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Aguilar DB750 vs. Epifani 502UL: mini-shootout below sea level

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by FR5, Mar 18, 2006.

  1. FR5


    Feb 12, 2004
    Last week Andy Will asked the question on TB: "has anyone switched from Aguilar DB750 to Epifani 502UL?" Andy was getting tired of the weight of the DB750 and the occasional AC power problems he was experiencing.

    I replied that I own an Epifani 502UL and that he was more than welcome to try it out. As we live relatively close to each other it shouldn't be too much trouble to meet up (well, actually, in a country the size of Holland everything is "close to each other" anyway).

    So last Thursday we met up in my rehearsal studio in Aalsmeer to do some serious AB-ing of the amps and cabinets, a mini-shootout below sea level (30% to 50% of the country is situated below sea level, nobody really knows how much).

    Andy brought along his DB750 and two Aguilar GS210 cabs, a Fodera Monarch and his latest baby the Adamovic Jupiter (www.adamovic.nl). My Epifani 502UL is complemented by a 112UL and a 210UL cabinet and a Rikkers 5-string fretless (www.rikkersgitaarbouw.nl).

    Pretty babes all in a row:
    <IMG src="http://www.v-houseband.nl/TB/0603160003.jpg">

    For the real testing Andy played the Adamovic, I mostly jumped about switching cables. We arrived at the following test order:
    - 502 through Epi cabs
    - 502 through Aguilar cabs
    - DB750 through Epi cabs
    - DB750 through Aguilar cabs

    Entering the twilight zone:
    <IMG src="http://www.v-houseband.nl/TB/0603160010.jpg">

    Three against four:
    <IMG src="http://www.v-houseband.nl/TB/0603160011.jpg">

    Now what did I hook-up, and when did I do that?
    <IMG src="http://www.v-houseband.nl/TB/0603160014.jpg">

    After this we had a short break to give our ears much needed rest and we did the same testing sequence in reverse order.

    From our meeting I draw the following conclusions:
    - the DB750 is one fine piece of equipment, plenty of power and solid bass projection
    - the DB750 has more mids and booming lows, ideally suited for a modern rock sound
    - the 502UL sounds more hi-fi, more transparent highs and plenty of tight low end, more suited for jazz and fusion
    - the 502UL has a more direct attack, it seems to react faster to high speed finger funking and double thumbing
    - I am even more happy that I thought possible that Epifani has crossed my path
    - my wife will be very happy as I will be spending my money on her instead of on new bass gear (for a while anyway)
    - this forum is awesome, what a great community of bass players, I have decided to become a supporting member
    - I am sure that Andy will post his findings in this topic later on. I was surprised by his skills and musicality, one of the best bass players that I have witnessed without paying for it. Without a doubt the best player I have heard below sea level, and a very nice guy as well.

    Andy, are you sure you are sitting close enough?
    <IMG src="http://www.v-houseband.nl/TB/0603160015.jpg">

    Well, these are my thoughts on the shootout. I find it difficult to describe in more detail what the differences in sound are between the various setups, but I thought you might be interested in my personal impression of this local TB GTG.

  2. kjones


    Dec 4, 2004
    Thanks very much for your report FR5. I found it very interesting.
  3. pickles

    pickles Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    Very cool. What were your impressions of the cabinets?
  4. emjazz

    emjazz Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    Brooklyn, NY
    That's the nicest rehearsal space I've ever seen.
  5. Thanks for the report!

    I have a DB750, and am also looking into other light weight big power options. I've been reading info on the EPI, and EA800.
  6. Very Cool!

    Those rigs looks cool:cool:

  7. FR5


    Feb 12, 2004
    Well, for one thing, 1 of the GS210's probably weighs more than both Epifani cabinets together :)

    I would say that the difference in sound between the two rigs is more in the cabs than the amps. Hooking up the two Aguilars to my 502UL drastically altered my sound, hooking up the DB750 to my Epi cabs definitely had less of an impact.

