. Could be May, could be June, could be later

    they did say that at NAMM they heard it and its a very good amp... do a search on here, there were a few people who played through it and commented on it on a NAMM thread here
     
  4. Yeah, the street date is still uncertain. Talking to the boys at Aguilar, it's supposed to have that classic Aguilar sound in a lighter weight box. At my age, weight is definitely a factor. I'm no longer into hauling around a ton of gear. And it's just not necessary with today's new amps and cabs. Of course, there are many players who have to have that SVT with an 8x10, but I'm diggin' my rack that weighs less than 40 pounds, and my EA NL-210, which weighs 44 lbs.

    Anyway, I'm anxiously awaiting the AG500's. If they indeed capture the Aguilar sound without tubes (and the weight that goes with them), they will probably become Aguilar's top-selling amp.

    Just my $.02.

    Randy
     
  5. GRoberts

    GRoberts Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2003
    Tucson, AZ USA
    At a street price of $1100, the Aguilar AG500 is competing with EA iAMP800, Ashdown ABM500 EVO II and Thunderfunk. Any other notable contenders I'm forgetting?

    The iAMP power rating is higher than all of them at 800W @4 ohms. That is the right rating, yes? The Thunderfunk I believe is 400W @4 ohms and the Ashdown ABM500 EVO II is 575W @ 4 ohms.

    All are in the same $1100 street price ballpark as far as I can tell. Anyone do any comparisons between the EA iamp800, Thunderfunk and Ashdown ABM 500 EVO II yet?
     
  6. Yes, the iAmp 800 is 800W @ 4 ohms. The AG500 is 500W @ 4 ohms. The EA is going to be hard to beat at about the same price.

    Randy
     
  7. Around those wattages, I would say the GK 1001 RB-II is a mighty contender at around $750 street. That new Fender 800 Pro is probably in there too, but I have not heard too much about them yet.

    There was a comparison done between the GK, Fender, and Aguilar DB 750 a while back. Actually, I think it was more of a multiple review. I forget which magazine I saw it in, but I remember all three were rated very well.
     
  8. AJ Love

    AJ Love

    Oct 8, 2002
    Madison WI USA
    street price on the Thunderfunk is closer to $850. The Eden WT 550 is around $900. thats stiff competition at lower prices. the new Fender Bassman Pro 400 head has a street price of only $575 and sounds plenty impressive

    tough competition indeed. that said I am intrigued by the AG500, but its gonna have to be plenty impressive to be better than that Ashdown ABM500 which has a tube preamp and the very very cool Thunderfunk
     
  9. Thunderfunk

    Thunderfunk

    Mar 27, 2004
    McHenry, IL
    I haven't heard the EA stuff, but I'd point out that it's digital. I have no problem with digital amps, just two concerns.

    1. Where do you get it serviced?

    Surface mounted components are very small. If you drop one on a rug, you'll never find it. And it takes special soldering techniques to replace them. I have to imagine that these units are repaired by replacing the entire amp and returning the defective unit to the factory. Not a problem as long as replacements are available. Although they're fundamentally simple units, I'm not sure how many techs are up to servicing them. I don't have any statistics on this, but digital amps could well be more reliable than analog amps.

    2. Tone of a digital amp

    A digital amp is a switcher usually operating at 50KHz or higher (outside auduble range). It's low weight comes from the higher efficiency of transformers operating at higher frequencies. This keeps the magnetics small, light, and inexpensive. The pulses coming out of the switcher are then filtered by a capacitor to smooth the digital pulses, and create the analog output wave. I've never tested one, but I suspect that they don't have the sag that an analog amp has. The switcher should compensate for heavy output current demands. This would imply less compression. This may or may not be a factor in the sound you're looking for. I'd be interested in any comments on this subject by those who've compared the two types.

    I'm not going to be building digital amps as they require FCC certification since they operate in radio frequency range. Most manufacturers buy pre-made digital amp modules (outsourced/imported) for this reason. It's the same reason companies use wall-warts. The UL certification is on the wall-wart, not on the unit it powers. A digital amp only needs to be certified once, and can then be sold to multiple manufacturers.

