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Got the DB750...initial impressions (long writeup)

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by fiveightandten, May 8, 2006.

  1. First off...thanks to everyone that helped out in the other threads I started when I was looking around for an amp, and after I decided on one of these. This forum is a great resource. This will probably be a long writeup. But I figure, for anyone going through what I just went though, all the opinions you can get are helpful before dropping this kind of cash on an amp.

    Anyways. I got the amp this past weekend and had a chance to play it with the band a few times already.

    In case anyone is thinking about one these heads, i'll give you an idea of where i'm coming from. I play a Music Man Sterling, all finger style. My main cab is an Ampeg SVT classic 4x10HLF. I also have a Mesa Deisel 6x10 that I tried with the 750 as well. I guess you could call us a rock band. I like dark bass tone, dark, full, low-middy and a little old-school warmth (aka breakup) and growl, ala old SVT. The guitar players use a Vox AC-30, and Fender Bandmaster w/2x12, respectifully. So I don't have a ton of volume to compete with like some guys on here.

    I'm coming from a long line of tube amps. The most recent was a late 70's SVT. My backup head is a GK400RB, which i've been using since the SVT was retired. I've been through an SVT, SVT-CL, SVT-II, Mesa D180, Mesa 400+, Orange OR-120, Ampeg V-4, and a few other heads. The reason I was looking for a new amp was because the SVT just didn't sound good at lower volumes when we played smaller venues. And the low end was tough to control in boomy rooms.

    First impression of the DB750...it's ******* loud! Unbelievably loud! WAY louder and cleaner than any other amp i've ever owned or played through. It's also much more focused and articulate than any other amp i've owned, or even played. Unbelievably clear and defined. But this amp has a LOT of power. I had a hard time getting the natural compression i'm used to from an amp like an SVT, at the same volumes. I can get it from cranking the pre-amp gain up a little past noon...but at that point, the master is at like 25%, (just barely opened up) and it's a little touchy.

    I've only played the amp for 2 practices...but my initial thoughts are:

    Pros: The amp has some SERIOUS tone going on. I mean serious. It's one up on any other amp i've played...but it DOES need to be opened up a little bit to hit the sweet spot. I haven't yet decided if it's too much amp for my band or not. The definition is amazing. The reponse of the amp feels incredible, it does exactly what you want it to do. Lightening quick response. It's just so focused and clear. But it has a wonderful warmth to it, and a great growl when you push the pre-amp a little. Close your eyes, and you'd think you were playing through a fantastic vintage tube amp. Think SVT, but (much) more refined, less boomy, and much quicker and tighter. Lots of mids too. But they're voiced in just the right place. They're warm and growly...doesn't interfere with the guitars at all. I love mids, and I found myself rolling the mid knob back a hair...I usually boost a little 220K with the SVT. All in all, the tone lived up to all the hype that was generated from me reading about these. I was skeptical about buying one of these, they're so expensive. I was ready to turn it right around if it wasn't blowing my socks off. So far, so it...I don't see it going up on the chopping block. I'm pretty impressed with it.

    Cons: I'm not sure if it's too much amp for me. The thing is seriously loud, and i'm not sure if i'll be able to open it up enough to hit the sweet spot. But...we have some gigs coming up this weekend, so i'll see what happens when I get it in a larger room filled with people. Venues seem to suck up volume a lot quicker than our little practice room. If it's just too powerful, i'll definitely just get a DB359. I love the tone so much, I don't want to go back to anything else (aka the SVT). But I also found it a little thin in the lows compared to the SVT or the 400+. I find myself cranking the bass knob up pretty high to get the same amount of low end i'm used to from the SVT. Then again, I do that with my GK as well. The GK may have a tad more low end on tap though. It's also pretty heavy. I'm coming from heavy tube amps, so it doesn't bother me. But solid states does not equal light in this case. It's as heavy as many tube amps i've owned.

    All in all though, i'm pretty impressed with the thing. And if I can get it to compress like I want it to at a reasonable volume, I won't be purchasing another bass amp...probably ever. If not, i'll be in the market for a DB359.

    I also popped it open to have a look at the build quality...i'll save you the long tech banter. But the short of it is that it's built quite well. 5 PCBs, secured to the chassis extremely well. Good quality boards. What really got me was the attention to detail with components. You have lots of different types...it's obvious they did some taste testing. You see metal film resistors, for instance, in the power supply. They're quiet, and stand up to heat very well, and don't drift much at all. Then there's carbon comps in the pre-amp in select positions. Carbon comps are usually warmer sounding, though not as technically refined as metal films. Lots of diffeent types of caps as well, stratigecally placed. A lot of thought went into this amp. I'd like to see chassis mounted tubes and pots in an amp of this price range. But i'm thinking that the amp is so complicated already, chassis mounting those things would've made it either larger, harder to assemble, or both. The strain relief is actually superb...so the benifit of more consistancy from a full PCB pre-amp probably outweighs any possible added relability from chassis mounting select parts.

