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iamp800 V.S. Focus

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by Jason Hollar, May 21, 2005.


  1. Jason Hollar

    Jason Hollar Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2005
    Pittsburgh area
    I've read so many positive reviews about the Euphonic stuff -- that I'm really looking forward to giving it a try. I'm revamping my rig this summer and wanted to open a new thread to chat about certain, specific combinations of gear.

    I'm looking at Euphonic Audio's iamp800 and one of the light-weight NL2x10 cabinets as a main rig for upright bass as well as electric (Modulus Vintage Jazz 4). I'm also thinking that perhaps in the near future, I'd pick up an additional EA 2x10 for louder dance shows and outdoor concert gigs.

    However, the Acoustic Image Focus has come highly recommended to me from an excellent upright bass player -- and I'm interested in the prospect of having two channels for "blending" pickups/mic or having both of my instruments at the ready. The portability seems hard to beat for an amp the size of a small briefcase. One of these with an EA NL2x10 looks like pretty hip option.

    Anyone have this particular combination of equipment and/or any opinions about it? I really want loud, clean power and convenient portability as well.

    I'm looking forward to a vacation "down the shore" this summer and have plans to meet up with (All Hail) Bob Gollihur to audition these specific combinations of gear and come home with some new toys, ahem, tools.
     
  2. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I own both. The iamp was my main amp for a long while before I got the focus. To my ears, the iAmp is much more powerful, slightly cleaner, and with an incredible and much more versatile EQ section. The Focus 2 is a wonderful amp with an amazingly ergonomic feel and function set. If I were doubling, I'd use the iamp. When I was doubling, I had it rack mounted with a little A/B switch to toggle between the two axes.

    That said, my iAmp hasn't made it out to any of my gigs since I bought the Focus because:

    * It weighs 25 lbs (rack included), and the Focus weighs 4 lbs.
    * It takes up about 4 times as much space as the Focus.
    * Now that I don't double anymore, I want a one-trip load in and "plug and play" ease of use.
    * The 2-channel pre on the Focus 2 also means that I don't need to carry an extra blender for mic and pickup, which is basically what sold it for me.

    That said, Avishai Cohen played a two-night set here in town through my iAmp a while back, and it sounded so good I started to wonder whether I should break it out again - but then, he was doubling.

    I hope that muddies the waters for you. :D

    Seriously, both are excellent - it just depends on what feature sets are important to you. Happy hunting!
     
  3. Wilbyman

    Wilbyman

    Sep 10, 2003
    Parkersburg, WV
    Chris,

    What is Avishai's normal amp setup now...or does he even have one? Is he still just using Spirocores/Underwood on his bass? I know he was sponsored by GK back when Adama was out. Just curious. I'm sure he'd sound phenomenal through anything.

    W
     
  4. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I didn't notice what his pickup was, but he had it blended with a funny-looking little clip on mic that attached to his bridge. When he tours, I think his amp setup is whatever he can beg, borrow, or steal. And I'm pretty sure he was playing either spiro weichs or dominants (I just remember the purple). :)
     
  5. Jason Hollar

    Jason Hollar Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2005
    Pittsburgh area
    Well, I guess I'll get both huh?

    Thanks for the input. I can really appreciate the beauty in the coveted "one trip load in" especially considering most of my gigs are on upright. I'm glad to hear you feel the Focus is a good choice.

    I know there are several threads with discussions on AI products -- but do you feel the Focus has enough juice to drive a power-hungry cabint like an EA 2x10? I currently own two trusty SWR Goliath III cabs (a 4x10 and a 2x10). The 2x10 is my main upright cabinet whereas I normally use the 4x10 on electric bass gigs. I have an SWR Bass 350 head which sounds fine, but runs short on power at higher settings. Of course, to remedy this problem, I have a ridiculously awesome rig with an Aguilar DB 680 and Crown K1...but the problem is, the rack seems to get heavier and heavier every time I lift it!

    I do enjoy the sound and reliability of my cabinets and could certainly consider hanging on to them. Do you think the Focus would drive either one of these cabs sufficiently? According to SWR, the 2x10 is 350watts and the 4x10 700...both rated at 8 ohms. Mostly concerned about the 4x10.

