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Mesa Walkabout vs Thunderfunk

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Flanker, Dec 15, 2004.


  1. Flanker

    Flanker

    Feb 12, 2002
    UK
    Just wondering how similar these heads sound as I am about to take delivery of two Accugroove Tri112's and I would like a tubey lightweight amp to use when my EBS TD650 is too hifi.?
     
  2. Whappo Grande

    Whappo Grande

    Feb 9, 2002
    Santa Clara, CA.
    Manager: AccuGroove Speakers
    I can only comment on the Thunderfunk since I own one. I have not had the pleasure of trying the Walkabout.

    The Thunderfunk would be a great amp for one or two Tri 112L cabs. I use it every day to test our cabs before shipping. :D

    Mark
    AccuGroove's New Web Site
     
  3. Try PM'n "Smash" he can compare the two. I have his old Walkabout now and i love it. However i can't A/B the two because B i don't own. Or maybe try Basstasters.com for a quick comparision on sounds.

    seriously though, find Smash !!!
     
  4. Tombowlus currently has both in his possesion. I'm sure he'll pop up in here soon.
     
  5. Flanker

    Flanker

    Feb 12, 2002
    UK
    Thanks for the replies guys.

    Smash / Tombowlus can you help?
     
  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
    I sat down to do a similar comparison for another TBer last night, and realized that I left my Walkabout at my band's practice room. I hope to pick it up tonight, though, and should be able to get back to you Friday or Saturday, at the latest.

    Off the top of my head, I would say that these are two very interesting amps to compare. Overall volume seems to be in the same general ballpark, and they are both lightweight and fairly compact - though the Walkabout moreso, in both regards. As for tone, the Walkabout is definitely warmer, and more colored, but all in all very musical. The midrange control takes a bit of getting used to, and that one Mid knob can really change the tonal flavor. The high end is slightly sweet, and the low end is slightly round. The Thunderfunk is not exactly "uncolored" itself, but the overall tone is quite clean and solid, with perhaps a hint of scoop here and a hint of boost there in the mids. I still haven't figured this aspect of the Thunderfunk out yet, as the perceived scoops/boosts seem to vary from cab to cab (not that the amp is varying, just that the combined tonal effect varies). At any rate, these are very minor cuts/bumps, and are not inherently "bad" in any way. They just add to the tonal flavor of the Thunderfunk, and this works very well with a number of cabs. All in all, though, the Thunderfunk - to my ears, at least - sounds less colored than the Walkabout. But maybe it's just colored in a less perceptible manner?

    At any rate, I will try to compare the two when I can. With the larger Accugroove cabs, my initial thoughts are that the Thunderfunk might be a better match, as my Tri 210L and Whappo, Jr. are really quite thick and phat sounding, and I worry about the Walkabout making things perhaps a bit too thick. My Tri 110, on the other hand, is more punchy and has an aggressive "bite" - in a good way - that just might pair up quite well with the Walkabout. I haven't heard the Tri 112's, though, so ultimately, my comments may not be as useful as they might be otherwise.

    I have my marching orders, and will report back when the mission is accomplished!

    Tom.
     
  7. Flanker

    Flanker

    Feb 12, 2002
    UK
    Thanks a million, looking forward to your further report.
     
  8. JOME77

    JOME77 Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2002
    Georgia
    I currently own a Thunderfunk and my previous amp was the Mesa M-Pulse 600. From what I hear the Walkabout and M-Pulse-600 sound fairly similar. The TF and M-Pulse have totally different sounds. If you like more of a huge vaccum tube like sound, the M-Pulse is the ticket. The M-Pulse is more open sounding but can be quite boomy in some venues. The TFB-420 is very warm and Phat sounding and while not as hugh sounding as the Mesa, it is a much more focused sound. It's MUCH easier to dial in different sounds on the TF than the Mesa M-Pulse. Both have a nice 4-band Semi-Parametric which I used frequently on the M-Pulse but have yet to need it on the TF. The TF has "Enhance" and Timbre" controls that allow very quick EQ changes at the twist of a knob. It was much more difficult to dial in different sounds on the M-Pulse (or to make adjustments when changing basses). After using the TF for several months I have no regrets about selling the M-Pulse head. Great sound, but in the end, not for me. The TFB-420 is absolutely the best sounding head I've plugged into! :hyper:
     
  9. GRoberts

    GRoberts Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2003
    Tucson, AZ USA
    What about the power differences between the Mesa M-Pulse and the Thunderfunk? Notice any losses? Are you playing into an 8 ohm load with your Thunderfunk? What cab are you using? Thanks! Great report! Gary

     
  10. metron

    metron Fluffy does not agree

    Sep 12, 2003
    Lakewood Colorado
    Im also interested as Tom said above that the TF and the Walkabout are in the same ballpark volume-wise. I would think the M-Pulse 600 would pull ahead of the TF for volume. At least a little.
     
  11. tombowlus

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

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    I'd say that your observations are quite in line mine, although it obviously comes down to tonal preference. I really don't prefer one over the other. They are just different. But your subjective thoughts seem to mirror mine pretty closely.
     
