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iAmp 800 Review.

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by jobu3, Feb 17, 2004.


  1. jobu3

    jobu3 Artist formerly known as Big Joe

    Feb 17, 2002
    Mountain Top, PA
    Well it came in and I have been able to put it through some pretty decent paces. It is being used in conjunction with my Benavente Vintage Vortex-5 (review to come soon), Elrick Gold Standard-5 and run through an Epifani t-310. I keep it housed in an Odyssey 3-space rack. It has recently replaced my Avalon U5/QSC PLX 1602 rack-rig. I'll have pix up soon.

    Settings: Start out basically flat, usually with (small) bumps in low & high-mids and highs. Lows generally set flat, with some cut as needed... Season to taste.

    Generally:
    I tend to keep the "deep" button off, "contours 1 & 2" on, "bright" on. On the parametrics, Lows: I tend to be centered around 40-85. Low Mids: from 180-350 (although I like 350 the best and tend to stay there when able to room/situation-wise). High Mids: 880-2K, Highs: any where from 2K-8K depending on where the high-mids are set and for the room. I keep the bandwidth buttons at "One" rather than "1/2" an octave. Overall, the sound is very robust and thick. I always believed that solid-state was so much "colder" sounding than tube. Boy, was I wrong! All the warmth. Zero mud (sounds like a beer commercial). It sits well in the settings I have used it in so far: Bedroom, medium-sized practice area, medium sized bar with good acoustics, and a large "boomy" room. I was able to dial in familiar tones for each setting. The parametric EQ really allows you to "go for" whatever tone you want. I have finally found myself an EQ where I can literally get the tone in my head no matter what the setting. I am free with this set-up and don't find myself restricted at all as I have in the past with other EQ set-ups. I love how the desigantions (lows, low-mids, high-mids, highs) overlap and nothing is left out: if you need it, it is there at your disposable. I loved the tone of my U5 but it really left me wanting a little more for some of the rooms I play locally. I only really cared for preset #4 and that was close to flat. With the EQ completely bypassed, the 800 gets pretty close to the clean sound of the U5 (which was MAGNIFICENT!). The top end is not quite as polished and is slightly airier/more open than the U5, but it does get pretty close overall. The DI (not Jensen equipped) works well recorded: clean, familiar, and usable. I have yet to run it to a PA though...

    Live and in jam (practice) settings, this amp really shines. If you are familiar with EQ'ing you can really hit the nail on the head and get that recorded-like tone out there for all to hear and enjoy (as if they are really listening :rolleyes: ) regardless of the mix. If you are NOT familiar with EQ, it can be a great (although rather expensive) tool for learning as previously stated. It really shined in the one bluesy "jam" setting where everybody showed actually up... Just some guys messing around: Keys, gutarists (2), drums, percussionist, and sax. This mix gets tough to cut through and the 800 really made itself heard sans the boom and mud... First time for anything I suppose!!! It was always one or the other in this particular room. The other guys couldn't believe how clear it was. THey used all sorts of nice words like definition and complex-sounding, but I think it was only to appease me. :rolleyes: It sounded deep and warm like the DI's they have been used to hearing for years. It stayed on most of the night and was only warm to the touch at the end of it all. Master volume was on at 12-1:00, gain at 10:00-11:00. It really let me flip btw. solo p-ups for the first time and have usable tones all the time. No more do I SETTLE for a sound that is just OK, and will get the job done. I go for THE tone. The one that we all hear. The one that is in OUR head and now I don't have to wait on the better rooms to get it! Now if I can just get a steady band together... :help:
    :bassist:
     
  2. jobu3

    jobu3 Artist formerly known as Big Joe

    Feb 17, 2002
    Mountain Top, PA
    ... and minor ones at that. I didn't like that I couldn't take the rubber feet off the bottom and had to mount the amp in the top of the rack with the bottom open beneath it. The holes didn't line up with the ones in the rails of my rack to leave 1/2 a space in the top or bottom.

