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Aguilar DB 285JC owners

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Pimpernel Smith, Jan 12, 2014.

  1. Ever since the Aguliar DB 285JC cabinet was made for Jack Casady, I've wondered what owners of it make of it. I know it has two 8 inch and one 5 inch speakers.

    Anyone own one, or have played one? What did you like or dislike about it? What kind of amp head did you put on it?
    Mpacificar likes this.
  2. Amazing, nobody.
    Mpacificar likes this.
  3. KF2B


    Jan 28, 2013
    I see that by posting this I am evoking a long dead thread but nevertheless... There might be a few odd ones out there who might find this cab interesting, so here goes.

    I bought my DB 285 JC second hand from the UK in May (thanks Dave!). - So, at the writing of this I´ve had it now for 7 months. During this time I´ve played it pretty much daily except when I´ve been away for the odd weekend etc. In addition to the Aggie and the heads I use it with I have a combo amp, which is a 1997 Ampeg B-100R (USA). I pretty much play at home only, so both are more than sufficient for me what comes to SPL etc. Please keep this in mind while continuing reading as your needs might differ.

    I' ve been feeding it with five very different amps - Hartke LH500, Trace Elliot Twin Valve, THD Bivalve, G-K Shuttle 3.0 and Warwick Hellborg pre/power250mono. It sounds different with each. The Hartke sounds crisp, tight and punchy but lacks air and transparency, the Trace even punchier with the notes literally jumping of the microsecond you play a note with a very deep bass. It has a very peculiar, almost holographic rendition, of the harmonics and that something that I guess cannot be replicated with any other technology than tubes. - The best way t put it is that with the Trace the sound has an almost surround 3D effect, with the Hellborg's doing the same with three differences: the Hellborg does not possess the Trace's 3D aspect but it truly feels and sounds tubelike nevertheless. Where it trumps all others is in the detail (I think it was not until I had this pre/power that I had ever heard my basses) and in the effortless rendition of what feels like limitless power (You would never, ever, think that this is a 250 watt solid state amp).

    I can only imagine what this rig would sound with a REDDI attached to the Hellborg's FX loop! :wideyed:

    The G-K Shuttle 3.0 is an awesome amp and especially so considering it´s price point. While I would probably grab the Hartke for giggs, the Shuttle kicks major a**e in home/studio environment. It lacks a fan so it is quiet, and especially so when the deep button in engaged resulting in the small amount of hiss going almost extinct. This makes it an almost as quiet amp as the Hellborg's (the power 250 has a temperature controlled fan which at home sound levels is 95% off) with the DB 285 JC cab. Used on this manner (deep engaged) the Shuttle paired with a passive P bass is forgiving tone heaven. - Forgiving as it lacks the detail, transparency and fast attack of the Trace and Hellborg's. What stays is a wonderful tone not much different from my favorite tone-machine, the Ampeg B-100R, only way, way deeper.

    The THD is pretty much made of the same cloth as the Trace, only it is now ill paired what comes to tubes for use with a bass (it now has el34´s and it would benefit for 6550's on bass as it is a guitar amp after all - with the el34´s the sound is there but it has not enough oooomph! - According to the manufacturer swapping the tubes for 6550´s will do the trick; we might see that eventually or not, as I am planning on selling it). Comparing the THD sound with the Trace would put the THD at a disadvantage with the tubes it now has. One thing is certain though: it is a very well made amp. Robust, quiet and well designed. The Trace on the other hand is a repair guy´s hell on earth as it really has not been designed to be easily serviced (which it soon needs).



    Back to the cab itself - please, make no mistake that this cab in any way sounds weak in the lower register! For a small 2*8 with an added 5" midrange driver it defies it' size. What is evident to me is that it is quality cab that has a few major winning points for me: lack of tweeter. - I hate hiss. Voila', no tweeter, no hiss. The fact that the midrange driver can be adjusted is a major winning point for me also, as it makes finding the sonic sweetspot easy if you tend to keep the cab at one spot in your home/studio etc. That brings us to the only negative I have about the cab though in my case it is not a problem at all: the weight. - Man this cab is heavy (like the B-100R, only more I guess)!!! If you want a neat little cab that is easy to grab and go, forget this one unless you put wheels under it.

    All in all the way I have found it the Aguilar DB 285 JC is a rather special cab. - It has the ability of morphing itself from one attitude to another depending on what you feed it with. It is sonically very flexible on that regard and I would recommend owners to experiment different heads with it as the cab seems to bring the personality of each head forward on a manner I have not experienced before. I would not recommend it for gigging but I will heartily recommend it for home/studio usage. Paired with a head that matches it´s 4 ohm soul and your musical taste I cannot think of anything that one could find lacking granted you are using it on suitable circumstances (home/studio/small cafeteria etc.).

    Sorry for the rambling. It is just that this cab makes me want to express myself.
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2016
    Pimpernel Smith and JimiLL like this.