AI Coda vs Ten2 - what can I actually expect?

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by SteIIa, Jun 10, 2019.

  1. SteIIa


    Mar 5, 2018
    Hey folks,

    I'm looking to purchase an amp and, after much research, have decided on the Acoustic Image Coda OR the Ten2. Now, when it comes to figuring out the practical differences between the two, there's very little online that I've found (there's two old threads here and a video comparing and one or two articles, but that's about it). My question is not how they compare, but one of context: I am not a pro jazz bass player; I just sub in for sick or missing bassists in a few friends bands (wedding, churches, jazz bars - biggest band is b, p, d, s, t, tromb, v; others are a trio & quartet) once a week or so. I currently use existing bass gear but, as I just bought a new bass for my pleasure, I wanted to get my own amplification solution too.

    So then, what is the Coda capable of powering vs the Ten2? Could you give me concrete examples? If it will work in my situations should I just pick up the Coda, or should I just go for the Ten2 to 'future proof'? (And before you suggest I should try them both, I've already looked in my area, and apparently that's not an option.)

    Thanks so much!
  2. Michael Drost

    Michael Drost Supporting Member

    Oct 16, 2009
    Grand Haven, MI
    AI is discontinuing the Ten2. Look at the Doubleshot Combo. $1200 new and better than the Ten2 combo.
  3. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    Rick Jones has constantly worked on improving the sound of his speaker enclosures. While the Ten2 was quite an improvement over the original downfiring Contra, both of those cabinets

    had issues when you had to play louder IME. He's moved toward a different speaker placement with the Double Shot that's IMHO vastly superior to the earlier designs. Just my take.

    Having seen the different iterations of this design I think he's cracked the code this time. It took him a few years.
    Michael Drost likes this.
  4. james condino

    james condino Spruce dork Supporting Member Commercial User

    Sep 30, 2007
    asheville, nc
    While there have been many situations where I used one successfully, the coda is basically a small guitar amp; underpowered, whimpy, and breaks up too early for anything more than a quiet coffee house gig.

    The ten two is a much more versatile working bass players amp. Overall I think you would be better off getting a separate AI amp rather than a combo. That way you can use many different cabs. All of their combos allow you to remove the head and use it separate; there are a lot of other great cabs available today. Regardless of current production models, there is a thriving market in used AI equipment at very affordable prices.
  5. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I had a nice long conversation with Rick at ISB last week, and got to play the new Doubleshot combos more than once. I think he has found what he has been looking for with these and they will become the new flagship amp for AI. They have the advantage of the removable head that has plenty of power and that can be used with just about any cabinet, and they sound really great as is.

    They were ubiquitous at the convention, and I heard everyone from Ron Carter to Steve Bailey playing through them, with every single person sounding exactly like themselves.
    tombowlus and james condino like this.
  6. Pat Harris

    Pat Harris

    Nov 17, 2006
    Brighton, MI
    AI heads = awesome. Great tone, even better customer service. Can't go wrong.

    AI cabs leave a lot to be desired for me. I always had to use the high pass filter (pretty aggressively so) to eliminate the boom/bloom of the tone so that I could actually hear a usable pitch center. Admittedly, I haven't heard the Double Shot, but I used a Coda and Ten2 for years. "Transparent tone" doesn't necessarily square up with "usable tone for the bandstand and mix" from my experience. If you're looking for a "one ring to rule them all" cabinet solution that is still super portable, I don't think you can beat the MA Soundworks single 8'' cab and it's very comparable in price.
  7. neddyrow

    neddyrow Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2011
    Cortland, NY
    I'm always on the lookout for another 2-channel Ten2 head.

    i have one and love it! 2 channels, 900 watts, HPF, phantom power, 1/4" and xlr inputs plus effects. I use it for electric, upright and acoustic guitar. sounds great with many different cabinets.
  8. BobKay

    BobKay Supporting Member

    Nov 5, 2012
    Estero, Florida; USA
    I own a Coda (series 4) combo, and a Ten2 extension cab with the docking station. So in effect, I own both since the head swaps out. I bought the Ten2 specifically for playing loud, outdoor gigs. It works fine for that, but can sometimes be difficult to use in a room. Don't know why. I used the Coda for everything else, until I bought the Clarus SL (one channel), and the Upshot. That is now what I use the most. I usually can plug into the FOH system, so the Upshot is a monitor, plus adding a little bit from the stage area. The AI amps are all separate, so I could connect to any other cab, if I needed to. But that hasn't happened yet. If size/weight is important, then know that the Ten2 is 29 pounds by itself. But it does go plenty loud for anything I am into. The Clarus SL plus the Upshot and cables weights about 15+ pounds and all fits in a backpack.
    Chris Fitzgerald likes this.
  9. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    I own a Coda and also a Ten 2 extension cabinet.

