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Ashdown ABM 500, guess I never fell in love.

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by greencow, Sep 18, 2013.

  1. greencow


    Feb 7, 2008
    I supose that this is an amplifier review/advice for a new amp.

    So, I have 2 amp setups
    1) Markbass LMIII + Traveler 121H
    2) Ashdown ABM 500 + GK Neo 212

    The first setup I have owned for over 5 years and it still brings a smile to my face every time I use it.

    The Ashdown is almost a year old now and it doesn't do the same, however I can't really point out why. It is not the cab, I have tried both amps with both cabs and really the cabs sound quite similar.

    So what can I say about the Ashdown
    The 7-band EQ is actually easy to use and is verry musical.
    The compressor is a really nice single button unit
    The drive is also quite nice
    The two things I don't find verry useful are the sub-harmonic generator and the shape button, but that is just personal preference. The first I would rather have as a pedal unit and the predefined shape is much too agressive on the low end for my taste.
    If I had to gig with this amp I would use a separate DI.

    The overall tone of the amp is nice both playing solo and in a band situation, a really nice solid tone. For some reason however, I like the transparent LMIII better.

    It has volume, and a lot of it. This amp can get loud, a lot louder then the MB.

    The only actual drawback of this head is the weight.

    Overall the Ashdown is a really nice head, but for some reason I do not klick with it.

    So I am sitting at a crossroads , so to speak.

    Choice one would be to try it with a different cab, maybe something sealed? On the other hand I have been thinking about a pair of fearful cabs, since everybody seems to like them.

    Choice two is to sell the head and get something different, maybe an SVT-3PRO or something from EBS or Trace Elliot, or maybe some different MarkBass head.

    If you have any ideas or thoughts about this, feel free to comment.
  2. mazdah


    Jan 29, 2010
    Kalisz, Poland
    There many GREAT amps, which I simply don't like. Nothing wrong with that.

    I'm not very fond of Ashdown, SWR, polish Taurus, Trace-Elliot.... I love Ampeg, Gallien-Krueger and Eden amps. So I stick to them.
  3. mouthmw


    Jul 19, 2009
    It seems like the only drawback is the weight from what you've mentioned.
    I personally really dig the Ashdown tone coming from a quicker, more modern, drier GK amp, but I'm into the "vintage like" dirtier tone, and I don't mind the fact that my Ashdown 900 is a big mofo.
    What are you looking for tone wise?
    If you prefer more transparent amps, I guess then Ash is just not for you.
  4. Marial

    Marial weapons-grade plum

    Apr 8, 2011
    I don't have experience with Ashdown heads. Have you paired it with an Ashdown cab? I have an ABM 500 EVO II 210 combo that is wonderful, but I like a dark/warm tone...

    If you're thinking of building a fEARFUL, I'd keep the Ashdown around to try it through the new cab before selling it.
  5. greencow


    Feb 7, 2008
    When I got the Ashdown I was hoping for a cheap fix for some Ampeg tone. It seems though, that the Ashdown has a tone of its own. The local venues use some different Ampegs and some TE combos. Verry nice setups that I have enjoyed using.

    The ABM is a great amp, maybe just not the right amp for me : P
    GMC likes this.
  6. jbd5015

    jbd5015 Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2009
    Boalsburg, PA
    Ashdowns are quite dark IMO. Ive got eh AMB EVO II head and i dont get along with it either.

    I prefer to use it as a practice head at home...without a band. That makes it quite useless i am finding. It does have a lot of head room with the right cab, i just cant seem to fall in love with it.

    Ive got it as a back up to my Ampeg V4B. Although, i like my Kustom K200 better than the Ashdown. Perhaps i just like a more vintage bright tone than the Ashdown can do without a ton of tweaking.

    I can NEVER leave the controls alone. I feel i have to change them for every song. AND THAT SUCKS.
  7. Guygrooves

    Guygrooves Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2012
    Tampa Florida
    Ive got the LMIII and LOVE it ...and LMT800..LOVE IT
    The only real Jones I have now is to try the Aguillar TH500.
    Alot to read on it here--
  8. Marial

    Marial weapons-grade plum

    Apr 8, 2011
    Yes, they're definitely dark. Interestingly, I got rid of my Ampeg SVT 4 Pro/Classic HLF 410 rig to go back to my Ashdown because I found the Ampeg rig too bright and a tad sterile/brittle. I found myself constantly fiddling with the EQ on the 4 Pro and ended up getting a TH DI to add some warmth. It definitely seems like a tone preference issue.

