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Ashdown Touring combo issue

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by moles, Mar 18, 2014.

  1. moles


    Jan 24, 2007
    Winnipeg, MB
    I have an Ashdown 220 Touring combo that I picked up late last year from MF. It's seen minimal use as I took off on an overseas thing shortly after buying it, but it was gigged before I left and it works like a champ.

    A few weeks ago, on night #2 of a 2-nighter, it developed a sudden loss of output during the first set. Very low volume, with almost zero low end - this is the signal coming from the DI as well as the speaker. Not having much time in between sets, we just went straight into the soundguy's DI and bailed on the amp. I spent the week trying to replicate the problem at home, and it worked fine. The next weekend, it had no issues. Incidentally, that FOH guy likes to mic the cab, so there was nothing plugged into the direct out on the amp. I also started placing my fx (using a Zoom B3 at the moment) in front of the amp rather than in the loop.

    Weekend #3, same thing happens... Dies during set 1, on night number 2 of a three-nighter this time. Same issue - very low output, huge loss of low end, affecting the DI as much as what's coming out the speaker.
    I'm using a Fender American Deluxe J V, active mode, bridge pickup favoured, with flat mids and treble, and slight boost of the bass. Original N3 pickups, not set exceptionally close to the strings I'd say (they could probably come up a bit). Zoom B3 for some compression and drive - pretty close to unity gain, maybe a touch louder at times. I'm not pumping huge modelled-SVT low end into the amp or anything...
    I'm plugging into the high-gain input on the amp for more grit out of those tubes, as per the manual's suggestion.

    Anyone else have this kind of problem with these amps and have a possible diagnosis? Bad preamp tube? Driver error? Something else I should be looking at?

    I've also emailed Ashdown twice about it and warranty info and gotten no response so far - anyone got a better way to get hold of them? Or know who distributes Ashdown in Canada now?
  2. moles


    Jan 24, 2007
    Winnipeg, MB

    None of you guys that jumped on the Little Bastard when they got cleared out, run into issues running the preamp hot?

    3 phone calls to MF, 2 emails to Ashdown, one call each to the local authorized service center, and to ADI who *used* to be the Canadian distributor, and I can't get a response at all on warranty info or how to troubleshoot this. Getting a little frustrated...
  3. bobalu


    Oct 1, 2004
    above the 49th
    Moles, I share your pain in dealing with Ashdown. A few years back I was having issues with my ABM 500 and it turned out that the Canadian distributor went into bankruptcy and no one had picked up the line in Canada. I was e-mailing England but they just told me to wait until they found a new distributor. I had the amp repaired at a local shop (out of my pocket) and sold all my Ashdown gear out of frustration as soon as I could. It sounded great when it worked but I was fed up with them. Check out L.A. Music in Mississauga (Ontario) and ask them who distributes Ashdown in Canada. That should get you started at least.


    As to your amp issue, are you certain that you've isolated the problem to be with the amp? You mentioned your Am. Deluxe and I've had weak batteries cause a problem similar to what you mentioned. Maybe a bad cable? Does it happen when you run a passive bass though it? Start with the easy stuff first. Hope you get it solved.
  4. Edit: ^ what bob said...

    Any chance it's the battery in your bass ?

    Could have enough juice when you first plug in to run an hour then the onboard preamp gives out, maybe...
  5. moles


    Jan 24, 2007
    Winnipeg, MB
    Ok thanks for the responses guys...

    So after calling around a bunch today, I did figure out that the distributor for CANADA is in fact Korg USA...NOT to be confused with Korg Canada aka JAM Industries who doesn't have anything to with any of this... Or at least if they do, they aren't aware of it yet. I'm sure this is all normal considering the distributorship only changed hands months ago. There is still a question of who would perform the work, should it come to that, but I've spoken to a manager type at Korg USA who is double checking the info and will email me back with further details.

    In the meantime... As far as troubleshooting...
    On the first gig things went awry, switching basses, running the J in passive mode, plugging straight in (with a brand new cable) made no difference. I tested the batteries the next day, and they read a little over 8.5v each. Not ideal, but I figure it's an 18v system and that gives me a little wiggle room. Besides, I've played that bass for literally hours at a time since then and they're still holding up. Also, any dead battery scenario I've experienced came with a lot more distortion in the the sound - this was a dramatic reduction in volume and low end which was otherwise sort of clean sounding.

    After searching around, the closest description to the sound I was hearing, that I read on the net, was in regards to an ABM head that had thermal sensors bent from a bump probably during shipping, and the amp either reacted like it thought it was overheating... or it prevented the fans from kicking in when they needed to and so it actually did overheat. So in essence it sounds like I'm pushing the output too hard BUT it's not going into the red any more than my old MAG rig did (which was trouble free for nearly 2000 shows) and again, why is it taking the DI signal with it? I know one of those split tubes feeds both the output power section, and the direct out - coincidence? Given that one of the features of that time preamp section is the ability to drive it well into overdrive, how likely is it to go beyond what the components can handle and fry something?
  6. moles


    Jan 24, 2007
    Winnipeg, MB
    Just in the interest of keeping things tidy, I should update here...

    After a few loooongg months of trial and error, and slowly narrowing down the issue, it's become 99.99% certain that the issue in my OP was caused solely by a defective Zoom B3, and/or operator error or said Zoom B3 (wondering now if powering it by the USB cable is really wise, in a live environment - but that's probably for another thread).

    In case anyone's interested - the short(ish) version is:

    Came back to Canada, and was using the Ashdown Touring 220 (I'd bought it shortly before an overseas trip, and only used it a handful of times) and brand new Zoom B3 that I picked up because I was tired of dialing in 7 different pedals every night... Also, let's throw 2 relatively new-to-me basses in the mix. So my ENTIRE rig was basically unfamiliar territory to me...

    Said issues outlined in the OP ensued. My band took a small weekend+ tour - festival dates and a casino. Took the Zoom B3 with me, of course, but all the dates had backline (various Ampeg rigs - nice, solid, well-taken care of, pro- backline company provided...) Every one of them developed issues of some sort at the input stage - I made sure to inform the techs and keep levels to a minimum so I didn't blow anything up. Started to wonder about the Zoom...

    In the meantime, I had some extra cash and bought another Boss GT-10B (had one before, liked it, figured why not).

    No more issues with my amp after that...

    What sealed the deal for me was a little bedroom recording session, using the B3 unit as an interface - the VERY SAME farty, broken input tube sound started coming out of my headphones during a take. Since that tone didn't go to tape (the recording sounded very clean, and nowhere like what I was hearing out of the cans) and I could play the take back at three times the volume without pushing the headphone drivers into distortion, that narrowed it down to the output section of the B3. Replicated the problem three more times. &%#$. That was definitely it. I have no idea of the technical aspects of what I was hearing - but it got distorted and loud for seemingly no reason - and probably got way too hot for reasonable amp input level to boot. :/

    Thank god I didn't make a tech somewhere crazy trying to track this $%^# down...