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Ashdown a good choice?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Jhclark, Jul 13, 2014.

  1. Jhclark


    Jul 13, 2014
    Thanks for reading this longish post!!

    I know it shouldn't matter, but branding is kind of important to me. It helps me understand what is appropriate for genres and styles, etc (like guitar amps, vox ac for British Invasion, fender for blues, marshall for hard rock, not fast rules, but you know what I mean...)

    I am a fine player, but new to being a proper bassist. So I'm lost in the bass world... Im a classical cellist most years... This year, I am the bass player for a forming band playing roots, Motown, disco, soul music. P bass with flats.

    I was looking for an ampeg 115 but couldn't afford pf350/115 so was looking at the combo, or the fender rumble 200 (which I can't find to try) and stumbled on a used Ashdown Electric Blue 180 (115) for $300. I ended up buying it today, but the band doesn't start until a month from now. Did I make a good choice?

    What kind of brand is Ashdown, and was this a decent choice? Where will I find fault and reason to upgrade in the future? I hope to find work playing anything from British Invasion to country and Motown.

    Thanks for any wisdom you can provide!
  2. darrenmt


    Dec 15, 2004
    Nothing wrong with Ashdown. They are a reputable UK brand with a signature sound and well regarded in the bass community. Founded by Mark Gooday, former chief engineer + manager of Trace Elliot in the mid 90s. All 3 choices are pretty solid offering similar tonality with good low mids and thickness which is good for any genre.

    Not too sure what your sound level requirements are but if it is a fairly quiet band, the Ashdown EB180 115 combo should be fine. The issue of power usually arises when you have a loud drummer or guitarist. The real difference is in expandability and weight.

    Of the 3, the Ashdown is the heaviest and i would gather that the Rumble would be the lightest. The Ampeg would be lighter than the Ashdown too. The Ashdown EB180 is 180W@4ohms as a combo and doesn't allow for extension speaker(someone correct me if I am wrong). The Rumble 200 combo at full tilt runs 200W@4ohms and 120W@8ohms which would be louder at 4ohms because it would be running 2 drivers instead of 1. The Ampeg PF350 would offer the most juice at 250W@8ohms and 350W@4ohms.

    You won't notice a huge volume difference between all 3 but there will be a headroom difference. IMO for the money, you will do fine with the Ashdown and the only benefit you get from the Rumble is weight savings. If you decide you need more watts, than go for something that is at least 350W like the Ampeg PF350 with 2x 8ohm or 1x 4ohm cab/s.
  3. Jhclark


    Jul 13, 2014
    The Ashdown EB180 115 has 2 speaker outs, one is used for the internal 15 (so one extra, or 2 if I skip the internal? I guess?)

    I think the ba115 has extension but I'm not sure the wattage, and I know the rumble 200 and 500 do (but not the lower ones)

    Here's what I don't get - if I run the extension from the Ashdown to a second 115 (or 212?) what will happen to the 180 watts? I won't lose volume, I know that, but will I lose headroom and distort? Will it be ugly solid state distortion noise?
  4. I really like Ashdown. FWIW.

    They make some super all tube amps.
  5. mouthmw


    Jul 19, 2009
    Ashdown's ABM line of amps is great. Very powerful eq and a fat meaty tone, more of a vintage character, not hi fi. Haven't played their cabs but it pairs more than nicely with my gk neo 412.
  6. They have good bang for the buck, but they're not exceptional in my opinion. Have never tried their tube heads but I hear they're good.
  7. sjors


    Jul 1, 2014
    maybe it's cheap for now ,

    but as soon as you get trouble with it , you will find out that it is hard to get spare parts
  8. GBassNorth


    Dec 23, 2006
    Generally speaking the Ashdown amps/cabs are voiced on the deep and dark side. They should go nicely with your P bass and flats and the type of music you plan on playing. I had an Ashdown 210 combo that sounded very nice and played plenty loud for small to medium sized venues. I did end up getting rid of it because it was just too heavy and not as easy to lug around as I wanted, but the sound and power and build quality were all top notch.
    Jhclark likes this.
  9. Mr. Foxen

    Mr. Foxen Commercial User

    Jul 24, 2009
    Bristol, UK
    Amp tinkerer at Ampstack
    The cheap Ashdown stuff works fine, but has the standard cheap stuff issues with pcb mount components breaking loose eventually. They are made in such a way that is easy to fix, and Ashdown's support is good.
    Jhclark likes this.
  10. raventepes


    Jan 7, 2012
    Reno, NV
    I've been an Ashdown supporter since they emerged, back in the 90's, shortly after I started playing. Solid amplification. It's really that simple. They have a meaty-ness to them that I love, as has been pointed out. All in all, you can't really go wrong. I'm actually contemplating between a (Ashdown) RM420, or if I should just go straight to the ABM 500 Evo III.

    At any rate, good buy, and tell us what you think of it!

    And FYI, the amp shouldn't do much with another speaker plugged in, outside of being louder. Just make sure it's an 8 ohm.

