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Buying my first high end amp and need advice - Ashdown Klystron VS ABM VS MAG

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Sjkerz92, Mar 15, 2016.


  1. Sjkerz92

    Sjkerz92

    Feb 10, 2016
    Toronto, Canada
    I have recently been selling off my collection of basses and amps to buy one awesome bass and one awesome amp. The bad news is I blew a large chunk of my budget on the bass (Sadowsky Mv4, couldn't help myself). So I am left with about $700 to spend on an amp but would like to stay under that if possible. I am looking very seriously at the following USED amps (in Canada, off Kijiji)

    1. Ashdown MAG C115-300. $250 (As far as I know this is a kick-ass price)
    2. Ashdown ABM C210-500. $700
    3. Ashdown Klystron C410-500. $600

    I landed on these amps because I want something I can use to practice at home, but also transport (relatively comfortably) to a medium sized gig. I am happy renting extension cabs for one night they only cost about $10/day, and I am only gigging 1-2 times per month.

    I really enjoy the sound of all 3 amps, I am really looking for advice in terms of the value of each. My top choice would be the ABM, but I feel that it is overpriced because the Klystron is a "higher end" amp, newer, and has 4x10" speakers vs 2, meaning I would never have to rent an extension cab. Bad news is its 100 lbs.

    If it matters at all, I was previously using an old blue-carpet Yorkville Bassmaster 200.

    Any advice or insight would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. John Swartz

    John Swartz

    Apr 9, 2008
    I have owned an ABM C210-500 -- a great amp, and definitely higher-end than the Mag (which is similar to my Ashdown Electric Blue -- works ok for gigs with an extension speaker but otherwis is just a good solid practice amp or amp for small settings). The Klystron is higher end and will push more air than the ABM, but I can't speak as well for it's sound. I am assuming, however that the 4x10 speakers give it a 4 ohm load? The 2x10 speakers on the ABM is an 8 ohm load, so there are cases where you might consider pairing it with an extension speaker - and if the Kystron is a 4 ohm load you probably wouldn't. 100 lbs for the Klystron? The ABM weighs in at around 80 or so... Lastly, some of the ABMs (starting with some of the EVO II's but continuing with the EVO III's) were built in China as opposed to UK, and I think the Klystrons were all built in the UK. I don't know of any specific quality issues with the Chinese-made amps, but there appears to have been that perception here. YMMV.

    John
     
  3. Sjkerz92

    Sjkerz92

    Feb 10, 2016
    Toronto, Canada
    John - thank you so much for the advice. Did you find your ABM was appropriate for gigging with an extension cab? And does $700 seem like a fair price to you?
     
  4. John Swartz

    John Swartz

    Apr 9, 2008
    $700 might be a little on the high end if it's one of the older models (EVO I or EVO II), but I probably paid about that much about 5 years ago when I had mine (let it go for I think $500 - switched to a more modular rig with lighter pieces - trying to squeeze that 80 lb combo into the back seat of my car on a regular basis turned out to be not so much fun for me).

    I did pair my ABM with a 2x10 extension speaker on multiple occasions and it met my needs in any sized club I played at (for smaller clubs you don't need it - for the really big ones you're going to run an output to the board or mic the cabinet). The one thing I did find however, was that I was using the Ashdown Mag 210T cabinet, which does not have the same quality speakers as the ABMs do. It had a somewhat noticeable impact on the tone I was trying to get (not bad, but tone-wise, I sounded better when I unplugged the extension). I used that same cabinet with my Electric Blue combo and didn't notice the same change in tone - presumably because the Mag 210T cabinet used similar speakers to the Electric Blue combo. So, if you go with the ABM, I would get an ABM extension cabinet so that the speakers match.

    But, if lugging around the Klystron doesn't worry you, I suspect it's a better amp at a better price.

    John
     
    Sjkerz92 likes this.
  5. I owned a MAG head and cabinet a couple of years ago. 'Awesome' is not a word I would chose to describe it. The ABM series seem to definitely sound better.
     
  6. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Supporting Member

    A 100 pound combo is just craziness. Unpractical and discouraging to carry around. I'd pass.
    YOu don't have the dough to go hi end so I'd go with something solid instead. Hartke, Yorkville, the kind of gear that will get you reliably heard.
     
  7. Sjkerz92

    Sjkerz92

    Feb 10, 2016
    Toronto, Canada
    Yes I totally agree. I am seriously considering upping my budget for a Markbass CMD 121P..
     

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