Separate names with a comma.
Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by GRoberts, Jan 18, 2004.
Anybody at NAMM get to check out the new THunderfunk Amps? Would love to hear your reviews.
Anybody check out Thunderfunk at NAMM? would love to hear from you. weondering how they compare with the new Aguilar AG500 or perhaps an Ashdown ABM500 EVO II? Similar forma factor and power. The Ashdown is 575W @ 4 ohms. I believe the Aguilar is 500W and I'm not sure about Thunderfunk. 400W? Is that 4 or 8 ohm rating?
I am curious too. especially about the AG500.
At NAMM, I saw the Thunderfunk head at the Accugroove booth, though it was not plugged in. The Accugroove booth, naturally, was rather busy, so I didn't have the chance to try either cab or amp. Quite the company to keep, though. Wish I could be of more help.
We used the Thunderfunk in our booth, plus I've used it myself. It has a ton of flexibility, tone & power. It's the best 400 watt amp I've ever played, otherwise I wouldn't have had it in the booth.
400 watts seems to be the key words. I played through the Thunderfunk before the last upgrades and lack of power was my biggest gripe. It's 240 watts @ 8 ohms. It was a nice amp when it was available for $549, but at $850 now there are better alternatives IMO. For example, a dealer just quoted me $989 for a new EA iAmp 800 and the GK 1001RB-II can be had for $650.
I recently had an opportunity to borrow a ThunderFunk TFB420, and can share the following with y'all. I was able to make some limited comparisons to both my rack rig (Eden Navigator & PLX 3002) and my iAMP 800. Unforuntately, I did not have my Walkabout at home to compare it to. The Walkabout is having a speakon output and an unbalanced line/tuner out installed.
First off, I was very impressed with the quality feel of the unit. It is very solid. The feature set is also quite nice. In addition to all of the EQ options (including "Enhance" and "Timbre" - both of which are very useful), it has no less than four signal outputs (not counting effects loops), made up of the balanced, post-EQ, recording DI; the unbalanced pre-EQ direct instrument out; the headphone out; and the tuner out (aka "instrument input #2). I really like having all of those options, especially if you want to slave a power amp off of this head. Being able to turn the fan off is a big plus for recording, too.
Compared to the iAMP 800 (with both EQ's set flat), the TFB420 has more well-defined mids (and great control over them). The EQ is very versatile and easy to use. The "Enhance" control, lets you go from near tubey warmth to a very "hi-fi" (though not sterile) clean, controlled tone. I preferred it most of the way up. The iAMP 800, though, lets you know right off that it has twice the power of the ThunderFunk. But once I compensated for this, at similar volume levels, the iAMP definitely has more low end girth (even without the "Deep" switch on) and has brighter highs, though I found the TFB420 to have smoother highs. With reagard to the EQ options on both amps, they both are very versatile, and my suspicion would be that just about everyone could dial in a tone that they liked on either amp. However, I found the ThunderFunk to be easier to use and more intuitive. But then, it's EQ section was much closer to what I am used to, given the layout of both the Navigator and Walkabout. Interestingly, the iAMP 800 didn't seem to respond as drastically when I added a second cab (going from an 8 ohm load to a 4 ohm load), so for whatever reasons, the power difference between these two heads seemed more apparent at 8 ohm than it did at 4 ohm - although I was not cranking them, so the additional power of the EA may have shown itself a bit better if I had. Ultimately, the ThunderFunk had better natural mids, to my ears, and a smoother high end, which I preferred. The iAMP 800, though, simply cannot be beat in the category of deep, thick (though articulate) lows. However, it did take more tweaking with the iAMP to get the kind of balanced and articulate mids/highs that I prefer. Obvioulsy, the rest of your gear and your personal preferences are going to play a huge role, but I could see some folks preferring the greater power and low end thump of the iAMP, while others prefer the balanced, controlled mids and smooth, articulate tone of the ThunderFunk.
I was able to gig with the TFB420, and I brought along my rack rig to compare. I played the first set with the TFB420, and pushing two cabs at 4 ohm (total), it has enough volume to cover a medium sized stage (and compete with two half stacks and a drummer - all of which were fairly controlled on volume, though). The tone was very nice and full, and the EQ allowed me to easily compensate for room/stage anomalies. However, when I switched to my rack rig, even with the overall volume set the same, the additional headroom from my PLX 3002 (only one side at 4 ohm, so 900w - I think) resulted in deeper, tighter, more full low end, and a bit more snap and punch to the mids. Still, given the huge difference in power (and price!), I was fairly impressed with the TFB420. Tonally, it was very similar to my rack rig. The difference was much more subtle than when compared to the iAMP 800.
The TFB420 is a fantastic amp. I really wish that I would have been able to A/B it to my Walkabout, because it seemd to share many of the characteristics that I love about the Walkabout - great tone set flat; strong, articulate mids; easy & flexible EQ - at a similar power rating (400w into 4 ohm for the ThunderFunk; 300w into 4 ohm for the Walkabout). It is both plug and play friendly and very tweakable, tone-wise. It offers a great set of features in a compact package. Mark was pretty much right on track with my findings when he said that it is the best 400w amp that he has played. I would tend to agree (although as I mentioned, there is this certain 300w amp that I really like...). The only reservations that I would have are that I'd like to see more power (400w is enough for many situations, but 800w can cover just about anything), and I would like to be able to drive a 2 ohm load (which the TFB420 may be able to do, but I don't see any information posted about output to a 2 ohm load, so I am inclined to think that it is not).
Hope this was helpful, Tom.
Awesome review Tombowlus! Thanks so much.
Happy to share!
Tom, you are the king of amp/cab reviewing! But there's Joker too - maybe he's the queen!
I think the two of you need to get together with all your cabs and put together the ultimate giant test (and it's about time you got acquainted with Acme - they're only cheap, maybe you need another 2x10"...)
As in Mr. Toms excellent example, the difference between just enough power & power-o-plenty is amazing. I like to error on the side of tons-o-headroom.
Therefore, in many situations the Thunderfunk (or any 400 watt amp) would not work for me. However, when using smaller cabs or in venues that are not as loud, it's a wonderful option.
I am bumming that I wasn't able to do a direct comparison, but I'd certainly put them in the same ballpark, which is good company to keep, IMHO.
I say that since Joker has the more portable set of cabs, he can drive to Ohio, as opposed to me renting a U-Haul and driving to the Big Apple! We'd have to invite Big String over, too, and have him bring all his Bergies and his Wally Ultra!