NAD! Aguilar Tone Hammer 500/TH500

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Texan, Jul 17, 2013.

  1. Texan

    Texan 667 Neighbor of the Beast. Supporting Member

    Aug 15, 2004
    Houston, TX
    After a backorder of over 3 weeks my TH500 was delivered today. The first thing that struck me was how much lighter it was compared to my Genz Streamliner 900. I'm no stranger to the class "d" heads and this is the lightest I have had.

    With all of the controls at noon, excluding the gain, and running through an Aguilar DB112 the tone was, to my ears, aggressive and modern with a vintage feel. It is totally different than my STL-900. I went through all of my basses with it making slight eq adjustments. I played my 44-02's and 55-01 with the onboard eq's flat and was impressed how warm and crispy the tone was and how aggressive and responsive the head was. With my jazz and p bass, the aggression was still there but the tone was responsive to attack and not boomy at all.

    This is a totally different beast than the STL-900, but I really love them both. In the past I had a Genz Shuttlemax 9.2 which I primarily used for more modern rock gigs. Ultimately, the Streamliner won over the 9.2 because I only used the FET channel. The TH500 is the sound that I wanted from the 9.2.

    The characteristics between the TH500 and the STL-900 are like comparing a Maserati to an Aston-Martin. Both sound so good but are refined in vastly different ways. The STL-900 is much more tubey goodness and vintage warmth. The TH500 is more aggressive and vintage warmth. Rolling off the highs on the active basses and rolling off the tone in the passive basses yields tubey warmth. If you can have both, do it.

  2. husky123

    husky123 Supporting Member

    Jul 6, 2006
    Leesburg, VA
    Very nice comparo. I concur sir!
  3. TC.65


    Dec 20, 2008
    Carbondale IL
    Wow!!! thanks for the comparison. If I decide to get another amp the TH500 is prob what I'll go to. I own the Streamliner 600 and if they are that different tonally I would have all my basses covered.
  4. Tonegasm


    Mar 22, 2010
    My Aguilar TH500, two DB112NT's, and GS410 have brought me immense amounts of happiness. I hope yours does the same for you.
  5. Cliff Bordwell

    Cliff Bordwell Commercial User

    Jan 6, 2004
    USA , Orlando , Florida
    Owner of CB BASSES
    Thanks for the review... I've been looking into one of these.
  6. Texan

    Texan 667 Neighbor of the Beast. Supporting Member

    Aug 15, 2004
    Houston, TX
    I'll tell you what, I'll send you the TH500 to checkout for yourself for a couple of weeks, if you send me one of your basses to evaluate for the same time period. :D
  7. Cliff Bordwell

    Cliff Bordwell Commercial User

    Jan 6, 2004
    USA , Orlando , Florida
    Owner of CB BASSES
    If I had an extra bass here I would think about it.
  8. +1 to the OP... nice review, and nicely stated. The Streamliner and TH500 are both 'great flavors of warm and fat'. I loved my Streamliner though my tight, punchy strongly midranged voiced AE410.... fat and warm and uber tubey. But, I can get pretty close to that tone with almost any cab with the TH500. As the OP states, the TH500 will not do that 'sweet tube driven' upper treble thing like the Streamliner, nor does it have that glorious, open 'all tube power section' type low end. However, on the gig, the powerful midrange control and inherent voicing of the TH500 really speaks to me.

    I found the maximum volume of the TH500 and Streamliner900 to be close enough to not matter. The Genz had the edge there, due to that very nice power management system, but I have yet to even hit a level on the TH500 that resulted in any sort of limiting that I could hear kick in. Impressive little box that would work well for most players other than those looking for maximum treble extension for 'modern sizzle/slap' IMO and IME.
  9. Texan

    Texan 667 Neighbor of the Beast. Supporting Member

    Aug 15, 2004
    Houston, TX
    You can get a good "modern sizzle/slap", it's not going to be like Eden/SWR and the like, but it's close enough for me. My Laklands may have had a lot to do with it, but I'm happy with the sizzle here. I actually thought of my SWR SM-400 with some of the settings with my 55-01, it was close to my ears. With the tweeter on the DB112 about half way, it was very close.
  10. AngelCrusher


    Sep 12, 2004
    Mesa Boogie, Tech 21, Taylor
    If you crank the treble and upper mids a little you can get a nice modern tone. But it is still more throaty than a Sadowsky pre. I have both and notice the TH adds mids to that sound.

    The sadowsky really adds true sizzle, but you can still dial in a real modern tone with the TH, it just will have more mids in it and less snap.
  11. +1 It is the PERFECT top end for me, and I like it a bit bright and articulate up top. However, for some who like the GK type thing (as one example), it would most likely not do the trick for them. You can kind of hear this on my Glock clip versus TH500 clip with the same bass and cab. Both sound great to me, and quite different, and no amount of knob turning will make one sound much like the other.
  12. lamarjones

    lamarjones Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2002
    Raleigh, NC
    Awesome review, those are two heads I am looking at to replace an Epifani UL502 that has been having issues. Tried the shuttleMax but not really my thing either. Good to hear that both of these have a good bit of power to them, I figured the streamilner 900 did but not sure about the tone hammer. Now to figure out which will be closest to the UL502.....