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Ashdown MAG vs ABM

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Cristo, Nov 8, 2005.

  1. I'm looking into these amps - anyone have experience with both of them and able to compare?

    They both com in a variety of power levels. From what I can tell, the ABM is a MAG plus a single tube preamp section for "grind" and two extra EQ sliders. Maybe one or two extra jacks in the back.

    Other than that it looks about the same.

    Oh, and it costs TWICE AS MUCH MONEY. I'm wondering about how much it is worth the extra expense....
  2. mahrous


    Aug 13, 2005
    i own the MAG and have played a bunch of ABMs.

    the MAG is simply the cheapest 300watt amp head on the market and its quite amazing for its price. excellent value!
    i bought my head really cheap for $230 in California ... the cheapest price i could find online was $280.
    the MAG is fairly straightforward. it can sound a bit too punchy with a 10" (which is my problem now as i coupled it with an Eden 210XLT which is mid-ful). with 15" (coupled it with vintage Ampeg 15" cab) and it sounded nice and phat. not boomy and not too dry.
    as i said, its an excellent value amp! would definitely recommend but it would be cooler if u have it with a 15". u might like the 10"s but i personally wish i can go back to get a 15" or Aguilar GS212 (wicked cab!)

    i couldnt buy the ABM because i simply didnt have enough money. if i did, i would have bought it.
    the ABM's preamp bass boosts/cuts lower frequency than the MAG which to me is what i need to cut some little mids and boost the frequencies that i like more. i couldnt really try it in terms of power and loudness because i played it in a store. i had it coupled with the Ashdown Blue Line 8x10 cab. it sounded insanely HOT! but then again, i was playing using a top of the line Ken Smith Tiger Maple 5 String Neck Thru!
    in general, the ABM is of much higher quality. the preamp section has different frequency boost points and it has more db power. if you can afford it, go for it!
  3. Well, now they are making the MAG and the ABM in 300 and 600 versions, so you can get them in identical power outputs.

    I don't know if there is any difference between a MAG 300 and 600 other than power output. (307 vs 575)

    The ABM 600 is running about $350 more than a MAG 600.
    So that's what I'm wondering - is a preamp tube drive and 2 EQ sliders worth the extra $?
  4. vision

    vision It's all about the groove!

    Feb 25, 2005
    Ann Arbor, MI
    Endorsing Artist: MTD Basses, La Bella Strings, and 64 Audio IEMs
    it could also be a build quality difference...the abm line is built in the uk and i believe the mag line is now built in china. (used to also be built in the uk.) i think that the abm line is hand made, vs. being made in a factory.
  5. Shiveringbass


    Aug 21, 2005
    You also shall know that Mag series is made in !China whereas ABM series is made in England (UK).
    Big difference that probably explains the most $$ difference.

  6. I play a Mag combo and believe me there is a BIG difference between the Mag series and the ABM series. I too bought the Mag because it was an incredible bargain for what I got at the time. But if I had the money to spend on a new amp, the ABM would be a the top of my list along with the Eden WT550 and the Aguilar AG500. Match the ABM with a Berg speaker and I would be in amp heaven.
  7. I do believe you - and that BIG difference is, in your opinion...?

    Is it the tube preamp?
  8. Also, how is the "subharmonizer" thing on these amps - is it comparable to a Boss OC-3 or some such octave pedal?

    Does it track well? I have the Boss pedal already - so I would either chuck the pedal, or not use that feature of the amp if I went Ashdown. It seems like maybe that is one of the selling points of the amp...
  9. mahrous


    Aug 13, 2005
    my MAG is made in the UK.

    i believe people look at the box and read MADE IN CHINA and thing the whole thing is Chinese made. that is not true. the MAG head is made and Engineered in the UK. which is whats written on the back plate of the head. also the Warranty paper says UK. i didnt find a single Made in China on anything except the carton box!

    as for the Subharmonizer ... i never played the Boss. the way i use it, i pump it out to the max and switch to the bridge pickup with some mids and i have myself a nice sounding fretless tone. i am not really comfortable with it when playing heavy stuff, it gets a bit boomy with the low B and all.
    i always have the subharmonizer on when playing solo but couldnt fit it in a band situation.

    one different between the ABM and the MAG is that ABM's have footswitches for the SubHarmonizer.

    i would suggest that you read both manuals. all the answers your looking for are there. i already explained to you the major difference between the ABM's and MAG's preamps.

    the ABM's preamp:
    +/-15dB @ 45Hz
    +/-15dB @ 660Hz
    +/-15dB @ 7kHz shelving
    +/-15dB @ 180Hz
    +/-15dB @ 340Hz
    +/-15dB @ 1.3kHz
    +/-15dB @ 2.6kHz

    the MAG's preamp:
    +/-15dB @ 100Hz
    +/-15dB @ 220Hz
    +/-15dB @ 660Hz
    +/-15dB @ 1.6kHz
    +/-15dB @ 7kHz shelving

    a 45Hz bass boost is hell of a difference from 100Hz in the MAG. same applies to the others.
    simply speaking to make sense of technical terms that you might not be familiar with. the ABM lets u get in and on the frequency and band that you like. the MAG is more general with shelving and without the same precision in the ABM.

