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Phil Jones Bass Buddy + 600w Focus SA vs 800w Focus1R series III

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by ::::BASSIST::::, Oct 6, 2005.

  1. ::::BASSIST::::

    ::::BASSIST:::: Progress Not Perfection.

    Sep 2, 2004
    Vancouver, BC Canada
    Well, my AI Focus SA doesnt seem to be selling for the price that I want so I am thinking of keeping it. I am considering buying the Phil Jones Bass Buddy and using it as a preamp for the Focus SA.

    Originally, my thought was to sell the Focus SA and get one of the new Focus1R series III with 800 watts and built-in preamp. But is the extra 200 watts really worth it?

    If you were me would you keep the 600w Focus SA and get a Bass Buddy OR get the 800w Focus1R???

    The PJB Bass Buddy is loaded with features:

  2. ::::BASSIST::::

    ::::BASSIST:::: Progress Not Perfection.

    Sep 2, 2004
    Vancouver, BC Canada
    Oh yeah the Bass Buddy is also an amplifier that give 10watts to a speaker for living room practice. It also only weighs 2LBS.
  3. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    How loud is your band? Is the focus loud enough now?

    I could drag out the whole 2x the power = 3db yada yada yada but really it comes down to: if you are at the edge now, the extra 200W could give you some breathing space. If the focus is doing the job, 200W is not worth it.
  4. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    I'm a big fan of an 'all in one' solution.... the pre's on the new Focus line are supposed to be very similar to the current pre (I believe they are moving to a 3 band vs. 4 band EQ). the extra 200 watts will probably not be that noticable.

    The problem with that SA model is that it is, as far as I know, not rackmountable.... so with the Bass Budy, you have these two separate pieces to carry around, hook up, etc. I guess not that big of a deal, but not optimal IMO.

    I would suggest calling an AI dealer and seeing if you can trade your SA and some cash for the current Focus model.... they are selling cheap due to the new ones coming out, and they are a very nice 'all in one' solution. One thing to note... the preamp on the Focus is very warm and organic....very nice, but not a rock or funk machine sort of thing... if you are a fingerstyle player who likes a woody organic sound.... like the Fodera Aero dual coil/Pope sort of vibe.... it's a GREAT amp. If you are looking for a more modern or aggessive sound, here are better options that are still small (iAmp500, Thunderfunk, Eden550. etc).

    Just an idea to thing about.... good luck on you search.
  5. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    Don't you have to increase your power by 10 to double your volume? 200 watts probably isn't worth it.
  6. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    +1.... don't get hung up on the 10 times to double the volume.... who needs to 'double up' volume anyway.... per seanm.... if your current Focus is running out of headroom (i.e., distorting are compressing at high volume), then the 200 watts might make a big difference..... if on the other hand you are never pushing your current 600 watts into distortion... you won't notice the increased wattage at all.
  7. ::::BASSIST::::

    ::::BASSIST:::: Progress Not Perfection.

    Sep 2, 2004
    Vancouver, BC Canada
    Hmmm... Well, I am not concerned about the rack mountable issue. I have my components placed in a black plastic fruit crate held in place with zip ties. It doesnt look as cool, that's for sure, but it works pretty good all the same.

    In rehearsals 600w with my schroeder mini12+ seems more than enough. I havent gigged my big rig yet, in which i substitute my schroeder 1210 for the mini.

    I returned my sansamp para driver for a refund, that I had been using as a preamp. I just didnt care for the way it coloured my tone. Plus, I bought it locally and paid thru the nose for it. So last night at rehearsal I brought my Behringer UB1202 mixer to drive the Focus SA. Surprisingly, it worked very well. It didnt sound the greatest, but the expected hiss didnt occur.
  8. dunamis


    Aug 2, 2004
    I recently bought a BB and sent it back. Too noisey.

    I wanted to use it as a preamp/DI for my stage rig, as a practice amp, and as a headphone amp for travel. There was too much noise for DI use, and the hiss was so bad on the headphones that it was virtually unusable. I have a Tascam CD Bass Trainer that does much better in this department.

    I know PJ has a good reputation and others might take exception to what I'm saying, but I was unimpressed.

    BTW, I wound up getting an Avalon U5. Big and heavy-- yes, but the best sounding preamp/DI I've ever tried.
  9. dunamis


    Aug 2, 2004
    ... I forgot to mention, is that the compressor is a real bad breather.
  10. you might try getting a True-Voice preamp for your Focus SA. they seem to match up very well together. Also, the True-Voice will fit inside the front pouch of the AI bag that your SA came with:D . That keeps it safe and snug, and scratch free!!.

    Another idea would be to get an EBS Microbass II. THis is a great little small preamp that is really overlooked because of it's insanely high price here in the states. However; they are less than half the price overseas if you can find someone to help you get one.

    From what little I know... .. I think you would be much happier with either of these two. And it would keep your "rig" very small!!! You might stay on the lookout.... I have heard rumors of other companies coming out with small portable non-rackmount preamps (even tube preamps)... I'd hang on the Focus SA. I love mine.. and it easily drives a 1210 and mini12 combined.
  11. smperry

    smperry Administrator Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Bay Area, CA
    Endorsing Artist: Martin Keith Guitars
    I'm completely sold on my PJB rig (very high quality; absolutely no complaints including the compressor), but I haven't played through a Bass Buddy which seems to be voiced differently than the PJB amps and I'm also not sure how well PJB products work with other maker's cabinets. So I'm no help...

    Marshall :smug:
  12. ::::BASSIST::::

    ::::BASSIST:::: Progress Not Perfection.

    Sep 2, 2004
    Vancouver, BC Canada
    I think the TBer with the noisey bass buddy got a faulty unit. I remember Tom Bowlus saying his Briefcase was noisey, but he sent it back for an exchange and the new one is okay.

    The EBS microbass II is very nice but as mentioned quite pricey. I want a unit with at least an eq so the True Voice is not for me. Also, I'd be worried about that tube getting knocked around. Anyone know how much the True Voice weighs?
  13. tombowlus

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

    Apr 3, 2003
    Fremont, Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    Yup. My first one was a demo product, and not representative of the "finished" Briefcase. I am very happy with my production Briefcase, and I suspect that the Bass Buddy is a great sounding, fine piece of gear.

  14. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PHL
    that's too bad about the BB.

    w/ a nice little sliding EQ, was hoping for some of that PJ mojo in a smaller form factor.
  15. dunamis


    Aug 2, 2004
    Yeah, I was disappointed-- had high hopes for it, too. Maybe it was a defective unit-- dunno. :meh:

    I am pleased with the Avalon, however, so all's well that ends well!