    But then again, somebody else might prefer the GS210's to the Epi's. Let's see what Andy's final verdict is.
  8. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PHL

    i was thinking that as i read your comparisons. but care to expound?

    and good lord, arent those lights CRAZY bright? you could signal ships in passing lanes on the hudson.
  9. Blues Cat

    Blues Cat Payson Fanned Bass Strings Owner Commercial User

    May 28, 2005
    Katy, Tx
    Payson Fanned Bass Strings Owner
    Very cool review FR5. A bar in your rehearsal studio is a nice touch.

    One of the factors that could make this review a little more accurate would have been to have both stacks on the floor, or have both up on a furniture dolly IMO.
  10. Andy Will

    Andy Will

    Apr 11, 2003
    London, England
    Hi Steven and fellow Talkbassers!

    Sorry for my late joining to this post! Have been crazy busy doing the playing side of the business!;)
    We had a really great night last week testing everything and I am extremely grateful for the opportunity! (Thankyou sooooo much Steven!). Is amazing how supportive the Bass community is through Talkbass!

    I think Steven (FR5) has summed everything up very well on the amp/cab shootout. But if anyone has other questions let us both know!

    My final decision for the Amp set-up will be as follows:-
    - DB750: Will be kept as though its heavy, it really is the perfect tone for me and the kind of music my band is doing currently.
    - GS210's: One will be kept for the smaller gigs and the other will be sold shortly.

    New Additions:
    - Aguilar DB410 now on order (in Monster Green, yee-haw!). For bigger gigs this (sometimes in combination with the GS210) should tighten up the low end a little at higher volume gigs. With castors on, it will be easier to move this cab with the DB750 sat on top.

    For a back-up Amp I'm considering between the following:
    1) Epifani UL502: Absolutely love the sound of this amp so might get one for if I go for more Fusion or solo-style playing again.
    2) Aguilar AG500: Another slightly cheaper option to give me a portable amp with the 'Aguilar-sound' for smaller gigs/rehearsals.

    Definately was great to hear these two amps at high volume head-to-head (excuse the pun), plus to hear a superb fretless tone (Epifani/Rikkers perfect combination) and playing from Steven. Both Epifani and Aguilar are great makers, so anyone considering these amps should give both a whirl to find their ideal sound!


  11. Nice shootout and reviews. The differences you are hearing between the 750 and the Epi are very similar to the differences I hear between the 750 and most other SS heads like the Thunderfunk and iAmp800.... with the SS heads being a little quicker and not having the extreme open low end.

    Given these findings, it seems the Eden800(b) would be the ultimate amp for those who are a little tired of the DB750's weight and size. I've found the Eden low end blossoms a little bit more than the pure SS heads I've played (I assume due to the hybrid design), but that the low end is much tighter and the sound just enough more 'modern' (i.e., the Eden Hybrid sounds like a SS amp with a little tube flavoring, whereas the DB750 sounds more 'tube-like' all the way around IMO) as to be a little more usable in a wider variety of situations than the DB750 (which, as stated above, is an awesome tube-like sounding rock-type head).

    Just a thought:)
  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
    Awesome review! That sounds like it was a very nice time, and your venue was very classy (much better than that of a certain other GTG held recently :(). Thanks a lot for sharing this 'experiment' with us. :)

    And I tend to agree with Ken. Though I have not actually tried the WT-800B yet, what I know of the 800 (and other Eden gear), I'd say that it's closer to the sound of the DB 750 in a lighter package. I don't know how the amp section will compare, though. That 750 has a killer (though heavy) outputs section!

  13. kjones


    Dec 4, 2004
    I have to agree with these guys. I don't think the AG500 gets anywhere near the sound of the 750, and frankly I'm not sure it's intended to. A good friend of mine plays the Eden 800B, and I think that would be a closer match tone-wise than the AG500.
  14. jerry

    jerry Doesn't know BDO Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 1999
    LOL, That's exactly what I thought! You see a lot of nice amps in these threads, but a rehearsal spot like that would really float my boat! I think that would win any "rehearsal spot shootout" we could have.
  15. Andy Will

