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Ashdown Vs. Ampeg

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Dan the Lorp, Jan 17, 2006.

  1. Dan the Lorp

    Dan the Lorp

    Aug 30, 2005
    NW Florida
    In the past I have started discussions about mainly Ampeg gear here. Now I am looking at possibly the SVT 6, or SVT 4 heads, with the SVT 410HLF, and maybe adding the SVT 18 cab. Around a $2500 rig new. I was interested in any opinions about the SVT 410 HLF compared to the BXT 410HLF, the 'Victor Wooten' model, and the $1000 PR 410HLF. The 'better' ported Ampeg 410's.

    My real dilemna is this: The music store where I live just got in an Ashdown rig: the ABM 500 II head (575 watts), with their standard 410 and 115 cabs. NOT the MG, or whatever the lower line not made in England is. All told, a $2100 rig.

    Well, the bass guy in the store said that when he tried out the Ashdown, he absolutely loved it---it made him want to start playing again (and they sell Ampeg stuff also). He told me he liked the Ashdown much more than the Ampeg.

    I tried it out with a Geddy Lee passive jazz bass, which plays and sounded great!

    Being a Classic Rock Vintage Fender Precision warm, fat, thick, DEEP bass kind of guy, I was very impressed with the sound of the Ashdown. With the BASS turned all the way up (there is even a subharmonic generator, which adds depth to the lowend)---the sound had a deep, rich, round and very warm tone that was beautiful, it was strong and fat, yet defined---very warm, it sounded like I was playing my old 1971 Precision.

    Because of how it sounded, I couldn't resist doing a riff from 'In Need'---the lowdown groove part of the song, from Grand Funk's heavy 'Red Album' (if you remember how fat the bass on that record was---that is how this sounded---amazing). No crappy Carvin bottoming out here...the guy giving guitar lessons came out from the back and told me it was the best 'sounding' bass tone he ever heard in the store. Then he politely asked me to turn it down. But I tweaked the tone with the 7 band EQ and got some nice punchy jazz growl (I wanted to buy the freaking bass and rig on the spot!) also, with the Geddy Lee.

    The look, which seemed funky at first, is even growing on me, the head with the vintage lettering, the light blue color; the 'buffalo leather' covering is real nice and everything seemed well built and sturdy.

    SO...now what do I do?

    Any thoughts about the Ashdown's: quality, build, sound, value...etc. vs. the Ampeg stuff? My only concern in the store was the Amp's power. It just states it has 575 watts. Is that comparable to the Ampeg SVT 4 at 700 into 4-Ohms? Or am I wrong on that?

    I asked a local bass player, who is more into a funk-slap style then Classic Rock, and he told me he thought the Ashdown's were very good quality, but they didn't suit his style and sound---he preferred the mid-punchiness of the Ampeg sound. He also uses Eden cabs and might be going for Epifani next.

    But Ampeg and Ashdown---meat and potatos?

    Again, I like deep defined bottom, but also a strong mid-range that is defined and cuts through my guitarist's Hendrix/SRV like guitar wailing out of a Marshall stack.

    Also, the store guy told me that the old Trace Elliot guys were involved with the design of the English made Ashdown stuff. They seem to have a lot of 'famous' endorsers (which is really neither here nor there, I guess).:help:

    SO---any help will be greatly appreciated...

  2. AxtoOx


    Nov 12, 2005
    Duncan, Okla.
    You have to go with your own ears. I play Ampeg and Eden. My Eden will cover everything but I just can't let go of my Ampeg yet. It's going to leave with claw marks on it.:) My Eden puts out 1200 watts compared to my Ampegs 450. So I have been able to rationalize keeping both.
    That's my Ampeg endorsment, Ashdown is a very good company so you won't get me to put down their stuff. If you like the way it sounds better than that's the way it is, and yes some of the Trace Elliot people are there I understand.

    I know it's not on your list, but if you get a chance, try out the Eden WT1205, it's their new top of the line and I think it's just awesome.

    Edit:Yes the 6-Pro and 4-Pro will have more power, but if the sounds not right, what's more important. If they are close to you, then the power may make a difference.
  3. lowmid


    Feb 2, 2005
    I had about the same thing with you!!

    i went to a store to try mainly the hydrid/tubes ampegs and they were nice, but then I saw an ashdown combo, the guy probably didn't like them because he didn't propose me to test So i plugged myself in, and the rest is history!!

