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Lot's of Amp Reviews on the Bowlus Thread

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by KJung, Feb 26, 2006.

  1. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    I don't know if this is appropriate (my apologies to the mods and please delete if not)....

    Some might not be aware that there was a mega bass hang/GTG at Tom Bowlus' house this weekend. Lot's of great pictures of amps and cabs, and some pretty detailed comments on performance.... lot's of great A/B trials with different basses (MTD, Fodera, Celinder, Sadowsky, MM, Fender, Lakland, Tobias, Allen, Drozd, Curbow, Ric, Hoyt, etc.) through amps and cabs such as:

    Walter Woods
    etc., etc.

  2. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

  3. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    Bump for Monday morning!
  4. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PHL



    geez, color me crazy jealous. like the bowlus borg was devouring all y'all!

    btw, KJ, care to give a run down for those too tired to read thru the massive thread? ;)
  5. tombowlus

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

    Apr 3, 2003
    Fremont, Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    We'll be adding more, I am sure. I'll probably condense the photos and reviews on my blog at some point. We did tons of shootouts, many of which haven't even been mentioned yet! :D

    And in all fairness, we need to get something like this going on the 'basses' side, too.

  6. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    No GK representation? Come on, no gear for the common folk? ;)
  7. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    The actual GTG posts don't start until page 14 with most pictures starting on page 17, so it's not so bad:)

    The amps that impressed most seem to be:

    Focus (very loud, small,light, and relatively inexpensive)
    BergIP310 (very full, punchy, loud, and heavy!)
    Schroeder1210 (small, really loud, relatively light... quite a few new Schroeder fans after hearing it with the TF550)
    Epi410UL (large, loud, smooth and light..I think the sound/weight ratio impressed some more than the absolute sound... especially after hearing the IP310!)
    Sadowsky Tube amp (very refined, relatively loud, very 'boutique')

    All the rest of the stuff was very good also... nothing that I remember anyone saying 'yuck' about.... the above were the standouts. I was personally very impressed with the Glock 112, but I don't think a lot of people ended up trying it.


    The generally big winners were Tom's Mahogany Sadowsky 24 Modern, my Celinder, Vic's ash/maple/ebony MTD, Tom and Vic's Chambered MTD's, Steve's Sadowsky Vintage, Tom's Skjold 4, and I guess the Rob Allen fretless for those who played it... primarily due to it being so different from anything else. That being said, I don't think there was a bass there that was in any way disliked.

    All of the above to my best recollection... Tom will chime in with additions or changes.

  8. tombowlus

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

    Apr 3, 2003
    Fremont, Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    +1 on what Ken says. But I would amend as follows. On the amp side of things, here were some other standouts:

    Traynor YBA200 - we didn't get into this until the second day, but my gawd that is a nice tube head for the money!

    Music Man HD-500 - this got some more love on Saturday night.

    Ashdown Labs MK500 - you know, when I first got this, I was kind of bummed that it had a "Harmonic Emphasis" option instead of the their octave effect. But, as it turns out, that Harmonic Emphasis feature really transformed this amp from an "eh" to an "ah!"


    Epifani UL310 - I know it's your old cab, Ken, but don't hate me for saying that those of us who heard both your 410 and the 310 preferred the tone of the 310. It seemed more open sounding and tonally balanced, and did not have the somewhat nasal mids of the UL410 (which I agree was a killer cab, too!). Of course, I'm sure the 410 had more volume potential on a gig, but the 310 had a "singing" voice to it that was quite sweet.

    Two Epifani T-112's with two Epifani T-110UL's - for those who heard it, does it get any better than that for the ultimate Epifani sound? :D

    Sadowsky SA410 - since this was my cab, I'll let others speak here, but it certainly seemed to be one of the standout cabs of the GTG.

    Two EA Wizzy's - we didn't play through this a lot, but for those who heard them, these two little 1x12's put on quite a show.

    EA CxL-112 (the heavier version) was a "surprise" hit the first night (back towards the big screen TV).

    Bergantino HT212 - we really didn't get into this until the second day, but I think I have more "dibs" on this cab now after the GTG than on any other item. :D

    Bergantino NV215 - this cab may have changed how several players feel about 2x15's. And it totally vindicated the DB 750 (which did not shine so bright paired up with the UL410).
  9. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    Whew... never heard that in the many A/B comparisons I did with those two cabs... virtually identical sound with the 410 providing significantly more db's when cranked! However, I didn't particularly like the sound of the 410UL in your basement either. Interesting. That, and the very positive Focus results (which I've also had on many gigs and have been less than impressed with) have me more and more thinking that listening to stuff in the basement can lead to some very unusual (to say the least) conclusions.