    I don't mean this post to be critical of any other brand of amp. I don't feel that I compete with either of these two companies. I suggest you buy the amp you like best. I just think you should keep apples and oranges in mind, and you should realize why one amp costs more but puts out less power. There's many factors involved. Many manufacturers use a steel chassis because it's less expensive. I use aluminum because it's lighter and has better thermal performance. A Fender Bassman 400 puts out 350 watts, weighs 42 pounds, and is cheaper than mine. Circuitwise it's very similar, but mine puts out 400-watts, and weighs 15 pounds, but costs more. Ultimately it comes down to what you're looking for.

    Dave Funk
     
  10. GRoberts

    GRoberts Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2003
    Tucson, AZ USA
    Thanks for the clarity Dave. you make extremely valid points. Just because prices or power ratings are relatively close doesn't mean you are comparing apples to apples.

    I can't wait to check out a Thunderfunk amp in person sometime. I'll PM you and give you the name of what I consider to be the most reputable Music store in AZ. Maybe you can get a unit in there. Wishful thinking!
     
  11. jokerjkny

    jokerjkny

    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PA
    hey dave,

    i too am gas'in' to try one of your amps.

    FYI, the iAMP doesnt use a wall wart, and is one of the better sounding amps of its class.

    still, a great time to be a bassist with all these cool new options hitting the stores for a workin' B-man who's tired of carrying heavy butt amps.
     
  12. Thunderfunk

    Thunderfunk

    Mar 27, 2004
    McHenry, IL
    I didn't mean to imply the iAmp used a wall-wart, just an example of how if you design a piece of equipment and then need to spend $5k or more to UL/FCC rate it, alot of times it's easier to buy something pre-certified off the shelf (wall-wart or digital amp) and then integrate it into your product. Those wall-wart products don't have mains power inside, so they don't need UL.

    As for a local music store, any reputable music store can get an amp shipped in for evaluation. You should ask them if they'd do that for you (and your buddies). Stores don't like to carry things that nobody asks about.
     
  13. jerry

    jerry Doesn't know BDO Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 1999
    Hawaii
    I got a Thunderfunk head from Dave about six months back, and I love it!!!! It's a very loud 400 watts, and very versatile :cool:
     
  14. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin

    Dec 11, 1999
    Clinician: EA, Zon, Boomerang, TI. Author "The Art of Solo Bass"
    Dave,

    I can't help notice that you assume a great deal of what other's do and then knock those assumptions thereby using inuendo and false assumptions to put down other manufacturers. As you might know, I am affiliated with EA. I am so because they make first class gear and they are first class people. many in this industry can learn alot from them - I know that I have.

    So, now instead of finding round about ways to try and trash others without any real knowledge of the others technology, please just take a moment and extoll the virtues of what you make - I'm listening. I've heard really good things about the Thunderfunk - share it, please.

    I have never and will never buy from anyone who says "mine is better because the others suck" That is just not an endorsement that I can wrap myself around. So again (sorry to be redundant) take a moment and tell us what is so GOOD about your product

    Mike
     
  15. Fretless5verfan

    Fretless5verfan Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2002
    Philadelphia
    I don't see how D. Funk is bashing anyone else's equipment or saying "mine is better because the others suck". He did however say "I don't mean this post to be critical of any other brand of amp. I don't feel that I compete with either of these two companies. I suggest you buy the amp you like best." and "Ultimately it comes down to what you're looking for." so ease up on the poor guy. I'm dissappointed to even see a post like this by somebody i look up to as a bassist:(
     
  16. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin

    Dec 11, 1999
    Clinician: EA, Zon, Boomerang, TI. Author "The Art of Solo Bass"
    Perhaps I can clarify - or better yet Dave can - here are some quotes (I took the liberty of the highlights):

    It seems to me that he does have problems with digital amps, oh sorry I meant concerns. He is talking specifically about EA isn't he?

