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AI Focus

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by NeedMoreBass, Jul 16, 2004.


  1. NeedMoreBass

    NeedMoreBass unregistered

    Feb 14, 2003
    I've had my Acoustic Image Focus over a week now and am amazed that there have been very few comments about this amazing amp. If you aren't familiar with it you need to check it out. It weighs 4 lbs and pumps out 600 watts @ 4 ohms. I've been playing WW amps for over 20 years and presently own 2 Ultras and each day that passes since I've owned the Focus it is becoming my favorite amp. Don't get me wrong, I love my WW, but there is something about the Focus that really gives me what I want in my tone. It also blew away my iAmp 800. I'm presently using it with either a EA VL108 or VL208 and it is punchy as all get out using a passive J Bass. It doesn't sound very good however with my CXL cabs and the WW does a better job with those, but the tone I'm looking for is in the Focus/VL combination. I imagine the Focus would also sound great with the Berg 12's and I'm anxious to check it out. I've started this post for other Focus users because I know you're out there. Chime in!!
     
  2. j.s.basuki

    j.s.basuki Supporting Member

    May 14, 2000
    asia/australia
    Which one do you have ? Focus 1,2 ,1R or 2 R ?
    Is it sound warmer than Clarus ? Thanks
     
  3. NeedMoreBass

    NeedMoreBass unregistered

    Feb 14, 2003
    I have the Focus I. I'd have to put them side by side to determine if it's warmer or not, but it is definitely a tighter punchier sound, yet still very warm.
     
  4. hensonbass

    hensonbass Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2004
    Atlanta, GA
    I played a show with my new Focus rig last night and the sound was so effortless I couldn't believe it.

    Here's the setup: I play an Eminence bass running into a K&K preamp (thanks to Bob G. for taking my bass to the next level) and out to a Whirlwind A/B box. The A side goes straight to the Focus low input. EQ is set flat. The B side goes to a Boss ME-50B effect unit and then into the effect return of the Focus. The cabinet I run through is a EA CX112L. On smaller gigs it's a Epifani 110UL.

    I've found a reverb setting that works great with bow playing. The frequency responce of the Me-50B takes away some of the scratchy sound of the bow so I like to use the B side exclusively when I play that style. However, with some other effects such as an octaver I like to blend the A and B side together for more punch. Try the octave up setting with the bow - it sounds like a french horn is playing along. The other cool feature of this setup is being able to switch to the b-side and tune silently with the ME-50B tuner function. ;)

    The Focus amp performed like a gem. I heard myself perfectly all night and many people in the audience were coming up saying how great they could hear me. How many times does that happen playing upright bass in a rock band? I wasn't turned up a third of the way either. I waited a long time for that amp and it was really worth it. :D

    My band Telegram will have a cool Quicktime movie next week on our website so you can get a vibe about what I'm talking about.

    www.telegrammusic.com
     
  5. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Anybody had a chance to compare a Focus and an iAmp800 side by side? I'd love to hear if the Focus is even close, especially for DB. Also, has anyone tried a Focus with an EA VL208? Please report in if so!
     
  6. I can't speak for the iamp, but my focus sounds great with my vl208. I've used my rig with my db and slab with good results. With db, its what you'd expect with a clarus/vl208 just potentially way louder.

    This probably doesn't apply to most here, but I sat in with a blues / classic rock band last weekend and my rig worked great. It had plenty of volume to compete with two guitarists with large amps and a drummer (ie stoopid loud - I was wearing my 25dB earplugs all night). The preamp and master controls were at 3oclock - probably near the limit, but it worked fine and the amp was just lukewarm after 4 hours... Kinda tripped out the rest of the guys in the band when they saw where all the sound was coming from.

    It seems to have a softer tone than the clarus (a good thing). Don't take my word on this. I haven't compared the focus and clarus back to back - just a feeling based on when I borrowed a clarus a few months ago.
     
  7. LowNote

    LowNote Supporting Member

    Jan 31, 2002
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    I own both a Walter Woods Ultra and a Focus 1R as well, and have been very pleased with the Focus. I find it to be warm, incredibly loud and very easy to use with the simple four-band eq. I've played it almost exclusively with upright--a Hatchez bass with Schertler StatB and an Eminence stock--through a Schroeder 1212. I haven't figured out the subtle differences yet between the two amps, but the Focus is right there in terms of quality. In spite of having owned the Woods for a couple of years, I still don't feel totally comfortable with operating the eq sections on it. I'm thinking that the Focus is likely going to supplant the Woods as my amp of choice, and if this happens, I'm going to sell the Woods to finance some of my other recent gear purchases. The Focus is a wonderful piece of gear and I highly recommend it. It also sounds wonderful with a Kubicki bass guitar that I use for rock gigs.

    Erik Hansen
    Los Angeles
     
  8. I've been using the Focus 1R now for two weeks at 6 gigs and several rehearsals, and I am very pleased with this unit. Powerful, warm, user friendly eq section. Definitely a keeper.
     
