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Elegy for my Clarus; Goodbye old friend

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by Wilbyman, Feb 2, 2006.

  1. Wilbyman


    Sep 10, 2003
    Parkersburg, WV
    It was the year 2000 (I think). Maybe it was 1999.

    I was a law student slumming in the undergrad jazz program (or maybe I was an unregistered jazz student slumming at the law school). My trusty steed had thus far been a Realist (which I couldn't afford, but I could afford a fishman AND a preamp even less) and an SWR WM12. I was young, dumb and full of...but I digress.

    I heard from somebody that there was a new amp out that weighed 5lbs; that was the size of a He-Man lunch box; that would get loud enough to make your ears bleed; that actually sounded good with DB and BG (In The Bottom Line speak -- there was no TB -- URB and EBG). No, I had never really heard of a Walter Woods.

    The original Clarus cost an exorbitant $439.00 when it came out. (I think). $439.00 is alot of money for someone more or less living on generic raisin bran and watered down skim milk (don't worry about me, I've put on a few lbs since then!) But, I was curious. And the WM12 is pretty damned heavy when you're malnourished.

    I found a cheap 1x10 cab and hucked it and my lunch box around for the next few years. The Clarus was my buddy. It never failed me. It never made a hiccup. I treated it bad, I'm sure. I probably pushed it way too hard, for way too long, way too many times.

    The cabs came and went. I tried other amps. They didn't sound as good. As I told somebody one time "I tried XX amp, and it was fine. But I didn't feel like I was ever hearing 'the note'...just an approximation of the note...with the Clarus I hear 'the note'." Looking back, AI did kind of what Apple does now...it put innovative, cutting edge technology into the hands of the people at an affordable price. Pretty cool.

    I even bought a Focus, which I later sold. It sounded great, but I never needed all the volume...and I knew the Clarus had a few more gigs in it.

    Tonight, the Clarus seems a little sickly. It's distorting out a little bit. It's making the plaintive, tired noises of an amp which is clearly about to crap itself. I'm not mad. I'm not frustrated. (But I am a little panicky, because I have like three gigs next weekend and I'm out of town on business all this week).

    I know it's time to put it to rest. It's time to get something else. I'm not sure what (but I'd probably better figure it out, eh?). Right now I just want to think about all the gigs we played together, all the places we went, and all the music we made.

    Thanks, lunchbox.

  2. B String

    B String Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    Call AI first thing in the morning. Those guys are stupid
    nice. Overnight it to them and get it back pronto. Bueno!
    Your amp may have much more life in it than you think.
    Do it lawboy.
  3. Wilbyman


    Sep 10, 2003
    Parkersburg, WV
    OK, you guys give me hope. I'll see what can be done for her. They do have pretty good CS, I'm just worried the design is too old for service...but if it's something simple it might be OK.

    I might also check out a Clarus SL as a backup...it's pretty derned little. I don't need big Focus power.
  4. Jeremy Allen

    Jeremy Allen Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2002
    Bloomington, IN
    I'm gonna nominate your post for "best of craigslist." Oh wait, we're not on craigslist...

    I think you can resuscitate your faithful Clarus. If not, those guys at AI aren't worth a hoot; think what you want about the price of Walter Woods' amps, but he'll fix 'em whenever they need to be fixed, and I say this as someone who's sent mine in at least three times for overhauls (the last time, he apologized for all the maintenance and rebuilt the amp so that it would "never need to be repaired again," and although it's now quite a bit heavier than it was when I last sent it to him it certainly has never failed me again). Tell those guys at AI to stand behind their product, and I'm sure they'll oblige you.
  5. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    Bummer on the amp, but I have a feeling they can fix it. However, now's the chance to finally get that SVT you've been wanting:D
  6. MikeBass

    MikeBass Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2003
    Royal, Oak, MI.
    Will, we've know each other for a few years my friend. Even though we've never met, we still know each other.

    It pains me to see someone I know, foreseeing the loss of a loved one. Have you looked into Hospice Care for the LunchBox?? Maybe just rehersals or practice.

    I know there may never be another quite the same. You always remember your first, but, ther are others that may be able to satisfy you just the same.