    I think if you like a warmer, darker, softer tone, Ashdown is a great way to go, assuming your head is paired with the right cab. Otherwise, there are a ton of other great options out there.
  9. Bass Baron

    Bass Baron

    Jun 26, 2012
    I have a Ashdown ABM 500 evo III I like it very much but i have the same thing i have to change the controls all the time so i guess this isn't
    My kind of amp after all. I'm probably going to change it to Aguilar.
  10. IPYF


    Mar 31, 2011
    I have a love for Ashdown amps, just because they're a great rock amp for the cat on a budget. If I had need of a new amp I'd probably get an ABM, mount it on a 412 and play a Thunderbird through it. For that application they're probably the best in the price range.

    Some people find them too mushy around the guts or too faux warm. I understand where they're coming from, but if you expect crisp transparent tones then you're barking up the wrong tree with Ashdown. That's not what they're made for.
  11. Miskatonic


    Sep 15, 2009
    Portland, OR
    Thinking of that rig makes me all kinds of :hyper:
  12. miniroar


    Oct 24, 2012
    I love my evo 500 its ten years old now! It did take me a while to get the best out of it I sold my abm 4x10 as it was a bit dark and harder to eq and went for the abm 2x10s way punchier also bumping the 340hz slider is the secret weapon for me and drop the bass knob to 11 as its very bassy head,I now dont need to mess round with eq now, it works best if you set it up in the band situation as setting up at home sounds totally differant on its own. I had trace elliot before this but I am curious about a tonehammer!
  13. vbchaos


    Sep 5, 2011
    Groningen, The Netherlands
    Uncompensated endorsing user: fEARful
    Ashdown is a boomy kind of thing. For me it's a lot like trace elliot. If you dig it, you have a perfect tone. I am a trace elliot kind-a-guy, have a very old TE head which I love to death. Ashdowns are a bit more modern to my ears but still low and boomy, scooped.
    You really have to love it - both TE and Ashdown are no "can be used for everything" heads/cabs.
    Their sub-harmonic extension thingy was never my cup of tea. Neither was the tube in the pre-amp.

    JAUQO III-X Banned

    Jan 4, 2002
    Endorsing artist:see profile.

    After almost 16 years of using Ashdown amps and cabs I find the above comments not true, at least not for me.

    The heads are very versatile and I dig how solid the amps with the cabs sound.

    Ashdown endorser.
  15. John Swartz

    John Swartz

    Apr 9, 2008
    To each his/her own with amps, but I love my Ashdown ABM C210-500 combo - but it IS a beast weight-wise...

    JAUQO III-X Banned

    Jan 4, 2002
    Endorsing artist:see profile.

    A killer combo and yes the weight is a beast :)
  17. jwilson67


    Jun 2, 2015
    San Dimas, CA
    I still use a circa 1999 ABM 500 and ABM 410h cab. The thing just KILLS. 576 watts of heavy, beautiful humming power. It cuts through a dense onstage mix like a knife when I EQ it for the room. I still arrive at gigs proudly with it.
  18. murphy


    May 5, 2004
    Toronto, Canada
    mmmm.......I use my markbass heads.....but loved my Alembic/Swr poweramp combo the best....but too heavy

    Now I am unsure what my next amp will be......Monique....Demeter....JGR????$$$$

    I even love my Sansamp BDDI deluxe into a poweramp.....so maybe a monique 700 poweramp

    Not sure of other heads, as I am always happy with markbass......not so much with GK

    Loved my Eden heads back in the day
  19. grenadilla


    Aug 22, 2011
    the heft in the 200-500 HZ range of my MAG 600 reminds me of a Sunn. 10s are fat enough with Ashdown. I wouldn't want 15s.
  20. GMC


    Jan 1, 2006
    I think the take away here is that the Markbass LMIII sounds different to the ABM ashdown...but the Ashdown is a lot more powerful and drives harder for the same number of watts.
    Maybe the Markbass 800w version of the LMIII is what you are looking for? Maybe demo one of the new Ashdown Retroglide 800 amps? Maybe try and Aguiliar Tone hammer 500? That might be a half way between the Markbass and the Ashdown?