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AI Focus 1

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by MikeBass, Jan 1, 2006.

  1. MikeBass

    MikeBass Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2003
    Royal, Oak, MI.
    I used a Focus 1 last night (NYE gig) and pushed the snot out of it at times and it never even got real hot. No noticed loss of low end either as some state may happen.
    Used a Lakland 55-94 and early 70's Jazz with a Demeter EQ pedal engaged. And a LDS UL-212.
    At times there may have been an octive pedal and/or a envelope follower going as well.
    The little thingy roared!!! May have to pick one of these little suckers up to use so I don't have to lug around my Demeter/Carver rack anymore!

    It rocked!!! It's on my short list of must haves!
  2. Matt Morgan

    Matt Morgan Fellow Conspirator Supporting Member

    Oct 21, 2001
    Plano, TX
    Was it the new Series III (800w @ 4ohms)? That's my top pick right now for a new amp. 800w @ 4 ohms or 1000w @ 2 ohms and less than 5 lbs.
    I'd really like to hear more about your thoughts on the Focus tone compared to the Demeter pre.
  3. Reefer

    Reefer Guest

    Mar 9, 2003
    I've compared the two and to be honest the tone of the AI is not in the same league as the Demeter. The AI is a great upright amp, but I think you'll find among many AI users that it is not a great amp for electric. You might consider the MarkBass amps instead.
  4. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PHL
    i love my little focus. stick it in the front pocket of my gig bag, and i'm ready to go.

    IMHO, there's nothing like it on the market. course, there's walter woods, but that's a walter woods. ;)
  5. Loel

    Loel Blazin' Acadian

    Oct 31, 2004

    +1 on LM11
  6. Matt Morgan

    Matt Morgan Fellow Conspirator Supporting Member

    Oct 21, 2001
    Plano, TX
    I'm using an EA Iamp800 right now and previously used a Demeter VTBP-201S.
    I'm looking for something with the same (or better) power as the Iamp but a little warmer tone.
    I'm considering the AI Focus III, the new Eden WT800B, and a few others. The Eden is as heavy (26lbs) as I'm willing to go, so I'm looking for something on the light side.
    I may look into the Mark Bass amps having seen the variety of posts here about them.
    I've read a variety of posts here from TBers who use the AI Focus with electric with great success.
    Too much good stuff out there these days! Bergantino IP series, new Schroeder Lights coming out soon, AI Focus III, MarkBass.....
  7. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PHL
  8. Matt Morgan

    Matt Morgan Fellow Conspirator Supporting Member

    Oct 21, 2001
    Plano, TX
    I have considered the WT1205 (1200w @ 4ohms) but if I do go Eden, I think the 800B would be more appropriate for me. I don't need two channels or the footswitch and it only puts out 100w more than the 800B.

    I'm still interested in hearing more about the Focus III if anyone else has experience with it with electric.

    I'll most likely be pairing it with a new Schroeder 21012 or 410 Light when they become available.

    This should cut my total rig weight down to around 57 lbs. (currently 109 lbs.) and should still be able to compete with two guitars, drummer and vocals.
    I'm wondering if the Focus III will have what it takes to really make the Schroeder perform.
  9. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PHL
  10. Matt Morgan

    Matt Morgan Fellow Conspirator Supporting Member

    Oct 21, 2001
    Plano, TX
    I've done a lot of reading, research and emailing here on TB and on the Eden forum site.
    The WT800B was specifically redesigned to be capable of bridging at 4 ohms and also has an improved cooling system as well. That was the big make-over for the amp and the subsequent 'B' designation.
    It is still a pretty solid 26lbs but the 1100w into a Schroeder is seriously tempting.
    There are several TBers that have the new 'B' version and have been using them into 4 ohms cabs.

    Back to the original topic: I really would like to know how the new Focus III cranks! I emailed AI concerning the power rating on the new Focus III and they replied that it may actually be closer to 1000w at 4 ohms when driven with a "musical instrument" level signal instead of a test tone, whatever that means.
    According to Bob Gollihur, his opinion was that the Iamp800 had just a little more power on tap at the absolute limits of volume on both amps. At the "stupid and unnecessary volume" level as he put it.
    I use the "active" input on my Iamp, gain set at about 7 and have yet to turn up past 6 on the master before my band mates are telling me that I'm killing them.
    I still wonder about the "peak" capabilities of the AI versus an amp with a toroidal transformer. For transients and heavy hits, it's nice to know you've got some power in reserve to tap into.
    Choices, choices....
  11. fretlessrock

    fretlessrock Supporting Member

    Aug 8, 2002
    I have been using a Clarus for years and a Focus I for the past few months. It is a great head for electric bass. The Focus I (Series II) into a 4 ohm 2x10 is pretty freakin loud. I have gigged mine with a Epifani NYC 112, Epi NYC 210, and Avatar 210, and it works great. Plenty of volume, headroom, and the simple tone stack makes life easy. I like the tone from my bass and pedalboard, and the Focus makes that come out of my cabs.

    I don't see the Series III being a whole lot different. More power and a different case, but it should be the same deal. If you liked the SII then the SIII should be just that much mo better.
  12. Reefer

    Reefer Guest

    Mar 9, 2003
    I highly suggest you play through a AI Focus before you consider buying one. I found the power rating WAY overrated. When a 120 watt SWR Electric Blue can blow it away(as I have personally experienced), I have a hard time believing the specs on the AI's.
  13. basss

    basss Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2001
    I've had a Focus SA for several months (now for sale) and a Focus III for about a month. I don't think the power ratings are overrated. I've done a couple outdoor gigs with the SA and a Schroeder 1212 and was plenty loud - and I like a pretty fat sound.

