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AI Clarus SL-- HOLY ****!!!!

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by MikeBass, Apr 20, 2004.

  1. MikeBass

    MikeBass Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2003
    Royal, Oak, MI.
    Walter Woods may be out of a job soon.
    Played thru the new (ser #0002) Clarus SL today.
    Sounds stinkin' great and 40 oz!!!!!!! Yes, 2lbs, 8oz.
    And like 250watts @ 4 Ohms, 300@2Ohms.
    I've used direct boxes bigger than this thing!!
    Played it thru a Epifani 310 with a MTD 535 and Curbow Petite Retro 5.
    It took just everthing I threw at it and did not give in.
    Real clear and clean (like AI is known for) and the response is super fast.
    www.lowdownsound.com for some pics/details.

    I'll post more as I'm gonna be taking it for a gig test run for the guys soon. (Wanna see how it holds up to three 45 min sets with my funk band).
  2. NeedMoreBass

    NeedMoreBass unregistered

    Feb 14, 2003
    I'm planning on ordering the new 600 watt AI coming out next month, but I don't think Walter is worried about his job. His amps still sound better.
  3. bassmanjones


    Feb 23, 2002
    Boston, MA
    Now I have to admit, that's really freakin cool!!! Too bad the price is stupidly ridiculous on it. I mean, sure you can now carry your amp in your overcoat pocket but $900 bucks??? sheesh
  4. MikeBass

    MikeBass Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2003
    Royal, Oak, MI.
    I don't agree nor disagree about his amps sounding better or worse than AI's amp. Bottom line: You'll always sound like yourself no matter what you play through.
    And IMO, his amps sound great, but not any better than the AI amps I played through. Both clean accurate sounding amps.
    But up until now, no one had a sub 10lb amp to go toe-to-toe with the WW.
    AI is steppeing up to the plate and killing WW in the price dept.
    Again, it's what you prefer sound wise, and I've played them side by side (albeit 1000watt Woods vs. Clarus) and yes there is a sound/tone difference (head room maybe??) and your opinion says the Woods "Still sounds better".
    Pretty generic statment, like saying XXX bass sounds better than YYY bass.
    Cool ;)
    I used the WW Ultra High powered one on a gig, freakin' great. And from my first impressions of the new AI, I'm sure it will perform smokin' as well. We'll see :)

    Walter may not be worried, but maybe he should be to a degree, based on his long as hell wait, price and horror stories I've heard about some orders not being delivered. So an alternative is finally available that is in the exact market the he, currently alone, is/was in. (If you ever talked to Walter, then you know he, more-than-likely, couldn't care squat about AI) To his advantage, his phone may stop ringing as much and he can build more amps!!

    And I too have been awaiting the 600 watt AI. Everything a WW is and half the price :hyper:
  5. MikeBass

    MikeBass Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2003
    Royal, Oak, MI.

    Anyone wanna clue bassmanjones in on what a Walter Woods costs?!?!
    Damn near double. I believe (someone chime in here with the prices) but the 450watt Woods is around $1800. The 1200 watt around $2200. Both aprox 7 lbs.

    Yeah, it may be alot ($900 for the AI) but in that catagory of amps (ultra light weight) it's not bad.
  6. bassmanjones


    Feb 23, 2002
    Boston, MA
    About the price issue. I've played AI and I've played WW and, IMO, a Clarus ain't no Woods...not even close in the tone department. Woods are warm and natural sounding, closer to the actual sound of the instrument. AI's to my ears are pretty harsh and brittle with horribly voiced mids. Maybe they're better for acoustic bass which is what they were originally targeted at, but I've never heard one in that context in person.

    There's a reason Walter can charge, and people are ready and willing to shell out $2k+, because they just sound that good.

    Edit: A clarus is nice. $500 nice which is fair for what it is. Unless this newer version sounds better, it's just a smaller version of a head that I'm not to fond of the sound. But, regardless, a 300 watt 2 lb head is still really really cool!!! :D
  7. NeedMoreBass

    NeedMoreBass unregistered

    Feb 14, 2003
    Ditto! :bassist:
  8. MikeBass

    MikeBass Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2003
    Royal, Oak, MI.
    Different strokes.
    Could it be the other way around? The AI is more natural sounding, less colored?
    Whatever, the reason we have this forum is to share our opinions, ours in this case, are different. :) But I'm gonna try the WW vs. the new AI again to see if I come up with results closer to yours. Never know :meh:

    The AI is a great sounding amp, and when the 600 watt version is out, whoa!

    Also comparing a Ultra High Power Woods to the Clarus, the difference in head room is more than enough to play a big factor in the tone. But to my ears, it wasn't that significant. At least not enough to justify IMO a long delivery time and more than double the price.

    To some it may, but, you'll always sound like yourself no matter what you play through in most cases.
    Not saying that I have "My tone" or whatever, but I always end up sounding like I did before weather it's through a WW, Eden, SWR, Demeter, AI, Kern whatever. And for the most part, it's always pretty damn close to what it was before :smug:
    Would I have the same luck with say a $100 Crate, or Berringer amp? Maybe, but when you step up to higher end stuff, what you put in counts a whole lot more. But, no matter what you do, a Peavey TNT 150 will not sound like my Epifani 310UL & Eden TT 330. (And I like my TT330 :spit: )
  9. NeedMoreBass

    NeedMoreBass unregistered

    Feb 14, 2003
    Don't get me wrong, the AI is a good head. I'm always looking for the ultimate small rig and I think the 600 watt version along with a couple of EA Wizzy cabs would be a great portable 600 watt rig. More power and less weight than the Wizzy combo. I like the AI mainly because it would be a little more portable than the WW because it is lighter plus I don't have to carry a DI box which adds another couple of pounds along with the added bulkiness and cords that go with it. The 600 watter is also supposed to be lighter than the Clarus.

    That being said the AI still does not have the dynamic tonal quality of the WW. Yes, it is more money(Walter's 450 watt 2 channel model is $350 more than the AI 600 single channel which is 400 watts @ 4 ohms) and you have to wait for one as opposed to buying the AI off the shelf, although the wait time for an Ultra is not as long as rumor has it. His other models do take longer because there is not the demand for them so Walter concentrates his time on the Ultra. I'm glad AI is in the small amp arena and I'm looking forward to the new model as I always liked the ones I've owned for what they are and for the price. It is however hard to justify paying over $300 more for the SL which pretty much is the same power as the Clarus for 2.5lbs difference.
  10. abaguer


    Nov 27, 2001
    Milford, NJ
    I've got the Clarus and the WW ultra high and the WW does sound much better probably because of the headroom. But for small upright gigs I don't even consider taking WW because the Clarus does such a great job. They are basically transparent amps so it's you that comes out in the mix, it's just a matter of volume for me and sensitivity of speaker.
  11. On the tone issue of the AI, I am of the opinion that it is your whole set up - bass amp and cabs + how your play - that dictates the sound you get out of any amp.

    I use an fretless 7 string Sei bass, AI, Epifani. As I was finishing tuning up prior to a gig a couple of weeks ago another bass player walked in to the pub. Out of habit, at the end of each tune up, I play each open string in turn. The other bass player was at the bar getting a drink and when he heard the open string notes being played, he turned round and came straight over to compliment me on the sound of my gear.

    I have also had similar things said about the tone of my Ken Smith fretted through the same rig.

    As has been already said, I would probably sound fairly similar through most amps but I would say that for me the AI is neither harsh or brittle. It is just a clean open sound that will reproduce what is going in to it without colouration. If you need more growl or dirt then a Sans Amp stomp box will add that for you.

    I think the AI is a brilliant amp for its cost/weight/sound/power etc and one which people should try before writing it off.

    I am a very happy user.

  12. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Just goes to show there is no PERFECT amp and never will be.

    I wish my WW had an XLR DI, a 10Mohm input impedance and didn't make funny noises through the speaker when turning on and off, I wish there was a Clarus model with two instrument channels (hey I wish ALL bass amps had two channels), I wish both WW and AI had phase inverting and mute switches, etc.
  13. MikeBass

    MikeBass Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2003
    Royal, Oak, MI.
    Well, they do offer a Clarus with 2 channels (and also reverb if you want it) and it doesn't have a phase invert switch, it does have a pretty good notch filter to kill feedback and such.
    Doesn't WW offer a DI?? I swear I've seen them with a DI before.
  14. basss


    Aug 27, 2001
    Is $900 the street price of this amp. If not what are they going for?
  15. pjhandlin

    pjhandlin Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2002
    Grand Rapids, MI
    ... if I were to compare these two amps on sonic characteristics:

    Like abaguer I own and use both the WW Ultra and older model Clarus. I would agree exactly with his comment that both are extremely transparent, and that the Woods offers much more dynamic/headroom while playing louder electric gigs.

    I too amlost always take my Clarus to small jazz hits if there is an acoustic feel and no other sound reinforcment is happening. But I generally favor the Woods for my jazz/pop/rock-requests band which accounts for the large majority of my gigs. It offers two inputs for running both my URB and electric, and it has more headroom that offers awesome punch, slam, dub, bite, rumble and anything else that I can creatively and technically muster on the spot. The Clarus does do all of the above but cannot reproduce fully all of these contrasts like the Woods while playing at gigging volume, through my gear. I would suspect due to the headroom issue.

    I percieve that the Woods seems to enhance my playing experience overall, helping me to be more creative and to enjoy in the process.

    Then again, my brain knows that I paid over four times as much for the Woods (disclaimer).
  16. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    One channel is a MIKE channel. I want two instrument channels.
  17. bmc


    Nov 15, 2003
    I know it's another piece of gear, but the Sadowsky Preamp/DI floor model has a mute swtich with is great for tuning and/or changing basses mid set.
  18. MikeBass

    MikeBass Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2003
    Royal, Oak, MI.

    They have a channel for ME?!?!?!?!?!?!!!! :D
  19. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts

    The whole point is why do I need to carry even more gear? Defeats the point of a tiny amp.

    I can get by without a mute, I just turn down the volume knob. I can get by without an XLR out by carrying a DI box. My Fishman preamp gives me phase inversion and 10Mohm input impedance but I wish I could leave it at home when I use my WW.


    That's what I meant when I said there is no perfect amp. The WW and Clarus are real darn close but they each lack one or two features...it's enough to drive you nuts.


    WW does not offer an XLR out as a standard feature at this time, I'm not even sure if he will do it as a custom option any more. He does provide a pre/post EQ direct out but it's 1/4" :rolleyes:
  20. Jerry Ziarko

    Jerry Ziarko Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    Rochester, NY
    I disagree! The next amp we convince ourselves we need, always seems to be the perfect one!! :D

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