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NEW California Blonde for bass

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by bopeuph, Jul 25, 2007.


  1. bopeuph

    bopeuph

    Jul 3, 2007
    Orlando, FL
    I was at the local Guitar Center today, and the bass salesman says the latest issue of Bass Player includes an article for a new California Blonde designed for double bass. Anyone else know of it?

    Nick
     
  2. Jazzdogg

    Jazzdogg Less barking, more wagging!

    Jul 29, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    Sounds like you may be talking about the new SWR Natural Blonde combo that's being advertised/reviewed on:
    http://www.bassplayer.tv/
     
  3. bopeuph

    bopeuph

    Jul 3, 2007
    Orlando, FL
    Thanks.

    Now it's time to find a place to try it out at.

    Nick
     
  4. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    SWR has been trying to design an DB amplifier since they rolled out the Baby Blue. I had one of the first ones. I Loved the 2x8 cabinet (I think it was the first one ever built), with the tweeter but the head just didn't sound as good as my MI-100-8 Walter Woods head with the Baby Blue Cabinet.
    The Natural Blonde has some great features like a Phase Switch. I'll reserve judgment until I hear one, but it's going to be hard to beat the MarkBass, Acoustic Image or Euphonic Audio heads these days.

    Ric
     
  5. bopeuph

    bopeuph

    Jul 3, 2007
    Orlando, FL
    Anyone live near Orlando? Is this kind of stuff in stock at Bass Central to try out?

    Nick
     
  6. larry

    larry

    Apr 11, 2004
    Florida
    That looks like a serious contender. I'm going to check this thing out.
     
  7. DocBop

    DocBop

    Feb 22, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    I used to be a SWR fan, but since Fender bought them and moved the factory I am leery. The concepts on the CA Blonde sound good; phase reverse, rear firing speaker, and I like the dual channels with multiple input types. I didn't notice anything on size and weght. I still have my old SWR Redhead, but never use it because it is bulky and heavy to load in my car. It will be interesting to try out.
     
  8. bopeuph

    bopeuph

    Jul 3, 2007
    Orlando, FL
    I was told to be careful of that as well. Apparently, it's much harder to service SWR now that Fender bought them out. But it's right at $1000 on Musician's Friend. Is there a better buy for around that price? I really want to look into a good upright rig, now. Once my power amp is fixed, my electric rig will be set. I have all the brass instruments I need for those gigs, and once my upright rig is mine, I will be a well prepared working musician.:D

    Nick
     
  9. dar512

    dar512

    Mar 25, 2005
    Chicago, IL
  10. dar512

    dar512

    Mar 25, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    53 lbs.
    Height: 25.75" (65 cm)
    Width: 15.5" (40 cm)
    Depth: 15" (39 cm)
     
  11. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    I perused the Bass Player Review today and they had a few complaints.
    It's under powered at 200 watts, the rear firing speaker makes placing the amplifier onstage tricky. You could buy a Wizzy 10 and the Little Mark II for about the same price. It's about $200.00 more but much lighter and more powerful. The Natural Blond Weighs 53 lbs. It dosen't have spring loaded handels on the side either, a minor gripe but a strap handle on a 53 lb unit is not ideal
    I know this because my LDS 2x8 has the same setup with a detachable cart. Since SWR dosen't even publish (at least I coundn't find them) sensitivity and spl ratings for the cabinet there is no way to compare it to another amp.
     
  12. I used one of the old California Blonde combos at a friend's home for practice several times. It had a very nice tonal rendition for DB, but I think it was designed for acoustic guitar. SWR rigs are usually too heavy and that one was no different. When I was young and had a healthy back, that didn't matter. Nowadays I'm in love with better designed lighter weight offerings like the Acoustic Image Coda and the Ampeg Portabass series. Both the AI Coda (20 lbs.) and the Portabass 800 head (20 lbs).with the 212H cab (38 lbs. with wheels) have a really rich sound for DB. The weight factor is something I look at as very important these days. Plenty of power in either of these also. You can get the sound in a small light weight package now.
     
  13. bopeuph

    bopeuph

    Jul 3, 2007
    Orlando, FL
    I've been thinking about the Porta Bass series, too. So, they ARE good for an upright?

