Aguilar or Mesa Subway D-800

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by grooveguru, Oct 5, 2022.

  1. grooveguru


    Sep 14, 2000
    Central PA
    What’s the general thoughts between a Aguilar Tone Hammer 700 vs a Mesa Subway D-800?
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  2. jdaunt


    Jun 30, 2016
    Grand Blanc, MI
    I only briefly owned a TH a few years ago, so my experience with it is limited, but I remember it being a pretty good head. My Mesa D-800+, incredible! So much tonal variety on board and takes pedals/preamps really well-my Sansamp MP40 sounds stellar through it.
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  3. josephhc1803


    Jun 12, 2019
    I was making a similar choice a couple years ago, but between the ag700 and D-800+. I was able to get them both next to each other and compared them on my own regular cab, and although I was blown away by both, the Aguilar really spoke to me and I ended up going for it. The controls and features worked very quickly and intuitively for me and my taste, but there are countless people for which the Mesa has the advantage, just to their taste.

    I don't know if there's any way to give real specific advice between two great products, and to be clear I've never played the Tone Hammer myself, but if you can find any way to get at them in real life, the decision becomes easier to make. Apologies for the obvious advice, but it really helped me make my choice! At the end of the day I'll bet you wouldn't be let down by either of them.
  4. chris_b


    Jun 2, 2007
    I play TH500 and AG700 amps. I bought and sold the D800. Maybe I'd have kept the D800+.
  5. Al Kraft

    Al Kraft Supporting Member

    May 2, 2016
    Northern Virginia
    Picking a favorite will be a matter of personal taste and tone goals IMO. To me they are very different heads. While I like them both, I think the D-800 may be a bit more versatile and SS sounding voicing-wise. To get an even far more versatile amp voicing-wise (for a small price difference) I would look at the D-800+ instead the D-800. For a Mesa option closer in voicing to the TH I would look at the WD and TT-800 models.
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  6. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa Boogie, Development Engineer-Genzler (pedals), Product Support-Genz Benz
    IMO, this is where playing both would help you determine which amp works best for YOUR personal tastes.
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  7. joel406

    joel406 Inactive

    Dec 27, 2013
    This says it all.
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  8. Yea, those are two very different-sounding amps. What kinda stuff do you play and what are your tonal goals?
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  9. PolkaHero

    PolkaHero Supporting Member

    Jan 5, 2002
    Aguilar is more "wooly" sounding whereas the Mesa is a cleaner amp. I've had both and opted for Mesa because I need a cleaner tone most of the time.
  10. SJan3

    SJan3 Supporting Member

    Dec 8, 2010
    Both excellent! This simply comes down to personal taste. In a perfect world you'd want both.
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  11. J Wilson

    J Wilson Supporting Member

    Somehow to me, Aguilar today is different than when Aguilar was building all those white front-panel models.

    Maybe someone versed in them could sort these out for me.

    It's all very subjective, some will like this one, some that one. For me, Mesa all day.
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  12. I like the Aguilar voicing over the other.
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  13. We are all different. I could not get along with the Tone Hammer but love the Mesa 800+. The Tone Hammer is not going to give you bright and snappy. As an other said, the Tone Hammer is wooly. I still use a Tone Hammer pre amp.
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  14. bass.slinger

    bass.slinger Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 15, 2015
    Santa Fe, NM
    A better line-up would be the TH-700 versus the WD-800. Both of these heads will provide dirt. I ended up with the Mesa, but the Aguilar is also a great amp. I found the Mesa to be easier to set up the sound I was looking for compared to the Aguilar.

    If you only want clean tones, the Mesa D-800/800+ or Aguilar AG-700 would be better picks.
  15. Topkat13

    Topkat13 Supporting Member

    Feb 5, 2004
    What agedhorse said. Really.
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  16. landrybass

    landrybass Guest

    Oct 23, 2011
    I really doubt I would even be able to tell the difference in a blind fold test.
  17. And I

    And I

    Feb 19, 2009
    Witchtown, MA
    I own a TH 500 band a mesa d800. The tone hammer has more of a baked in sound to it. If that's the sound you're going for, you'll love it. The mesa has more "authority" if that makes sense (it doesn't, i know). It's got the "heft" that i hear folks say class D amps lack. Neither amp is particularly "bright" but you'll be able to coax way more usable treble out of the mesa.

    You've really got to play both to see which you like best. They are two really nice amps... it's going to come down to personal preference.
  18. bherman

    bherman Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2009
    Grand Junction, CO
    Both different flavors, both excellent amps. Cannot provide any advice to someone else in a vacuum. Try both if you can, only way to determine which would suit you better.
  19. I also have the TH500 and the D800. I agree with much of what has already been said, including that the Aguilar is generally thicker sounding and the Mesa generally cleaner. You do need to try them, even better if you can try them with the speaker(s) you intend to pair the amp with.

    I tend to use them for different purposes. The Tone hammer is good for vintage, fat, passive P bass sounds, and the Mesa good for active, modern J bass sounds and upright bass. Of course, you can use them however you want. I run both through Genzler cabinets and am happy with what I can get out of either. If pressed to get only one, I’d probably lean towards the D800, and then get the Tone Hammer preamp pedal so I could still get both sounds.
  20. Relsom

    Relsom Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2013
    The Old Dominion
    I found the TH500 rather difficult to dial in a sound that I liked. Sorry, but I don't remember exactly why. But the D800 was immediate and really satisfying. Great amp.