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Forte vs WD-800

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by quindecima, Dec 8, 2018.


  1. Anybody have any input on this??????? I see some Forte's around $800.00 new
     
    Stumbo likes this.
  2. nostatic

    nostatic Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2004
    lost angeles, CA
    Endorsing Artist: FEA Labs
    Not likely to get anyone who has owned/gigged both. I have a Forte and D800 (and had a D800+). The Forte is a bit more open sounding, the Mesa a bit more focused/thicker. I haven't played the WD800, but if it is like the older Walkabout I'd assume it is a bit further away from the Forte, more towards the warm/vintage side of things. But with the triple parametric, variable HPF, and damping you likely can push the tone around a fair amount.
     
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  3. Al Kraft

    Al Kraft Supporting Member

    May 2, 2016
    Northern Virginia
    I've played both and would agree with nostatic's characterization. The WD-800 is a little more inherently bright than the D-800 and original WA and a little thicker/fuller sounding than the Forte.

    When I had a chance to play the Forte a few months back I thought it was an excellent amp with well-designed EQ that offered almost surgical precision in tone shaping and was very musical regardless of knob positions. Its fixed HPF is set around 40 Hz IIRC - which is just about perfect for me as a 4 string player. The bright switch added air/openness and was not a hiss control. The single knob compressor was excellent for adding some additional body and smoothness to the notes. The compressor is one of the best sounding I've found on a bass head. Overall, the Forte has all the hallmarks of a Berg product, great quality and great sound.

    The WD-800 being more WA inspired seems fuller and richer in the notes with good clarity, but not quite as solid state clean as the Forte (and the Forte is not at all sterile sounding to my ear). The Forte notes seemed to have a little crisper definition and less roundness/softness to the edges - not good or bad, just different. If I were to compare a current Mesa head to the Forte it would be the D-800+. The D-800 is a little darker sounding to me and the 800+ can get a more open top end.

    They are both excellent heads and if I were looking for one of the finest sounding solid state heads available today, the Forte would be on my list to audition. It has a lot of subtlety and sophistication in a very user friendly package. If I was missing that special magic in the original Walkabout, but not wanting to deal with some its shortcomings, the WD-800 will be hard to beat. If that solid state Mesa Carbine quickness and tightness were important, but with less of a hard rock edge and in your face top end, the D-800/800+ are a good place to look.

    I hope that's at least a little helpful.
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2018
    jwindham, ELG60, Joshua and 4 others like this.
  4. VG gentlemen, exactly what I needed and with the price diff. it looks like it will be the Forte for me especially since I already have a Bergantino HD212 cab.
     
    Al Kraft likes this.
  5. Al Kraft

    Al Kraft Supporting Member

    May 2, 2016
    Northern Virginia
    There is a lot to like in the Forte and IME a Bergantino cab makes any head sound great, especially a Berg head! The other cool thing that liked about the Forte (and some folks may find this trivial) was that the master volume control was very big. I love amps that have a nice simple layout and make on-the-fly adjustments during a gig easy. That large volume control is truly a stroke of genius since it's the one I would most likely reach for when playing once I have my EQ dialed in.

    I can't imagine anyone not having a smile on their face playing a Forte/HD212 rig.
     
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  6. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru.......... Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2006
    Like my 24k. :thumbsup:
     
    Al Kraft likes this.
  7. Al Kraft

    Al Kraft Supporting Member

    May 2, 2016
    Northern Virginia
    It's funny how the simplest things turn out to be great features...of course, that's once the designer gets all the meat and potatoes basics right!
     
  8. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru.......... Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2006
    Absolutely! Dan D'Agostino got his Aragon designs together, for sure.
     

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