Loving my Contra! :)

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by Aaron Saunders, Dec 29, 2005.

  1. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    I almost posted this days ago, but my internet service cut out!

    My quest for an AI Contra began several months ago. Long story short, I made a lot of fried chicken over the past few months and TBeers has the patient of a saint. It arrived last Tuesday...the day after I took my DB to the shop. I still don't have it back yet, but I have tried it with the following:

    Yamaha fretless slab
    Epiphone jazzbox guitar
    Samick fretted slab

    And with all of them, it's sounded great. Especially the guitar...nicest jazz tone I've gotten with one was through this amp. I used it at school for a couple live performances (including going direct to the PA) and it served its purpose fantastically. Sounds nicer for slab than my Yorkville XS400, and with only 50 watts less power (the Yorkville needs an extension cabinet to go above 250 watts and I don't need that much in the foreseeable future) I don't think I'll be keeping the Yorkville around next year.

    I'll put a little update up here when I get my DB out of the shop (it's getting setup work done and I'm putting an Obli D and G on) about how it sounds with the doghouse.

    The amp itself is an older Series II from before the amp was recessed into the cabinet. The only problem I've had with it is the softwood of the cabinet (pine?) is starting to strip where the screws are beside the little...leg dealie (is there a name for that?) that props it up. Sounds and looks great, and immensely more portable than my only other good amp.
  2. Tbeers


    Mar 27, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    Yeah, that will be a problem. Don't let anyone walk too close to the amp when it is propped up....

    I wonder if the guys at AI have anything to say about that issue, or if there is any way to reinforce that area of the amp. The issue I saw was that it never really seemed to be screwed into the cabinet material... the screws are basically useless. A few extra dollars and a little bit more thought on AI's part would have made the entire thing a lot more sturdy.

    Glad it sounds good with the slabs... with the DB it should work even better!
  3. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur GollihurMusic.com

    Mar 22, 2000
    New Joisey Shore
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music
    They have a little fix for that, email them for it; I still have a couple around the office for when a customer calls on occasion, but they probably have many more :). That was fixed with the Series IIa, and the new Series III has a more robust approach with a double folding whoopie that will add stability.
  4. I've had my Contra for almost two years now, and I find more ways to appreciate it at every gig.

    What I had to wrap my mind (and ears) around at first was the fact that my bass no longer sounded like a souped-up electric bass when amplified. I have to admit, it initially sounded "wrong" to me after so many years of playing through a GK800RB, and I'd spend time trying to dial in that boxy "punch-you-in-the-gut" electric sound I was so used to hearing from myself.

    Gradually, though, my ears reacclimated, and I've learned just a little volume from this thing will make me heard--and felt--in the back of the room.

    For electric gigs, I find that using the Contra and my old 2x10 Hartke cab as an extension moves enough air. I even had a guitar player ask me to turn down once.
  5. spiritbass

    spiritbass Supporting Member

    Jun 9, 2004
    Ashland, MO
    I snagged one of the limited edition EX speakers to tide me over until the combos ship. It's good to know that these are pleasing ears for db and slab. I'm looking forward to hearing it next week with my Thunderfunk. :cool:

  6. LowNote

    LowNote Supporting Member

    Jan 31, 2002
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    You won't be disappointed by the Contra EX. I took one plus a Series II Focus and a Schroeder Mini12+ to a doubling gig a few weeks ago. The second half was bass guitar for dancing--Motown, disco, rock, etc. When I got the gig, I discovered that I had forgotten a longer SpeakOn equipped speaker cable and had to do the gig with just the Focus/Contra EX combination. It worked like a champ and amazed me at how loud it could get without any distortion.
  7. Mike Carr

    Mike Carr

    Feb 5, 2002
    Hong Kong
    I just got a Conta EX SE from Bob G. ten days ago. It's so nice that I'm tempted to put my Razers Edge Bass 10 up for sale. Up until now that was my favorite small bass speaker for URB. The AI cabinet sounds a whole lot bigger than it looks!
    Happy New Year everyone!
  8. bolo


    May 29, 2005
    Apex, NC
    Aaron, LowNote, Mike C., Mike G. ...

    I presume you guys are using your Contras and Contra EX's with the cab sitting on the floor. True?

    And do you lift up the front of the cab w/ the pin?

    I have a Series I Contra, with no lifter pin. I have to use AI's magic triangles to prop up the front. Had a pair of them long ago ... then lost 'em ... then got another pair from AI just this week.

    I asked Rick Jones if I could pay him for the triangles, and he said "No, if you pay me, the magic goes away."

    I haven't tried using them in a while, but your posts make me want to reinvestigate.
  9. Yes, I always keep the cab on the floor. Whether or not I use the pin depends on the room, the floor surface, the volume at which I'm playing, even the style of music I'm playing. I can usually determine within five minutes of playing what is required. Generally speaking, if the surface is hard, I don't use the pin and on carpet I do.
  10. LowNote

    LowNote Supporting Member

    Jan 31, 2002
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    With the exception of super low volume gigs--say a duo with a guitarist where I want only a smidgeon of amplifcation--I always put in the lift pin. I just like the sound better--it sounds less strangled to me--plus having the mid-range speaker and tweeter angled up toward your ear makes it easier to hear the amp.

    If I'm in a particularly boomy room and/or on a wooden stage that is "live" I sometimes find myself putting either one or both of my EX cabiinets up on a chair or get them off the floor somehow. This is more necessary when I'm playing my hybrid bass with the Fishman Full Circle (vs my carved bass with a Schertler StatB) since I find the FC to be a bit boomy.

    Once again, it is amazing what the EX cabinets can put out if you throw plenty of wattage at them. Driving two EX cabinets with the first generation Focus amp will create more than enough volume for me in any situation that I'm going to be playing in.