Aguilar amps and pre-amps ??

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by afroman, Jun 16, 2003.

  1. afroman


    Aug 31, 2000
    Brooklyn, NY
    I was set to purchase a Carvin power amp and a Sansamp RBI, but realized that I could save up a little more and maybe get into the high-end really great stuff.

    I already have two Aguilar GS-112 and was looking at reviews for the DB 750. I was amazed about all the good feedback this amp has, and was decided to purchase one since everyone said it cost aprox. $1500. But then I almost cried when I found out that the prices went up and it's now around $2300 (yikes!).

    I probably wont have the chance to try the agui amps in person since I'm from Puerto Rico and no store here has them. But as I've done before with my bass, amps and cabs, your help has always been helpful in me taking those risks; and I've never been disappointed with the things I bought.

    I'm willing to spend up to $1500. Please give me your advice on with amp or preamp-power amp is the best for that tube warmth, punch and growl. (not overdrive growl, for that I have a BDDI). I'm thinking about the Aguilar DB-659 pre-amp, Demeter preamps and some power amps (Carvin,QSC, Stewart). I play pop rock, ska, reggae, hard rock, blues and I use a Lakland 55-01.

    Any advice is welcome. Sorry for the lenght of the message but this is important to me. I'm ready to spend some big $$$ for a rig that's worth it.

  2. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    FWIW - I run a DB659 with a QSC PLX 1602 and a SansAmp Bass Driver in front of it.

    It would be nice to have an all-tube Aguilar preamp + DB750 power amp. But, my rig travels all over and I don't want the hassle of worrying about an all-tube amp, (e.g. biasing) and all that weight. The 659 + PLX 1602 + SansAmp sounds dynamite with my basses, and doesn't require a chiropractor.

    If you look around at various dealers, you might still find a DB659 at the "old" price - about $750.

    I ruled out Carvin because my experience with all the gear I have bought from them seems to be --- they always shag on some aspect of their gear, (e.g., their R heads are fine but their speakers can't handle the lows well...their basses play beautifully but their pickups suck, et al).
    I ruled out Stewart because their lower-end power amps don't have cooling fans. The Stewart amps I wanted had cooling fans, like the World 2.1. But the lack of fans in their lower-end amps just made me wonder about their dedication to fine engineering. QSC just turned out to be the one that punches me in the chest.
  3. basss

    basss Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2001
    I have a DB659 and a stewart world 1.2. Warmth, punch and growl are all there along with clarity and pleasing phatness. Its a super quiet rig without the fan and the DI sound is amazing.

    FWIW the stewart is top notch compared to other poweramps I've tried (QSC, Carvin). The amp gets hot but ive never had overheating problems and it is super light weight, compact and very quiet.
  4. billys73


    Apr 25, 2003
  5. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

  6. afroman


    Aug 31, 2000
    Brooklyn, NY
    Thanks for the advice!
    At least I know that I can get that great Aguilar tube warmth without having to spend $2000. I'll give the 659 more consideration. Also, is the 680 worth the money over the 659 ???

    Keep up with the help.
  7. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY

    YES! Given that you'll pay $500 - $600 for a used 659, you can get a used 680 for $900ish I'd say the 680 is well worth the extra money if you can afford it. The 659 is ok, the 680 is pretty special. 5 tubes, 10 gain stages, just great low end out of it.

    edit: I know they're overpriced, but the 680 was one I felt was much closer to being worth the money than the 659. YMMV, of course.
  8. Jeff Haley

    Jeff Haley

    May 17, 2001
    Atlanta, Ga.
    Don't be upset with the price increase. They are not worth the price. I owned an Aguilar DB 359 and it sounded good but It was in the shop half the time I owned it. I now have a Kern 777 pre-amp with a Crest LT 1500 poweramp and it rocks. Go with a good power amp and pre-amp set-up. You will not be disappointed. You can get a great set-up for $1500 . Call Brian Barrett at the Low End. He will set you up with a great rig at a reasonable price
  9. rayzak


    Jan 13, 2001
    Louisville, KY
    I too own a DB359(but, unlike Jeff's bad experience, mine's been fantastic:) ) However, I agree that they are not worth what they're asking for 'em new now. I bought mine only a month old from some cat in N. Carolina for $1100. It's definetly, IMHO, worth that price. You can find good deals on used Aggie equiptment. Their speaker cabs now(once again IMHO;) ) are a bargain at the prices they sell for.
  10. afroman


    Aug 31, 2000
    Brooklyn, NY
    I found the aguilar amps and pre-maps in one website with really cheap list prices. You know as always, the list price of a product is higher that the sale price.

    Well, I emailed them for their sale price and it was as expensive as every other music store. For example the Aguilar DB359 with a list price of $1895 is on sale for $3000 !!!!!!

    I don't know if it was a misprint but I'm really angry that I got my hopes up for nothing. Just wanted to let it out.

  11. Chaputa

    Chaputa Bass-Not just fo eatin anymore

    If you look hard enough, you can find deals. I got my 659 last Sept. from Sam Ash for $400 (used of course). Absolutely LOVE the thing. The thing I don't love is that I decided to go with a Samson S1000 (~360W/ch @8ohms). The amp works wonerfully, but is VERY heavy. It was cheap, so I can't complain, but 36lbs from their site doesn't sound right... feels heavier...anywho...if you can find a used one, its worth the buy, this preamp is amazing! ...just choose a lighter power amp...
  12. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PA
  13. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    I think I can fully appreciate what you're saying joker. I love a big, lush, full-on, Motown, vintage-Ampeg Plexi, tone....but rock music signs my paychecks.

    And the Ag 659 + QSC + SansAmp fills that bill for me. It's basically "harder" than an all-tube rig but it never sounds "ugly" like a new SVT can.

    Plus, so much of the way it sounds is in my hands. The "right" strings and a different finger attack technique makes all the difference in the world. I think, too often these days, people lay so much responsibility for their sound on the gear and so much less on the player.

    I don't mean to sound pompous at all, but I've seen so many gifted players produce pearls with swine-gear.
  14. hmjuice


    May 20, 2000
    Austin, TX USA
    Hey rickbass,
    What settings are you working with on the Sansamp? I just bought a MXR M-80 to try and get some more grit out of my rig but it’s either to much or too little (maybe it’s the pedal). I have an EBS ver1 pre-amp and I don't really set it above flat (boost only). We are doing some Al Green and Stevie Wonder covers and I want that big PBass sound. Any suggestions...