Ashdown ABM500 anyone?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Spike, Aug 15, 2000.

  1. I have been offered a good deal on an Ashdown ABM500.
    Was told by my local shop in Tin Pan Alley that they do not stock them because of unreliability problems but I find this hard to believe.
    Does anyone own one?
    Your comments would be appreciated.

  2. i'd be reluctant to believe that too, purely becuse i've only heard good things about them.
    John Entwhistle, Mark King and the new Jamiroquai bassist use Ashdown - they cant be that bad,,,,,can they?

    I've only got a 100W combo right now, need to upgrade to a nice gig-worthy amp & have been considering something from the MAG range.

    I think there was a thread on Ashdown going back a few months, worth checking.

    If you get one, post about it, i'd be interested to hear your comments.
  3. Thanks arther,

    Providing one of my Rics sells on Saturday I will be getting the ABM 500 blue faced rack version.

    Ashdown tell me that they have now discontinued the blue faced rack mount version and only make the chrome ver. ABM 500 at over a £100 more. Exactly the same amp but a different colour front. (£100 more unbelievable.) They are still making the blue faced in the cased version though.

    Luckily I’ve found a new blue faced rack version, which I prefer, and the shop has offered me a £90 discount so if all goes well I should have it next week. :D

    Not much response on this thread apart from you. Still other players in the UK have told me the’re the dogs B’s. I hope so.

    Did you get over your hand problem, and was it really caused by your Stingray in the end?

  4. Did you get over your hand problem, and was it really caused by your Stingray in the end?

    Very weird that. It just stopped one day!
    Seriously, I was unable to play for a while - like as soon as I put my hand round the neck it would start to hurt and then a few weeks later, bobs your uncle it was better.
    No probs whatsoever now, apart from sore fingers from bashing **** out of her (my bass, my bass!) for 2 hours every day!

    I was genuinely concerned at the time, as the shape of the neck did seem to be the problem - when i played my old bass there was no pain at all, but i must have just got used to it, bloody good job! I realy love the stingray it's such a beautiful bass, sounds ****ing incredible!
  5. Thank God for that, especially as it was me who advised you to get a Stingray as I remember.
    I felt quite guilty for a while. :eek:
    Glad to hear it’s better now.
  6. basspla915


    Mar 28, 2000
    Bangor, Maine
    I have an Ashdown ABM 500 that I run with a BagEnd, 1x15 coaxial. Great amp, plenty of power (conservatively rated at 576watts). I have had it for over two years and never experienced any problems.

  7. Bone,
    Thanks for the response.
    I haven't actually tried the ABM 500 yet as not many stores have got them. I've got to travel to buy the one offered to me.
    Do you find the sub-harmoniser very useful?
    What exactly does it do?

  8. Re: sub harmoniser:
    I've not played an ashdown, but I ordered a catalogue so I could drool over it and find out what was so special about them.

    The sub harmoniser produces a 'perfect' replication of the sound, but one octave lower, sub bass.

    sounds nice, i want to try one!
  9. Thanks arther,
    I'm starting to get excited now.
    I may even get it even if that Ric doesn't sell.
  10. Here comes Slaphappy: Champion of Ashdown! :p

    Anyway, Spike, I got to try an ABM500 several months is a quote from one of my previous posts at that time: I finally got down to Bass NW a couple of weeks ago, actually and played around with the ABM500, and the SWR cabs I listed above in my prior post. Sounded REALLY good! I took in my Rick 4001v63, as well as trying it with a Jazz and a 73 P-bass (that I now am in love with....someday, oh yes). It sounded wonderful with all of these basses, but it was kind of a busy day down there and I wound up dueling with two other guys to be heard. I wish I had had time to screw around with the amp settings more, particularly the EQ. I did try the subharmonizer, and that works very well indeed. It'd be a kick to try that with an 8 or 12 stringer and see what comes out. Wall-O-Bass. :D

    Okay, back to the present!

    I was wholeheartedly impressed with the tone and power of that Ashdown head (SWR cabs were a Goliath Jr 2x10 and Son of Bertha 1x15 running together). The subharmoniser worked very well, and thickens up the sound sweetly. It is also variable so you can get a more subtle blend if you like. I have no immediate need for a stack or big combo, but when the time comes, Ashdown and Eden will vie for my bucks; Eden will have to work for it!

    You should try your Ric thru an Ashdown b4 you sell it; could be a big mistake! Good luck!

  11. Slaphappy,
    Thanks for the info.
    Luckily I've got two Rics. a '79 and '92. (4003's) I'm only selling the '92 to finance the Ashdown.
  12. Arther,
    Got the Ashdown AMB 500 today. Played with it most of the afternoon.
    It's every bit as good as my Hartke 3500 plus tighter lows and a bit more powerful. In fact better than my Hartke. (which I love) That sub harmoniser's pretty good as well. It has some nice features like a mute switch, tuner out, EQ preset and an all flat button as well as all the normal stuff.
    Yes, like it a lot. The real test will be Saturday nights gig.
    Managed to keep the Ric in the end as well.:D

    Thanks everyone for your help in making this decision.

  13. cool!

    good luck for the gig

    I'm really gonna have to start saving - my 100W combo is UTTER SH*TE!
  14. bruknow,
    Thanks for your reply and the link. It good to see there are some Ashdown fans out there.
    I’ve found that I also seldom use the sub-Harmoniser, but glad that it’s there.
    The only thing I would like is a foot switch function for the pre–set and EQ in and out, but it may be possible to have this mod done as Ashdown are only about an hour from where I live.

