Aguilar AG700 vs TH500

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by jazztonebass, Nov 21, 2017.

  1. jazztonebass


    Apr 23, 2012
    Are these amps both voiced about the same? Is it just a matter of power or are there more considerations between these two amps? Thank you for your feedback.
  2. BassBlue

    BassBlue Supporting Member

    Sep 28, 2013
    Chicago, IL
    Interested in the same.
  3. TuneMan


    Nov 19, 2016
    Oakland, CA
    backline tech - Mesa Boogie, Aguilar.
    These two amps definitely have different sounds and personalities. The TH500 was always aimed at those who wanted to emulate an old school tube tube type sound with a little warmth and grind. The addition of the Drive knob adds to that blend when combined with the Gain setting. The AG700 was supposedly voiced more like the AG500, but with more headroom and only one channel instead of two. I've never heard the AG500, but I imagine the AG700 is an improvement, cause it sounds fantastic.
    The TH500 was sometimes challenged to deliver clean headroom and big fat lows. On a big stage, it did OK with some common sense and good P.A. support, but definitely ran out of gas a couple of times on loud club gigs. There is very little chance of the AG700 running out of gas on any gig.
    The AG700 is definitely a cleaner sounding amp, but it's not a cold, clinical clean in the style of say Eden or Mesa Carbine, it's more like the DB750, but a lot lighter and less expensive. It's clean, but a warm, friendly kind of clean. I haven't pushed the gain too far up to see how much grind it can deliver. It's pretty punchy, and has headroom for days.
    I tech for Dumpstaphunk, a band with two 5-string bass players with big bass rigs. Nick Daniels uses a Mesa Subway, and Tony Hall, who technically uses Peavey, uses my Aguilar on Bay Area shows. Usually, he gets the DB751 with two GS410 cabs. On a recent two night run, I switched to the AG700 on the second night. He's notoriously hard to please, and he was smiling all night and pointing to the amp. After the show, the band's FOH commented on how great the AG700 sounded. I've measured the stage volume with these guys at 111-116 db, and the AG700 kept up nicely. The TH500 wouldn't have cut it, and it couldn't have delivered the same clean sounds, even at a lower volume.
    Some of the pros with $2,000-$3,000 instruments don't need to use the Deep and Bright buttons on the AG700, especially if they're playing an active 5 string with 18v, but for a more traditional bass, it sounds really present and fat with those engaged. The Deep is actually around 250 hz, so it's sometimes necessary to cut the low mids a little, but it's worth it for the increase in low end punch. I personally like to use a High Pass (low cut) filter to shave off the super low stuff below 50-60 hz that just makes things muddy, soaks up amp power, and pisses of the other guys in the band.

    Tony Hall rig:


    George Porter, Jr. settings:


    I have a gig friendly labeling system that's perfect for dark clubs.......

    AG700 labels.jpeg

    George Porter, Jr. set-up: DB410 (4 ohms) & SL112 (8 ohms) for a total of 2.67 ohms.


    This has become my go-to club set up: 3-8 ohm cabinets for a 2.67 ohm total. The GS cabs have a scooped sound good for funk, but the SL112's have a nice mid presence that adds some punch. This rig was for Ted "Blyss" Gould, playing with Zigaboo Modeliste & The New Aahkesstra..........

  4. jazztonebass


    Apr 23, 2012
    thank you for this. very illuminating.
  5. johnpbass


    Feb 18, 2008
    Glen Mills, PA
    Excellent post TuneMan!
    I like the gig-friendly labeling system - simple, low tech and effective!
  6. johnpbass


    Feb 18, 2008
    Glen Mills, PA
    The thing to keep in mind about the TH amp is that as you up the Drive, you start to get a rolloff of lows. Higher Gain settings increase the effect of the Drive control. Takes most players some time to get comfortable with the interaction of the Gain, Drive, and Mid controls. That first pic showing the TH500 has the Gain and Drive off, which is where I would set them to get the most clean low end, YMMV of course.
    gscroggin, SJan3 and son_of_mogh like this.
  7. TuneMan


    Nov 19, 2016
    Oakland, CA
    backline tech - Mesa Boogie, Aguilar.
    George Porter, Jr. showed me how Aguilar is the only amp where you still get signal with the gain all the way down, unlike most amps. His Lakland bass (passive) is copied from his classic Fender that he doesn't take on the road anymore, and both basses have such a hot signal that there's still plenty of headroom with the gain all the way down.
  8. johnpbass


    Feb 18, 2008
    Glen Mills, PA
    Absolutely true. The TH Gain doesn't operate like the Gain on other amps - it really serves the purpose of controlling how much effect the Drive control has. That takes some getting used to when using this amp.
    SJan3, jastacey and son_of_mogh like this.
  9. J-Bass RMR

    J-Bass RMR Supporting Member

    I’ve had my AG700 for about a month now, and was writing this for another post, but it is better suited here.

    Man – if they would only create a hybrid combining features of the 2 amps!
    They both definitely have that Aguilar “tone-print”. There is some “crossover” between the 2 amps, but their eq voicing is different. They each have their own thing they do very well– just as you would suspect.

    I’ll skip the obvious when we’re comparing the 2 amps and assume everyone knows the AG does not have the TH circuit and its associated attributes, but even so, the AG700 is capable of “warm” tones. (as inquired about in other posts)

    I definitely like the layout of the AG700; Overall, it’s more straight-forward and more flexible in its tone-shaping ability than the TH500. And while it’s been noted that it can be clean, yet warm – it’s also capable of “darker” tones as well.
    I like having 2 mid controls (AG700) - I just wish they were semi-parametric. I do prefer the “smoother” highs of the TH500 - the AG700 can get a little “plinky” for my tastes. You can dial that down, but that may contribute to the “darker” tone I referred to – not that that’s a bad thing.

