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Ashdown RPM-1 Preamp: views please.

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Rockin John, May 25, 2005.

  1. I've done the research, I've checked through many of the old posts that mention this preamp, so I now ask for up to date comment, please.

    The Ashdown RPM-1: good, bad, indifferent, why, why not, etc.

    I'm seriously considering throwing some £££ at one and, as always, wisdom gratefully appreciated.



  2. Well, I'm guessing that it's pretty much the front end of my ABM500 EVO head........so I'd say it's pretty good! :bassist:

    Notr that I use the subharmoniser that much - but it can fatten up your sound nicely!

    Can't honestly think of anything bad about the amp at the mo - so go for it! :D
  3. Jason Carota

    Jason Carota Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2002
    Lowell, MA
    If you have not already, check out the sound clips of the RPM-1 over at www.basstasters.com .
    Relsom likes this.
  4. lowmid


    Feb 2, 2005
    Love my preamp section of My amp, (klystron bass magnifier=pre ABM, basically exact the same!!)
  5. N*Joy


    Nov 30, 2002
    Birmingham, UK
    Be aware that there is a slight mute/signal drop out when footswitching the eq shape or graphic in and out. If you don't want to do this then it's fine.
  6. Aram


    Feb 2, 2003
    New York, NY

    I have a friend that plays bass but doesn't know a ton about gear, and I suggested to him he get an RPM-1, based on hearing it and reading about it. Well he gigs and records in and around LA, and he said the DI has some serious buzz issues that can't be rectified because there is no ground lift (at least this is what every engineer and sound man has been telling him). I believe he also said that there is a bit of noise that comes through the speakers as well, but that it is not noticable when playing live (but was also a problem when micing the cabinet in the studio).

    When he spoke to the dealer he got it from (IIRC it was BassNW), they said that Ashdown apparently doesn't care about the preamps/power amps they make, and offer little support for them, because they believe bassists should purchase bass heads instead (and that only a very small percentage of their sales is attributed to preamps).

    I'm just relaying what I heard, I have no first-hand experience with this, but it may be worth looking into, especially if you plan to record with it. Aside from that, as far as I know, he's pleased with the sound and features of the preamp. He drives a Bergantino NV610 (also per my recommendation) with the Ashdown and a QSC power amp. But he recently said that issue alone may result in him selling the preamp.

    Please let me know if you have any questions on any of this, and good luck.

  7. ebozzz

    ebozzz Supporting Member

    May 17, 2001
    Could it be a problem with the unit that he purchased? Mine is as quiet as the proverbial church mouse through the DI and live. I'm very satisfied with mine but their customer service could be much better IMO.
  8. Aram


    Feb 2, 2003
    New York, NY
    Good point, it definitely could be exclusive to his unit - I forgot to mention that. However, that wasn't the implication he got from the dealer. Either way, I would imagine that no ground lift could be a problem for going direct.
  9. ebozzz

    ebozzz Supporting Member

    May 17, 2001
    A lot of Ashdown dealers that I have communicated with don't seem to have a great deal of positive things to say about the company. Much of that stems from problems that they have had with the North American distributor. I purchased mine from GuitarX. Shortly after I got it, they decided not to carry the Ashdown line any longer.

    It's true. No ground lift. I've never run into a situation where I needed to use that option but I imagine that lots of people are doing a whole lot more than I when it comes to music. :)
  10. Aram


    Feb 2, 2003
    New York, NY
    It's a bummer too, because based on all the clips I've heard so far of that pre, it's one of the few i really like...
  11. GRoberts


    Jan 7, 2003
    Tucson, AZ USA
    I've had an Ashdown ABM500 EVO for a couple years without a lick of trouble. It is a Stellar sounding amplifier. When I emailed Ashdown about what type of tube to use, they responded within 24 hours. Hmmm. Sure is a lot of bad press that does not jive with my personal experience. Things that make you go hmmm. That's ashame because the Ashdown amp is such a GREAT sounding amp. Gary
  12. vanselus

    vanselus Supporting Member

    Sep 20, 2000
    Boulder, CO
    From what I remember while tasting it, I really dug it. Very thick and tubey, very usable tone, and could approach the clarity and attack of the DB680 too. Very versatile, and a blast to play through. Definitely on my top 5 list.
  13. ebozzz

    ebozzz Supporting Member

    May 17, 2001

    I emailed them about some questions that I had on my RPM-1 and also to ask if there was a way to mod the footswitches to include LEDs to indicate on/off without causing any problems. They got back to me within 24 hours and answered all of the questions that I had regarding the RPM-1. I was totally impressed.

