1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  

Ashdown ABM vs. Ashdown MAG

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by SamWebsterbell, May 20, 2010.

  1. Now everyone knows that the ABM series is better than the MAG series. However, how much better do you think it is?

    For example people complain about the MAG cabs farting out the sounds if you turn them up too much. And some including me don't know if the extra money is worth it. I mean in a rock band do you need speaker quality or loudness.

    So for example would you buy a small ABM cab (1x15/2x10) over a large MAG cab (4x10)? Baring in mind you are playing small to medium sized venues. Just to make it apply to my situation a bit more you are playing with a drummer, a guitarist using an 100w 2x12 combo and a guitarist using a 1x12 65watt combo. What would you do?

    Also are the ABM heads worth the extra money. I mean you can get a MAG head which outputs the same wattage as the ABM 500, so why would you get the ABM version? how is it better quality.

    Lastly whats more important a High quality ABM cab or a High quality ABM amp head? If you had to choose and combine it with MAG products.
  2. SanDiegoHarry

    SanDiegoHarry Inactive Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    I've never liked *any* Ashdown cabs (yes, I've owned one) but I love their amps (which is my current main head, an ABM500). I think that these amps match up with other cabs better than their own (like so many companies).

    So I wouldn't buy ANY Ashdown cab. I'd look at something else.
  3. Sten


    Nov 18, 2001
    I own the MAG210 which goes without competition in its price range (at least in EU). I have played the ABM 210 and can say it has a lot more definition to the notes you are playing. The ABM 210 with a ~500W head would be enough for you volume wise in my opinion. I played the Mark King head + ABM 210 against two guitar half-stacks and the volume was at 1 o'clock.

    I'd take a small good cab over a big lowsy cab any day, but it just happens to have I had a big good cab and needed a small, movable cheap cab so I went with the MAG 210.

    But BigOldHarry is right, at ABM price range you have other options. Warwick WCA211 2x10" cab for example and I think that even Avatar is in that price range.

    As for the heads, I somewhy like the MAG better than ABM, but I have never owned either, just tried them at a music store.
  4. rovito


    Jun 26, 2005
    I like the Mag amps and cabs. Right now I own a Mag600R and two Mag410 cabs. I have run them fairly hard for about four years without any trouble. I had an ABM head for a while but it always sounded a bit muddy. I also have some GK,Eden,Mesa amps and the Ashdown stuff has no trouble competing with then.
  5. GeneralElectric


    Dec 26, 2007
    NY, NY
    I've owned amps from both series.

    I owned a MAG410 on top of the MAG115 with the MAG300 on top. I was at first pretty satisfied but I couldn't get enough low end ever from the thing. First the head went and I played a Mesa 400+ through the cabs. Sounded great by itself but pretty much sounded like mud in a mix. I ended up selling all my Mag stuff. Its not great sounding but its reliable and the amp head is pretty quiet.

    I owned an ABM 500 twice. I sold it the first time to pay bills. I sold the second one because I was playing an SVT and the ABM wasn't the sound I was going for at the time. I played through the ABM500 the first time on borrowed ABM210 and ABM115 cabs. I really liked those cabinets but I don't know what they cost new.
  6. Adam Bomb

    Adam Bomb

    Mar 26, 2008
    Bezerkely, CA
    Hi. ^This part only - if are you asking whether ABM cabs are *so* much better than MAG cabs that they are twice as loud, I would guess no. Efficiency can make a cab louder, but so can speaker surface; and I very much doubt that ABM cabs are so much more sufficient that they could match or exceed the boost you'd get from having twice as many drivers.

    FWIW, I lub my MAG 210 Deep.

    --Bomb :bassist:
  7. Sten


    Nov 18, 2001
    Yes, the MAG410 is definitely louder than the ABM 210, besides the MAG410 costs only a tad more than the MAG210 and much less than the ABM210. But the ABM210 can handle as much power, and while not being as loud, it has a more defined sound to sit in the mix and can still handle somewhat loud band settings. No vertical stacking though (for a 2*2x10" rig), the carry handles are extended.
  8. Bish42


    Dec 26, 2001
    The guy who records all our stuff always puts be through a MAG 300 head (even though he has all kinds of amps including and Ampeg SVT) and it sounds great. I have an ABM 300 210 combo, and I can't tell any difference between that and the MAG I record through.
  9. I own ABM Evo III 500 paired with ABM 210 cab. I also used to own MAG 115 to get full potential out of amp, but sold it, cause I barely used it at gigs...However I´m really happy with my setup now, cause it´s compact and always fits into any combi car with all other band stuff.
    But on topic...
    I think MAG series are pretty good for the price. At least in EU all Ashdown stuff is now much cheaper then like 2 years ago, when I bought my rig. Sure, ABM cabs have more definition in their sound and they have a horn and are a little prettier than MAGs :) But comparing ABM and MAG head, you would definitely hear the difference. ABM is just warmer sounding with more precise EQ. If you are on a budget, get ABM head and MAG cab, quality head is more important IMHO.
  10. Sten


    Nov 18, 2001
    My MAG cab has a horn, doesn't yours? It's just not adjustable (ABM has on/low/hi 3 position knob).

    As for ABM head with MAG cab or MAG head with ABM cab...I would try the options out, I don't think the MAG is really that much worse head. ABM features the adjustable tube drive, which has one sweet spot to it, fully counterclockwise :D

    But as I said, I have not owned an Ashdown head. I'm thinking now, that maybe the tweeter on the ABM cab in store was set to maximum and that's why the ABM head sounded so harsh. It has decent treble even with horn off, horn low setting appeared to be best in band environment and I would not put it at high setting in any case with my setup. That goes for the one in ABM cabs, the MAG tweeter is not as powerful and does not really need to be cut (it can't be done anyway :smug: )
  11. OK I went to the shop today.