    Does the one speaker really work for loud live work?
    I think I would feel naked without a 4*10 & 1*15 behind me. :D Also I like one of my cabs at chest level so I can feel the sound. It would make my dream come true if I could get a portable combo to sound like this, and I could always raise it up to chest level.
    I once had a Trace combo with a 1*15 but was never happy with the lack of sound, although I know technology has improved since then.

  15. MrGump


    Apr 20, 2000
    Probably my next purchase Ashdown.If I could ever find one to play!Anyone play the 2x10 combo with the 15"powered subwoofer?Thats the way I will probably go.Ive also been told that a new speaker thats more efficient and more capable is being used,so be careful before buying the older units out there.
    Anybody got a Status-Graphite Groove5,or Electro II 5string?
  16. I didnt know status did the groove bass witha graphite neck - i thought it was maple to keep the costs down, it does only cost about £500 ????

    if anyones knows more, I'm interested...

  17. MrGump


    Apr 20, 2000
    Sorry if I misled you.My punctuation and such is not the best.I wrote Status-graphite as the company name,then Groove5,as the model.Not graphite groove 5 as the model,is that clearer?Sorry for any confusion.Got one?Or that Electro II 5 string model,by Status-Graphite co.?
  18. no i aint i'm afraid - quite interested in the status groove though,,,,
  19. SMASH

    SMASH Guest

    Jan 18, 2000
    I'm not sure that the new speakers are supposed to be more efficient or more capable. I read a hype sheet on them recently and it didn't say that. Just said that they were now being made in-house by one of the 2 co-founders, who has 15 year's experience making speakers from back in his days with Trace, etc. One could argue that you're better off with the tried and true Celestions than the new ones?

    All Ashdowns come with a "birth certificate" (for lack of a better term) that states the production date, so you can always check that if you need to date your unit. If in doubt, email the company, as the N'American distributor can be a bit incomplete in their info. More on that in the original Ashdown thread.

    Anyway, Spike I am happy with the capability and dispersement of my 1x15 Ashdown, while not so much so with my 1x15 SWR (Basic Black, which I prefer to the Workingman). I'll make a some examples to illustrate.

    1. At a gig I helped the band after us out by letting their bass player use my bass and Ashdown. After playing a set and hearing what it sounded like while playing in front of the thing, it was a rare joy and learning experience to hear the same thing played from the audience - he made no changes to the EQ or volume. It sounded different of course when you're far away, but to my ears it sounded much better. Having had it on the floor, you can't really even hear it unless you're about 5-10 ft. away from it, if you know what I mean. Anyway, the thing was on low volume and a fairly large room was packed full of consistent thick bass no matter where you walked, including the bathrooms. Hearing that removed any doubts I had about my bass or amp.

    2. I was recently part of a recorded jam out in a field. I was surprised at how low a volume (volume setting on the amp I mean - it's all relative after all) I needed despite being outside. I was even more surprised at how good and thick it sounded despite being recorded from some ways away. For all I knew the tone was flying into the clouds, or not carrying beyond where I stood. The tape says otherwise.

    In both those cases, the last thing I needed more of was speakers, volume, bass whatever. In fact I was kind-of disappointed at not being able (needing) to crank the thing - just for fun. Mind, if you're playing a 1000 seater with a lot of competing clutter in the low end then it's different. I've seldom needed more than a 1x15, then adding another 1x15 or 2x10 for really loud rock/blues stuff (when using my SWR or Traynor amps).

    Another point is that if you want to make use of a lot of the subharmonizer (cranking it) then you'll need maybe the powered 18" extension or something. Cranking the amp and the subharmonizer through a 1x15 is a bit much to ask IMO. I've tried it, and it wasn't crapping out or anything, but it was more than I felt comfortable asking of the thing ... or standing in front of. Also, while the rotary EQ are fairly benign, the sliders are more potent (I think active boost/cut) and that would affect what you need to handle it as well.

    It carries really well at low volumes too. When I try to practice at home with it, I can stand in front of it (raised to chest height), barely hearing it over the acoustic sound of the bass (when I play hard), but can still rattle the stone carvings hanging on the wall at the far end of the room. As much a comment on having created an igentone or on the construction of my building as anything else, but still fun to do.

    Your milage may vary of course, but for me the Ashdown ended a long, frustrating, and expensive renting, buying, and trading of amps. Through all that, I also dug the Edens and the Aguilars, if that gives any additional perspective. Mostly I use the thing to Rock and to Blues. Also for some hamfisted Jazz, for which I like my tone a bit more coloured than most might. The Ashdown does do a good transparent sound too though (the input rotary blend of clean/grind is great for that).

    I'm having fun with it, and frankly have halfway thought about telling people it is garbage just to prevent others from getting one too. But, of course other bass players always want to talk about it after they hear and see it. It was a sad day when one of the shops in town ordered a whack of ABMs and MAGs for their display floor. Bummer that, but I still haven't seen others using them. Soon come.

    Trying to find fault, the idea someone had to be able to footswitch the EQ is a damn good one. A defeat for the dual fans (one fan on the 300s) might be nice too, though they're very quiet compared to some I've heard. Heck, they've a VU for the input level, why not a thermometer as well? As I said in a previous post, I don't find the subharmonizer to be that useful, though it sounds and tracks great. Any other amp I would have made good use of the subharmonizer, but ironically the Ashdown doesn't need it. It hasn't a headphone jack, though I think you're supposed to mute the speaker and plug phones into the "tuner/line" out jack. Removable cloth grille is swank, but some might like an industrial metal grille as well. It came with no amp cover, though it was in a large bag inside the box you could use in a pinch.