    With the AG700, you’re giving up TH circuitry for more power/headroom, clean tone, tonal flexibility, and the ability to add a 3rd 8-0hm cabinet. (running at 2.67).
    I haven't gigged both enough to comment on the difference the extra power makes - but I’ll take TuneMan’s word for it! All that said, the TH500 is still no slouch in the right setting. Both are great amps to own.
    gscroggin, G RICH 5, rodl2005 and 4 others like this.
  10. emjazz

    emjazz Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    Brooklyn, NY
    Wouldn't the AG700 with a Tonehammer pedal in front of it give you essentially both?
    bigboy99 and TuneMan like this.
  11. J-Bass RMR

    J-Bass RMR Supporting Member

    I wondered that as well - got cut in my final edit.
    Just for fun, I have run from the TH SEND to the AG RETURN, and, voila!
    I have a Sansamp VT that I'll run in front of the AG700. Just different flavors...
    Maybe someone else that has used the TH Pedal with the AG700 can comment.
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2018
    Nikus, emjazz and son_of_mogh like this.
  12. emjazz

    emjazz Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    Brooklyn, NY
    I expect at some point Aguilar will come out with a TH500 with the power section of the AG700. The new power section seems to be a big improvement.
    Chuck M likes this.
  13. BassBlue

    BassBlue Supporting Member

    Sep 28, 2013
    Chicago, IL
    Thanks for your review J_BassV. I currently have both amps in the house and am trying to decide on one. Tough decision though... I wish I could keep both, but there is really no need and no budget for it :)

    May I ask which one do you consider your favorite one? From your post, it seems you favor AG700. Am I correct in my assumption?
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2018
  14. Rebel Rocker

    Rebel Rocker Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2017
    I have the TH500 really like it a lot. But just ordered the AG700 and one more DB112. Thanks for the great info on the AG700
    Nikus likes this.
  15. SJan3

    SJan3 Supporting Member

    Dec 8, 2010
    Disagree on 2 points. My EDEN WT400 was NEVER clinical. Also, I owned an AG500sc and it was much more clinical than a DB750.
    A distinct absence of mids in the AG500SC. The Tonehammer 500 is much closer to the DB750.
    Finally, most people just don't understand the Tonehammer 500.
    You can't run too much gain/drive if you want clean. Push the Master and adjust the gain. Add Drive to taste. More like a tube amp but it is not short winded in the power dept if you know what you're doing. YMMV
  16. SJan3

    SJan3 Supporting Member

    Dec 8, 2010
    Almost. No variable drive.
    emjazz likes this.
  17. PotsdamBass8

    PotsdamBass8 Supporting Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    Long Island, NY
    I’ve only had a TH pedal and not the head, but I will say that this could be a big difference depending on the type of sound you want. I couldn’t use the TH because when the AGS was on, it just totally lost the fundamentals on my low notes with a band. A blend would have been able to bring some of that back in. Adding more bass just made it muddy. Keep in mind this was in drop C tuning.
    gscroggin likes this.
  18. J-Bass RMR

    J-Bass RMR Supporting Member

    Wait! What day is it?
    I really can’t say I have a favorite between the two-I gave up trying to decide. Each amp excels at what its designed to do.
    I had another "marathon" session this weekend, using 2 x SL112 cabs & Genzler MG212T/112T stack with a stock J-Bass. Both heads sound really good through the various cabs. What most surprised me is, how well the TH500 held up - until you really push it.**

    So 2 main things really;

    1) The TH Gain/Drive structure. Is that important to you?
    My reference is my V4B/SVT212, so I like the TH500 for that simulated tube saturation thing. (had a PF500, but I wanted something different)

    2) Power / Headroom
    If you think that's going to be an issue, see (**) above, I'd lean toward the AG700.
    It's still a "warm" sounding amp, and very “flexible” tone-wise. And, as emjazz pointed out, you could come close running a TH pedal in front. Of course, your over $1,000 all in then.

    If you don't have a need for that extra power/headroom, the TH500 is a great choice for the $.

    Honestly, for my "ideal" gig, (low key Blues - Blues/Rock with nice FOH) I'd be happy with the TH500 and the SL112s.

    To shed some more light on where I'm coming from; the reason I got the AG700 wasn’t so much to compare vs. the TH500, but more to compare how it would run my Genzler MG212T /MG112T stack at 2.67 ohms.
    That’s my “rig of doom” at the moment, and to AG700 sounds really good running it. It’s definitely a different flavor/vibe all together. I know - it's only Rock n Roll, but I like it!
    Nikus likes this.
  19. chris_b


    Jun 2, 2007
    I had 2 TH500's and replaced one of them with an AG700.

    With its power, punch and great tone the AG700 gets all the gigs. With its warmth the TH500 gets played at home and is my backup amp on gigs.

    Seemed like the best solution to me.
  20. Chuck M

    Chuck M Supporting Member

    May 2, 2000
    San Antonio, Texas
    I own an AG 700 and a TH 500 and use them both. The TH 500 is the best match I have found for my SL112. I also use Genz Benz Shuttle/Shuttlemax amps and did not care for the tone with the SL112. I use the GB amps with my pair of GS112's and they sound terrific but so does the AG 700.

    Some amp/cab combinations work better for me and I enjoy having some great choices to work with. One surprise was the AG 700 with my little Phil Jones C4 sounds fantastic for upright bass in a problem room that I play most every Saturday night. I expected the Tone Hammer to work best with that cab but the AG 700 sounds very natural (in a normal sounding room) with the tone knobs centered.

    Ice cream. I love it...vanilla...chocolate...strawberry......and amps...I love amps......
    gscroggin, jeff7bass, chris_b and 2 others like this.
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