    I'm now the proud owner of abm ABM c210 combo and i'm gassing for a 115 cab!
  4. Nighttrain1127

    Nighttrain1127 Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2004
    Near Worcester MA
    The older Ampeg Has more of the old school fat sound and the new ampeg has a more modern sound but not quite HiFiand the sound difference is not for the good from what I have heard. I played a SVT CL head through a 410 hlf and a 610 and they both sounded bland and had no soul as the saying goes. Did they sound bad No Not by any stretch But they just did not get it for me. I like the Fat sweet old school thump with the deeper modern bottom so playing the B string actually gets you to 35Hz In sound reproduction. As others have said try out everything and trust your ears.And don't worry about the brand or who else uses whatever you decide on it is good because it does what you want it to and sounds like you like it to. :bassist:
  5. dave_bass5


    May 28, 2004
    London, UK.
    Just to clarify, the ABM amps may be put together in the uk but a lot of the electrics/electronics are sourced from China acording to the Bass centre in london who are the main dealers over here in the uk.
    If you have a look at the Live8 concert you will see a very large % of bass players using ABM. also U2's bass player has used them for a few years and he gets some amazing tones out of them
    Just my thoughts being a new ABM owner
  6. sloppysubs


    Nov 24, 2002
    Swansboro, NC
    Go Ashdown, you won't be sorry.
  7. Yorkiebassist


    Dec 20, 2005
    I stand by Ashdown. Never had a problem with mine, and it sounds very nice, and is highly versatile.
  8. chaosMK


    May 26, 2005
    Albuquerque, NM
    Hi-fi into an old tube amp
    +1 Ashdown. Ampeg tube amps are hard for me to put down though, but you are looking at SS.

    Their stuff is really easy to dial in great tone and adjust on the spot (stage sound would just be a little tweaking of the lows and low mids- which seem to be set at just the right frequencies). If you feel limited by the warm/vintage tone, add a Sansamp or Hartke VXL to your board and all your dreams will come true.

    I loved my Ashdown/Sansamp rig. Their amps are powerful for the wattage rating as well.
  9. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PHL
    [broken record on]

    Ashdown are by far THE BEST of the large scale manufacturers, and my perennial favs.

    [broken record off]

    kicks ampeg to the curbside.
  10. lowmid


    Feb 2, 2005
    the eq thing is so right, and with only a 210 combo I leave the Eq out for my basse, it sound so good an if you like smiling curves, there is a smile curve button just press it, ssooo simple an cool to use!!

    Btw the 3 band eq and intermediate 4 mid sliders are the best inventions in bass amps IMO
  11. Dan the Lorp

    Dan the Lorp

    Aug 30, 2005
    NW Florida
    Wow---I didn't expect to hear such one-sided results. Thanks everyone for your input. It seems that so far a big majority favor Ashdown over Ampeg.

    When I played it in the store, I thought---this could be the perfect set up, the ABM with (conservatively) 575 watts did seem powerful, and it had the 410 and 115 under it. The tone was just gorgeous. I'm not sure if the 410 was the 8-Ohm or the 4-Ohm. Whichever, it worked together well.

    Have any of you had direct experience with the ABM 500 EVO II in live settings? One question I had---I know how deep the Ampeg SVT410HLF cab goes as a standalone---I was wondering how the ABM with the Ashdown 410 T or 414 T would sound without the ABM 115 in a small club, as a standalone. The cabs are definitely substantial in weight and build quality. I am not sure if the 410s are ported.

    Also---which would make more sense to go with---(their 410s come either 4-OHM or 8-OHM), the 4 or 8-Ohm? Since it would be paired with the 15, which is 8 Ohms.

    I know the Ampeg SVT 6 is fairly new---any thoughts/exprience with that head and Ampeg cabs? It seems to be a beefed up version of the SVT-3, way up there at 1100 watts. Bass Gutar mag. gave it an excellent review. The Ampeg guy recommended using the SVT 6 with the SVT 610HLF (which it was tested with in the review), the 810---and the BXT 410HLF---the one I mentioned that Victor Wooten supposedly had a hand in. I will definitely not be carrying a refrigerator---I want to go a 410 and 115 setup, for my back, and versatility.

    What I seem to be hearing so far is that even with the Tube pre-amps on the Ampegs, the vintage sound, the warmth is just not as good as the Ashdown. And with the 3 dials plus the 4 sliders, you can get a good variety of tones dialed in.

    Yet the Ashdown brochure doesn't go into too much detail on specs--I am still not sure if it has all tubes, or none! It does say to go to the website for more detail.

    This is an excerpt from the brochure:

    "...There are switchable inputs for active and passive instruments with a blend of solid state and dual triode tube preamp stages which can be preset and selected by footswitch, providing access to a massive range of clean, warm and overdriven tones."

