Can't Walter Woods be Cloned?

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by Danny Adair, Dec 5, 2001.

  1. I don't mean to take anything away from Walter himself, who I found to be a very nice gentleman when I contacted him. I understand that his amps are very simply the holy grail of double bass amplification. My only question is: Why the hell hasn't anyone else copied his design?!?!

    I'm all for originality and ingenuity. The venerable Mr. Woods has certainly got a vice-like grip on those concepts. However, haven't any of other amp makers gotten the brilliant idea of buying a few WW amps, reverse-engineering them, and selling them for $250 less than Walter's? I know WW is secretive and advanced, but it's not that tricky!

    With all due respect to the denizens of the mature and erudite (and occasionally stuffy) side of the board, I doubt that the CEO's of the leading amp makers are reading this thread. I guess I'm just venting, which makes me a whining and impatient Gen-Xer.

    Of course, the only reason my panties are wadded is that I really want a Woods! I need a Midol...:mad:
  2. Bijoux


    Aug 13, 2001
    Hey Danny probably in a couple of years or so we'll see a total new generation of amps, as for exemple the acoustic image, technology to improve digital amps will improve, I was talking to a guy that designs digital AC adaptors and I guess that is worth to wait a little while, it seems like things will change a lot;)
  3. Francois Blais

    Francois Blais Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 1999
    Québec, Canada
    At some point, there was an European alternative to the WW: the ELIN E41 amp.
    But it seems production ceased two years ago.

    Anyway, my opinion is that quality has a price! :)
  4. Monte


    Jan 9, 2001
    New Albany, MS
    Playing my teachers WW and my Acoustic Image, I'd pick the Acoustic Image any day of the week.

    Don Sibley likes this.
  5. Why is that? Tone? Flexibility? Price? If I thought that a Clarus could dish out some decent rock electric bass sounds, I would jump on it. Do you have any experience with the AI Clarus and electric basses?
  6. Turock

    Turock Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2000
    Yes, someone should clone him. If they made about ten of him, he could increase production ten-fold.
    codycon96 and Need Gigs like this.
  7. Monte


    Jan 9, 2001
    New Albany, MS
    It sounds great with my Contra. I had the guys up at our new Guitar Center just drooling over its sound with a Warwick Thumb and a StingRay, and I'm not really much of an electric player.

    Bass Player's Ed Friedland uses his Clarus with electic. I'm on an e-mail list of bassists who play in churches, and several of them have gotten the Clarus, and they are all electric players.

    The Woods is a great doublebass amp, so don't get me wrong. However, I tend to find the Acoustic Image stuff to be more versatile, and I think it sounds much better with electric. One caveat; if you have a crappy electric bass, it will sound like a crappy electric bass. However, my mid-90's Ibanez 5-string sounds great. It was far fromone of the cheapest Ibanez basses, but it's not exactly a Pedulla either.

    Surely there is somebody in the Dallas area gigging with a Clarus. I know that there have got to be some bassists at UNT that have them. I hope you get to try one out.

  8. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    The Clarus has two flaws for electric bass use:

    1. low power, into a single 8 ohm cab only 120 watts; WW offers (much) higher powered options.

    2. single channel, so if you double on upright and electric you need an A/B box and either compromise on volume/EQ settings or have to change them when you switch. Yes, there is a 2 channel Clarus head now BUT one channel has an XLR input....does your bass have an XLR output?

    If you can deal with those limitations, the Clarus is a great amp, cheaper and more easily available than a WW. It also has an XLR out, something WW only offered briefly and one thing I sorely miss.

    I agree with FED UQUA that the tough part is building it to Walter's specs in a mass production environment. A few parts are proprietary (he custom winds all the electromagnetic components) and he also handmatches some components for optimal performance.

    The other issue is EARS. The one word I can use to describe the WW is "musical". How come when I raise the midrange on other amps it sounds honky but on my Woods it sounds meaty? Why is it that I can reduce the bass on the Woods without emasculating the sound?
    I have no idea how he designed the EQ but it just works the way you want it to!

    Is it perfect? No, because it's also idiosyncratic. However, it was clearly designed to meet a number of needs that other amplifier makers have never addressed. AI is clearly on the right track and perhaps their success will yield more competition.
  9. Does anyone have the info for ordering a Walter Woods? Or have a used one they might actually be willing to sell (teehee... like thats possible!) My bass teacher plays through a WW, but he lost Mr. Wood's number and address...
    If anyone could hook me up with the number that would be awesome...
  10. Um - I have an AI Contra & the extension cab - I thought they were 4-Ohms each, and that the amp will put ~120W into one and ~150>200W into them both. Mine are the older models so things might have changed. I also have an EA CXL-112 which sounds great with the AI Clarus, but is bloody heavy to cart around compared with the AI Contra. I've found that the "Magic Triangles" (see threads passim) improve the sound of the AIs, reducing the "boominess" which I found to be an annoying characteristic of the AIs.