    The focus III is very nice and the descriptions from owners of the focus II posted here fit with my experience with it. I haven't had it out on any really loud rock gigs yet but I think it will be fine. I like a warm, clear and true sound and thats what the focus gives me.
  14. Not true... I have a Focus 2 (series 2 - 600w into 4ohm) and it will rattle your teeth.

    If I'm using my P or J, I run it though a Sansamp... it's a great rock and roll amp.
  15. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    My quest for small, portable, light and loud led me to AI. I am using a Focus SA amp with a BDDI and a Bergie HT112 cab. I love it. Great for electric bass. My rig is 45 pounds and fits in a briefcase. It takes up about 1.5 square feet on stage, and kicks butt.
  16. Matt Morgan

    Matt Morgan Fellow Conspirator Supporting Member

    Oct 21, 2001
    Plano, TX
    I think I'm going to have to order a Focus III from our beloved Mr. Gollihur and give it a whirl.
    I'm sure it's not the amp for everyone but from most comments it seems to be what I'm after:

    Light - 4.5 lbs.
    Loud - 800w @ 4 ohms
    Tone - clear, accurate, warm
    Simple - uncomplicated EQ, plug and play

    Sorry to all for hi-jacking the thread but I've been looking for some input on the new Focus for a while.
    Thanks to all and keep it coming!
  17. I must admit, I was a little cautious but.. I went for it and never looked back.

    You won't be disappointed.
  18. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PHL
  19. brooklynbassguy

    brooklynbassguy Supporting Member

    Feb 8, 2004
    maplewood, nj, usa
    I have a Focus, and one of the earliest clarus amps. My wife is a keyboard player and uses the clarus all the time. I use it occasionally with electric and upright. I find using a BBE Sonic stomp pedal, makes for a great electric sound...
  20. MikeBass

    MikeBass Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2003
    Royal, Oak, MI.
    I played the MarkBass amps. Nice, but a pain to get here in the States right now.
    As for the Focus 1 I used (600 watts). It's a series II model as they came out when the series II amps were being built.
    Also, when we demo-ed it next to the new 800 watt Focus 1 Series III, it sounded warmer to a bunch of us. Don't know why but it did/does. Anyone else notice this???

    My usual "big" amp is an old Demeter 1 1/2 rack VTBP201 with a Carver PM900 power amp. My "small" amp is an Eden TT330.
    Now the AI isn't as warm or plush sounding as the Demeter or even as warm as the Eden, but it was very true and, well....focused. :)
    I didn't notice the "lack" of warmth or tube-ness I get from my Demeter. But what I did notice was how well that little sh1t kicker cut thru on the stage on a large room with basicly little PA support for the bass. Some bass in the Mackie mains (2 per side- no subs).

    LDS UL212 cab on the gig.
    Fishbones in Greektown-Detroit, BTW.

    I did have my Demeter BEQP (3 band EQ pedal) on with the bass and treble at about 2 o'clock and the mids flat. I ran the amp flat as well. Nothing boosted or cut on my Lakland (55-94 with the Seymore Duncans) and my Jazz is passive (darn near 20 year old Bartolini's in it).

    Some folks stated that they noticed a loss of low end when the AI stuff is pushed hard and maybe even an overall loss of the low end "luster".
    I didn't notice it at all. But then again my approach is a tad different than most I think. Big blossoming low end is nice when your playing by yourself. But in a live context, all it does is muddy up the stage and get in the way. I like tight, punchy, well defined low end and not a pillow-y booming bottom. Good on hookers-not on bass!! ;) A few years of touring on big and small stages will beat you up rather quickly in your tone dept!!

    A few of the guys here have heard me play and kinda know what I go for tone wise (Burk, KJung & Vision to name a few-Joker go talk to Scott!) so this post will make a lot of sense to them knowing where I'm coming from.

    Slight changes in right hand position and attack were noticed right away and a lot of subtle things I do really came thru. I'm not saying this doesn't happen with my current rig(s), it does, but it was a bit more apparent with the AI. I guess quicker would be a better way to describe it. And very "true" sounding as well.

    It's really hard to judge someone's opinion on the boards here unless you know their playing style and have heard them in context. Or for that matter, if they are a hack with a boat load of money to own the best of the best gear wise, and really can't play squat. I know of a few guys here that can't play their way around simple blues, but speak liked seasoned pros because they have nice gear and can afford it. Some of that dough they spend on gear should be spent on lessons or a Mel Bay book.

    Trust me, one guy here is held in VERY high regard because of his gear list, and if you heard him play, your opinion would change. Quickly. Very quickly. :bag:

    Oops!! sorry for the slight rant!!

    So take what I say with a grain of salt. Pretty much once you plug in and start playing, your going to sound like you as long as the piece of gear your playing thru is decient.
    I sounded like I usually do. Which to me is cool ;) But the best part was when I had to load out at the end of the night. My Demeter/Carver rig got killed in this dept!!!! :D

    Try one yourself. I think it's a great amp. Next to an Eden by it's self, it sounds not as big or warm, but on the gig (where it matters) it roared just as well as my other amps. I would have zero issues making it my primary amp. And I may!!
    Again, the AI is on my "short" list, and the fact that they don't make the Series II and a lot of folks are jumping to the Series III amps, these should start hitting the used market at some good prices.
    SWEET!! :hyper: