Ashdown 500 vs. EA 600

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Larry Kaye, Dec 26, 2001.

  1. Larry Kaye

    Larry Kaye Retailer: Schroeder Cabinets

    Mar 23, 2000
    Cleveland, OH
    Assuming one can purchase either used right now for between $800 and 900 in equal shape, which one might any of you get and why?

    The main thing about the EA for me right now is it's about 8 to 10 lbs lighter, has what seems to fairly equivalent tone shaping wise but doesn't include the sub harmonic, has slightly, very slightly more power RMS and substantially more peak, and has a built in tuner and some nice extras like the input for my cd player and a headphone jack so I don't disturb my neighbor's or my wife, and, I pre-apologize to all you Brits, it's USA assembled.

    However, my only experience with EA amps was 2 short sessions at Bass Central two years ago and at Club Bass a year ago when I was more interested in the bass and cabinets I was trying out. Regarding the Ashdown, I've played on their small combo amp with both a 12 and a 15, but not with my bass!!

    Any input based on your hands on use of either of these heads would be appreciated. Please include what cabinets you're using and the bass if you don't mind, along with yours or your band's style of playing or general musical genre.

    Sorry to be so demanding!!

  2. boogiebass


    Aug 16, 2000
    I recently sold an EA 600 for several reasons. It seemed to run out of gas REAL fast above 12 o'clock. It also had the noisiest effects loop I've ever encountered on a high-end amp; the hum was unacceptable with every outboard device I tried and, no, it was NOT simple ground loops. When I called the company, they basically shrugged and told me, in essence, "some stuff hums." They never took any responsibility for the equipment being the problem. I dumped that sucker quick. Resale is nice on 'em, however. That was the good news for me.

    Sonically, it sounded decent at lower volume levels driving an Eden D410XLT. It was clean, almost squeakily so. I used it for one gig. Sorta heavy for its power rating compared to an Eden WT800, on the other hand. And I greatly prefer the Eden.

    No experience with the Ashdown.

    I play what is generally referred to as "classic rock." Bar band music for dancing, in other words.
  3. Larry Kaye

    Larry Kaye Retailer: Schroeder Cabinets

    Mar 23, 2000
    Cleveland, OH
    I just responded to the other post on EA iamp's. I'm feel that 600 watts with 2 inefficient EA 208's may not be enough power for me, not in overall volume but in headroom and punch.

    The sunn 1200 S I have with the speakers just kicks absolute butt in both areas, but a lightweight "tone machine" it's not. I can't use it on it's own without outboard EQ help. Then I need the power conditioner to plug it, the Eq, and other stuff into and a rack and viola, I have a 60 pound lugging shlep.

    I've used the Aguilar 359 (heavy heavy and more heavy, light for a tube amp or not!!), Eden, and SWR amps in the past all of which also requires the above EQ/rack extra's just to get the sound that both I'm and my band mates are both confortable with and expecting of me live.

    Any lightweight suggestions that won't break the bank or the back? ..... $1200---preferrably no rack needed, under 35 pounds ringing wet?

  4. boogiebass


    Aug 16, 2000
    Not sure such a beast exists. The kicker is the 35 pound limit. My lightweight/high headroom rig is an Eden WT800 in a 4-space SKB Roto rack with Korg tuner and Fuhrman power conditioner. Mono bridged into an 8 ohm Eden D410XLT, it gets the job done. Absolutely no EQ issues at all. Not sure what it weighs but it's more than 35 pounds, I imagine.
  5. Larry Kaye

    Larry Kaye Retailer: Schroeder Cabinets

    Mar 23, 2000
    Cleveland, OH
    What is your application? How loud is your band? Is your Eden 410xlt 8 ohms or 4?

    What do you mean by "run out of gas? at 12:00? That Eden cabinet is a 600 watt or 800 watt cabinet. If it's an 8 ohmer and you're running only 350 watts from the EA iAmp, my guess is that it wouldn't have enough headroom/power for that cabinet and it would likely run outta gas!!

    Let me know some details. Every time I've gone from one cab at 8 to 2 cabs at 4 ohms, the volume has more than doubled with these EA cabs. You know all the reviews of EA's and Acme's say don't bother to get just one!!

    Talk at you and thanks for the advice. I'm trying to weed it down to some very basic things right now. The WT800 with your cab is 800 watts bridge mono vs the EA's 325-350. There's no way to legitimately compare these two heads that way, BUT what you said is important if I'm only running one cab at 8 ohms, the EA head may not be the ticket unless it's only a moderate volume gig.

  6. boogiebass


    Aug 16, 2000
    The 410XLT that I ran alone with the 600 was 4 ohms so I got the full pop. "Run out of gas at 12 o'clock" means that with the master above 12 o'clock the thing didn't have much left.

    I'm not comparing a WT800 bridged into an 8 ohm 410XLT with a 600 and anything, just giving you an example of a lightweight/high power/high headroom rig I often use. Tonewise, however, the Eden kills the EA for my taste. The EA was way too "clinical" sounding while the Eden has balls and warmth.

    As I said in the other thread, I play "classic rock" (whatever that is). The band is a trio and is moderately loud. Current guitarist runs through a Mesa Boogie Mark III. We mostly play ratty little beer bars with an occasional larger room and the odd restaurant and Moose lodge.

    Good luck.

    PS: The Eden D410XLT is actually rated at 700 watts.
  7. Larry Kaye

    Larry Kaye Retailer: Schroeder Cabinets

    Mar 23, 2000
    Cleveland, OH
    No doubt there are a lot of people who don't "like" the flat tone that's EA's "signature". The EA's, both heads and cabs, don't sound like the Edens/SWR's and it takes a little time to "get used to it." It took me over a year to really appreciate the cabs.

