Any Focus SA and Pod or other preamp users?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by SteveC, Nov 20, 2005.

  1. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    NE ND
    I am thinking of going back to a PodXT again. I like a small, light rig. I currently use an Eden WT550 and a Bergie HT112. I plan on keeping the Bergie and selling the Eden to buy a power amp. I am very interested in the AI Focus as it is about the same power as my Eden but at 1/4 the weight and an even smaller footprint.

    Anyone here use the Focus? How is it? Any complaints? Other issues?
  2. jsbarber


    Jun 7, 2005
    San Diego
    Steve - AI has just released, or is just about to release, version 3 of these amplifiers. You can still purchase version 2 I believe. So, you will need to qualify your responses in terms of which version people have...

    Bob Gollihur sells them at
    he would be a good person to talk to about these.

  3. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    NE ND
    I guess either the Focus SA II or III. I would probably go with a II since that's all the power I need and they are closing them out. More curious about how they function. I am used to Crown and QSC but want something smaller and lighter.
  4. brooklynbassguy

    brooklynbassguy Supporting Member

    Feb 8, 2004
    maplewood, nj, usa
    I just went from a BMAX-T and a QSC PLX 2402 to a Focus, not the one due out in a couple of weeks. It's not quite the same, but pretty, darn good. Best of all-5lbs! I can still play all my stuff and hear and feel my sound. Sometimes I use a DTar Solstice as a pre if I'm doubling, or need a good DI line. My cabs are a bag end 12 and 15, so I never used the QSC bridged, just one side. The volume and warmth are pretty close.
  5. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    NE ND
    I'm thinking the modeled preamps will add some"warmth" that may be missing.
  6. 7thbass


    Nov 21, 2003
    Houston, Tx
    I am not a fan of the pod, but judicious use of Sansamp may do the trick, and would make for a featherweight rig.
  7. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    NE ND
    I thought about a BDDI. I've had one before, but it doesn't seem to do it for me.
  8. burk48237

    burk48237 Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2004
    Oak Park, MI
    I came real close to going with a Focus/U5 rig but became less and less enamored with the light weight but two pieces concept. Be careful with the Focus, it's cool for a lot of things but with the exception of the WW most of those small switching power supply amps don't move air like something with a big transformer. Their is a tradeoff. If you want to punch someone "in the chest" with your sound they are not the ticket.
  9. I only use the sansamp to boost the signal for my MIA Jazz, so no eq unless absolutely necessary, and the SA is powering a 110UL/112UL combination at the present, but I also use 2 GS112s from time to time. I still don't understand the whole switching vs conventional transformer debate and I have owned other conventional power amps, but the little Focus absolutely KILLS. Bottom line is that it sounds great to me, it sounds great to my bandmates, and it sounds great to the audience. IMO, YMMV, etc.

    You'll get a fatter sound going directly into the SA but if you have a passive bass you may need a signal boost for band playing, such as from the SABDDI.
  10. Mark Gollihur

    Mark Gollihur Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 19, 2000
    Mullica Hill, NJ
    Owner/President, Gollihur Music LLC
    Last time I checked, we have exactly one Series II Focus SA left in stock; once it's gone, the Series III will be available in a couple weeks.
  11. Passinwind

    Passinwind I know nothing. Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    I use the Focus 1, not the SA. For EUB I use the built-in preamp, which sounds killer. For fretless BG I'm using this: Homebrewed Bass Preamp. I've used a number of other preamps with the Focus as well. Sometimes I put them inline, but generally I prefer using the EFX return, which bypasses the whole front end. But the EFX mixing capability is a nice bonus to having the Focus 1 instead of the SA, IMHO. I'd consider whether you might want to use a 4 ohm cab with the Focus though.
  12. I'm a long-time Clarus user and I recently picked up a Focus I (series II). It isn't an SA, but the regular Focus. I ran a BDDI into the effect return of the Clarus for a long time and it sounds pretty much the same way on the Focus. The BDDI can be tricky with active basses. I had to find a setting for the onboard preamp that I wouldn't have used "straight" but played well with the BDDI and still sounded good without it. With passives it was no big deal. For cabs I'm using an Epifani T112 and have a second one if I want to go big. I also have a Flite 112 and an Avatar 4 Ohm 2x10.

    The Avatar gives me a more aggressive sounding rig with not much more weight than the Epifani.

    I don't rely on the amp for whatever sound I'm trying to get, so an amp like the Clarus/Focus is perfect for me. I either want to hear my bass, or the effects/preamp. The Focus turned out to be just what I wanted. It pushes and 8 Ohm cab the way a Clarus pushes a 4 Ohmer. And it pushes the 4 ohm stack of both T112s without ever sounding starved or weak.