    I'll probably take my 2x10 along to Bob G's as reference -- since I've never tried any of the higher-end cabinets like the EA products. I was intrigued that their 2x10 weighs less than 45 pounds. I was also very interested in that the loudess rating is 127 db @ 1M on this cab. That statistic looks serious!

    Thanks for the advice...nice chatting with you again. I'll keep reading up and asking questions from time to time. I'll be sure to file a report when I acquire some new toys. Tools.
     
  6. Reefer

    Reefer Guest

    Mar 9, 2003
    If you're seriously thinking about getting both you might as well just get a Walter Woods Ultra and have an amp that sounds better than both the iAmp and the AI, weighs only 7 lbs, is 1200 watts, and has 2 channels for doubling. I've owned both the iAmp 800 and the Focus and have sold both to keep the WW. The iAmp EQ section is far too complicated and the Focus sounds rather weak for a 600 watt amp.
    I'd also recommend the Accugroove 112L over the EA cab. The WW with 2 112L's will give you a powerful and extremely portable rig that will cover anything.

    The AI and EA gear is fine stuff, but I just think the WW and Accugroove is a notch better.
     
  7. Jason Hollar

    Jason Hollar Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2005
    Pittsburgh area
    Thanks for the suggestion. Yes, I have heard from several others along the way that the WW is the real deal. I also appreciate the good word on the cabinets.

    It's a tough call...there's not really a good place to go to try all this stuff you know? It's kind of crazy to rely on everyone's opinion...but I'm very thankful I found this site -- as the opinions are important to me.

    What's the wait for a WW these days? I haven't even considered checking them out as an option.
     
  8. Reefer

    Reefer Guest

    Mar 9, 2003
    PM sent
     
  9. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Maui
    Although I disagree that the iAMP is too complicated, I absolutely agree that the WW alone would be the way to go, rather than buying the pair of amps. I was thinking along those lines myself. But I've done enough amp shopping for now.

    My first impression of the iAMP was...."geez, too many knobs" for my old luddite brain to handle. But I actually found the setup to be relatively intuitive after a bit of use. It sure is versatile. Like Chris says, big and heavy. I have the 800 Combo. Oy. Glad it has a built-in stroller.

    Now, since my slab work has dropped to a handful of gigs a year :hyper:, the WW would be my first choice.
     
  10. Freddels

    Freddels Musical Anarchist

    Apr 7, 2005
    Sutton, MA
    Does anyone have a recent Walter Woods product/price list in pdf form that they could send?
     
  11. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY

    On the other hand, some people like the EA and AI sound better for DB. Tom Baldwin sold his WW and now plays a Focus, and I don't care for any of the WW amps I've played on because of the "artificial bottom" they seem to add. Caveat: While I've gigged on three or four WW amps, they were always borrowed and I didn't have time to "get to know them" properly. YMMV, FWIW, IMHO, UMMG, PYT, etc...
     
  12. Wilbyman

    Wilbyman

    Sep 10, 2003
    Parkersburg, WV
    No impedance compensating input on the WW....I know the WW amp is musical but I refuse to do the "mission control" setup with an extra preamp. The Focus is very natural and the EQ is great for DB. Haven't tried an IAmp, but its way too big for me to consider for DB gigs. I'd love to spend my money on something new and fun for DB (rather than another yucky slab, LOL) tho.
     
  13. Jason Hollar

    Jason Hollar Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2005
    Pittsburgh area
    Well thanks you guys. All this info is very helpful.

    I'm not that put off by the 20 pounds on the iamp800. In fact, in a decent soft case rack that could be fairly portable...considering my current SKB pre/power amp rack is easily over 60 pounds!

    In your collective opinion, does the iamp 800 kick major booty? By this I mean, is the 500/800 watt rating solid? Would running this bad boy through a nice 2x10 cab fill a medium size club -- even with an electric bass?

    I'm a big fan of headroom. And yes, it would be overkill for half the gigs I play on DB. However, I admit it is frustrating on the other half of the gigs I play to feel like I'm running out of power. I end up digging in too hard, playing slightly out of pitch, etc. There's nothing like an awesome amp with tons of headroom and excellent efficiency.