    Of course digital is not a problem UNLESS you need it serviced. Here is a question, would Thunderfunk authorize Radio Shack to do warranty service. He admits that he has no statistics, so why the comment, unless he somehow is pointing out that his design is better. It does take a special person to work on digital amps, just like it takes a very special person to design and build them. It is a good thing that Gary Gibilisco works for EA

    He said it - he NEVER tested one. If he is not truly familiar with the technology or the way EA,WW or others implement it, he should, as I said expound on the wonders of Thunderfunk.

    Is that what EA does?? it certainly implies it. Well that is not what EA does. EA's design is has CE certification and others are pending. It is a very expensive proposition but EA does it because it is the right way to do things. Perhaps I was the only one who read into the remark the implication that EA was buying off the shelf amps comparable to wal-wart type equipment, but I doubt it

    I am not sure if this was meant at EA but talkinga about an amp that puts out less power but costs more, I am not sure about. The iAMP 800 is 800 watts at 4 ohms with a current reserve of 2500 watts. The amp's street price is about $1,175. That seems pretty cost efficient to me.

    Now, please back to my point. I am not meaning to be harsh. I just want to see the benefits of the Thunderfunk. I was not being cynical. I've heard great things .. tell us more. What is the Thunderfunk's design philosophy, how have those design phiosophies been carried out, what are the most successful/appealing features of the Thunderfunk. That's what this fourm is all about. Dave is an expert in his field and in his design approach - give us an education. There are plenty of buyers for all type of amps. Personally I like the small companies becuase their design's are based much more on a vision than on pure profit.

    Mike
     
  17. And so...

    back to our originally-scheduled topic: Aguilar AG500.

    Thank you.
     
  18. Dude Chapman

    Dude Chapman

    Apr 11, 2004
    thank you
     
  19. Fretless5verfan

    Fretless5verfan Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2002
    Philadelphia
    :meh: It seems to me like you're reading into what he said far too much. (An example being the fact that he already cleared up the wall-wart issue you mentioned in response to another TB'er) IMHO, you should have smacked a few IMOs in there to make your post seem lest arrogant if you really weren't trying to be cynical. IMHO, it seems like you're just jumping at the opportunity to defend EA because you're affiliated with them :ninja: :bag:

    I don't mean to be disrespectful or malevolent in anyway, it just seems like that was an unwarranted tone of response, but ANYWAY, back to topic :D
     
  20. Thunderfunk

    Thunderfunk

    Mar 27, 2004
    McHenry, IL
    My point exactly.


    That's what I said. And then I said: "I SUSPECT that they don't have the sag that an analog amp has. The switcher should compensate for heavy output current demands. This would IMPLY less compression. This MAY OR MAY NOT be a factor in the sound you're looking for. I'd be interested in any comments on this subject by those who've compared the two types." Anyone with compression comments? Do guys like a soft squeeze or a tight snappy sound? This doesn't seem to me to be a put down of EA.


    No I wasn't. I was explaining why I have no interest in building a digital amp. And you know as well as I do that some companies do buy off the shelf digital amps, but I'm not naming names. The wall-wart comment was to give an easy to understand example of saving money on certification.


    I started designing equipment after working for Chicago Sound and seeing a lot of junk. Serviceability has always been high on my priority list. Also price/performance without skimping on tone. You can literally replace a $0.05 cap with a $0.30 cap and improve the tone of an amp. Large corporations are into the profit margin, and get a design almost there, and then start cutting costs. Most players can't hear the difference anyway, and the less expensive an amp is, the more units will be sold. BUT, you pay a lot of money for an amp, and if you spent only a few dollars more, you'd stop looking for a replacement.

    Benefit of a Thunderfunk over a digital amp? Can be serviced by anyone with a Mouser catalog. Benefit of a digital amp over a Thunderfunk? Higher efficiency, less weight, more power for the money. Now we've come full circle to my original point. APPLES AND ORANGES.

    Now back to our AGUILAR AG500 program already in progress. :)