    That is the only reference I can find to anything regarding 'tubes.' So I would imagine it does have them in the preamp at least. I can't imagine, with the fantastic sounds I heard from this rig---that it doesn't have tubes all over the place.

    But being able to go WAAAY down deep, with warmth, thickness, and still be defined---and to get into that mid and upper mid-range with some bite to it---that is where it is at for me. I play in a Blues-Rock band, we do covers of Tommy Castro, Robben Ford, Coco Montoya, Tinsley Ellis, some Allman Brothers, originals, some classic blues like Howlin' Wolf, Paul Butterfield and Elmore James stuff---as well as some hard rockin' Classic Rock like Cream, Hendrix...even Stone Temple Pilots and Collective Soul...

    Anyway---thanks again, and I would appreciate any other observations, if you have more detailed descriptions that would be great---on the Ashdown sound and the new Ampegs as well.

    I am no 'tech-head' as is obvious by now. I just know the sound I like, and some versatility with that---in a reliable, well built package. I know the Ashdown gear is not cheap, but I think by comparison Ampeg seems to be more expensive...

    One last thing: Ashdown offers [the head] in a "rack-mounting version of the standard ABM 500 head, with a stunning, polished chrome panel." I have a BBE 362, will possibly be using a rackmount compressor and tuner---don't you think the rackmount would look pretty cool?

  12. AxtoOx


    Nov 12, 2005
    Duncan, Okla.
    Ampeg gets excellent reviews everywhere but here, and I really don't know why, but I have yet to see a thread where Ampeg came out ahead. A lot of people play them, a lot of pros endorse them, some say they are paid, I heard that was not true. Read Les Claypools testimonial on their site.
    I refuse to run down other brands because it's a matter of taste. I can't tell what you like or tell you what's right for you.
    Ashdown is good, but so is Ampeg and they have a reputation going back many years to back it up.
  13. Ashdown all the way.
  14. ashdown sound similar to TE with mid-cut shape on :]
    I prefer growly TE - it's more sellective, although ash sounds better with overdrive/distortion effect..
    but on TE I don't have to use it ;]
  15. dave_bass5


    May 28, 2004
    London, UK.
    Beware the Ashdown specs.
    they arent correct and contradict themselves on the website.
    The frequency list for the EQ is wrong

  16. Peter Kaae

    Peter Kaae

    Oct 10, 2004
    I prefer Ashdown amplifiers to Ampeg, but when it comes to cabs, I really do not like the Ashdowns. Ampeg Cabs have more tone and a fuller sound, but I think Ampeg SS heads are not as great sounding as Ashdowns...
  17. musicman5string

    musicman5string Banned

    Jan 17, 2006
    Here's my experience:

    One of my favorite rigs I've played through at a rehearsal studio was an old Ampeg B-15 with an 8x10 cab, and the sound was amazing.
    However, not only could I not afford one of those, and not only could I not transport one of those by myself, but there is no way I would ever need the volume of it.

    So, I was looking for a good combo. I tried lots of stuff, and it came down to an Ampeg 1x15 and an Ashdown 4x10 (MAG series). I played my StingRay 5, and the Ashdown blew the Ampeg out of the water...no contest. The lows are deep but defined, warm but not muddy.

    And the MAG series is the more inexpensive line as well!

    Good luck.
  18. I agree that Ash has more lows and highs.. but mids are weak
    When you try to have midrange growl which is needed in rock music it's hard to use Ash wichout some good OD/dist
  19. Lync

    Lync Supporting Member

    Apr 13, 2004
    No doubt about it-Ashdown ABM stuff can be warm and fat. Where Ampeg shines IMO is in the band context; the way the tone sits in the mix. Both are excellent.

    I've found that for playing with a smaller band (such as one guitar), that Ashdown tone is perfect. Get to more guitarists or instruments (such as horns, keyboard, etc) and Ampeg has the magic.
  20. So, here's my 2 cents. I'm using and ABM500EVOll with two Aguilar GS112's. I've get compliments on my tone all the time when I play with my classic rock cover band. I've had a pretty diverse variety of rigs over the years and I've never heard so many compliments. I'm using a Sansamp compressor and a BDDI with my old P bass. And it's loud, I use no PA support. That being said, the ABM did fail on me at a gig within the first 9 months. It was fixed no problem under warranty and the USA Ashdown folks were awesome. Also, I bought it from Dave at Avatar who gave me a great price and his usual impeccable service. I highly recommend checking him out. No troubles since (2 years) and as I said, definitely the best sounding most portable rig I've ever owned.

    Hope this helps.:D