Dismiss Notice

Psst... Ready to join TalkBass and start posting, make new friends, sell your gear, and more?  Register your free account in 30 seconds.

Ashdown ABM500 or EBS Fafner? Quick help needed!

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by nemo, Jun 10, 2005.


Which amp for fat funk grooves?

Poll closed Jun 24, 2005.
  1. Ashdown ABM 500

    16 vote(s)
    69.6%
  2. EBS Fafner

    7 vote(s)
    30.4%
  1. nemo

    nemo

    Mar 19, 2004
    Czech
    Hello, I just have sold my WT-300 Eden head in a quest for a louder head and I was pretty much set to go for ABM 500.
    I even A/B ed them in store and liked ABM sound over WT so much.. first word that come to my mind was 'wider'..

    But today i have found the time limited offer of new EBS Fafner for discounted price, still slightly higher than ABM, but not much more.
    It is in another city so i cannot compare them directly, but I have heard it some time ago and liked it.

    I play mostly funk, some slap, but mostly fingerstyle fat grooves, think Bootsy, etc. I play jazz bass with DiMarzios J and Schroeder 1210 cabinet.

    On ABM I liked warmth and fatness, but I think that Fafner might have 'juicier' bass and low mids. On the other hand EBS might lack tubeness of the ABM..

    What would you choose?
     
  2. I don't thank that you'll find the Fafner lacking in the tubiness department... and it's an extremely versatile amp. Have you tried it out?

    Unfortunately the Fafner is no longer imported into the U.S. due to some reliability issues. I purchased my Fafner used, but what arrived appeared to be a brand new unused bluestripe model. I've been gigging regularly with it for the last two years, often pushing 2 ohm loads very hard. Personally I've had no issues with this amp whatsoever.

    Does the model they're offering have a blue stripe across the bottom of the front panel? Can it be easily serviced locally, in the event that you did have a problem? What about Ashdown service?
     
  3. hasbeen

    hasbeen Commercial User

    Sep 23, 2004
    Vice President, KMC Music. Warwick U.S. distribution
    If you were playing rock and blues I'd say the Ashdown. For funk and overall versatility I'd say Fafner.

    I've had a lots of opportunities to do A/B comparisons. You and I agree on your statement that the ABM is fat and it does have a large sonic footprint.

    For slap though, the ABM won't respond as quickly as the Fafner or with the clarity.
     
  4. popinfresh

    popinfresh

    Dec 23, 2004
    Melbourne, Aus
    Only going by what i've heard of EBS amps from other players (I havn't played one personally) I think your better off with the Ashdown. If your after that warmth and fatness, the Ashdown certainly has it. Plus you know you allready like it.
     
  5. 8_finger

    8_finger Supporting Member

    Jun 1, 2002
    Baltimore, MD
    I've played ABM900 (bassically it's twice AMB500) it sounded good, but while sound was extremly likeable 4(5?) fans in the back I didn't like, I also didn't like that the front grill of the amp looked cheap in "light and easily breakable" way.

    On the other hand Fafner can do all ABM's tricks and more and it is built to handle all the s*** you can throw at it. And the drive doesn't sound fuzzy like ABM's.
     
  6. nemo

    nemo

    Mar 19, 2004
    Czech
    Thanks for all responses. My friend will bring his Fafner to our rehearsal tomorrow, so I will see how I like it.
    So far I'm still more tending to ABM, it seems to have more versatile EQ section, and it has more power.

    I dont get your comments about Fafner being more versatile than ABM. It seems to me just the opposite - there are more EQ bands on ABM and EQ is switchable - am I missing something?
    You mean versatility in a sense that it is useable in more situations than ABM?

    As far compressor - I have floor EBS MultiComp pedal, so compressor on Fafner is not the selling point for me.

    Service wise - EBS - I have no idea, probably no service centre here in Czech; Ashdown - the store has the Ashdown certified servicemen with parts, etc. - seems ok

    You can hear our band's MP3's here, ;) to get an idea for which type of music it will be used.