    JAUQO III-X Banned

    Jan 4, 2002
    Endorsing artist:see profile.
    You can't go wrong with Ashdown it just comes down is it the sound for you.

    I've been using Ashdown amps and cabs for 16 years in all kinds of playing and genre situations and it always get the job done.

    Ashdown endorser.
  12. SonnyBassPlayer


    Nov 29, 2013
    As others said Ashdown is a good brand. IMO, very good. I've been owning playing and gigging a MAG300 head+215 cabinet for respectively 5 and 3 years, and it has never let me down or decieved me.

    It's a good brand choice IMO if you like it's sound!
    Jhclark likes this.
  13. jazzyvee


    Aug 11, 2012
    United Kingdom
    Over the past 2 1/2 years i've used a fair few Ashdown rigs as they have been back lines provided at festivals and gigs that I've been playing and I can say without exception I haven't played one rig that appealed to me. I'm pretty sure All the amps have been from the ABM range and the cabs have been a mixed permutations of 6x10, 4x10 and 1x15.

    Overall I have a feeling it is the pre-amps sections of their heads that are the main problem and the cabs are just not clean enough for my preference. When it's been possible i've started taken my own pre-amp and plugged directly into the return socket on the amp, although most of them don't actually work so I've had to use the head, or taking my own rack with pre and power amps and just use the cabs. Things are better if I do that but I don't find the cabs clean enough.

    Each to their own, their stuff doesn't work for me.
    Thinking about it I was given an Ashdown After 8 practice amp that i also gave away and bought a Phil Jones Briefcase and I got an ashdown acoustic guitar amp when I bought my yamaha acoustic electric guitar and that has now started making funny random loud noises.

    May work for some but I'm not a happy user. It's a real downer to turn up at a gig and see an ashdown on the back line.
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2014
  14. Jhclark


    Jul 13, 2014
    After playing it for a while over a couple days now, I'm thinking that's it really is the tone I'm looking for (or close). I'm after a real vintage velvety sound, and of course the p with flats gets me half way there, but depending on your style I guess it might not be for everyone (though I heard a slap demo on sweetwater YouTube that was fine...)

    I do wish it had the grit OD on this one, little more vintage sound, but overall I think it will get me by for all my clean upright-style deep sounds.

    I still don't quite get who it's made for, and it's easy to say "playing Motown? Get an ampeg BA115 to start out!" Or "playing some indie rock or garage rock? Get that new fender rumble 500 210!"

    I do have 30 days to return it if I change my mind, but something about it feels pro to me (the panel, the weight, the multiple inputs and fx loop, tuner out and extension cab out). Lots of pro type features and no gimmicks (maybe the octaves is a touch gimmicky, but it seems to be their trademark thing...)

    So is it made for modern rock? For classic rock? For country and jazz? I still have no idea and that bugs me for some reason!
  15. chaosMK


    May 26, 2005
    Albuquerque, NM
    Too much hip thrust
    I owned an Ashdown MAG for a while and it was a good value for the price. You should be able to get great tone for what you are doing with it.
  16. I own an Electric Blue 15-180 and yes, it can be paired with an 8 ohm extension cab, which will give it an output of about 300 watts (if memory serves) - I used to pair it with an Ashdown Mag 210T (2 10" speakers and a tweeter) and it was a great rig for most of the clubs I played at.
  17. Toptube

    Toptube Supporting Member

    Feb 9, 2009
    My first amp was an Ashdown Electric Blue head. I liked it a lot. quiet, easy to adjust, very adjustable, didn't have any weird quirks. After that I bought a Gallien-Krueger 400rb. The tone change was so drastic, I didn't like it. So I bought an Ashdown Mibass amp head and I LOVE IT. Again, quiet, extremely adjustable, no quirks. The adjustability allows me to compliment any bass I plug in. I've tried other amp heads in stores and was never as satisfied as I am with the amount of tone shaping I get from Ashdown.

    I've never played an Ashdown cab, but their heads get a big thumbs up from me.
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2014
  18. Jhclark


    Jul 13, 2014
    The combo version is super heavy (especially now that the new rumbles are so light), but it's made from real wood and feels super solid. I'm not sure how the cab or speaker are affecting the tone, I don't have another bass cab to test it with, but is can't turn it up past 1/4 in the house without rattling chandeliers, so I'm pretty happy with my purchase now, barring anything odd or a super deal on an ampeg115 on cList or something...
  19. Marial

    Marial weapons-grade plum

    Apr 8, 2011
    My old Ashdown ABM 500 Evo II 210 combo is still great, though my back can't handle it anymore. They *are* heavy, but if you're going for a deep, warm tone they're hard to beat. For those looking for a hi-fi, ultra clean, modern tone, Ashdown is probably not the way to go, however. They're more versatile than most people think, but if you're not going for warmth/depth, there are better options out there.
  20. Jhclark


    Jul 13, 2014
    I am going for warmth and depth, so are there better options for that too? Or did I stumble upon exactly what I *should* have been looking for all along?

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