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Euphonic Audio iAMP 800 Combo 2-Week Review...

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by jar240, Sep 15, 2004.

  1. Hey folks, just figured I'd drop my 2 cents regarding my 2-week old EA iAMP 800 Combo. There's lots of good, and a few issues...

    Gear I use:
    Fully Carved Intermediate 3/4 Double Bass with Realist Pickup, stock Squier JV Jass Bass & Japanese Fender P-Bass, Presonus AcoustiQ preamp for the upright (sometimes used, sometimes not). Also, a Boss RC20XL and a few other stomp boxes.

    Tonal Possibilities: 9/10
    In a word: wow! I've played 4 rehearsals and 7 gigs on it so far, 5 of them on upright, 1 mixed. and 4 most of those gigs I didn't even need to plug into the PA! The projection was that good. It really shone and shook the world with the "Deep" button engaged"

    My bandmates remarked on the fact that they could now hear (and feel) me, which is good, especially in MoucheTaBouche, a drummerless manouche/tsigane/klezmer quartet.

    Physical Design/Layout/Usability: 7/10
    PRO: I think the EQ and general panel layout is excellent.

    CON: Due to the placement of the wheels (which also cause the amp to joggle around so much even on smooth pavement that I worry about the magnet separating from the speaker basket), the shortness of the luggage handle, and center of gravity of the combo, it is impossible to lug the amp unless you're less than 5 feet tall. I'm 6'2" but with long arms (they don't drag on the ground, mind you), and I have to stoop to use this feature. As a bassist I stoop enough as it is, thank you very much! ;-) The wheel placement also reduces the possible tiltback angle of the amp.

    CON: As another user posted, it's difficult to tell if the little white buttons are in or out. This is especially important with the mission-critical DI ON/OFF and SPEAKER ON/OFF buttons. Perhaps backlit buttons in these positions (or in all positions, if there's enough room) would act as better indicators (no parallax problems with backlighting either).

    CON: Without a block diagram (or a fiddling period), it's difficult to tell how the effects loops work, and how they're internally wired with respect to the DI, tuner, and headphone outputs. What's the maximum gain of the parallel out? If I were to jumper the Send/Receive and turn the parallel level to 10, would I double the gain?

    Build Quality: 8/10
    PRO: It seems very sturdy. It appears to have taken a pretty hard hit during shipping, but the amp appears to work fine (rehearsals and gigs so far no problem). The hit was hard enough to push part of the plastic luggage handle mount into the epoxied cabinet! As a precution, and at a $2800 CDN pricetag, I'm not taking any chances and am having the whole combo replaced.

    CON: "rolling luggage." I think it's a great idea, but the implementation is poor. In my opinion, the only way the "rolling luggage" concept would work is if it had 6" removable pneumatic wheels whose axle was placed with consideration given to the combo's center of gravity and comfortable angle at which to tote the combo. Also, a longer, less plasticy handle would help.

    Features: 8/10
    PRO: Both Parallel and Series Effects loops.

    CON: With the series effects loop, turning the level to 10 seems to mean "no attenuation" -- when using my Boss RC20XL in this loop, I can't get a decent sound since this level is WAY too hot and the RC20XL's input peaks and sounds horrible when I turn the level a hair above 0. At this level, it's impossible to use this in the effects loop. I need help on this if anyone can offer. I really need a bock diagram for the amp!

    Support: 8/10
    PRO: I received answers to my emailed questions usually within minutes -- even late at night.
    PRO: The quick replacement of the unit due to shipping damage. Now if I could only get the UPS claim inspector to call me...

    CON: No pre-fab cover available for the EA iAMP 800 Combo.


    Well, that's about it for now. I still have some kinks to work out (or rather, EA does ;-), but overall, I'm extremely happy with this rig. If any of you can offer some help with respect to my issues, I sure would appreciate it.

    Thanks for reading...

    Over 'n out!
    Chris Breitner
  2. tombowlus

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

    Apr 3, 2003
    Fremont, Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    Nice review! I'm glad that the iAMP 800 Combo is working out well for you (other than the moving it around part). I have the iAMP 800 head and various EA cabs, and have nothing but good things to say, especially with regard to customer support.


  3. I just want to add that I endorse the iAMP 800 Combo -- or rather, it endorses itself -- when I play out (unofficially). It sounds so good.

    As a musician I'm very reactive and inspired (or not) by what I hear as I'm hearing and playing it. When I do guitar gigs, if I play someone else's rig, my style can be totally different from the last gig on my own equipment. Bottom line... what I hear from the iAMP 800 Combo is very inspiring (and this is what most of us want -- inspiration -- not necessarily to cause BMs because our amps will produce a low-A @ 1000W ;-)!

  4. alexclaber

    alexclaber Commercial User

    Jun 19, 2001
    Brighton, UK
    Director - Barefaced Ltd
    Exactly why I'm so annoyed that they've replaced the tuner with another FX loop. Unless you're one of the rare bassists that use rackmount FX, these loops are unlikely to be of any use as 99% of stompboxes cannot handle the pro signal level.

    I've found that all of my pedals are much happier in front of the amp - if there's a tone sucking issue, get a Loooper true-bypass box.

  5. And if I was using rackmounted effects, having the effects loop jacks on the front of the iAMP would be at minimum annoying since 99% of rack gear has rear jacks.

    I used the pedal with my sidebass in front of the iAMP preamp, and it works. The problem with this configuration is that I can't use it with my upright bass, since it's pickup has a really high impedence and therefore needs a buffer/preamp before going into any pedals [or it sounds thin and crappy]

    I'll fiddle with the amp some more, but it's still not clear whether the knobs for the 2 effects loops control the return level input or the send level output.

  6. tombowlus

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

    Apr 3, 2003
    Fremont, Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    I run my electric basses through my effects pedals in front of the amp, and I have found this to be the best configuration. Like you, I do not want my URB running through my effects, though, so my solution is to use a Raven Labs MDB-1. I feed it the output from the effects pedals for my electrics, and my URB and ABG plug in directly. It's really a great little tool. Of course, if you don't want to go this route, you can always just mute the DI and the speakers, and switch input cables for electric and upright, or use an A/B splitter box.
    vicdagoat likes this.