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Compare the AG500 and the Focus....

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by DaveAceofBass, Oct 15, 2004.


  1. DaveAceofBass

    DaveAceofBass Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2004
    Charlotte, NC
    Dear fellow Talkbassers,
    I'm torn to get a new small rig. My big rig is the Aguilar DB359 and GS210 and GS115 cabs, and I also have an SWR Bigfoot 2x12. My small rig has been the Acoustic Image Contra. It's now time to retire the Contra, and I'm certain I will buy an Acme B-1 to use for small gigs and rehearsals. I'm in dire need of some accurate assessments on the tonal differences of the new AI Focus and the Aggie AG500. :confused: I play both upright and electric, and this will serve as a doubling rig. I like the fat full sound the Aguilar gives for electric, and I like the smooth flat sound of the AI for the upright. Being as I can't carry my DB359 to all of my louder gigs, this may become my main amp, with cabinets as my "options" for size. If you have heard these amps, give me your comments and suggestions. How does the Focus sound for electric? How does the AG500 sound for upright? :eyebrow: Is the AI or Aggie louder? Which gets more bottom? Which one sounds more "tubey"? Help me Rhonda, help help me Rhonda.... :help:
     
  2. jokerjkny

    jokerjkny

    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PA
    if you like the aguilar sound, use the aggie's amp EQ extensively, then go with the AG500. the EQ sections are in the same family, and will most likely send you to your tonal happy place.

    the Focus' EQ, on the other hand, is very subtle, and sounds nothing like the aguilar EQ'ed sound. instead, your tone will be more reliant on the onboard pre on your bass to shape and shift.

    with that said, I LOVE MY FOCUS. allows all the sadowsky lovin' shine thru my speakers. the Focus' relative transparency lets each of my basses speak their own voice, with little coloring from the amp. if that's your bag, then the Focus is IT.

    and bottom line, if you want tubey, you're not gonna find it here or anywhere else that's SS. you just wont get that saggy, weighty, tubey feel nowhere else. and above all, you've got quite an all tube specimen that has no doubt has spoiled your ears, rendering everything else, especially the wannabe tube SS amps, pretty weak.
     
  3. pickles

    pickles Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    I personally have always liked really really good solid state amps. My best recorded tones have come from old Neve channels, which were *gasp* solid state.

    The AG500 clean channel sounds great, and its got incredible power, at least into a 4 ohm load. The EQ is flexible and musical, and the tone is very pure, focussed, and warm.

    I'm pretty sure mine is going to go back to musicians friend because the dirty channel is not at all what I had been hoping for, all the tones I get from it have a "boxy" or "honky" quality especially at gig volume, and the distortion is fuzzy/buzzy rather than the grunty/grindy variety I get from my sans amp BDDI.

    The fact that I'm conflicted about the return is testimony to the quality of the clean channel ... half of me wants to keep it and forget that second channel is there.
     
  4. DaveAceofBass

    DaveAceofBass Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2004
    Charlotte, NC
    Well, you gentlemen have given me good words. I have some experience with the AI sound, and I do prefer the EQ (for electric bass) on the Aguilar, but for upright the AI is really nice and flat and transparent. Problem is I'll be playing both. With my Linc Luthier bass, the AI doesn't give enough fat lows, but with my active basses it's fine. Overall the Aggie sounds better, but I don't bother to ever take it on jazz gigs. The AI solves that problem. I have a friend with a Clarus R, and he says the reverb is just okay, but not great. Pickles, other users haven't had the problem with the 2nd channel you have had, so I wonder if I would agree. Of course then it's if I buy the Focus, now I have to buy a Fulltone Bass Driver, another $200. Decisions, decisions....
     
  5. pickles

    pickles Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    Absolutely a matter of taste. Its got some interesting sounds, I just don't see what they would be useful for in my musical life. The dirty bass sound I like is like an SVT just over the edge, big, mean, and growling ... and I wasn't able to get that from the AG500. If you like the sans amp BDDI, you probably won't like the AG500.

    Try before you buy if the second channel is important to you ...