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Questions about Aguilar DB728

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Lockout, Jun 25, 2003.

  1. Lockout


    Dec 24, 2002
    Right now, the rig I'm saving up for will most likely include:

    Aguilar DB680
    QSC PLX3002
    Aguilar GS212 (with the possible addition of another GS212 or GS410 later on)

    But I noticed today that someone was selling a DB728 for a pretty good price and I started wondering if I should go for it.

    My main concerns about it are:

    1) Power - The band I'm with currently plays mostly metal, and can get pretty loud. Will the 400w DB728 be enough? And will it work well with the GS212's?

    2) Weight - For those of you who own DB728s...are they a burden to carry around?

    3) Maintenance - Do tube power amps need to be maintained differently than solid state power amps? Is it more expensive?

    Should I go for the DB728? Or should I stick with the QSC?

    Also... I know nothing about tube power amps, so I'd greatly appreciate any assistance you can provide. :)
  2. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PHL

    i'm pretty sure you'll be able to go toe to toe with a 100 watt halfstack. the old lay-men's formula i go by is "bassists must have 4x the tube wattage over your guitarist".

    hopefully, Vanselus'll chime in, cause he's got a 680/728 rig and uses it regularly for his punk funk gig.

    as for weight, its 60 lbs. try carrying something over a distance, comparable in weight.

    also, as long as you have a cart of some sort, weight doesnt become an issue, unless of course, you got dreaded stairs to climb.

    maintence wise, i wouldnt worry too much. i've got a butt load of boutique guitar amps, and they're just fine without me fussing over them. also, the 6550's in the 728 last a good long time, and are known for their toughness.

    but you might wanna carry around extra fuses that pertain to the 728. if there's ever anything that does go wrong, where you see the "on" lite, but hear nothing, there's a 90% chance its the fuses.
  3. Lockout


    Dec 24, 2002
    Will I be able to compete with a loud drummer too? I'd like to get an amp that will give me enough volume with plenty to spare, so I don't need to push the amp real hard to get the volume I need.

    Also, I was wondering... could you describe how the DB728 would affect my sound? I haven't had a chance to try one in a store :(
  4. BryanB

    BryanB Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    I've been using a DB 728 for about 2 years now. For a tube amp it is very hi-fi. However like most tube amps you will hear more sparkle in the highs, generally more punch in the mids, and a thicker, fuller sounding bottom end. You won't get it to distort easily. 6550's don't clip until they are very close to maximum gain. You will also notice a very slight delay in response as compared to solid state amps. After a while you won't even hear it becuase your playing will adjust.

    If you can get it at a reasonable price, then I say go for it. If you don't like it, you won't have a problem selling it. What are they asking for it?
  5. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PHL
    i'd say so.

    400 watts would beat down most drummers.

    tone wise, Lock pretty much summed it up. everything just feels bigger and more corpulent, when there's tubes involved. ;)
  6. vanselus

    vanselus Supporting Member

    Sep 20, 2000
    Boulder, CO
    1) drummer's can't handle my 400w. truly the cure for a loud drummer is more speaker area, not power. don't worry about it, the 728 can handle it. And remember it puts 400w into 8, 4, OR 2 ohms. Not like solid state at all.

    2) a burden? hell yes. worth it? hell yes. to me. i have both the 680 & the 728 in one SKB, which makes it about 110lbs - when I'm carrying it I weigh 330. My knees don't really like the stairs, but this way I don't have to go to the gym when I should be practicing. Just remember, lift with the knees, don't turn at the waist. Seriously, it's damn heavy, but it's manageable (as long as you're not riding the subway, eh joker?) :D

    3) depends on how well you take care of it. Mine hasn't had a hitch yet, and Aguilar customer service has been (in my experience) nothing short of amazing. Geof is the man. Plus they have a 10 year guarantee - built to last.

    As for the tone, I recently plugged my bass directly into the 728 (during the preamp shootouts) to see what kind of tonal character the poweramp has - and I found out something surprising. 80% of what I like about the sound of my rig - comes from the 728, not the 680! That's why I recently picked up (used, good deal) a 359 for smaller gigs.