    the one thing that i noticed is that the MAG300H (which is what i have) is much much bigger than the R models and the EVO's. The air circulation system used in the MAG300H allows it to cool way better than the Rack models. i believe the Evo utilizes similar cooling system.
    so if your looking at the 600's, and ur deciding between the MAG600 and the Evo II 500, i would suggest the Evo.

    again, if you had read the Manual (which is shared between all Ashdown heads), you would find many differences. the MAGs do not the Valve Drive because they dont have Dual Triode Tube amplification. you basically can have a tube overdrive in the ABM.
    the ABM has a Subout for subwoofers, it can also feed other power amps.
    ABM has a Mute button.

    i really dont think its my job to research for you. this is public knowledge. you should read about whatever you want to buy. what you need to know from others was already said in this thread. go read those manuals.
  10. In addition to the EQ controls listed above, the Mag300 head has a...

    "Deep" button, giving you +8dB @ 50Hz

    and a

    "Bright" button, giving you +10dB @ 10kHz.

  11. Jack


    Sep 6, 2003
    Newcastle, UK
    Id like to clarify where the MAGs are made. Yes, they were made in the UK, (my combo was and it seems mahrous rig was) but they are now made in China (my cab is). Many dealers still have UK equipment in stock, but its usually priced inline with the new China pricing strategies.

    Deals abound folks. ;)

    AS far as I can tell, there is very little difference between the UK/China MAGs, save that the grile on my cab is upside down from the combo, menaing when you wiew it off axis, on is grey and the other is black.
  12. Thanks for all the details.

    Didn't mean to imply that it was anyone's "job" to research for me - I have read the manual off the internet.

    Unfortunately the file I have does not seem to specifically indicate it applies to the MAG 600, only to the MAG 300 as well as the ABMs and the Electric Blue.

    So I don't know if anything is different about the MAG 600 from the MAG 300 except power. I'm looking for a "600" something - either the MAG or the ABM.

    I don't have access to either of the amps anywhere nearby to try out for myself. So until I get the opportunity to play through both, I've only got the opinions and experience of others to go on.

    So I'm asking for input from folks who have actuallly played both of them in regards to things that are not obvious from the manual - things they would know from playing the amps, but that I can't find out until I find one to play. Reasons that they find one amp to be superior to the other, and/or if the difference in price between them is justified by useful features.
  13. Funny, I never considered hitting the forums at talkbass.com to be "work."

    I will say that the manuals for Ashdown products are poorly made and downright confusing..........especially if you don't know what the hell you're supposed to be looking for

    For example, in the Frequency Response section of the manual, there is an extra set of specs in parenthesies that reads Electric Blue 150. Now, does this refer to the combo with the 15 inch speaker that everyone (including Ashdown) call the EB 15-180, or are they talking about the old 150 watt model which isn't in production anymore.

    It's forums like this that help people sort through this nonsense, so I was told.
  14. kurtolo


    Nov 3, 2005
    Is it true that MAG C115 300 combo has a power of 300W but it can use all its power when there is an external speaker?

    I read that in the combo configuration, it has a power of 190W, and It use all its 307W with an external speaker.

  15. True,

    My Mag300 head was made in England, my EB 12-180 is English also. My Mag410 cab is Chinese.
  16. RS


    Aug 27, 2000
    Cleveland, OH
    I have not played a AMB, but did recently purchase an MAG 300. I have owned may medium-high quality amps (my main rig is a older Demeter pre into a qsc PLX), and I have to say the tone is impressive- ridiculuosly so for the money. Some nice warmth for an all ss head, but not muddy- good clarity. Some of the eq could be voice slightly better would be my only gripe.
    I would highly recommend these amp to anyone with less than $800-1000 to spend.
  17. Fawkes007


    Sep 13, 2005
    SF Bay Area

    In a word, yes. You get what you pay for. I A/B'd both and there was no contest.

    Always buy the best you can afford; you will never be sorry.
  18. John Herzog

    John Herzog Supporting Member

    Jun 14, 2002
    Schertz, TX
    I also recieved a MAG 300 where the box said made in china, but the plate on the back of the head said "Made and Engineered in the UK" I emailed Ashdown about this and this was their response was that it was made in China. Here is the email response I received.

  19. I have an orig UK MAG 4x10t combo that has been flawless for 5 yrs. Gets rave reviews from soundmen all the time. I also have a Chinese-made 2x10t cab and there's a distinct difference in build quality/materials. The ABMs are still made in the UK so I'd assume the workmanship/materials to still be top notch. I played one of the new Chinese-made MAG combos about a yr ago and felt it was sub-par to my UK MAG.

    I do have a suggestion that may help bridge the difference between the MAG and ABM. I run an EH Black Finger tube-optical compressor (2 12ax7s @ 300 volts) from my Stick to the MAG input. It's an inexpensive way to add tube warmth to a solid state amp.