    On Monday I have to tell the guy in store, who is holding Fafner (blue stripe) for me, if I take it or not. Otherwise I'll go for ABM.
    So please feel free to add your comments, I have only one day left for decision!!! :help:
     
  7. hasbeen

    hasbeen Commercial User

    Sep 23, 2004
    Vice President, KMC Music. Warwick U.S. distribution
    Don't be swayed by how many knobs an amplifier has to judge how versatile it is. The reason the Fafner is more versatile is because of the basic, inherent tone between the two.

    The ABM is more colored in tone and doesn't respond as quick as the EBS. The ABM is very fat though and warm. Since it is more "sluggish" than the EBS though, it wouldn't be my choice for slap.
     
  8. nemo

    nemo

    Mar 19, 2004
    Czech
    I tried borrowed Fafner at rehearsal yesterday and while it was ok, I was not floored. Probably should spend more time with it, though. Tried various settings and didnt get the right feeling playing throug it (it not necesarilly means it is amp's fault :rolleyes: ).
    My WT-300 is gone and the other amp on rehearsal room was my old monster heavy Marshall DBS combo "The Hernia Inducer", so I plugged to amp section of it and went to 1210 and I was pleased much more. Nailed old school fat tone with slightly broken in preamp tube much better. However, when playing other that typical old school stuff I missed tightness in low end and overall resolution, especially in band context. The Marshall reminded me the wide sounding ABM and I started think about how ABM will work in band and that brought me to think back about my initial plan - just switch WT-300 for stronger Eden head - so probably I am heading back to EDEN... WT-550.... :D
    Even our guitarist reminded me, that the Eden had "luxurious sound", how he put it..

    The other contender is Thunderfunk.. damn.. There is only one piece in my country to try and this guy is 5 hours drive away.. :(
     
  9. nemo

    nemo

    Mar 19, 2004
    Czech
    Ok, if anybody interested, I just today pulled trigger on the ABM.. ;)

    I made an arangement with my friend bassplayer who is also salesman in the music store that he will order the ABM500 for me and if I dont like it after a while, he is going to take it, because he is firmly set to get ABM for himself anyway..
    After I get it I can get in touch with the guy who owns Thunderfunk head and do some serious A/B/C testing with my 1210, and with my old WT300 borrowed from the new owner..

    Maybe I will just love Ashdown just out of the box, who knows..
     
  10. GRoberts

    GRoberts Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2003
    Tucson, AZ USA
    I own an Ashdown ABM500 and get a GREAT, I mean GREAT Slap funk tone and finger funk tone from this amp. It honestly sounds great for everything. My band does everything from Jazz standards to Steely Dan, Blues, Motown, to Earth,Wind and Fire to Atlantic Rythm Section and more. The Ashdown is a KILLER amp. I play it through a Bergantino HT322 or a pair of Bergie 12's (HT/EX 112 stack).

    I bought and returned a TF550. In short, after comparing to my Ashdown ABM500 EVO, I liked the tone and versatility of the Ashdown by a fairly wide margin. For funk, R&B, and jazz. My ears found the sound shaping actually more versatile on the Ashdown. That surprise me since the TF amp has a semi-parametric. But changes to the EQ of the TF didn't equate to huge tonal differences to *my ears*. If I didn't own the Ashdown, I would have very likely kept the TF and been very happy. The TF amp is a wonderful performing amp. But while they say it sounds like it has a tube in it, he tube sheen and sparkle of the Ashdown was much more 'real' to me. And it should be, it has a 12AX7 peramp tube that can be dialed in or out. I find the transient reponse of the Ashdown to be plenty FAST and not as slow as some other tube amps.

    Loooking forward to your review of the Ashdown. I think you're going to love it! Gary
     
  11. Hi, Nemo

    I will have some business trip to Ostrava in the beginning of July, I can bring the Thunderfunk so you can give it a try. I lost your contact, please PM or email.

    cheers

    Petr
     
  12. nemo

    nemo

    Mar 19, 2004
    Czech
    Great news!! You've got an email...
     
  13. DavePlaysBass

    DavePlaysBass

    Mar 31, 2004
    CO
    I play an EBS HD 350 and love the versatility. The 350 has a nice compressor and a very useful solid state tube emulator. I compared the EBS to Eden, SWR, and Ashdown before I bought it (store only, not a band setting). The Eden was very hi-fi sounding as the EBS can be. Super crisp. Had a hard time taming it down the Eden where I did not with the EBS. The Ashdown had a wide sound as you described, but was not as articulate as the EBS. The SWR seemed to have one sort of warm sound that was good but "colored". In the end, I went with EBS because I could get all the sounds pretty well. I might be hestitant to buy the model your looking at but would consider the EBS HD 650. My EBS HD 350 is a loud 350W. In short, EBS rocks.