  12. tombowlus

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

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    Hopefully I can be more helpful after I A/B them directly...
     
  13. JOME77

    JOME77 Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2002
    Georgia

    If you're talking clean volume, you'd probably be surprise to hear me state that IMO the TF is actually capable of louder clean volumes (using a 4 ohm cabinet) than the Mesa M-Pulse. Probably due to the more open sound of the Mesa verses the unique design of the TF. The TF is designed in a manner that minimizes distortion. Dave Funk can provide a technical explaination of why his amps hold together so well at higher volumes but I think a lot of it has to do with the amps dampening design.
    The TF is also capable of louder clean volumes than my SM-500 bridged. SWR amps have always claimed that their amps reproduced a wider spectrum of sound frequency. While that can be an advantage, it can also produce more speaker cone movement and ultimately distortion. I noticed the same excessive speaker movement with my Mesa. Even at high volumes the speaker movement seems far less with the TF. The cabinets that I play through are a SWR Goliath III (8 ohm) and Goliath Jr. III (8 ohm). Hope this is helpful.
     
  14. Flanker

    Flanker

    Feb 12, 2002
    UK
    Time to call professor FUNK I think!

    Thanks.
     
  15. tombowlus

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

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    I agree with pretty much everything said by Smash and JOME77, above. The Walkabout does get really loud for its 300w, but as for clean volume, the Thunderfunk definitely bests it. Still, with some cabs, the Walkabout can seem just about as loud, but if the cab is prone to break up at all, or if it is already a bit warmish in the lows, I think that the Thunderfunk does a better job driving it at volume. But the difference is mostly at the limits. In a scenario where you wouldn't be cranking the Thunderfunk, the Walkabout should also be providing satisfactory output. Conversely, if you find yourself in a situation where the Thunderfunk would be pushing its useable limits, you are probably beyond the limits of the Walkabout.

    But, to the task at hand, I did manage to get my Walkabout back in my basement music room, along with a couple of other nice little heads. Here's a shot of the competition that I had on hand:

    [​IMG]
    We have the Thunderfunk holding up my iAMP 800, Walkabout, and the Walter Woods Ultra sitting on top. Despite the optical illusion, the Crest CA9 is actually sitting on the two VL-210's behind the Bergies (which I used for this comparison). You can also see my rack rig sitting on top of two NL-210's, which I had been comparing to the VL-210's (as reported in another thread).

    I used the Bergies for this comparison, partly because another TBer had asked me about the Thunderfunk and Walkabout powering an HT112/EX112, and partly because my Whappo, Jr. and Tri 210L are currently blocked in by a number of other cabs (and some larger Christmas gifts in hiding). These comments, then, are not as directly applicable as I would like, However, I hope to drag out the Tri 210L and repeat the comparison. But, for those interested in how these four did with the Bergies, read on...

    The Thunderfunk is very clean with the Bergs, and has slightly pronounced lower mids, and a fairly open, tight sound. Lows are well controlled, even on the Low B, but the lows are not quite as full as they are with the other heads. I was not able to push any of the heads to the point of volume breakup, as the ceiling tiles in my room would start shaking like crazy before any of the amps would break up, but the Thunderfunk certainly seemed like it was producing volume with relative ease. Tonally, it's a pretty good match for the Bergs, and probably an even better match for the Accugroove cabs.

    The Walkabout had a very different tone from the Thunderfunk. The highs were not as extended, but the lows were more full and thick. The midrange was also quite present, but decidedley warmer and smoother. At its loudest point, I don't think that I would have had a lot more room to go before it started to breakup, but the tone was holding together reasonably well. The exception would be that the low B started to loose tightness at moderately loud settings. BTW, I did not do any EQ-ing, and did not try to dial out some lows to help avoid this, though I probably could have. All in all, at least with the Bergs, the Thunderfunk would be my preference.

    Moving on to the iAMP 800, the EA head made the strange impression of not really making much of an impression. Let me try to explain. It just didn't seem to accentuate any part of the tone more or less than the remainder. At first, it seems kind of dull, to be honest. But then you realize that it's really a fairly impressive feat, though perhaps less exciting than some of the others. The iAMP 800 had lots of headroom, and kept everything nice and tight, even with a low B thumping away pretty hard. I had noticed before that the iAMP sounded good with the Bergies, and I still feel that it does, although again, it is not as initially "exciting" tonally as the Thunderfunk. I will add that I have used the iAMP 800 many times with my Accugroove cabs, and it sounds incredible - especially when driving both as 4 ohm cabs for a 2 ohm total load.

    But, once I plug the Walter Woods into the Bergies, it is really no contest. This is the head for these cabs. Highs are airy and open. Mids are sweet, clear, present, and very refined. Lows are full and thick, and plenty tight. With other cabs, I have noticed that the WWU is not as tight in the low end as my iAMP 800, but with these Bergies, it shows no such deficiency. Volume is noticeably easier to come by with the WWU's 1,200 watts, and I have every reason to believe that if allowed to push each head to its volume limits, the Wally Ultra would be the champ. In every regard, with the Bergies at least, the Walter Woods is my strong favorite. I have not used the WWU with the Accugroove cabs recently, though I do recall that when I powered my Whappo, Jr. with both the WWU and the iAMP 800, I had a slight preference for the iAMP.