    This is just something I heard in passing, but AI still makes the Clarus. Shocking I know, but they do. Granted it's not the same.
    No disrespect ment, I'm not trying to push the LunchBox away in leiu of a new model (sounds like a mid-life crisis in a way-your friends start bitching about your current wife, she doesn't quite look the same, or do "those things" anymore, blah blah blah).

    You'll be fine my friend, I'm sure of it. It will be tough and we'll be here for you. It's gonna take sometime, and take what you need.
  7. willbeaman, your story is also my story. I was having the same problems with my old buddy. (Maybe it was just mad 'cause I got the new Focus 2R :) ) Anyway, I E-mailed rick at AI and he is looking at it as we speak. I'll let you know what developes.
  8. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    This is a great post.
  9. Wilbyman


    Sep 10, 2003
    Parkersburg, WV
    Thanks Mike, seems a little dramatic to me as I read it this AM...ha ha...I'm going to call AI and see what's up. I'm thinking about getting a Clarus SL for backup, we'll see what happens. I'll keep you guys posted on what Dr. Rick says.

  10. bino


    Jun 27, 2002
    Orange County
    I'll feel ya, bro. I just...
    excuse me...
  11. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    Fremont, Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    Great post, but I agree that it's too early to say goodbye!

    Here's hoping the patient can be saved! :)
  12. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    guys, I think it's candlelight vigil time for RE-DO and WALLABYBOY's amps. :D
  13. Wilbyman


    Sep 10, 2003
    Parkersburg, WV
    Just talked to Paul at AI and shipped it out to them. Paul thinks it may be an output transistor failing. It will be there Monday AM. Hopefully I'll have it by Friday for the weekend, or else I'll be using the amp de jour.

    They are super nice guys at AI, it's nice to get a friendly voice on the telephone when you're panicking a little.

  14. Reuben


    Aug 8, 2005
    Brooklyn, NY
    I could imaginve giving up on this amp if the company didn't exist anymore, but jeez! If a piece of gear makes you that happy it's definitely worth getting repaired. I feel like our culture may be getting so used to the rapid obsolescence of computers and other gear that we're thinking a tool we paid 450 bucks for could be toast after 6 years or so. I play a 100-year-old bass. Why shouldn't my amp last 20 years?

    Anyway, good luck!
  15. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    What I like about this thread is still here, even though the end result may be a bit happier than first expected. One of the things I like about the DB world as opposed to the EB world is that people have much more of a tendency to get some good gear, stick with it, and make it part of their sound. Although I've not been as successful with this concept, it's encouraging to see it happen to somebody else.
  16. brooklynbassguy

    brooklynbassguy Supporting Member

    Feb 8, 2004
    maplewood, nj, usa
    I have one of the original series clarus, that my wife fight over all the time-she's loves it for keyboards. Rick has upgraded and repaired it cheerfully. So far, his stuff doesn't become obsolete, just better...
  17. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    Fremont, Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    You and I both, my friend! :p
  18. Wilbyman


    Sep 10, 2003
    Parkersburg, WV
    I'm thinking about picking up an SL now (my old lunchy can be back-up) and an 800w Focus SA if I need mo power. What do you think?
  19. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    My feelings exactly. I think that's why DB players are more likely to pay the higher price tags that Acoustic Image and Walter Woods carry.

    It's not enough to just "flirt" with whatever new gear is out there. IMHO you really have to live with a particular amp and speaker combination for several months and play it in a variety of situations to see if it will work for both clubs and concerts. That said, it's also important to check the new stuff out every once and awhile, because nothing lasts forever.

  20. Wilbyman


    Sep 10, 2003
    Parkersburg, WV
    I think Rufus Reid is the one who says "practice with your amp". I think this might be a little extreme, but I agree that the PU/amp/cab setup is really important to get dialed in. I think your brain starts getting used to a certain sound and response, and you need to learn the psychoacoustics of the amp setup as much as that of your bass. I've had my setup going long enough that my brain really expects to hear it when I flip the switch.

    Of course, I'd be on a new setup like white on rice if my ears preferred it! I just haven't found it.

    My DB mentor in NC has been using an Underwood/WW MI-100/JBL 1x12 for the last 25 years so I guess I come by it honestly.