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I'm in Love!! with the Phil Jones Suitcase!!

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Al Caldwell, Jan 29, 2006.


  1. Al Caldwell

    Al Caldwell

    Mar 18, 2003
    St.Louis , Mo
    I was at the Namm Show last week. The Namm is the worst place to check out speaker cabs.I've tried to hear the Accugroove cabs for 3 years! I got to hear Jorge Schroders cabs this year but it's too loud at Namm and way too much carpet! Phil is a friend of mine but I still speak my mind when it comes to what I want. I think that if we make claims that any cab at Namm sounds bad then we haven't been fair. All speakers should be tested in a real world situation,pro and semi pro conditions. I was in banjo heaven most of this Namm but I checked out Phils "Suitcase amp". It looked small and compact but I didn't think that it would be able to handle my array of basses.I went over to his house a few days ago to borrow it for a gig tonight and a gig in Chicago on Friday next week. It kicked my @^%&$%!!!! The room was 90'X100'! I filled the room with a 5 string bass! The cab had 4 ,5 inch speakers and handled the low B and drove the drums!!! We played blues and jazz all night. When I plucked the bass it was tight and imediate! I was blown away by the low end! I admit that I'm not the loudest bassist in the world. Most of the people that I play for want a clear,clean sounding stage. I need clarity more than sheer volume. This amp has 300 watts!!! I was only using 200 watts but I had room to spare! My amp must sound great from at least 5 feet and have a clear sound. There are many product that color the sound of our handmade instruments. An amp should sound like 15 amps when you plug in 15 instruments! We want our amps to amplify our sound not color it. Some bassist like the combination of their amp with their bass but i'd never know what my bass sounds like! I have my big Hydras and they are as fat as any cab that I've ever heard but if your talking about transparency then that's another matter all together. I want to know what my basses really sound like. Tonight I found out! I called Phil to buy 2 of them!! I am willing to pay for my amps!! I need the right tools for the job! His amp sounds like High end High Fi for bass! It's like a bass rig from Krell!!! I haven't picked an amp that I've liked in over 10 years! This portable litte rig kick's ass! I'm a hard nut to crack and "The Suitcase", impressed the hell out of me! I know that you have a winner! Al Caldwell
     
  2. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Terrific Twister

    Apr 12, 2001
    Lacey, WA
    This was a concern of mine as well. Thanks for the review.

    -Mike
     
  3. seamonkey

    seamonkey

    Aug 6, 2004
    Looks like a great amp. Two channels, each with their own EQ - great. What's the price?
    50lbs - a little heavy for a small combo.
    I don't quite get the double strap handle on the top.
     
  4. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    I recently bought a PJ Briefcase, and I totally love the preamp on it. I was thinking about what would be involved in trying to use the briefcase in a larger room, whether it would be enough as a monitor plus FOH, or if I would need some combination of FOH->stage monitors as well as preamp->larger power amp->other cab. So now he has a 300w Suitcase, eh? That solves my made-up problem! Suitcase as a monitor, DI to FOH. Sweet!
     
  5. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    OK, now I'm looking at the pics of it on his site, and I've turned skeptical. First, it's only 200w by itself, you have to add an extension cab to get 300w. So then you have a stack that puts out relatively little power for its size (compared against the Six-Pack, for instance). Second, it seems less space-efficient than the Briefcase, and more unwieldy. Easy to spill a drink into the control panel.

    Also, I can see where this particular two-channel design is ideal for players who switch between two basses on stage. But I know a lot of gigging bassists who bring just one bass, and for them it would be nice to have a footswitch to toggle between two separate channels (e.g. bright/dark, clean/overdriven, dry/effected) without having to unplug their bass.

    Maybe there will be some additional versions of the Suitcase design in the future, to meet different needs.
     
  6. tombowlus

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

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    Nice! :D I'm certainly quite happy with my Briefcase, and I would love to hear one of these some day.

    Tom.
     
  7. Cool review Al! We need to hang sometime when I'm in St. Louis. I haven't been too impressed with some of Phil's stuff, and it's quite heavy. However, this combo sounds like a nice mix of portability and sound. The Briefcase was too small to be useful for much, and that 6 pack weighed a ton!

    I'll look forward to trying this combo out sometime.