    Dave
     
  14. GRoberts

    GRoberts Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2003
    Tucson, AZ USA
    I found out about Ashdown amps by accident. I went to check out an EBS HD350 head and it was OK, but to my ears, it was very solid state sounding. Then I plugged into an Ashdown ABM500 EVO and was immediately taken by by it's natural, warmth, but with the sweetness of a modern tone. To my ears, the Ashdown ABM500 is the best of tube and solid state in one head. It is in fact a hybrid. Tube in the pre with a solid state mosfet power section. The EBS sounded more like a one trick pony to me. Great for slap style, but that was pretty much where the magic stopped. Don't get me wrong. I fully respect those who prefer the EBS sound. Marcus Miller is one of my all time bass hero's and I love his sound. But in my band, we cover a wider range of musical styles than just Marcus Miller. I can totally nail a SWEET Marcus tone with my Ashdown, but It does so much more too. Gary
     
  15. DavePlaysBass

    DavePlaysBass

    Mar 31, 2004
    CO
    In my experience with the HD 350, the drive knob is very powerful. Not sure if you played with it much. I set this at 3 o'clock (around 9 out of 11 => gotta like their Spinal Tap reference) and never move it. The Drive knob seems to add some mids and really warms things up. After getting the Drive knob cranked, cut some highes and boost mids to taste (depends on cabinet for me). The Bass knob is very sensisitive as well and a little really fattens the sound but as always YMMV.

    I play finger style rock and like my bass sound to be smooth and warm with a touch of modern attitude without going over the top.

    Dave
     
  16. Keeaumoku

    Keeaumoku

    Dec 29, 2004
    I have an Ashdown ABM500RC Evo-II. I play it through either a Bergantino NV215, or and Eden D410XLT... depending on the gig. My one and only axe is a Fender Stu Hamm Urge-II. I played around with an Aggie SC500, liked it a lot, but thought the Evo-II was at least as good, if not better, and she was a couple hundred less.

    Now that I've had this amp for some 5 months now, and have become more and more familiar with it's capablilities, I'm completely satisfied. I've been fooling around with the Sub-Harmonics feature lately... we cover Jack Bruce's version of 'Politician', but not exactly, and I started kicking in the Sub-Harmonics. My bandmates gave me a thumbs-up on the sound...

    I just hope I don't have any "issues" with this amp anytime soon, 'cuz I live in Hawaii, and I don't think there's a service center out here for Ashdown products... :meh: So, I'll be keeping my fingers crossed!

    Aloha... :cool:
     
  17. SCT1422

    SCT1422 Supporting Member

    I just got the Ashdown ABM 500RC EVO II about 4 weeks ago and love it... I also use it with the Berg HT-112/EX-112 stack.. Great portable set-up for most of my gigs and I would love to try it with the HT-322.. I had one but sold it and picked up the 115 and 210 which I use for bigger gigs...
     
  18. GRoberts

    GRoberts Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2003
    Tucson, AZ USA
    The 115 and 210 together have to kick! I played my Ashdown ABM500 EVO through a Bergie HT322 for the past couple years. It is a STUNNING combination. I was just in Seattle yesterday and while demo'ing some basses, I played through an Ashdown ABM50 EVO II and a Bergie HT322. Sadowsky Metro MV5 and Lull 5's sounded incredible through that rig. I think I might pick up an Ashdown ABM500 head to go with my Bergie HT112/EX112 stack. My rackmount head is already housed in a big rack with tuner and power conditioner, so it's size and weight sort of defeats the purpose of using the small Bergies. Gary
     
  19. SCT1422

    SCT1422 Supporting Member

    I use a Crest CA-9 and Kern IP-777 with the HT-115 and HT-210..This set-up is really nice and what I like about the Ashdown, is the clean sound is very close to the Kern and then you can add alittle tube grind and the 12's really rock for their size.... I may pick up another HT-322 at the end of the year or maybe the 425 cab...