    I'd like to have the same rig for cocktail jobs and simply be able to add another cabinet for bigger gigs...that's why I'm leaning toward the Euphonic stuff. The Acoustic Image seems killer for an acoustic-only jazz gig -- maybe in combination with one of the snazzy new 1x12 cabs on the market. It seems a lot of you cats use and dig those types of boxes.

    But I am looking to leave preamps (like the Raven Labs) at home to ultimately simplify my setup.

    What is the best hifi bass head out there for doublers? I guess this is the real question! WW, EA, AI noted... Any other suggestions?
     
  14. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Maui
    In answer to your question...yes. Plenny power. You might get a different answer from hardcore slabbers, but yeah, it's got some balls.
     
  15. Wilbyman

    Wilbyman

    Sep 10, 2003
    Parkersburg, WV
    I might be speaking out of turn, or talking out of school, or whatever, but from what I can tell....the general consenus seems to be that the IAmp has awesome lows/low-mids and somewhat deficient highs, the WW has awesome highs/high-mids and somewhat deficient lows, and the Focus is something of a compromise. The Iamp might be a good slabber choice because of the power and nice big lows.
     
  16. bassame

    bassame

    Mar 25, 2004
    Brooklyn NY
    "That's like saying all white people are tall from knowing a tall one and hearing stories of others. " - originally posted by Chris Fitzgerald
     
  17. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    My wife is 5'2". :D

    I hear what you're saying. I was responding to "...just get a Walter Woods Ultra and have an amp that sounds better than both the iAmp and the AI...". The point was not to bash WW amps in any way, but to show that not everyone agrees that they simply "sound better than both the iAmp and the AI". Hence the YMMW, FWIW, WFYB, WBYSU, etc.
     
  18. bassame

    bassame

    Mar 25, 2004
    Brooklyn NY
    That was funny. I hear what you are saying too. I've just been waiting for an opportunity to rib you. I think the expression is:
    "its the spouting whale that gets the harpoon." :D
     
  19. macmrkt

    macmrkt Banned

    Dec 4, 2002
    I have the iAMP500 and the Focus 1. My golden ears drummer listening from across the 'stage', and my ears up close, felt that after an AB test, said they were really quite similar in sound. Surprisingly so, in this live situation for DB with a K&K Bass Master Pro pickup/preamp. I think the Focus is a bit warmer in the midrange, while the iAMP seems more even across the frequency spectrum. Maybe the iAMP has a stronger low end. I run both flat, so I can't comment on tone controls. Both are plenty loud for me, but I think there's more gain in the iAMP, and I'm not even running the 800. I also find the 500 to be acceptably carry-able, even after you get used to the featherlight AI stuff. Again, the overall impression for me was how close they were in sound, and how great it is that bass players really have fab choices for gear. EA, AI, WW, Accugroove, LDS (as close to the old EA VL's as I've found), and maybe one or two others; its all good. I was remembering the other day how in the 70's, I was even chasing obscure ACCORDION! amp companies to try to find a good sound...
     
  20. tombowlus

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

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    That would be my short list, head wise, for doubling. I own an iAMP 800 and a WWU, and both are great for doubling. While the iAMP does sound better with some cabs (and the WWU sounds better with others), I'd give the nod to the WWU, because of two channels, and a very sweet high end. If super tight lows are really your forte, though, I find the iAMP 800 to have an advantage over the WWU in this regard.

    FWIW, I do not think that the NL-210 is power-hungry. At least not in the way that the VL-210 is a power hungry cab. The CxL-210 seems more efficient than the VL-210, and the NL-210 seems more efficient than the CxL-210.

    Accugroove is another great choice for doubling. Personally, I do not have a preference between EA and Accugroove cabs - I love them both! I find EA cabs, in general, to be more clear and precise, while Accugroove cabs, in general, are more full and thick sounding. These sonic characteristics may vary somewhat with regard to individual models, though. Both brands are very accurate and tonally balanced, and both really let the individual character of your instruments shine through.

    FWIW, my current favorite doubling rig is a WWU power two VL-208's.

    Hope this helps, Tom.