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Ashdown or Markbass?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by jmkj, Mar 18, 2008.

  1. jmkj


    Feb 14, 2008
    We (a small music club – non profit by the way) are planning to by our own backline equipment for the first time. It’s mostly jazz and pop artists that visit us, but the music styles vary from rock/metal to folk/country. The gigs are on small to medium stages (70-250 people).
    We have narrowed it down to two alternative bas-stacks:
    1) Ashdown Classic Klystron 500 + Ashdown Classic Neo 410h cabinet.
    2) Markbass TA 503 + Markbass Standard 104HR (8 ohm version) cabinet

    Opinions anyone? What is the best choice?:confused:
  2. I have played both Markbass and Ashdown and I far prefer the Ashdown. It's far warmer and has much more character.
    I found the Markbass very clinical and precise.

    The main attraction of the Markbass seemed t be the extremely light weight, but if it's a backline it's unlikely to move about much.
  3. kevinmoore73

    kevinmoore73 Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2007
    Cleveland, OH
    I look at this way: The Italians make Ferrari and Lamborghini. The British made the original Mini and the MG.
  4. wingnut


    Apr 18, 2007
    Las Vegas Nv.
    Both the Markbass and the Ashdown (the english versions) are pretty bullet proof. Since I play a variety of basses from upright to five string electrics, I prefer the Markbass as it doesn't seem as "fussy". The Ashdowns seem to have a problem when it comes to upright bass. I would ask the musicians that are most likely to play for you to come with you and help test out the equipment, and let you know which one they prefer.
  5. chroma601


    Feb 16, 2007
    Sylva, NC
    What one person might call "character", another could call "coloration".
  6. Markbass does offer a more transparent sound than the Ashdown - which can definitely be undesirable. For backline, it may disappoint some players when they try to overdrive the amp, as Markbass amps don't overdrive very beautifully.

    That being said, I LOVE my Markbass amp. It is very loud and reasonably priced too. (not to mention portability)
  7. Whey I went with my brother to choose his amp, we picked the ashdown. The markbass seemed to have the capacities for various sounds, I liked it for sure, but since my bro isn't that handy when it comes to eq'ing, the instant sound/color of the ashdown won.
  8. Yes - another valid point to consider is simplicity of the amp. If you get a bassist who's never used your backline gear, you want to keep it simple. The TA503 might be a little difficult and unnecessary. I would save the money and stick with the Little Mark II. It's SUPER easy to operate and MUCH more inexpensive than the options you've listed.
  9. Ashdown for me. Although I don't think it make s agreat amp for the jazz slap crowd. Other than that, I think the Ashdown sound ismore lively and has more character. I had a LMII and sold it within weeks. Just sounded very sterile to me.
  10. Rob Mancini

    Rob Mancini Guest

    Feb 26, 2008
    Maybe it's me, but I don't get the sterile comments about the LM2. However, this is about the TA 503, not the LM2. Either amp will be fine and I doubt you can go wrong with either.
  11. basske


    Oct 18, 2005
    Menen BelGiuM
    Mercedes or BmW?:D
  12. bugbass


    Apr 8, 2004
    Mark Bass for me, but I would definetly get the 104HF and not the HR. I very much prefer the more beefy tone of the HF
  13. psychotiger


    Feb 24, 2008
    Austin, Texas
    Builder: Moore Custom Guitars
    I played both before choosing the Ashdown. Mega-tone. I have a little ( read:cheap ) Boss Zoom B2 hooked up to my rig and I can get a multitude of sounds from it. However, I still like the straight Ashdown sound the best.
  14. allexcosta


    Apr 7, 2004
    Ashdown hands down.
  15. The BurgerMeister

    The BurgerMeister musician.

    Apr 13, 2006
    Big Bear, CA
    i use (and love) Ashdown.

    i haven't tried MarkBass with my rig, but i have a lot of experience with MarkBass rigs in general... and they sound great... but i like the character (or "coloration," if you will) of the Ashdown. it's both warm and punchy.
  16. 1kinal


    Jan 18, 2006
    Montreal, Qc. Canada
    Endorsing Artist: SIT strings
    I'd go with Ashdown no doubt. Here's why:

    Bass players in touring bands are generally expecting some sort of Ampeg on the road. This is the standard just like the Fender bass is. In order to keep things in that order Ashdown is the way to go. For me it's a (really) better Ampeg. The possibility to have a very clean to a very dirty tone is something Mark Bass (and many other amp makers) cannot do. The ashdown do that and more. So for a small club receiving artists from jazz to metal, versatility is a key factor. The ashdown is also very simple to operate where the VLE and other type knobs on mark bass tells nothing to someone used to ampeg and gallien-krueger. And personnally, when I'm provided a backline, I don't want to read a manual to operate the damm thing. I want a good sound, FAST!
  17. phat daddy

    phat daddy

    Jun 16, 2006
    Tampa Bay, FL
    I'm a slappin' funkster, I play Markbass and I like it better than anything else to get my tone. That said, a backline for the styles you mentioned needs the ability to naturally break up nicely like an old Ampeg as most of these guys will be toting Fenders, and the Ashdown is going to get a lot closer to that standard than the ultra-clean sound I prefer in my Markbass. I've also never played a Fender out. Go figure. I'm not a pop-rock player, but a lot of your guys are going to be. The Ashdown is your amp if your going for mass appeal among players (and I hate amps that break up and am having trouble believing myself right now, but that's the price you pay for being somewhat objective.).
  18. Rob Mancini

    Rob Mancini Guest

    Feb 26, 2008
    I'm not getting why people think the TA 503 can't do tubey grindy sounds. It's got two tubes in it. I haven't heard it yet, but it stands to reason that it should be able to do it. Any hybrid amp I've played has been able to do it. Some better than others, of course.

    I still say it's a coin flip. I think visiting bassists won't complain about either rig.
  19. cigi


    Aug 22, 2006

    The LMII is very loud and more versatile then the ashdown. Ok, maybe individual people will prefer the ashdown, but if it''s for a backline that has to suit everyones needs, you better take the Markbass. Especially if there are going to be a lot of jazz gigs.

    I allso don't get the comments that markbass amps sound sterile, especially not with markbass cabs.
  20. Jackbass


    Dec 19, 2003
    Paris (FRANCE)
    I prefer the Markbass sound, but you should consider the R500, it's a very efficient head, really plug and play loud! :bag:

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