aguilar db359 volume

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by b-strung, Sep 3, 2010.

  1. I keep reading these cracks about DB359 volume and I have to laugh. My goodness, how loud do you need to be?
    I've been playing through a DB359 for years now and absolutely love the tone.
    Of course if you like a thin poinky edgy tone with round-wound string buzz this is not the amp for you.
    But if, on the other hand, you believe that bass is meant to provide the bottom for a band and if you like tone that surrounds and supports your music, then bingo, this is the amp for you. Fat creamy warm clean and surprisingly bright (with the eg set flat) -- the whole enchilada.
    The big difference is the girth -- the weight -- of each note. They just come out thick, wide and strong.
    Your choice of preamp tubes and power tubes will make a difference in tone as will proper biasing.
    I find the DB359 with my Bergantino HS210 makes a glorious sound, plenty loud enough to drive my 11-piece R&B band. And the DI is terrific too.
    IMHO there is only one drawback: This amp is a pain to schlep. Heavy and awkward. So I leave it in our rehearsal studio and take my AG500 to gigs.
    But when I flip the switches and plug into the DB359 it always puts a smile on my face.
  2. JPMcGuire

    JPMcGuire Supporting Member

    Jul 13, 2008
    Lake Orion, Michigan
    You have to try an SVT vintage one with new tubes and a tune up. Even at Medium and lower volumes it absolutely kills the DB359 for tone IMO of course! I did a gig comparison with a DB359 and the 71 SVT through a Berg AE410..... The 359 sounded good, but the SVT even at the same relative medium volume, just had more depth.....

    The DB359 does sound slightly fuller, more organic than the LMIII, however, pretty close. But the LMIII has more headroom, allowing for more dynamics I feel in your playing....
  3. msquared


    Sep 19, 2004
    Kansas City
    It depends entirely on the maturity level of your guitarist(s) and drummer.

    I've been in situations with a DB359 where I was plenty loud at half volume and in situations where absolutely cranked, I was getting buried.

    It's worth getting just to try out for a while, IMO. Take no notice of the super lightweight hifi tone crew. This amp has entirely different design goals and succeeds brilliantly.
  4. +1 Even though I'm a solid state guy, my comments were based on comparisons with other all tube amps (not based on my own tone goals).

    And you are correct, the LMII/III can get quite close to the sound of the 359 when the 359 it is run at very low, clean volume. It obviously doesn't do that big bloom down low, but in most mixes, that is probably a good thing. It also doesn't break up at high volumes, but again that can be a good thing, depending on your tone goals.

    On volume, I would agree with the above poster in that if your gigs need no more than a 210 to cover them, the 359 would be fine volume wise.
  5. How much volume do you need?

    "It depends entirely on the maturity level of your guitarist(s) and drummer."

    Amen to that.
    Admiral Akbar likes this.
  6. tombowlus

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

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    Interestingly, I have also owned two of these, but I sold them both. I definitely love the DB359, but I prefer the SA200.

    +1 on the "not very loud for a 200-watt tube head" thing. It's not anemic or anything, but the Reeves C225 (which uses the same type/number of tubes, but has much bigger transformers) just blows it out of the water, volume-wise. At least IME/IMHO. YMMV, of course.

    Regarding overdrive/distortion, I have always thought of the DB359 as a killer clean tone head, but the overdrive never really tripped my trigger.

  7. Highpost


    Feb 14, 2011
    ny. nyc
    I know this is an old thread but there's a difference when playing through the db 359. I used to play my rob Allen bass through an swr and a g k , but when I plugged the piezo pickup bass through this head the bass sounded like an up right. The sound filled out perfectly. I tried my f bass and again the sound was sweet. Although I still love the swr for magnetic pickups, the versatility and quality of sound from the db 359 is like driving a rolls Royce. I think the only other head that can compete is the SA 200, although I haven't played nor heard my basses through one. I'll give props to a B 15 just for authenticities sake. Lol.

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    I have owned 2 of them as well and also sold them both. Great sounding head(as has been mentioned) at low volumes. Isn't the loudest head on the market. Good for low volume Jazz gigs/session work etc. I had trouble getting enough volume with a 2x10" live though. IMO the Markbass stuff can closely cop the sound and has a lot more power.
  9. pshep68


    Sep 21, 2006
    Can anyone tell me how the DB359 compares to the Ampeg V4BH volume wise and tone wise. Thank you.
  10. JPMcGuire

    JPMcGuire Supporting Member

    Jul 13, 2008
    Lake Orion, Michigan
    I had a db359, vintage v4b, and had svt and db750. 751 coming Monday cause I miss the db750 to much.

    The realitive vol of the DB359 and v4 were similar. Which was surprising to me considering the v4 was 100w. The db359 a touch cleaner than the v4. Neither had a great break up IMO when pushed the DB being ugly at high gain/vol settingsi. I also compared my mesa walkabout. The walkabout is in the same tonal family for sure as the db359 and V4 but a little louder. All through my berg hs 410. The walkabout came out on top for versitility of tone. The db359 was surprisingly similiar in low/med volume tone to my lmiii at the time but with less headroom and slightly more organic tone.

    However with the right cab in a low volume setting with a cab like he gs112 the db359 sounded amazing. One of the best tones from any amp for clean tone I have ever heard. Plug in the little mark in the same context for an a/b and it will sound 95% similiar with more volume but not as organic as the DB.
  11. bikeplate

    bikeplate Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2001
    Upstate NY
    Had one and felt it had adequate volume. I also sold it feeling it had a "hole" in its tone. Don't know how to explain this in technical terms. Just felt its tone was lacking compared to other tube and SS amps I own or gave owned. And have had many! Also very heavy and got super hot when gigging. Scary hot, in fact. I prefer my AG500 to it frankly.
  12. Ampslut

    Ampslut Supporting Member

    May 15, 2017
    I demo'd one with a Lakland 5594 through a Agular 410 cab. It could not handle the low B of the Lakland and the distortion sounded more like SS distortion than tube. I also had access to a Traynor yba200 which was rated the same 200 watts but blew the 359 out of the water. I was not impressed at all.
  13. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

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