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iAmp600 vs. 500 EVO II vs. Buster200

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by ElephantTalk, Sep 19, 2005.

  1. ElephantTalk


    Jan 20, 2005
    I have been fortunate enough to acquire these three amps and maintain them in my stable.
    (kind of follows up on the SS vs Tube threads...)

    I tested these heads through a Schroeder 1210 and SWR GoliathIII 4x10 using a Zon Sonus 4. No EQs running. Listening solely to perceived volume.

    My oldest head, Mesa Boogie Buster 200, is all tube. Rated at 200 watts into 4ohms. 6 - 6L6's which should only give around 180watts looking at tube manufacturer power curves.
    Anyway this head pushes very loud. I had the "master", output, fully cranked, then started to work up the "volume", input.
    Sounded nice and loud but very heavy in the mids. Lots of noise. Tried cranking the bass, but on this head the level of the bass is controlled, in part, by the level of the highs giving more noise.
    It did sound very loud though.

    Next was the Ashdown 500 EVO II RC. This head is rated at 575watts into 4ohms. With everything flat this head sounded just as loud as the Buster! This surprised the heck out of me.
    The difference was the lack of noise. It still sounded gritty but was more controlled. It was certainly not as harsh on my ears. Output was fully cranked then I started raising the input level. I may have been able to get more out of the head, but the input meter was starting to hit the red-line, so I backed off. I could feel the bass more with this head than with the Buster.
    Playing with the EQ I was able to clean it up more, but I wasn't looking to gt that detailed with the experiment.

    Finally, the newly acquired Euphonic Audio iAmp600. I was very excited to get this head, because I was looking forward to testing the differences having heard so much about the cleanliness. This head is rated at 600watts into 4ohms.
    I followed the same senario....output fully up...then adjusting the input stage.
    I initially didn't think that this head was as loud as the others. The lack of noise made me "feel" like it wasn't as loud. What I noticed was that I could definitely feel more bass and hear the articulation of the highs more than the other two. I guess I could perceive the full range without having one freq overwhelm my hearing.
    The input stage on this head was more limited. It clipped earlier than the 500 EVO, and who knows about the Buster.

    I went back and forth between the heads and realized that the clean / clear sounds coming from the iAmp appealed more to my hearing. It also allowed for more distinction in playing style. I could hear the differences between playing at the bridge vs playing at the neck vs using my thumb to pluck vs my fingertips. I liked it more because I could alter my sound just by playing differently and not having to mess with the head.

    The all-tube Buster200 impressed me with its output capabilities. It lost me in that no matter how I played I could not get the sound to change any differently than it was giving. I would use it on heavy to hard-rock songs.

    The Ashdown covers the spectrum from harsh to a comfortable growl. I would use it for all types of rock.

    I'm certain that the two solid states would smash the tube head once you get into adjusting the eq.
    Maybe if I get the time I'll try out EQing, but that would take more time.

  2. boogiebass


    Aug 16, 2000
    Interesting. I've kept an iAMP 600 in my stable for several years now. Very hard to beat it when clarity is the goal! ;)
  3. tombowlus

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

    Apr 3, 2003
    Fremont, Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    Great mini shootout! Thanks for going through the efforts and sharing your thoughts. You may have helped me stave off some Ashdown GAS for a little while longer! ;)