    The Ten2 has a more "forward" sound because of the front firing woofer. It's also louder thanks to the extra woofer. Unlike some of the posts above, I have never had an issue with the Coda's volume and I've used it in some fairly loud bands...drums, electric guitars, etc. Admittedly the Ten2 might be even better for high volume gigs, in fact I use the Coda + Ten2 cab for things like playing outdoors when the bass is not DIed into the PA...but I like using the Coda by itself just fine.

    The DoubleShot and UpShot both have one serious's not available as a combo amp. Rick has apparently been working overtime trying to figure out how to deal with mounting a head (AI finally announced a mounting bracket for the Upshot cab), but what if you don't want to use a Clarus SL (it does lack a few features found on the Coda/Ten2) and want a true one piece solution. It may not be possible to make a true combo version of the Upshot or DoubleShot.
    Chris Fitzgerald likes this.
  10. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    @brianrost Rick is a pretty savvy guy, and I bet if anyone can figure out how to mount that head on there, it's him. I was thinking of getting one for fun, but would prefer that the whole thing be one piece, even if it was something as simple as a thumbscrew that held the head onto the Doubleshot.

    I actually MacGyvered a couple of amps together with a cinch strap back in the day so that I could use the Focus head with an EA 108 or a Wizzy 10 as a combo. I hate setups and teardowns on gigs!
    Ric Vice likes this.
  11. SteIIa


    Mar 5, 2018
    Thanks so much for the advice all. I'll definitely be looking into the DoubleShot with a Clarus head.
    DaveAceofBass likes this.
  12. Cheez


    Apr 13, 2009
    I use a Coda for small gigs, but for larger/louder needs I run either a 210 or 15 cab off the Coda extension out. Seems to have plenty of power.
    NG51 likes this.
  13. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri

    I have purchased many pieces of gear used, most recently a MAS powered 4x5.5 it was a great value for the price. If Acoustic Image stops building the Ten2 rest asured that Rick will continue to service them if they need repairs.
    He's still servicing the earliest Contras, from nearly 20 years ago. We're just starting to see the Series 4 Clarius + heads and Ten2's appear in the classifides. Folks who like AI amps tend to keep them a lot longer. From my experience
    hearing Ten2's at the preivious 3 ISB conventions, and elswhere, I think the Up Shot and especially the Double Shot cabinets really improves on the sound of AI's earlier efforts.
  14. DaveAceofBass

    DaveAceofBass Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2004
    Charlotte, NC
    I have had several AI amps over the years. The original Contra that looked like a Shop Vac, then a Coda, then a Ten2. The Coda wasn’t loud enough, so I went with the Ten2. It was too heavy and didn’t sound the way I wanted, but I kept the head portion and sold the cab and have been using the head with my Barefaced cabs which I love. That said, the DoubleShot has piqued my interest. Does anyone know if the Clarus head would fit on it using the rubber stoppers, or do you have to use the SL versions?
  15. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I asked Rick the same question about the Focus II, since I still have one of those as my backup amp. He said it would fit, but since it is bigger it would stick out farther forward and might tough the handle part, but that it should work.
    DaveAceofBass likes this.
  16. NG51

    NG51 Supporting Member

    Aug 19, 2010
    I use my Coda quite a lot. The amp super portable,is 2 channel and the head is removable. It easily handles most of my combo jazz gigs, but is not enough for my big band playing. I just remove the head, and use it with with my Schroeder cabs for that.Sounds great.
    A friend of mine had the Ten2, and he had the same problem. The Ten2 was certainly louder than the Coda, but still needed an extension cabinet for larger rooms and ensembles.
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2019
  17. I was wondering the same thing. I have a Focus 1 amp that I would like to use with the Doubleshot. I'd sure like to get a definitive answer from AI before ordering though.
  18. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    I own a MAS 1/8 and gig with it all the time. Since I was at the ISB convention last week, from what I was hearing out in the house the Double Shot is much different than the Contra or Ten2, and even the Upshot. Mind you I'm not selling my 1/8, but the Double Shot
    sounds great.
  19. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    @Ric Vice sorry I missed you at ISB...wish I had known you were there!
  20. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    No biggie, I had to leave on Friday Morning, due to commitments back in St. Louis. I have a regular show that always happens the weekend of ISB. Next time maybe, I''
    sub it out. I miss a lot of good stuff.
    Chris Fitzgerald likes this.