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Preamp mini-shootout..Ashdown vs. Demeter vs. Eden

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by HotRatz, Apr 15, 2006.

  1. HotRatz

    HotRatz Guest

    Mar 13, 2003
    Portland, OR
    Ok folks, it's finally time. I bought a while back a used Bergantino HT210/HT115 stack, which I'm been pushing...attempting to push...with my 'little' Ashdown ABM 300. Well, I am about to take the dive and get a separate pre/power amp setup. I think the QSC RMX 2450 will be in the engine room - I can get one for $399 used. yep.....I'm a student, with budget to match. :D

    Ok, here's where I humbly ask for the opinion and experience of all who might know or care, or care to know. With this power amp and cab combination.......which preamp would you all favor??? :confused:

    Ashdown RPM / Demeter VTBP-201S / Eden Navigator

    Here's my thoughts on each, in stream-of-consciousness order:

    Ashdown: my current sound, high variability, wish I had something like an Enhance knob at times, two rack spaces, fun stuff like variable distortion and footswitchable subharmonizer. Groovy VU meter. No balanced outputs. Somewhere between vintage and modern tones, leaning toward vintage, but a flexible, unique personality. Not a lot of guys around here (Portland, OR) seem to be using them, for whatever reason. I hear again and again (and would have to agree even from my underpowered-amp assessment) that Bergs and Ashdown are a natural match.

    Demeter: soo clean, soo smooth. One rack space. Kickass Jensen DI. Super-simple layout. What I like about this one is the simplicity of operation and directness of tone...sometimes the Ashdown sound seems mushy (which is probably just my underpowering of the cabs) and, um, indirect. Overall, clean and simple, with top-notch components.

    Eden: I do like the Eden sound, that big thick 'gack' sound, plus this thing kills for practically-oriented bells and whistles. No sub knob here, but all the connectibility you could want....2-knob compressor...enhance knob...FX loop w/input control...biamp control (which also balances speaker volume in full-range stereo - that's neato and smart)...I might miss the Ashdown fun factor. Probably less flexible with regard to the Ashdown multiple-personality aspect - I'm guessing it will always sound like an Eden. I see these in the rigs of most R&B players that I see. I see that they often are using Eden cabs to match..does Eden mix well with Bergantino?

    I need flexibility...Ashdown...and warmth...all of above....and connectibility...EDEN.....and a unique sound...Ashdown / not Eden. Stylistically, I'm doing mostly jazz, blues, and funk, and may be doing some more straight R&B stuff soon. Of course....tone chameleon is the in-a-perfect-world goal. My basses are a Warwick Thumb 5 NT w/OBP-3 & Duncans, a '63 Fender P-bass w/Dimarzio, and a 80's fretless Jazz Special w/EMG's. I have noticed that the Fenders are especially sweet on Ashdown, while the Eden mojo might better suit the Warwick vibe.

    I can't think of much else to put in ahead of time. Thanks to anybody who has the time to share. I'm slow to act in these decisions cuz I can't afford to remake them if I make a poor choice...though, I recognize none of these are poor choices, just a matter of taste. Champagne taste on a beer budget, that's me :rolleyes:

    I look forward to all of your thoughts!! thank you all! :bassist:
  2. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    I have played through Ashdown stuff at the store. Didn't do it for me. I had a Demeter into a QSC for a while. I liked it very much, but it isn't a real versitile preamp. It sounds good, but the tone controls are subtle. I have an Eden 550. I love it. The preamp is very powerful. I use a Bergantino HT112 and they sound great together. The guys at BassNW tell me it's a very popular combination.

    I use a passive Yamaha BB414 - P/J - and a Bartolini equipped Yamaha 5 string. They sound great. I play smooth jazz and pop/rock/acoustic and the Eden/Bergie sounds great - plus it's very portable. Better than a combo in my opinion.

    Go Eden if you ask me.
  3. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PHL

    with your bergantino cabs, i highly recommend the Demeter. IME, for some odd reason, they're like sonic PB&J. course, if you need flexibility, the HBP-1 is pretty killer, too. both wont give you a "vintage" sound perse, but they'll give you the most hifi bass sound you can ever imagine thru your berg cabs.
  4. Rumzini


    Feb 14, 2004
    Jackson, MI
    Man o man. Just the thread I was gonna create a while back.

    Joker. I'm getting a VTB next week. I have the same amp, (RMX2450)....I'm gonna be putting it through an Avatar 212 and 410 deltas. Any experience or opinion of this setup. Also have a 55-01. Looking for a clean, thick, low mid tone with my new favorite adjective...girth! Think Justin Chancellor of Tool.
  5. NOLA Bass

    NOLA Bass Mr. Worst Case Scenario Man Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2005
    New Orleans LA
    I really like the Ashdown tone. I put together an Ashdown Entwistle preamp and QSC RMX1450 last year with my Berg cabs, and it sounds great. I've always liked the Ashdown tone ever since they came out. I've had to switch over to a GK 1001RBII head for weight considerations (disc injury in neck). Lugging a 6 space rack with the power and pre + tuner and conditioner is out of the question for me at this point.

    Granted, I don't think any of your choices are going to be "mistakes". All 3 are really nice amps!
  6. Jason Hollar

    Jason Hollar It Don’t Mean A Thing... Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2005
    Pittsburgh area
    I fished around this Amps thread for a long time. Finally got an Eden Navigator in February.

    I've got a Crown K1 (1000 watt) amp into an SWR 4x10 Goliath III.

    The Eden rocks. I bought it for its famous EQ, totally clean modern sound, and most importantly its headroom and compression. I can slap the crap out of the bass -- and the compressor keeps my rig very even sounding...

    I play 12-15 dates a month in a loud rock & blues band. We play in the craziest venues and some require lots of EQ for the mix. My Nav has not let me down...with just a few clicks of the EQ, I'm good. I keep it set mostly flat, with a little scoop in the low mids for clarity and a bump in the low end for power. I'm using a cheap Yamaha 5 string w/active electronics.

    Plus, I send a pre-EQ, post-compressor send to the board and the bandleader/soundman loves it. Before I was sending a clean, but jumpy signal from a Country Man DI and he had to fool with the level from song to song...not anymore!

    Can't beat the Demeter for simplicity. I did try one years ago and thought it was great. You might also like the single space Aguilar -- it's quite nice too.

    All in all, the Eden gets my vote. Also sounds wicked with my Barbera equipped upright BTW.
  7. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    Don't expect the Demeter to assist in adding that 'girth'. The tone controls are subtle at best, in effective at worst... WHat the Demeter will do is take the signal from our 55-01 and reproduce that about as faithfully as can be done.

    If your bass and cabinets are capable of producing the sound in your head, the Demeter won't get in the way. It won't add much getting there though.

    IMO - it's a very fancy and very high-quality direct box with a pass through to drive a power amp.

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