Ashdown Studio 8 Review Plus

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by MadJack, Dec 29, 2021.

  1. MadJack


    Nov 4, 2013
    Central Florida
    Well, after over an hours work, I'm going to try this again. I couldn't recover the previous draft! :mad:

    I've been play around with and working on guitars and tube amps for years. My personal experience with bass was with my daughters bass and amp. They went with her when she got married and moved out over three years ago.

    The end of this last summer, I decided to get into bass and try a little more seriously, as my budget permits. I started with a Donner DPB-510B P-Bass copy. With new strings and a setup it's actually pretty good, especially when I got it on sale and before the price increase. Just $118.40 shipped.

    Now I needed an amp. I was shopping all the major name brand combo practice amps, when I happened upon the Ashdown Studio 8 as the Stupid Deal Of The Day on Musician's Friend. It was $99.99, but at the time, normally $164.99. Shortly after it came off sale, it jumped to $199.99! :bored: A couple weeks later it went up to $219.99! o_O Then I checked it a couple weeks ago and now it's up to $249.99! :eek: I guess I got in on it at the most opportune time.

    The amp does sound good, nice warm tone. Problem is it has a low volume, even for a 30 watt 8" bass amp. It struggles to keep up with the 3-1/2" studio monitors I use with my laptop. It runs great up until half way on the control knobs and a modest volume level on the guitar. If I go any higher the speaker starts to distort, especially on the lower notes. I should be getting more from cleaner settings.

    The light weight make for very easy handling. I mean this thing is really light! Either 13.4 of 15.8 lbs., depending upon the source.

    Seeing as all the issues I found were all speaker related, I started looking for 8" bass guitar speakers. There are none specifically. Reading through a few threads (Fender Rumble Club, The Combo Club & others), I found that those who have done speaker swaps, did so with Bass/Mid-Bass/woofer speakers. Most notably was the Faital-PRO 8FE200.

    I needed to get the speaker specs to order the correct speaker. The grill is Velcro'ed on the front of the baffle like most bass amps, but there was no pull tab. I used an inch and a half putty knife and pried up one corner and pulled it off from there. Underneath was the typical flat black baffle with the speaker surface mounted in the middle with four very small wood screws. The speaker had the typical spade type connectors. The speaker had no EIA code on it. It does have two stickers on it. One says "ASH/8/4/20/BLACK" and the other just says "STUDIO-8" & "2008." Looking behind the spider, the voice coil looks very small, maybe 3/4", one of the smallest I've ever seen on any speaker. I did a DC resistance check and got a reading of 3.6Ω. Knowing the DC resistance is slightly lower than the AC impedance, I knew I had a 4Ω speaker. One Faital-PRO 8FE200, 4Ω on order.

    This is a bass speaker?

    Now for the cab. The speaker is isolated from the amplifier components. The ad copy states it is "Constructed using super lightweight poplar ply...," but I can't seem to find any type of plywood inside the cab. the baffle, top, bottom, sides and amp panels are all an "engineered wood" product of some sort. It's lighter than normal MDF and is composed of finer grains than MDF. There is a port in the back of the cab, but it's sealed to the front baffle and open in the back, but sealed. There is no porting to the inside. :eyebrow:

    The Faital-PRO speaker came in and I immediately noticed the difference in the build quality and the weight. All the specs of the speaker said it should work great in this amp.

    Stock on the left, Faital-PRO 8FE200 on the right.

    The new speaker does require the use of all 8 of the screw holes. I used four #4 wood screws and drilled the appropriate hole and mounted the speaker with all 8 screws. I did have to put washers under the four stock screws, as the holes in the new speaker are bigger than the light little speaker.

    The speaker did add about 2-3 lbs to the amp, but that doesn't seem to be an issue, as the amp was so light before.

    Now the performance of the new speaker, it is noticeably better! :thumbsup: The 95 dB sensitivity really brings the volume up to a more respectful level for this amp. The bass response is much better. Much fuller and tighter. It didn't lose any of the warmth or the treble response. In fact, the treble is more controllable. The speaker doesn't distort till much further up the dial, even with the increased speaker sensitivity. It's way louder and has much greater clean headroom. It handles my OD pedals well. definitely a worthwhile mod here. It does hang with laptop and monitors and will hang with my Taylor acoustic and my sister singing.

    Is this amp worth the new price? Nope! :rollno:

    Was it worth the price of the SDOTD I got it for? Most definitely! :thumbsup:

    Was the speaker upgrade worth it? Absolutely! :bassist:
  2. MadJack


    Nov 4, 2013
    Central Florida
    Through the whole write-up, I forgot the picture of the amp itself!

    Dasgre0g likes this.
  3. MadJack


    Nov 4, 2013
    Central Florida
    I did little experimenting with it yesterday. I took some Polly-fill, teased it out and lightly filled the cab with it. It wasn't a major improvement, but was definitely noticeable. It smoothed out the mids and made the amp a bit more articulate. The audio from the LINE IN is much less boxy sounding. Not so cringey when playing along with a song.
  4. Analogeezer


    Jul 29, 2021
    Cool story, glad it worked out well for you.

    How much was the Faital speaker? I believe those tend to be rather expensive but you get what you pay for of course.

    Question for the TB crowd; is this the same driver used in the Trace-Elliot cabs? I know the 2 x 8" is 8 ohms so probably not the exact same speaker unless they wired 4 ohms ones in series.

    RevSound uses Celestions in their 8" cab products, it's not a speaker you can buy off the shelf though.

    These are really, really good sounding for bass, apparently designed for bass, not a pro sound driver that is suitable for bass.

  5. MadJack


    Nov 4, 2013
    Central Florida
    I feel really lucky having getting these items on sale when I did.

    The FaitalPRO 8FE200 4Ω was only $52 at PE. I was considering two speakers that met the specks I was looking for at a reasonable price. The other was a Dayton Hi-fi woofer, that cost $20 more. I wasn't too sure about the upper frequencies on the Dayton, as the profile looked like a hi-fi speaker response. I went with this speaker after considering the response ranges and reading a few reviews here on TB, where one TB'er put one in a Pignose Hog 30 and another who put one in a Ampeg BA108. Both had good things to say.

    I've primarily been a Tube guitar amp aficionado, building and modifying them to my taste and a few for some others. One of the big things I've found about OEM speaker in the last 20+ years, most use cheap OEM, off the shelf speakers, which are typically not available off the shelf retail. These may be from a major name brand or a small company. These speakers meet the fairly loose parameters the OEMs are looking for in a particular amp/cab. Then the OEMs will slap a label on one of the speakers and call them "Special Design." Eminence is a big manufacturer that makes these speakers. The Chinese made Eminence are the OEM speakers (a few exceptions for Special/Limited Edition amps), while the speakers you buy retail are the USA assembled speakers. Those RevSound Celestions are most likely as I described here.

    It is not likely these are the speakers used in the Trace-Elliot 2 X 8" cabs, as these cabs are rated for 400 watts rms (200 watts each speaker), while these are rated for 130 watts rms each. Looking through, I didn't see any off the shelf speakers that meet those parameters. The most accurate way to find out who made the speakers would be to pull one of the speakers and see if they have the EIA code.
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