    The Clarus head (and the AI Contra) has 2 inputs - one high-gain, and one low-gain; the high-gain input has a selectable impedance for optimal loading of piezo-type pickups - but maybe you meant 2 separate channels.

    I use a Raven Labs PMB-1 which I've found works really well, especially with the "K & K / Golden Trinity" combo on my double-bass.

    Yes - EARS are the most important things...

    - Wil
  11. I once (and wish I still- jebus I'm an idjit) had a WW 100watt head that was GREAT for both electric and upright. In a vain bid to try and replace it, I tried a Clarus, and it was OK for upright, but IMO just plain sucked for electric. And I tried a multitude of different basses through it.
  12. I like the idea of cloning Walter, because then he'd be able to cope with his orders.
  13. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur

    Mar 22, 2000
    New Joisey Shore
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music
    Hi Wil-

    The Contra/Coda cabinets are 4 ohms each; the Clarus/Contra/Coda head puts put 120w/8 ohms, 200w/4 ohms, 300w/2 ohms, and these specs are for the original as well as current models. So you are getting 200w/Contra, 300w/pair. for complete specs and photos.
  14. CBFinet


    Nov 11, 2002
    Phoenix, AZ
    I'm probably going to buy a used WW ultra hi-power 800/1200w 2 channel amp that's about 2 years old and the guy I'm buying from wants $2050 firm because it was just bench tested by walter himself and is in perfect condition. I know WW amps are worth the money, but does this price sound right for a used one of this model? I would call Walter directly but he's out till mid January and I hope to get the amp before then. Thanks,
  15. i'm new to forum-i've corresponded in amps and pick-ups section with great results, first time in this thread. (is thread right?). anyway, i'm also looking for a ww amp-i somehow let one get away back in the day-and would love contact number(s). btw, what do you guys think are some of the best speakers to go with? love the marceau quote!
  16. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    I don't care about cloning the circuit, but I would not mind seeing accurate performance measurements -- response curves and the like. If there is something magic about WW, then presumably it would not be revealed in the curves. But it would give those of us who don't believe in magic something to look at.
  17. First, there are a lot of different versions of the WW out there... some sound great.... some sound fantastic (the 2001-2003 Ultra's, for example), and some sound not so good.

    The Clarus is massively underpowered and not voiced very well for most electric bass applications in my opinion... very polite treble response and a very floppy, open low end, especially using a 5 string electric. The Focus is better, but not even in the same universe as the recent Walter Woods Ultra regarding volume, punch and tone flexibility. Of course, it's less than 1/2 of the price.

    The Focus did not hold up very well versus the WW Ultra when A/Bing with a DB using a Realist pickup.... the Focus was very dark sounding... no upper mid definition compared to the Walter.

    One area where the AI seems to excell (again IMO) is with EUB and semi-acoustic bass guitars (like the Rob Allen and Turner models). That very warm (some would say mushy) voicing really helps those piezzo driven instruments to warm up and more closely mimic a DB than any other amp I've ever heard.

    Again, this all gets down to personal taste. I have not checked out the Series III AI models yet, but given AI's claim that 'the sound hasn't changed', I would think the above would hold for the series III also. One thing that concerns me with the series III is the deletion of the 'brite' control, which to me and a number of other series II DB owners I've talked to was much more usable than the very, very high frequency treble control (10K!).
  18. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004

    Ah, a voice of reason! Thanks, fdeck. Performance measures of the amp alone into a dummy load would not suffice for me. I'd like to see how it behaves into a realistic load that of complex impedance. As you know, circuits that many claim to be "magical" are often so because of response peculiarities that come about as a result of the interaction of the amp and the load. These are often quite sonically desirable to many.
  19. I don't think there's anything 'magic' in the WW sound in and of itself. The magic comes in regarding how something the size of a cigar box can pump out 1200 watts RMS and keep up with an SVT weighing 60 pounds or so. I think the original poster's question involved other companies coming out with small, light amps that are more easily obtained (i.e., better distribution) and for a more typical cost (i.e., around $1,000 versus $2,500). I think that Epifani, EA (iAmp) and Acoustic Image have begun to make headway into this 'class D' high power, small footprint, lightweight world, and more are coming (Markbass, etc.). Also, Thunderfunk puts out an amazing product that is a traditional analog amp but still only 15 pounds. So... lot's of great options out there.
  20. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    Hubert Liegos who has been known to repair a few Walter Woods in his time, has his own amplifier. It has many of the features of the classic Walter Woods Amplifiers.

    If anyone could actually build a "homage to Walter" it would be Mr. Liegos. I think the last time I looked it cost around $1,600.00 and is a 200 watt amplifier. So evidently, it's more difficult to built a Walter Woods than we would like to think. IMHO

    I think the GK MB series is about as close as you're going to get to a "cloned' Walter Woods that is affordable for student and semi professional bassists.