    Well, that's my take on it. If you didn't want all that info, apologies. If you're looking into one of these, I hope it helps out a bit.
  2. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    So do you like it?

    Also, I assume you've got the bass boost switch on.
  3. That is a nice review. I'm interested to learn how you the 750 performs at your gigs this weekend.
  4. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PHL
    [shatner on]

    print too small...

    eyes are weakening...

    interest waning...

    [shatner off]
  5. Nice review! Thanks for writing in such detail!
  6. 12bass


    Jan 2, 2003
    Victoria, Canada
    why the small font???
  7. Oh yeah, boost switch on. I mind as well just break the thing off...I find the amp almost completely useless without it.

    I absolutely love the sound. The only problem i'm having with it is getting it to compress the way I like at the volumes we play at. I've been having to turn the gain down too low, which kills my sustain. The gain up where I like it brings too much volume in and makes the master real touchy to dial in. But still, i've only played 2 rehersals with the amp, so it's not like i'm an old pro at dialing it in. I'll learn it a little better this weekend, i'm sure.

    Thanks...yeah, i'm pretty excited to get it out in a bigger room. The only thing i'm apprehensive about is that 'blowing breakers' stigma. It's blown a 20A breaker in my band's practice space. But i've been in contact with Aguilar about the factory mod they have to rectify that problem. I'll get it taken care of pretty soon. But that'll be in the back of my head while we're setting up on stage and it's time to bring the big boy to life.

    Absolutely...maybe it's the amps i'm coming from. But I find it extremely clear and defined. SVT's are great, and so are Mesas...but in comparison to the Aggy, they feel like big clumsy oofs.

    I love the mid voicing of the amp, but I guess it's just higher than i'm used to. For instance, I never boosted up 800Hz on the SVT, I always went with 220Hz...which is close enough to low end, that if the Q is wide enough...you're not really notching out the mids and only affecting them. The mids on the Aggy are higher than i'm used to, they stand out a whole lot to me. Not in a bad way, they just seem to be overpowering the low end a bit...so I find myself backing the mid knob off to compensate. That surprised me, as i'm always setting the mid knobs very high on my amps.

    Have you found that it's real finicky with different rooms? I loved the low end of the SVT, and the Mesas I had...but I had some problems controlling that in bigger rooms. It would get all boomy. I can't see this amp sounding that way, but i'm worried about the lows getting sucked up in a large place. I suppose I could always boost the low up on my bass a touch. I try to stay away from that though, running it flat is much more balanced.

    Anyways...thanks for the reponse. Any words of wisdom are very welcome. The next few weeks will be the deal breaker. I am toying with the idea of dumping some cash into a DB359 so I can compare them side by side, and unloading the one that doesn't suit me best.

    Thanks, glad it's of some help to you.

    I guess because if I used the regular font that post would've taken up a HUGE amount of space...making it even more daunting when you first open the page up. ;)

    Thanks for the responses. Any tips from fellow 750 players would be great. I'll keep things updated after I have some more time with the amp, and get it out in the road this weekend.

  8. Don't be afraid to add a little bass boost from your bass itself, it does make a pretty drastic difference in the lowend. I use my 750 with an NV610 and I find that just a touch of bass boost on my Sadowsky (voiced at 40Hz) is just the ticket to get my pants legs flapping! I usualy leave the lows at just around 12 or 1 o' clock on the amp with just a touch of bass boost on the bass and it is thick as molasses...Congratulations....I know just how you feel, I haven't really wanted another amp at all since I added the 750 to my stable along with my T-Funk!


  9. Big String

    Big String Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2000
    Northwest Indiana
    Hey...Congrats on great equipment.

    I've got a DB750/NV215/Sadowsky basses and I've never had to engage the 'bass boost' at all. In fact sometimes I engaged the 'treble boost' and lower the bass knob a bit.

    Usual live setting are:
    Gain 12:00 - 1:00
    Treble 12:00 - 1:00
    Mid 1:00 - 3:00
    Bass 10:00 - 12:00
    Master 10:00 - 12:00

    I've been plugging into the Passive input even though my Sads are active, this makes a huge diff on everything, I would compare it to bridging. Also, I agree with Tommix that a bit of bass boost on the instrument really sounds great. I would rather add it from my bass.
  10. Frankie Fender

    Frankie Fender Supporting Member

    Jul 13, 2004
    Central Massachusetts
    I would think that the cabinets you are using would also greatly influence the way that you are interpreting the head to sound.

    my .02

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