    Nick
     
  14. I was very impressed and wasn't expecting that much. I got the PB mainly for bass guitar, but it sounds really rich with the DB also. But I can get more gain before feedback with the AI Coda, particularly if I put the Ampeg cab on as an extension. As far as quality of the sound goes, the Ampeg is just as good if not better, IMO. For arco I do prefer it's rendition. It is smooth sounding and not too edgy in spite of the piezo pickup I'm using. The Acoustic Image is a little too honest about the piezo. I think it wants a mic for arco. The PB does have a parametric mid that makes it pretty good for finding and cutting a resonance frequency, but the AI has the notch, and that fights feedback really well.

    I've used the Ampeg very successfully to amp the DB in a medium size venue with no problems, but it was a really well designed stage and venue. The sound was awesome. I really couldn't believe how the 212H filled that space. It sounded like an ocean of bass. That was just with one cab with the head delivering 500W. The PB800 goes to 800W with two 4 Ohm cabs. One thing that is remarkable to me about the Ampeg is how colorless the cabinet is. Sometimes I record straight from the Ampeg DI and the playback sounds just like what comes out of the cabinet live. It's really well made USA stuff, too. 5 year warranties. I've had it a little over a year, used it a ton already.
     
  15. bolo

    bolo

    May 29, 2005
    Apex, NC
    Any luck yet larry?

    Also --- I noticed in the tech Specs in the BP gear review that the amp topology is Class H, which I thought was different. I don't know how common that is in bass amps to be honest. I checked the SWR web site and the Owner's Manual, and it doesn't really say, unless I just plain missed it.
     
  16. larry

    larry

    Apr 11, 2004
    Florida
    Not yet, I was out of town for a while. Just got back.

    I'm definitely ready to pull the trigger on something. I really only need a head, since I dig my Bergantinos - but I'll consider that new SWR for sure (wish they made just the head - but I have pulled the head out of my old Baby Blue and racked it, I could do that here too).

    Gotta hear the Markbass & EA Micro too. I blend a mic, so the SWR thing would be a great way to lose the Solstice and cut down on the gear load. Tried the Focus, did not float my boat.

    Too many choices...
    I'll probably get up to Bass Central this week.
     
  17. bopeuph

    bopeuph

    Jul 3, 2007
    Orlando, FL
    Call them before you head out if you want to check out the Natural Blond. There was a recall on the first 20 of them, since someone forgot to wire up the fuse. They said to call before you stop by if you want to check it out. They had just returned theirs last week and are waiting on a new one.

    Nick
     
  18. Jacka

    Jacka

    Sep 25, 2004
    I haven't examined the California Blonde yet, but FWIW I've been playing my DB through a SWR Baby Baby Blue combo for about a year or so, the closest thing they've had to something appropriate for DB. I've always like the head, although it can be a bit bright (compared to a Claris) and it has an SWR tone that's added in and you have to like it because you can't get it out of there. It's underpowered, 160watts as I remember if you run it with an extension cab. I've never liked the speaker that comes with the BBB combo that much, and in fact I've sometimes even turned it off and just run the extension. An interesting idea to pull the amp out.
    Anyway, a good combo for electric, but I'm getting away from it on DB.
     
  19. larry

    larry

    Apr 11, 2004
    Florida
    I always thought the same thing with mine. I bought an SWR SM900 head and got some Bergantino cabs and put the Baby Blue away.

    Then my SM900 broke (in the shop as we speak). For the last few weeks I've been using my Baby Blue (I pulled the head out of the Baby Blue combo and built a nice case for it - I'm handy with carpentry). I run the Bably Blue into a Bergantino. If I put a preamp in front of it (I use my Dtar Solstice) I hardly miss my SM900. Still gets plenty loud with a good preamp.

    I kept the Baby Blue for a spare, and good thing I did. I still want something lighter than the SM900 and more powerful than the Baby Blue with the blending ability built-in - so I'm on the hunt. The Baby Blue is a GOOD sounding head, though. I'll never sell it.

    BTW, I checked and the California Blonde is NOT a tube amp like the Baby Blue. If it was tube and kept the blending features it now has, and it was more powerful than the Baby Blue and available as just a head - I'd be first in line for it.
     
  20. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    Larry,
    If you like your Baby Blue then you should definitely play a MarkBass.
    It has more power, better warmth, and a EQ section that's simple to use.
    The VLF and VLE controls aren't something that you use with the DB.

    Ric
     

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