    Ashdown MAG 4x10 cab with MAG 300 Head for £400 ($580) if i buy them together.

    Alternatively there is the old Ashdown ABM 500 Head ex demo product online for £250 ($290) and then the Ashdown MAG 4x10 for £210 ($300)

    Lastly I could get the Ashdown MAG 300 head with the ABM 2x10 or ABM 1x15 for £500 ($720) (also with this option which would you suggest the 210 or the 115?)

    £500 is pushing my budget a bit but it depends what would be better.
  12. RickenBoogie


    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    Go with the 410, option one. A single 210 or 15 can't compete with a 410 volume-wise.
  13. Sten


    Nov 18, 2001
    I think I'd pick the option one myself too.
  14. I recently had the opportunity to A/B an ABM500 Evo 2 head with 210 + 115 ABM cabs and a MAG600 Evo 3 head with 210 + 115 MAG cabs.

    Started with the MAG, punchy, clear, good tone with EQ set flat, and 1.6k pot boosted really brings the sound to life. Anyhow, overall sound was pretty balanced and clean with EQ centre freqs well positioned for adjusting to almost any tone. No distortion facility (other than by sending the VU meter into the red with extreme EQ settings).

    Then went to ABM and I thought something had gone wrong! Massive bass, subdued mids and little top end? With the EQ set flat the tone seemed massively mid scooped when compared to the MAG. I wondered whether the cabs were responsible so I swapped the heads over, but there was no real difference, the ABM staying very dark. Even the sales guy was surprised at how soft the ABM sounded in comparison. Valve drive was the extra tonal facility but I didn't play too much with extreme settings for distorted tones.

    I had to boost the mid, high mid and high sliders on the ABM to approach the definition of the MAG. Interestingly the MAG has a lo boost button which works at 50Hz, whilst the ABM does not, almost as if this boost is part of the ABM's preset flat EQ. By switching back from ABM to MAG I was able to get the ABM to sound just as deep and round as the ABM, and was able to boost the ABM mid and top to get the MAG type sound.

    The power stage of these amps is identical, the difference is in the preamp. The ABM has more EQ (7 bands) than the MAG (5 bands plus hi and lo boost buttons) and the valve drive is a benefit if you want to set a different footswitchable tone. The ABM also has a lot of extra facilities not directly linked to sound but to operation (mute, footswitchable octaver, comp, valve o/d etc).

    This is where I'm going to get shot, but for me the ABM flat seemed much more suited to old school warmth, but could be EQ'd to punchier tones, whereas the MAG flat seemed much more neutral. Based on this I have now bought a MAG600 and can confirm that through my Bergantino HT112ER/EX stack it is every bit as capable as my LM3 for about half its price.

    I'm hoping reliabilty of the ABM and MAG are the same as the bit that does the work and gets hot (the power amp) is the same. It usually follows that the more parts there are the more there is to go wrong, so the MAG may even have a slight advantage.

    I really like Ashdown amps (I now own three) and had the ABM been at a similar price to the MAG, probably would've gone that way, but the extra £275 just didn't seem worth it as I do have a VT Bass pedal for valve type tones, but I'm still going to keep my eyes open for a used ABM500 Evo 3 all the same.
  15. rovito


    Jun 26, 2005
    This was exactly the same experience I had. I actually went to buy an ABM set up and left with the Mag. I later bought an ABM head and fought with it to get it to sound like the Mag. The ABM blew up at a gig and I got it fixed then sold it. My Mag gear has been pushed hard for years now with not one issue.
  16. After reading this, I am going to have to try the ABM500 against the MAG600 very carefully :meh:

    I thought I was sold on the ABM when I tryed it, but if you are saying that the MAG had a little more mid punch when set flat, then I might go for the MAG
  17. Hey Bruce,
    If you can EQ the ABM to get the tone(s) you want, it is a more featured head, and does it matter what the flat setting is? But it is much more expensive and the MAG600H Evo2 has just been made obsolete, so you'd better hurry if you want to try both.
  18. IngerAlb


    May 11, 2007


    That's exactly why I traded mine for a GK Backline 600 ;) Yes, the Backline is twice cheaper, but its sound works better with my basses & cab, and that's all that matters. I could have bought a MAG, but since I couldn't test it before (no Ashdown dealer, ordering online is the only choice) I decided against it, thinking "if this sounds that bad, and the folks say it's way better than a MAG, there's no way I'm getting one"...that's the problem with these Internet reviews: most ppl don't bother to really demo a product in different situations - like all those folks that "review" all sorts of basses on YouTube and all they do is slap and more slap...pfff...or those idiots that demo amps while using overdrive and distorsion pedals...

    Thanks for the input, that definitively puts things in perspective...I really like the looks & style of the Ashdown amps, and maybe a MAG would also get me the right sound ;)
  19. knumbskull


    Jul 28, 2007
    i got a MAG 410 deep cab because i wanted a cheap, solid, loud cab - so far, it has been great :)

    ...it probably isn't the most hi-fi or deep sounding cab around, but it can handle plenty of volume without farting out and the sound is good, to my ears. (i use a LMKII head with it).

    EDIT value-wise, it can't be beat IMO.
  20. KeithPas


    May 16, 2000
    I bought a MAG300 sight unseen because my head crapped out and I needed something fast and cheap. It has ended up being one of the best sounding heads IMO that I have played through. Very punchy and clear with very present mids without midrange harshness and good volume for a 300watt solid state head. Never tried the cabinets, I pair mine to a 1 15 Eminence loaded cabinet and an Avatar 1 12.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Nov 24, 2020

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.