    -and-

    I would prefer a front-mounted power switch.

    p.s. The tuner is fast and accurate but took some getting used to... I had a Korg DTR-1000 which was easily visible at 30 feet. It's so nice being able to take my bass and entire rig in in two trips though! :D
     
  3. jobu3

    jobu3 Artist formerly known as Big Joe

    Feb 17, 2002
    Mountain Top, PA
    Larry just contacted me... The feet do pop off. :hyper: ;)
     
  4. I just recently got to try this amp along with an Aggie GS112, and I thought it sounded great!

    I know a lot of people here have said stuff about how they don't like Class D amplifiers and all that. I guess my ear really is not sophisticated enough to hear this at all, cause I thought the amp the tone was wonderful. I couldn't hear any discernible difference in a class D versus any other amp I've played before. Like Big Joe, I also thought the amp was incredibly warm considering that it is solid state.

    I am definitely considering picking up a used one when the price is right. I've been looking for something to replace my SWR SM-400S. (I also have an SWR 350, but I'm keeping that one for sentimental reasons). I've been playing SWR amps for so long that I've been a bit hesitant to replace them with anything else because, it's kind of wht I've gotten used to.

    That being said, I'm also waiting to hear the new AG500. I can't afford a DB750, so it might be Aguilar or EA solid state.

    The funny thing is, I've been GASing for the iamp800 since I played it, but part of me doesn't want to go all solid state. It's pretty much a psychological thing. We've all been told forever that tubes are the way to go, so it's hard for me to let go, even when my current amps are hybrids and the tubes don't even play such a big role, and when my ears are telling me this amp just sounds GOOD.
     
  5. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin

    Dec 11, 1999
    Clinician: EA, Zon, Boomerang, TI. Author "The Art of Solo Bass"
    Big Joe,
    Did Larry read this here and then take a moment to contact you? If so, that kind of customer service is pretty cool.

    Mike
     
  6. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin

    Dec 11, 1999
    Clinician: EA, Zon, Boomerang, TI. Author "The Art of Solo Bass"
    Big Joe,
    I am glad that you like it - welcome to the club. The EQ as you say
    It is an great little amp with amazing versatility.

    Mike
     
  7. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin

    Dec 11, 1999
    Clinician: EA, Zon, Boomerang, TI. Author "The Art of Solo Bass"
    same amp - The red ones were the initial knobs used. They were later switched out for the black ones for a classier look. My iAMP800 origianlly had the red ones. I switched them to black -call me vain :p

    Mike
     
  8. Reefer

    Reefer Guest

    Mar 9, 2003
    I was told that the preamp gain signal was made a little hotter on the later ones and also there were some minor issues with the tuner mount that were fixed.
     
  9. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    I've only been able to use mine at home the last week since getting it, but I'm very impressed.

    I generally don't care whether something is tube or solid state, only whether I like the sound. In the past though, I've only ever really gotten a sound I like from tube preamps.

    But with the iamp800, I can get warmth on the bottom end and clarity but not sterility. In fact this has a warmer sound to me than several tube preamps I've tried in the past.
     
  10. basss

    basss

    Aug 27, 2001
    NYC
    I had the same reservations about solid state amps before I bought my Iamp 500. I had been using a GK microbass combo for years which I like but am not crazy about. The Iamp is warm and clear without being harsh at all. Versatile, portable, I love it!

    Reefer, your comments about the 800s input level have got me thinking about a minor resevervation I have about mine. I usually run mine with the input level all the way up because my passive jazz style bass is not able to drive the input to full power. Gary has offered to tweak the input to get a hotter signal but I haven't had any volume or tone issues as of yet so I haven't done anything. I am able to just clip the output section when I have the input, output and bass EQ knobs full up. I am doing some outdoor gigs this spring/summer so I may need everything the amp can give. What do you guys think? Anybody have their 800's input section up updated and what difference did it make?
     
  11. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin

    Dec 11, 1999
    Clinician: EA, Zon, Boomerang, TI. Author "The Art of Solo Bass"

    If there is not problem with the total volume than you really don't need to push the input section to clipping

    Mike
     
  12. arizonabass

    arizonabass

    Feb 6, 2002
    Tucson, AZ
    Mike, is the iAMP 350 the same as the 800, just with less power and no tuner?

