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ai amps, not for everyone

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by Marc Piane, Aug 25, 2004.


  1. Marc Piane

    Marc Piane

    Jun 14, 2004
    Chicago
    I tried my friend's ai contra at a gig the other night and couldn't get a sound I liked. I currently use a Realist with a SWR WM10. I really like the sound I'm getting. I was hoping to upgrade but the ai had a really midrange heavy sound for my taste. Any thoughts?
     
  2. The down-firing Contra will couple with the floor, and sound boomy or muddy - especially if the floor or stage is "sprung". This can be alleviated by tilting the cab back slightly by using a book or a small block of wood under the front edge of the cab. Also see other threads about the AI Contra.

    - Wil
     
  3. ctxbass

    ctxbass Supporting Member

    Nov 6, 2003
    Central Texas
    I tried the Clarus head with my Acme B-1 and just didn't hear what I wanted to. I bypassed the Clarus preamp, plugged my Demeter preamp into the return loop, and there was "the sound".

    I really, really wanted to like the Clarus (four pounds, the size of a book, who wouldn't) but the preamp section didn't work for me. I'll continue to lug a small rack bag with the Demeter and a Stewart power amp.
     
  4. Marc Piane

    Marc Piane

    Jun 14, 2004
    Chicago
    Maybe it is the preamp. I just found it to have a very nasally sound with my setup. The guy I borrowed the amp from has a Wilson pickup and it sounds good (though I'm not crazy about the sound of that pickup). The WM10 just seems to have more body. I want something a bit more powerful, yet small. Any suggestions? I've heard good things about the GK150 whatever little combo.
     
  5. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    I would go with the Clarus head and a high quality 12" cabinet. If you require tone shaping, you will need to get a pre-amp to dial in the sound that you want because the Clarus EQ is a bit on the mild side.
     
  6. AMJBASS

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    If you are playing a mix of bass guitar and double bass, I think your best bet would be a Euphonic Audio iAMP. They have a flat response, and are very clear. An extremely versatile EQ section as well. If you are playing mostly Double Bass, I think the AI equipment is hard to beat. They give you a flat voicing. What you put in is what you get out.
     
  7. christ andronis

    christ andronis

    Nov 14, 2001
    Chicago
    I've got a '99 Andrew Stroetter 3/4 (thanks to alot of good people in this forum, we've discerned that it's ALOT like a Strunal 5/35) In any case, I have a Realist p/u into an AI Contra. For the longest time I've not liked the sound....way too dark and muddy. However, last week I bought a Tube Studio MP V3 preamp and I run my UB into it and the preamp into my effects return on the Contra. Voila...no more mud. I'm doing a big band gig in a week or so and THAT will be the telltale sign of whether this is going to work. Like someone said before, the size and weight of the AI mazke it a great amp to have to schlep around....but not at the expense of my sound. I'll keep you posted.
     
  8. Randy Ward

    Randy Ward Formally Known As Univac Jr. Supporting Member

    This seems to be what I've found as well. I am thinking of writing them and suggesting they offer a 'power only' version of the focus. Everyone I know who is happy with it is bypassing the AI pre amp
     
  9. LowNote

    LowNote Supporting Member

    Jan 31, 2002
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    In defense of AI--I've owned a Contra, a Clarus (just sold) and now a Focus--I wouldn't necessarily blame a muddy boomy sound on the pre-amp section of the Clarus. I've found that it is much more a function of the pickup and the particular bass. While I know that lots of people have had good luck with the Realist, and the modifiied Realist that is on my Eminence sounds fine through the AI gear, a Realist on my Hatchez carved bass sounded like total crap. Just like posted above, it was muddy and dark and boomy. The only way I could get any kind of acceptable sound was to turn the bass control and mid controls almost totally off, and even then it didn't sound very good.

    Once I took the Realist off and replaced it with a Schertler StatB, the sound through the AI gear became absolutely beautiful--accurate, not boomy, woody and natural. I continue to get compliments on my amplifed sound, and have had no trouble with getting a good natural sound out of AI amps. While there is nothing wrong with carting around a preamp to use with the AI gear, I've never wanted to do that since I've found it is just one more thing to carry, leave behind and service. I like my rig to be as simple as possible. You might also spend some time experimenting with which one of the two input jacks on the AI basses results in the best sound for your particuar instrument and pickup.

    For bass guitar, the Focus is also incredible--loud, warm and sort of tubey--I'm not sure yet if I'm going to begin the use the Focus instead of my WW Ultra, and I need more gig experience with both amps before I know the real nature of the Focus.

    Erik Hansen
    Los Angeles
     
  10. ctxbass

    ctxbass Supporting Member

    Nov 6, 2003
    Central Texas
    IMHO the beauty of the double bass is the acoustic sound. We each hear a sound, so we choose different basses and different strings to express ourselves. Choosing an amp is an extension of this. Definitely not "one size fits all".