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Aguilar DB 659 on basstasters

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by tombowlus, Feb 23, 2005.


  1. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    Is it just me, or does anyone else think that of the clips on basstasters.com, the DB 659 is the best sounding Aguilar unit? I like all of the Aggies, in general, but dang, that 659 just seems so well balanced, and with just the right amounts of warmth, fullness, and clarity.

    And while we're on the topic, what about those Walkabout clips!?! I own one, and even I am amazed at how good it sounds. This prompted me to try it with a seperate power amp, and yup, it really can be that clean and tight (as opposed to the more warm, midrangey sound using the internal MOSFET amp).

    But, back to the 659, I am not in the market for a preamp (keep repeating that, Tom: "I am not in the market for a preamp." "I am not in the market for a preamp."...), but if I were, the 659 would be right up at the top of the list...
     
  2. basss

    basss

    Aug 27, 2001
    NYC
    I owned a DB659 for a while. Its a great sounding pre. The recorded sound coming from the DI is awesome. Live I sometimes had a hard time with the mids especially at lower volumes. When I had my rig cranked it produced some of the best bass sounds I've made live (along w/ a stew 1.2 & an EA CXL 112 or aggie GS112). At meduim volumes it seemed that the low mids were sucked out and difficult to EQ.
     
  3. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    Hmmm... so this is not a problem if one never plays at low to medium volumes, eh? ;):bassist:
     
  4. basss

    basss

    Aug 27, 2001
    NYC
    Part of it could have been the cab I was using. I remember this being more of an issue with the EA cab.

    If I remember correctly the mid EQ knob on the DB659 is centered at 400 hz which seemed to effect the amount of "bark" in the sound. IMHO the unit would benefit with a low mid knob centered around 100-300 hz.
     
  5. boogiebass

    boogiebass

    Aug 16, 2000
    Tom,

    PM me if you change your mind about seriously wanting a 659. I happen to have a like-new one I'd sell! ;)
     
  6. jokerjkny

    jokerjkny

    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PA
    [sung to meow mix commercial theme]

    gas, gas, gas, gas, gas, gas, gas, gas, gas, gas, gas, gas, gas, gas, gas, gas....

    :D
     
  7. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    You've got me pegged!
     
  8. gruuv

    gruuv

    Jan 23, 2004
    Tennessee
    Now that is signature worthy! :D
     
  9. Tom, do a little research before you jump. You'll find some good threads here. Some of the folks who started with a DB659 ended up with a DB680 later on (like myself). Just a thought. They're sonically a bit different. Just my 2 cents.
     
  10. jobu3

    jobu3 Artist formerly known as Big Joe

    Feb 17, 2002
    Mountain Top, PA
    I owned both. I really didn't care for the 659 at all. Good rock/dubby tone but not much else. The 680 was pretty much the voice of GOD. It's well worth the extra dough IMO. The only downside (besides price perhaps) was that it was 2RU..
     
  11. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    Well, I spent a lot of time listening to them on basstasters.com. From those clips, I pretty much universally preferred the 659 to the 680 (even though my natural inclination was to lust after the 680). Keep in mind, I've been a mostly solid state guy for most of my bass playing life, and I'm probably not ready to go full-on lush tubilicious just yet. The 659 sounded just a bit more clear and dare I say "hi-fi" (which is a loaded term, I know), whereas the 680 sounded a bit too warm and smooth to me.

    Am I way off base here?
     
  12. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    Have any of you guys who have owned both the 659 and the 680 listened closely to the clips on basstasters? Do they seem accurate to you?

    Have any of you (former) 659 owners tried swapping preamp tubes? I have a couple of nice Telefunken smooth plates I could throw in, or maybe some JJ's.
     
  13. GRoberts

    GRoberts Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2003
    Tucson, AZ USA
    I liked the DB359 best of the Aguilars, but the 659 does sound good on Basstasters. My bar-none favorites so far however are the Walter Woods Ultra and in CLOSE 2nd, the Mesa Walkabout. (that walkabout surprised me!) So you're saying it doesn't sound like that unless you just use it as a preamp with a nice power amp supporting it? Hmmm.
     
  14. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    The Walkabout really did surprise me, too, when I heard it on basstasters. Used as a head, I would normally say that it has more midrange presence (right in the heart of the mids) and that it is a bit more warm and a tad less clear than what I heard. Keeping in mind that the Midrange control is a complex, passive control, it may be that Todd's version of "no EQ" is different than how I set mine up.

    Nevertheless, I was comparing some various preamps, including the preamp portion of my heads, and I hooked up the Walkabout through a Crest CA9 and VL-210, and viola! It pretty much sounded just like the clips on basstasters. Same goes for the Walter Woods. It sounds a bit more thick and warm than the clip on basstasters, but ran through the CA9/VL-210 it also sounded just about like the clips.

    Based on this experiment, I just picked up rack ears for my Walkabout. I may give it a roll in my solid state rack (with either a CA9, PLX 3002, or World 2.1). I have committed to the 659 (check is in the mail), and plan on running it with the 728 (check also in the mail!).

    Tom.
     
  15. IvanMike

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

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    gee, where'd you get that???

    it's a good pre. i couldnt justify keeping mine as i got it as part of a trade at a guitar show and i needed the cash. i would have liked to have kept it. the 659 and 680 are very different animals. that's why i always laugh when i hear about "the aguilar tone" if i had to choose one it would be the 680, but i like a more hi-fi tone. the 659 sounds "bigger" "fuller" "woollier" and "meatier". once i get my $$ deal straightened out i'll probably buy another one. i'm a junkie for preamps like you are for cabs tom. :p
     
  16. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    I'll agree with everything Joe said. I found the DB680 to be much less woolly sounding than the DB659. I found the DB659 low/low mids to be a bit much for me, whereas the DB680 has a lovely warm low end but good full range clarity.
     
  17. Isn't basstasters the coolest?

    I like the WW and the Trace V-Type a lot.

    Among the Aguilars I think:

    924 is the thinnest
    359 is the hollowest
    659 is the lightest plus twangiest
    680 is the darkest

    that's all in relation to each other and IMO.

    they all sound good to me and I'm from Ampegland. :eek:
     
  18. I'm afraid I will also have to weigh in with the DB680 crowd. The DB659 got too woolly for the tone that I was chasing.
     
  19. boogiebass

    boogiebass

    Aug 16, 2000
    From you to me to Tom. Good lineage! ;)
     
  20. DubDubs

    DubDubs

    Aug 23, 2004
    Los Angeles
    I was thinking about the aguilar 659 and the basstasters clip sealed the deal. It sounds SOOO good on there. Though and amp it sounds different. Dinfinatly not bad different in fact I absoultely LOVE the tone but someone might not get lucky and end up hating the tone. I agree it does sound better than the 680 on the site I don't know how it compairs in real life, I need to get a chance to test the 680 to get that information. I think the 659 sounding so good on the site has to do with the fact that it records so well. Whenever I'm playing direct it ends up sounding more like the basstasters clip. The pre definatly has a lot of low end and it really thick sounding. I turn the lows way down (9:00-10:00) and it still has plenty of bass to go around and doesn't loose much of it's nice meaty tone. It's definatly not super versitile but I love the tone and don't see any need for any other tone. When you mess with the EQ it basically gives you "different flavors" of that same great meaty, thick, warm tone. I want to try a 680 really bad. If I ever see one at my local aguilar dealer I'll try it.