    That's what your review sounds like to me. For a classic rock band, (sorry if I didn't see that in your previous posts....I tend to have selective seeing and reading abilities!!), you're absolutely right in hearing the tone being 'sterile' if their heads are anything like their cabinets.

    I used to also play more 70's/80's classic rock with a four piece band, as recently as 3 or 4 years ago, (the music hasn't changed, the equipment has slightly!!), and was using a GKRB2000 head with two SWR Goliath Jr's and a 210XLT in some sort of combination with a Stingray 5 and a newer Jazz Deluxe. For that band, it worked except in places that were extremely rumbly. I only had two tones I used, one for "Alright Now" and one for the rest of the songlist!

    For what I've been doing the past 4 years almost now, an 8 piece horn band with some serious harmony to boot, and since I first got 3 EA 110 cabinets to replace the above and have consequently gone to 2 208's instead, a different set of tones became necessary. Each gig's setlist and styles can be entirely different from the last gigs. Each set can be a mixture of totally different styles and songs. To complicate things even more, the rooms we play in are all acoustically challenged in some way.

    I felt I needed cabinets, a head, and frankly a bass, that offered the maximum amount of versatility vs the price and weight, but were as "uncolored" as possible in the flat mode so that only slight tweaking of the bass would take care of 95% of any adjustments.

    My current head, a Sunn 1200 S has a lot of features like a graphic, high and low compression, a compression balance and volume adjustment control?, that I really use to make my sound what it is, BUT, the amp set flat sounds like crapola. It is colored too midrangy which, again only an opinion, with the EA 208's already having more audible midrange than most two way cabinets, really really sounds crappy. I use a 31 band graphic to smooth out the midrange from the Sunn. What it does have is power to spare as I mentioned to you and some added weight due to it and needing a bigger rack to house all the extra BS I need to make my sound palatable.

    I tried a GK1001RB yesterday at GuitarCenter and didn't like it, so there goes my best "cheapo" alternative, if $700+ is cheap for a head!!! Guess so huh? I can get the iAmp 600 for $800-850 used. I generally don't like the tone of Eden and SWR heads and feel I'll still need my graphic to make it happen. That could easily be the case for the iAmp but, who knows!! The other thing is that I have a 4 ohm load. None of the Edens bridge at 4 ohms, therefore, I won't be using it at its "full popped" capacity. Why pay $1250 new for 600 watts when I can get it for $800-850 mint, slightly used?

    I wouldn't go less than the SWR 750 for my setup and that's at least $1150+ without a flat tone that I can live with.

    Thanks for letting me vent. Nice to be off of work this week!


  8. Sounds like you're a candidate for the preamp/light power amp in a rack bag geezer rig. :D Me too.

    Stewart World 1.2 -$725 (street) 11lbs
    Demeter HBP-1 $500 (used at bass central, can't find a weight on this, must be under 10lbs)
    3 space, 16" depth Rack bag $70-100 - 8-12lbs (depending on manufacturer) I include an extra space for ventilation.
    Total weight would be under your limit, cost a little over.

    For a lot less money and a little more weight substitute the Carvin DCM 1000 ($385 shipped on sale, 21lbs). This is 2 rack spaces high, but only 10 inches in depth so you would use a 4 space, 12" rack bag.

    I've been really surprised how much easier it is to handle a short depth rack bag as opposed to a full size hard rack. My DCM1000 sits in a 3 space bag and only weighs 29lbs total. Depending on the weight of the Demeter, you could probably put this rig together at ~37 lbs.
  9. Larry Kaye

    Larry Kaye Retailer: Schroeder Cabinets

    Mar 23, 2000
    Cleveland, OH
    How come you didn't comment on the iAmp? Have you ever used one or heard someone else with one?

    Even though it's gonna cost more money than a used 600, for some reason the extra wattage/ampage and the headphone/stereo in jack are nice to haves that are discouraging me from a good value.

    Let me know if you have any experience with EA heads. I gotta speakers. I haven't gotta their heads before.

  10. Larry, my only experience with the EA amps is a half hour playing through an iamp 350 at a store. I A/B'ed it with a AI Clarus. Both were very flat, but even the iamp seemed a little short on power for loud situations. I recommend EA stuff based on their almost universal reputation for quality products and customer service (and for their flat sound). In another thread, I touted the upcoming EA 750 because it seemed to the only integrated head that fit the specs.

    For higher power situations, I'm really sold on the preamp/lightweight power amp set up. It's more bang for your buck and seems ultimately more flexible. The QSC, Carvin and Stewart amps all have good reps and warrantees. You can then mix and match preamp gear to get whatever setup you want.

    The HBP model Demeter seems to be a good choice for a clean sound with a good built in EQ. I'm not sold on a preamp/DI pedal idea mentioned in the other thread because of the lack of EQ, I've played too many weird rooms where extreme EQing was necessary. The ultimate lightweight set up might be a light power amp with a couple of the Raven Labs boxes (pre/DI/mixer and EQ) stuck in a small duffle bag. Not "road worthy" for tossing in the back of a truck, but fine for what I'm doing now.
  11. boogiebass


    Aug 16, 2000
    My last go-'round with a horn band was a couple of years ago with a jump blues outfit in Orange County. I got sick of never making any money. Big bands are a losing proposition on the club scene, IMO. Musically, of course, it can be rewarding. But I'm a professional and I need to make decent money. Ergo, the classic rock trio.
  12. coyoteboy

    coyoteboy easy there, Ned Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2000
    Sactomato, CA
    I could be mistaken, but I think I recall seeing that the EA amplifiers are made by Ashdown, so there might not be alot of difference between the two.

    I apologize if this has been mentioned already.
  13. The first iAmp was made by Ashdown. Now they are made by EA in the US.