    Ken
     
  8. Al Caldwell

    Al Caldwell

    Mar 18, 2003
    St.Louis , Mo
    He's making neodynium speakers so that will take off 20 pounds! You can't get around a high quality transformer. Transformers are heavy. The two handles are for ease in carry. With my bass on my back it's easier to grab the 2 handles instead of one handle with the amp hitting you in the legs. It's pretty well thought out. Al
     
  9. That's a cool amp with lots of great features. I'd love to try one out.
     
  10. smperry

    smperry Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Bay Area, CA
    Endorsing Artist: Martin Keith Guitars
    Now that's good news. I love my PJB rig, but light it ain't.

    Marshall
     
  11. seamonkey

    seamonkey

    Aug 6, 2004
    Sure there is - SMPS gets rid of the big transformer.

    I guess I'd have to try the handles to see how they work.

    I wouldn't mind seeing a vertical array instead of the side by side config. It'd give it a little extra height to get closer to the ear, and might be easier to carry.

    Looking forward to seeing the Neo version.
     
  12. Sir Funkalot

    Sir Funkalot Phil Jones Bass

    Ever wondered why no manufacturer in the world of High End Audio does not use Switch mode power supplies?
    Sure there are light but can not deliver a rock solid voltage rail necessary for the best sound reproduction. We have tried several types of SMPS but they never sound as good as a high quality conventional power supply.
     
  13. K Dubbs

    K Dubbs Just graduated from OSU, Go Bucks!

    Mar 16, 2002
    Toledo, Ohio

    What?!?!

    Icepower (Bang and Olufson)

    There's one. I'm sure there are a few more. I've personally witnessed the Beolab 5's from B&O. They are simply incredible. These hifi units could comfortably replace a club PA with the rediculous power they've got. Smooth, beautiful audio from those smps amps.

    Also, by your original claim of why no high end audio companies employ smps, it also should be noted that most hifi purists/elitists swear by all tube class-a signal paths and single driver systems in rear loaded giant horns...

    (I'm not of course claiming I have designed anything better than your products. I'm just reminding that the regress you suggest by your recommended abstinence from smps technology)
     
  14. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    Bose uses SMPS and array speakers. :)

    (Godwin's Law applied to hi-fi: In any thread that goes on long enough, somebody eventually mentions Bose).
     
  15. seamonkey

    seamonkey

    Aug 6, 2004

    Er - you better keep looking.
    Nuforce, which won Absolute Sound's amplifier of the year uses SMPS http://www.nuforce.com/faq/faq-power.htm
     
  16. Bassguy1

    Bassguy1

    Feb 10, 2006
    U.S. - Midwest
    I am now a very happy owner of a PJB suitcase. Bought mine from Fazios, Frets and Friends in Ballwin, MO a few days ago. I think it was the one Phil had at the 2006 NAMM show since he lives here in St. Louis also. This is an awesome amp, very tight high fidelity sounds and deep lows, easy to carry around, sounds more then 200 watts to me. Now I'm waiting for the 4B extension cabinet. I played a Fender fretless jazz bass through it when I picked it up and it sounded awesome...I may go back and purchase the fretless since it sounded so good.
     
  17. cnltb

    cnltb

    May 28, 2005
    When looking at small combo amps,I highly recommend one look at the Hevos Midget combo as well ( with or without extension cab).It comes in 1 by 10 and 1 by 12 and appeared considerably louder than the pj .When looking at it,the construction seemed very good also. I have heard the 1 by 10 and must say that i was impressed.I believe it is rated at 300 watts.The 1 by 10 extension cab is available with or without tweeter(a good sounding one,for a change)and can handle 400 watts-If I remember correctly. :hyper: :bassist:
     
  18. Al Caldwell

    Al Caldwell

    Mar 18, 2003
    St.Louis , Mo
    How much does this amp cost? How much does it weight? How does it sound on an upright bass? I don't think that we have a dealer in St.Louis ,where can I check one out? Al Caldwell
     
  19. jb6884

    jb6884

    Jan 30, 2006
    St. Louis, MO
    I've been waiting to try one of these out... The suitcase is not enough for my needs, and the 6 pack is too much/too heavy.. I'd probably buy one sight unseen if it had the neo speakers.. 50lbs is a bit heavy. Fazios can't seem to get them. I keep going there week after week to see if they have one... nope. What gives?
     
  20. Ah, B&O, one of the biggest examples of people being suckered into stupidly expensive things, i used to work in one of only 6 shops in scotland that provided B&O, and, its good, but, not that good!