    Sadowsky 410 was 'OK' IMO.... nice, but I didn't hear anything particularly special... punchy and tight, but not a lot of bottom compared to the 410UL... and MUCH heavier.

    However, as stated by others, there really wasn't one piece of gear that sounded 'bad'... all very good with different flavors. We do need to be careful about 'basement' testing though... a lot of stuff I played on Friday sounded very 'different' than I'm used to hearing in larger rooms.
  10. tombowlus

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

    Apr 3, 2003
    Fremont, Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    It all boils down to personal preference, but the SA410 actually took away any GAS I was feeling for the UL410. :D And even if the UL410 is lighter, it still wider than the Sadowsky and it took two people to comfortably carry it through a doorway and down the steps! :bag:

    Both are great cabs, though. Just playing a little devil's advocate. :smug:
  11. burk48237

    burk48237 Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2004
    Oak Park, MI
    My only regret about the GTG is that I didn't bring the Eden WT550/LDS rig down there. I think many would have been thoroughly surprised. I got home, plugged in my Geddy, and my first reaction was, that despite all the goodness I had just played thru I was VERY satisfied with my rig. NEXT TIME, it's getting squeezed into the mini-van.
  12. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    +1 I wouldn't want to carry either one regularly up and down a thin staircase!

    I'm not as interesting in debating the merits of either cab (they sounded about as different as two cabs could get to me), versus the impact of 'basement' testing. Some of the things I heard (and also hear in my little rehearsal space in my basement) lead me to think that some of what we are posting is VERY misleading. However, as long as everyone reading considers it 'one data point', I guess it's all for the good!
  13. tombowlus

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

    Apr 3, 2003
    Fremont, Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    Well, if you consider that since we all play and sound so different, even one player's gig experience will not necessarily equate to another player's gig experience. And of course, it's a bit hard to schedule a gig close by the GTG, in a room that everyone agrees is homogeneous, and then to swap gear every song or two, so the "jam in the basement" approach does simplify things. :D

    I hear what you are saying, though, and yes, everyone should bear in mind that all of the testing was done in a basement, and not on a gig. Still, talking to some of the other players, I actually ended the weekend feeling that my basement was perhaps fairly tonally neutral. But without the other instruments to compete with, it's hard to get a feel for how something will cut through a mix.

    I do, however, think that it was very useful to hear all different types of basses, amps, and cabs being played in different combinations and by different players. It's not a perfect science, but you do glean a lot from all that variation and diversity, I think. And this is not something that can be easily done in a gig setting.

  14. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    A big +1, of course:)

    And that 310IP..... I have a feeling that would sound great anywhere!
  15. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PHL
    apparently not that in house. not an SX anywhere. ;)


    awww yea! again, one of the best cabs money can buy. :cool:
  16. Nice basses!
  17. B String

    B String Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    Y'know, its probably a good thing I wasn't even close to
    where you guys were. I would have gone into "gear
    ecstasy". You may not have been able to revive me.
    "One 310 of Epi... stat!" "He's going to need an Acoustic Image. Get the Sadowsky!" Too much for me to handle.
    I bet it was fun.
  18. Matt Morgan

    Matt Morgan Fellow Conspirator Supporting Member

    Oct 21, 2001
    Plano, TX
    I had almost talked myself out of the new Focus III but after reading the comments in these posts, it's back on the list!
    I recently sold my Iamp800 and have been looking for a replacement that's in the "clean and clear" variety but with a little more "character".
    Did anyone get to A/B the Focus III with an Iamp800?
  19. tombowlus

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

    Apr 3, 2003
    Fremont, Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    Not directly. I actually looked around a bit for my iAMP 800 while we were playing with the Focus, but didn't see it immediately (we had a LOT of gear strewn about! :D). Going from recollection only, I'd say that their overal tonal presentation is more similar than dissimilar, with the iAMP having a bit more thump in the low end and the Focus sounding perhaps a tad more smooth.

  20. pickles

    pickles Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    I love it ... opinions are like bellybuttons! Gear recipes are a highly individual thing, and two people can A/B the same gear in the same room and have totally different impressions.

    I also don't feel like I can properly A/B anything anymore unless there is a drum kit next to me ... its all about context.