  9. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur GollihurMusic.com

    Mar 22, 2000
    New Joisey Shore
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music
    My iAMP 800 is over at our practice space, so I can't do a detailed a/b with my VL-208 cabs right now, but I promise I will.

    When I received the Focus 1R prototype, that was actually the first thing I did out in the garage. The iAMP 800 obviously has more power/headroom, but the Focus/two VL-208 cabs generated painful volumes rather quickly. I only played plank through the stack, but I didn't have to do any knob-twisting to compensate for any unexpected variables.

    My Clarus/Focus matchups have yielded basically the same character, just louder, and you may recall we did an iAMP350/Clarus1 a/b a couple years ago or so.
     
  10. I'm getting close to going for for a focus 2. Wonder if anyone can comment about the sound quality of the powered mic input channel. I am using the wonderful DPA 4021, a mic that needs phantom power which can be supplied by the focus 2 mic chanel. Am I still going to be better off adding a separate mic pre, or will this sound great direct?
     
  11. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    San Francisco, CA
    Chris, since you're a new iAmp800 owner if I'm not mistaken and not sure if it it's a worthwhile comparison, but have you been able or thought to A/B the iAmp vs. the Clarus? Yes I know that the wattage is much less on a Clarus, but can you comment the sound characteristically? I would think the Focus uses the same preamp as the Clarus and be somewhat similar, especially if BOB G says that the Focus is like the Clarus, but louder.
     
  12. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I think my Clarus might be a little ****ed up, since it is noisier than it used to be and makes this "windy howl" when you first fire it up. But even without that, the iAmp just blows the Clarus away. It's just cleaner in general, then it has a more versatile EQ and about 4 times as much power. But remember, I have one of the original run of Clarus amps, and don't know how much has changed since then.
     
  13. Wilbyman

    Wilbyman

    Sep 10, 2003
    Parkersburg, WV
    My Clarus (the original) did the same thing...it's just dirty inputs. It doesn't matter which is dirty, it will still make the sound because of the switching type amp section. Just get some contact cleaner from Radio Shack and you're good to go.

    I haven't used an IAmp, but I'd be really hard pressed to take something as big as an IAmp 800 to an upright gig when my Clarus (and HT112) sounds so good. Focus will be great for electric gigs...when I can afford it (damn you Madison Ave. Cartier Boutique, damn you straight to... :D ).

    Will
     
  14. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Will,

    Do you mean the spray stuff that's like a cold liquid that dries really fast? If so, should I just spray it into the 1/4" input jacks?
     
  15. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    San Francisco, CA
    Thanks Chris, I was just curious. I've had my eye on an iAmp500 and will probably make the plunge soon. A wizzy cab sounds interesting, but I might go ex-cab-a-mental and pair it with a GK 112MBX for an lightweight heavy hitter. Hopefully the fancy EQ will overcome potential metal-boxiness.

    I think WALLABYBOY is talking about a doo-hicky that has a brush and other stuff that's specific to cleaning out a 1/4 jack and the like. You prob need more than compressed air to clean out the jack since there's prob a little corrosion or something more than just navel lint.
     
  16. Wilbyman

    Wilbyman

    Sep 10, 2003
    Parkersburg, WV
    The stuff I bought at radio shack is labelled "contact/control cleaner and lubricant". It's in an aerosol bottle which you attach a little straw to. Just spray a little bit of it in the input (each one) and work your 1/4" jack around a little bit. They will get dirty again eventually, but that's what the howl is...it will be gone after you clean the jack.

    Anyhoo, good luck. Just got back from a gig and Underwood + Clarus + Berg works so great for me...though I have no doubt IAmp + CXL is good too.

    Will
     
  17. AMJBASS

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    It isn't a good idea to use the Radio Shack stuff. It is corrosive and will eat away at your boards. There are better products out there.
     
  18. Wilbyman

    Wilbyman

    Sep 10, 2003
    Parkersburg, WV
    "Nobody told me." I was lead to believe it was okay.
     
  19. Brennan

    Brennan

    Sep 29, 2004
    San Francisco
    I just sold all my heavy crappy sounding gear. One small rig (for the subway NYC). A med rig for clubs. And my big ol' loud sh--. I'm deciding between the Woods (not likely for finacial reasons) ,Focus, or I amp. I was a little concerned about the focus not sounding warm enough. I play an equal amount of electric as well. Also, It seems as though the focus would be good for travel. After checking in the coffin ther isn't much room. Thanks Geoff
     
  20. j.s.basuki

    j.s.basuki Supporting Member

    May 14, 2000
    asia/australia
    I have compared Focus and Clarus , they sound differently. Focus is warmer beside the head room. I tested with my Glock Acoustic Art cab ( most natural sound cab) and 2 pcs of Wayne Jones 2x10 ( most Hi Fi bass cab), Focus is just slightly less warmer than my Aguilar DB 680 n Demeter VTHM300tube amp. :) Now I am thinking of to get rid those heavy rig and be happy with Focus. :bassist: