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EA iamp800

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by Chris Fitzgerald, May 3, 2003.


  1. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I've had mine for a while now, and thought I'd post a review.

    This thing is an absolute monster - 500w@8ohms, 800w@4ohms, 4 band semi-parametric EQ, built in tuner, all the bells and whistles, and it weighs in at only 19 lbs. It took a while for me to get the hang of using the preamp stage, but once I got that figured out, I found myself in possesion of the cleanest and most powerful DB amp I've ever laid hands on. (ALL HAIL) Bob Gollihur also was able to hook me up with the perfect rack case for it which fits it perfectly with no wasted space, so it even looks like a jazz amp.

    What's great about this unit is the headroom. I love my Clarus, but it tends to poop out when you push it too hard, and works best with an extremely efficient speaker like the CXL-112 if you want any volume at all. With the iamp, I can use a less efficient but more transparent speaker like the VL208 and still have plenty of headroom left over for more clean volume if I want it.

    One example of how it has simplified my setup is the bi-weekly gig I play with Java Men (my original group). The room is very loud and acoustically strange, the people can be very loud, and there's mechanical noise from the fan in the kitchen. Needless to say, this is not a place you want to play at super low volumes. With the Clarus, I had to take two speaker cabinets to get enough clean sound to make the gig happen, which together with a DB, a 6 string Slab, a stool, and a dolly, was a hell of a lot of stuff to try to cram in a Civic hatchback. With the iamp, I can take only one cabinet and still get bigger and cleaner sound than before, and still have gas in the tank if I need it.

    This thing is kinda pricey, but so far worth every penny. Highly recommended for DB, and it kicks a fair amount of posterior for Plank, too.
     
  2. jmceachern36

    jmceachern36 Supporting Member

    Nov 13, 2005
    Cambridge MA
    Chris. Are you still digging this amp? I'm looking somthing for both DB and electric bass but don't want to spend WW $.

    Joe
     
  3. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I still love the iAmp but will be selling mine shortly because I no longer play BG and the Acoustic Image stuff suits me fine for DB. I still think that the iAmp is the best doubling amp I've run across.
     
  4. jmain

    jmain Oo, Uhn't uh, Yes! Supporting Member

    Apr 23, 2005
    Alexandria, VA
    Just thought I'd throw my $.02 in the pot.
    Alot of folks use either the iAmp 200 or 500 also; as a stand-alone or in combos. Lot of positive reviews here. I have the 800, but haven't had the delight of running a DB through it. (I've got about 3-4 wks.) It sounds awesome for BG.
     
  5. jmceachern36

    jmceachern36 Supporting Member

    Nov 13, 2005
    Cambridge MA
    Thanks for the info guys. Sounds like it could be the amp for me.
     
  6. bolo

    bolo

    May 29, 2005
    Apex, NC
    Chris, would you expand on the preamp stage thing a little please? With the iAMP is there more to it than hitting your hardest note and making the pre's overload light blink, and then backing off a hair? That seems to be the standard blurb, although I have tried lots of experiments myself using lower input levels into the preamp combined with boosts at other stages in my signal chain to get the volume I need.

    Just curious. Thanks.
     
  7. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    MARCO,

    What I ended up discovering about the preamp stage was that doing as you described produces a very "hard and solid" sound which is useful for some situations, while backing off the pre gain a bit softens the edges on the sound, which is sometimes more appropriate for a mellower DB sound. In this respect it seems to work a lot like some mic preamps where you get a hard sheen on the sound toward the end of the gain stage which makes the track cut more, but can tend toward harshness on some sources. For me, I liked to set the pregain to the point where only the green lights lit up, and the yellow only blinked on the hardest/loudest of attacks. I'll be curious to see if you notice any differences like this with your setup.
     
  8. Steve Clark

    Steve Clark Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2004
    London ON
    Bolo,

    Not sure if this will be helpful or not but here is part of an email from Gary at EA:

    On the iAmp 800 at the active input, turn up the input control until all the LED's light significantly during normal playing, including the yellow one, and leave it there. Then, increase the main volume on the amp until you have what you need.

    If you are uncomfortable with the input control being up so high, for whatever reason, move your bass to the passive input and do the same thing. Note that the instrument volume should be run near maximum as this control affects the sound of the signal more than the amp settings do, in my opinion. If you can't light all the LED's on the 800 with your bass all the way up and the amp input control about 75% and plugged into the passive input, the output of your bass is weak.

    Please note that there is a clip LED located at the input jacks, and this LED will light as an indicator you are about to clip the input stage. Effectively, you can turn the input control up as far as you want until it clips, no matter what the LED's read. You will hear the clipping when it starts to occur. The clip LED is after the tone controls, so if you have a particular frequency range boosted from the EQ, it will clip at that frequency range first.

    On the 500, there is no input LED indicator, but there still is a clip LED at the input. I just set the input control between 50% and 75% and use which input jack gives me the best control. If the input clip LED lights, just back it off a little.
     
  9. bolo

    bolo

    May 29, 2005
    Apex, NC
    Chris, oh yes, I do notice a difference using my bass and setup. But no green & yellow lights on my iAMP 200 unfortunately, just a red input clip LED.

    I've run various tests, both with and without a Solstice.

    Without the DTAR, it is exactly as you said so well. Using less of the EA preamp and more of the power amp to attain a given volume produces a more natural sound to my ears. But then there are situations like rooms w/ noisy crowds where that subtlety just gets kinda lost, and I want that "harder" sound that you get with higher levels into the preamp.

    For me, when I put the Solstice in the chain, now I effectively have four places where I can manipulate levels. But your comments and descriptions apply equally well here too.

    If I push the input level control on the Solstice past 3:00, it comes across as an increase in thickness and can get kinda gooey, but the hits on each note start to sound rough. On the other hand, as I increase the output control on the Solstice in the range from 12:00 to 3:00, it comes across to me as a more electric sound. Depending on the context, I may reach for the Solstice's input control or the output control when I need a boost. They result in somewhat different (to me) sounds.

    Thanks for sort of confirming all this for me.
     
  10. bolo

    bolo

    May 29, 2005
    Apex, NC
    Steve, thanks for copying that email from Gary. Yes it does help.

    After I saw your post, I emailed Gary just to see if he would elaborate any more about the EA preamps, especially about the differences between the iAMP 200, 500, and 800. Here is Gary's reply:

    >>> Gary Gibilisco > 12/20/05 9:01 PM >>>
    Hello Stephen:

    Thanks for your support of EA.

    The preamp stage of the 200 is the same as in the iAmp 500 and 800, so using the below guidelines is a good place to start.

    If you are not lighting the input overload LED and you are getting the undistorted volume you need without having to turn the input or output level all the way up, you are good to go. I recommend using the passive input if you can, even if you have active electronics in your bass.