    Andy Will

    Apr 11, 2003
    London, England
    I had the luxury of trying the AG500, DB750 and the big all tube pre/power amp set up next to each other when first looking to buy an Aguilar. Each one had their own merits:
    1) AG500: Sounded great, but loses the Bass a little when pushed to higher volumes. As a Talkbasser once said, Great sounding amp but the minute you try the DB750 you are spoiled!
    2) DB750: The tone a lot of us know and love with HUGE power and tone.
    3) All tube pre/power amp (forgotten the model names:confused: ): Amazingly warm super-tube love in a big package. Maybe a little too lovely for me, plus could never afford it!:crying:

    I know the AG500 is a different kind of sound (still not so far off of the DB750 at lower volumes than some people think), but would only be used for smaller gigs where not so much 'boom' is required. Can't make any comment on the the Eden's sound as I haven't played their gear properly yet;) .
  16. BigMikeW

    BigMikeW Banned

    May 25, 2005
    Nashville, TN.
    Banned by TB Administration for refusal to account for funds
    This is very interesting. A while back I A/B'd an Eden WT-800 and a DB750 through Eden, Aggie, EA and Epifani cabs. The room was very small and I was not able to listen "at volume" but I walked away think that I liked both heads and that they were both similar in a lot of ways. In the end I heard the DB750 as more tubey and warm and less articulate than the Eden. The Eden was less tubey (bad thing? not sure right now) and more articulate.

    Now that was at lower volumes. I have an NV610 coming the first part of June. I am goign to get Eden's D610XLT, Jorg's 310212, the DB750 and my new WT-1205 and test them in rehearsals for a couple days.

    I am dying to see (hear) what those heads and cabs sound like.
  17. Andy Will

    Andy Will

    Apr 11, 2003
    London, England
    Think we might have opened a whole new can of worms with the the rehearsal rooms thing! Megalol!

    Was rather nice there especially looking back to the early days as a teenager rehearsing in village halls, then later in the moth-ball scented rehearsal 'cupboards' of Coventry, England ha ha!
    Lets all reminise...........;)
  18. tombowlus

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

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    Dang it all, now I really need to hear me a WT-1205 or WT-800B! Not to derail too much, but Mike, have you A/B'd these two? And if so, how do they compare?

    Thanks, Tom.
  19. BigMikeW

    BigMikeW Banned

    May 25, 2005
    Nashville, TN.
    Banned by TB Administration for refusal to account for funds
    Have not A/B'd them.

    I find that all of the UPPER Eden stuff sounds about the same.

    I use to have an Eden WT-800. Then when I went to Eden (fulltime) I had them send me a Navigator, WT-1000 and two D410XLT's. Though I haven't playe dthe WT-1205 in a band setting yet. It sounds just like my NAvigator and the WT-800.

    Now I generally don't EQ much on the Eden stuff so it is relatively flat. I don't miss the bazillion knobs of the Navigator but I think the two channels of the WT-1205 will come in handy. We'll see this summer. Also, the Dynamic Boosts on the WT-1205 are cool at lower to moderate volumes. They enhance (maybe bad term) the low end and highs so that it sounds full at lower to mid volumes. Eden says it is a Fletcher/Munson type thang.

    Still dying to hear the DB750 though again ina rehearsal. Who knows what I may end up deciding on then.
  20. FR5


    Feb 12, 2004
    Hi Andy,

    I had a feeling that you were out playing instead scanning a message board :)

    About the rehearsal studio: I have been rehearsing there once a week for about 20 years now. The guys who rents them out started off with 4 smaller studio's, then decided to add more spacious and luxurious studio's. I think there are now 14 or 16 studio's in all.

    We rent one evening each week for about 90 USD per month, playing from 19.00 until 23.00. Each studio has separate storage rooms so you have to take out your gear every week. But I do not see this as a disadvantage, and the big advantages of this studio are:

    - always use your own gear that is only a few steps away
    - cheaper than renting a studio with crappy gear in Amsterdam
    - no 3 hour time limits (such 6-9 pm. or 9-12 pm)
    - plenty of parking space
    - you can make your own coffee, drink your own beer on the couch
    - very dry acoustics
    - it's nice and roomy, not too hot in summer, not too cold in winter

    It's been my pleasure to invite Andy for this shoot-out, I am glad that he liked it and that other members enjoy reading about it.


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