    Well, I know this was slightly off topic, but I hope to repeat this performance with one or more Accugroove cabs very soon. I wanted to get all of this downloaded from my brain before I muddied my memory with the sounds from the Accugroove cabs.

    Hope this helps, Tom.
     
  16. tombowlus

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

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    Okay, I finally got a chance to run all of these heads through some Accugroove cabs. To my surprise, the results were notably different from my tests with the Bergantino's. Here is what I heard:

    The iAMP 800 with the Tri 210L had very thick, full tone, and gobs of low end (the most of the group). However, as I have found in the past, I found that the iAMP with Accugroove cabs leaves me wanted a bit more high end (which is easy enough to add). Since the wife and kids were out of the house, I did get to crank the volume up quite a bit, and the iAMP pushes the Tri 210L (set to 4 ohm) quite well, again with lots of low end, even right up to "full volume" - or as close to it as I dared to go. I am not a slapper, but I do hit the strings pretty hard (fingerstyle). When I would hit them quite hard, the iAMP gave a nice snappy, quick articulate hit, and after a bit more experimentation, I decided that the iAMP would be the clear choice if I were a slapper. Nice, fast transients that don't get harsh at all.

    With the Thunderfunk, you get a lot more high end (the most of the group), but the lows were not as full or as loud as with the other amps (particularly the EA). Again, if you want more low end, EQ is there for you, and the Thunderfunk has plenty of tone shaping options. Overall loudness seemed to be on par with the EA, but the difference in thick low end was even more apparent at volume. Still, the Thunderfunk drove the Tri 210L quite well, and as I am sure many of you know, Accugroove cabs have tons of low end and fat, full tone, so the net effect is pretty well balanced.

    The Walter Woods sounded fantastic, as expected. It was also the loudest of the group. The low end was very close to as full as with the EA, though perhaps not as tight - though this was not as noticeable as with some other cabs I have tried. In general, everything sounded great with the WWU. The high end was not as pronounced as with the Thunderfunk, but it wasn't far behind, had that air of refinement that Walter's amps always give. The mids were beautiful, and in general I was quite reminded of the sound of the WWU through the Bergies. When I cranked up the volume, the Walter Woods was again the loudest, but still did not have the amount of low end that the iAMP put out.

    The Walkabout was the real surprise of the group and my overall favorite with the Tri 210L. This blew my mind! I had not expected it to be in the top three, and here it ends up at the top of the heap! The tone was closest to the Walter Woods, but with more of a midrange presence, and somewhat warmer. Lows were the best that I have heard out of the Walkabout. Very full, very musical, and without any of the "mushiness" that I have heard with other cabs. The Tri 210L deserves a lot of the credit, here, but regardless, it was a very good pairing. And get this, the volume seemed to be at least as loud as the Thunderfunk and iAMP 800! Something about the Tri 210L seemed to let the Walkbout really sing at volume, and at the point where I have heard it sound like it is breaking up with other cabs, I could crank it up even more and still get great tone and good dynamics. Highs were very good, too. I just couldn't believe how nice this sounded.

    Any of these heads would be very good with Accugroove cabs - which again says a lot for Mark's cabs!

    Well, I hope this helps, Tom.
     
  17. lo-freq

    lo-freq aka UFO

    Jan 19, 2003
    The Republic of Texas
    WOW!
    Very interesting.
    Thanks again Tom!
     
  18. GRoberts

    GRoberts Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2003
    Tucson, AZ USA
    Incredible Report Tom. Thank You so much. Your report also confirmed what my ears told me when I listened to the EA iAMP and walkabout on www.basstasters.com - That Walkabout has GREAT tone. I really love an amp that naturally has full, thick, yet articulate low end. But still retains tube like mids and highs with their warmth, yet almost glassy brilliance. (describing sound with words is challenging, but you get the idea)

    How well would an Accugroove Tri110 cover a blues/R&B/Funk/Jazz gig on it's own? Does it handle a low B without choking and farting out? I'm guessing the tri110 has an impedance selector 8 or 4 ohms? Brilliant feature!

    Gary
     
  19. tombowlus

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

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    My Tri 110 is the older model (no neo driver), and does not have the AccuSwitch. As for its ability to handle the low B, you do hear it just fine (no choking/farting), but it is not anywhere near as present as it is with the Tri 210L. I probably would not gig with just one Tri 110, myself, but if you didn't need to get very loud, it might cut it. It sounds fantastic with the Tri 210L, though.
     
  20. LM Bass

    LM Bass

    Jul 19, 2002
    Vancouver, BC
    I have an iAmp 600, and really like it. But I had a Walkabout for a while. It was incredible, but the dealbreaker for me was that loud fan in Db! I rarely play very loud gigs, and in between tunes I would always hear it.
    Darn, well now one of my students has it and is digging it.
    LM