    Howard
     
  13. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin

    Dec 11, 1999
    Clinician: EA, Zon, Boomerang, TI. Author "The Art of Solo Bass"
    Howard,
    The 500 is the 800 sans tuner, power and input gain led. The 350 is a great amp, shares the same EQ design but is not a class D amp like the 500 and 800


    Mike
     
  14. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY

    They sent me mine for free. Agreed they look much better. :)
     
  15. I'm curious Big Joe how the 800 stacked up against the PLX1602 for headroom and volume with the same cabinet setup. Give us your thoughts when you have a moment. Thanks
     
  16. jobu3

    jobu3 Artist formerly known as Big Joe

    Feb 17, 2002
    Mountain Top, PA
    It's a little hard to compare... The 1602 does have twice the power (not twice as loud mind you). For referrence: I was using my Avalon U5 as a pre with its boost at 4-5 and my PLX bridged at about 12-1 O'clock (no DI). For larger rooms, 6-7 on the U5 and 1-2 O'clock/PLX and I'd run the DI out to the PA for help as needed (which was actually rare). I have yet to play the 800 in any rooms that large. Where I have played it, it has been more than adequate tonally and volume-wise without PA assistance. I am not really missing the extra 800 watts so much at this point. I am rather stoked about being able to add another cabinet and get the full 1000W @ 2 ohms. The PLX series is a phenominal weight:wattage:dollar ratio and are remarkably efficient, reliable, and clean-sounding IMO. To be honest, I will never EVER own another poweramp that is NOT a QSC PLX in a PA or rig or whatever. I did however, feel a need to simplify and carry a lighter load which is why the 800 seemed a natural fit. Basically everything I needed functionally and tonally in 2 spaces as opposed to 5 or 6. I can't say that one is better than the other tonally because both are very high-quality pieces of gear. I run an Epi t-310 which is quite efficient. I didn't necessarily need that much headroom anymore, so it was time for it to move on... If I still ran an Acme or combination of 12's or 15's I might have stayed with the PLX in my older live situations where I would avoid the PA if I could. I feel comfortable enough with the 800's DI user controls (as I did with the U5's) that I don't mind running out to the PA if I have to. If I need more than my current set-up for just monitoring on stage, I need to have a talk with the other band members. :p

    In other words... I think that the 800 is capable of just about the same volume I used my PLX rig but keep in mind that I never really pushed it high into the upper reaches of it's max gain OR ran my cab to the point where I thought it could do damage. I have yet to make my speakers "fart out" but it is goal of mine to never LET them fart out either. :smug:
     
  17. jobu3

    jobu3 Artist formerly known as Big Joe

    Feb 17, 2002
    Mountain Top, PA
    Yes, he did.


    Yes, it is! :hyper: :D
     
  18. jokerjkny

    jokerjkny

    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PA
    everything Dave said, and then some... :cool:

    daggnabbit, you seem to get ALL the toyz i wanna try. i guess i should always just wait a few weeks, and you're bound to put up a review. but not this time... ;)

    cause, i got shipment of an iAMP-500 last week, and even tho the active input arrived DOA, the amp just ROCKED thru my Epi rig. hit the 50hz Deep switch, and i had the ceiling fixtures shakin'!

    bummer about the active input, but one call to Bob Gollihur, and the EA guys were gonna promptly send me a new 500! talk about service!!! but i stopped Bob from doing so, cause i'm actually now considering an 800 tho, cause my Acme 1x10 pair just sucked up all the power the lil' 500 put out, and i wasnt too happy with the volume.

    but FYI, the 500 does feel much lighter and easier to manage than my old iAMP-350 head. also, its much shallower and not as deep. IMHO, if you're looking for a small head, this is DEFINITELY a contender.
     
  19. jobu3

    jobu3 Artist formerly known as Big Joe

    Feb 17, 2002
    Mountain Top, PA
    Joker,
    Do you ever run a single B-1? How's it hang? I'm thinking of getting one for just practice and the like. I like that I can get one at 4 ohms to boot. 800 watts should be enough to get some kind of decent level out of it... Right?!
    :confused:

    I want something small/portable but at the same time, B-string worthy. I am also considering an Epi 112 (#1 contender I think so far), EA VL-110 or 108, Berg 112, etc. :ninja:
     
  20. I have the Berg 112HT. I power it with 300 watts and it's more than I need for practice. Oh yea, it handles the low b just fine.