    The person that replied also told me that there was indeed a mod that could be done to add the LEDs and he offered to send me the schematic/diagram if I wanted it. All I had to do was reply confirming my desire to have the plans. I replied twice but have yet to get any response after several months. Not terribly bad but a little irritating at the least. I've got other examples that are more severe but I won't go into details about them in this thread. The other examples have a lot more to do with the role that the North American distributor played and Ashdown the company was indirectly involved.

    I still love my RPM-1 and have no plans to part with it. The business practices of Ashdown or their agents from my experiences have not been up to the level that they should be IMO. Overall they were not terrible but they could be a lot better on the customer service end. Just my thoughts..... :)
  14. I'm not a user of Ashdown yet I was and still looking at buying either a ABM 500 head, or the Evo II preamp- and Ashdown have been more than helpfull with my questions. Particularly the one about changing the power from 110Volts to 240VAC (Australian)- Offered schematics, and could even provide the transformer at cost.

    Still haven't really had the chance to try one though- I am seriously looknig at new amps at the moment, got an Gallien Krueger RB 800 bidded on on eBay Europe- if that falls through I may well tryout and buy either the preamp- or ABM head.

    A note about the buzz, some preamps do that- I have heard of a few Ampegs doing the same, simply shielding IMO or something not quiet grounded as it should be.
  15. Sorry Folks- forgot it in my last picture.

    Is there any chance you guys could post a Picture of the Front and Backs of your ABM 500's and or RPM preamps's?

    I need some porn! :bassist:
  16. popinfresh


    Dec 23, 2004
    Melbourne, Aus
    Cul - Do you mind my asking what the cost would be to get the preamp here and the extra transformer? And where you would be getting it from?

  17. Ummm!

    I was looking at getting the ABM500 (or was it the Mag, I cant remeber) head from the USA- not the preamp, so my mistake. From the Bass Place if I remember corectly. They are quiet cheap from the USA.

    Ashdown UK, was willing to sell me a transformer for 40£ and shipping would have cost another 40£.

    Then: After I remebered UK/Europe uses the same voltage as we do here in Australia 220/240Volts, I considered getting a preamp from there- it aactually worked out more expencive getting the preamp from the UK after shipping, and no doubt tax, than buying it here.

    Here are some retail prices from Bass Center in Melborune, Vic.
    Ashdown: RPM1 Evo II PreAmp $1549
    Ashdown ABM300 head rrp$1899
    Ashdown: ABM 500RC Evo II head $2399

    Hope that helps.
  18. nemo


    Mar 19, 2004
    Your porn, sir.


    This is not mine, I have collected pics from some ebay auction. I am lurking for one as well, I believe it is a cool amp!! :bassist:

  19. Mine is the same as above quote. Love it.

    As far as customer support goes, I've mailed them on numerous occasions about technical support and always received excellent response from them. As far as I know, there have been some very damaging issues with the US distributors, and the Ashdown company itself isn't quite as solid as it should be.

    I would think that if you contact Ashdown before purchasing, and discuss your thoughts with them, you can easily establish a client/company relationship (as I did) and you will get excellent support.

    Just my experience.

    And, oh, yes - they sound luvverrly! ;)
  20. Very interesting. Thanks.

    Obviously there are / have been difficulties with distribution in USA and elsewhere. I guess that sort of problem is less likely to exist as I'm in UK and it's a UK company: we're probably only 200 miles apart!!

    I have to say that my emails to Ashdown have always been answered fairly promptly - although I don't think they really listened when I gave them some thoughts on a couple of issues - but overall, customer service quite good. I've got the impression that they want to help.

    Over here my dealer's asked me £355 for the preamp. The RRP is, I think, £449. So it seems a good deal to me.

    This is for a stand-alone bass set up for live use in a small band: no DI, etc.

    It's good to hear that, tonewise, the RPM-1 seems to be well liked. I clearly cannot buy until I've tried. But your help has made it easier for me.



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