    I'd agree with Bfunk (first time for everything!) but i'd use different words... like smoother highs, less harshness, meaty bottom end... but the real deal to my ears is the thick n' chewy midrange that cuts and punches without sounding nasaly or digital. Maybe that's what "they" mean by "warm".

    Compared to the QSC, your tone is going to be catch words like "warmer" and "tubier" - but not as "defined" or "tight". The great thing about the 728 is you get clarity AND thickness. The QSC is going to give you exactly what the 680 puts out.

    One more thought about power - I regularly use the 680/728 with a loud psychedelic rock band (i wear earplugs) and I never have to turn the 728 up more than 1/2way. WAAAY more headroom than I need.

    Like Bfunk said - you'll be able to easily re-sell it if you decide it's too heavy or the wrong sound.

    Let me know if you have any other questions - like joker, i'm always happy to talk about gear!! :)

    Good luck!
  7. GRoberts

    GRoberts Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2003
    Tucson, AZ USA
    You know, after reading Vanselus commentary regarding the Aggie 728 and speaking about the 400 "tube" watts it puts out, it just reminds me that there is a difference that is perceptible to the human between tube-power versus solid-state power. I'm not sure what the technical logic is for that, but as Van pointed out, the 400W Aggie 728 amp with the volume control half way up tells me there is a lot of 'meat' behind tube driven amplification that doesn't always translate 'subjectively' to the human ear via Solid state power. Things that make you go hmmm.

    When I bought my Ashdown ABM500 EVO, I was concerned that the 575W specification of the Ashdown versus that of an SWR SM900 that alleges outputs 800W - 900W would not be enough. Some friendly and helpful Bass professionals at a notable bass specialty shop told me that the Ashdown amplifier sounds twice as loud through the same speaker cabinet as the SWR. They said; the SWR was being generous with its wattage rating, while the British amp manufacturer, Ashdown, was actually conservative. In any event, I was told that I should have at least 1000W to make my Bergantino HT322 cabinet come to life. In reality, the Ashdown with it's 575W makes the Bergie jump up and dance with power to spare. I also never turn up the Master volume above 12:00. I realize this is not quite the same as comparing Tubes versus Solid state, but it does speak to mating the right amp with the right speaker cabinet. A bass rig’s overall tone, volume and sonic character is the sum of its parts. I tested an Aggie DB359 (200W) and was quite impressed with it’s output in spite of the low power rating. Not sure what to conclude here other than to say that spec’s do not always tell the whole story.

    As Always, your mileage may vary and I could be wrong. ;-)
  8. BryanB

    BryanB Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    I thought the same thing about the Ashdown amps. Incredibly loud for the power rating. Definitely my favorite solid-state amp.
  9. ihixulu

    ihixulu Supporting Member

    Mar 31, 2000
    South Shore MA
    Ugh, more meaningless numbers.

    Watts are watts and amp manufactureres would be in a lot of doodoo if they claimed RMS ratings when in fact they were making it up. I recall one heated thread regarding Ampeg's supposedly "generous" ratings that ended up with the person taking the head to get it tested, in the end verifying Ampeg's claims.

    Just becasue an amp puts out x-watts doesn't mean it will sound louder than another that puts out x/2 watts. It all has to do with the voicing. Having used Trace and Ashdown gear in the past, I am familiar with the apparent volume boost that they gain from a very aggressive mid voicing. SWR's tend to sound quieter because thay have a flatter response. Want to get an SWR louder? Cut at 500 hz, boost at 160 or so and there you go. SWR (or Ampeg, or Eden, or any manufacturer you wish to slag at the moment) isn't generous with the wattage ratings, it's the ears that are perceiving the watts differently. It's not voodoo.

    Bottom line: trust your ears, not the numbers.

    Oh and the 728 is the shiznit.
  10. Lockout


    Dec 24, 2002
    Thanks for all the help you guys :)

    I have one more question, though. I was looking at the DB728 info on Musician's Friend, and I noticed underneith, it says:
    What does this mean exactly?
  11. vanselus

    vanselus Supporting Member

    Sep 20, 2000
    Boulder, CO
    i'm sure some techy guy will give you a better explanation, but biasing the tubes just mean you're equalling out the voltage going to each side (the matched pairs) which makes sure the tubes run not too hot, not too cool, and that one tube doesn't get more voltage than the others.

    the driver balance trim pot - not a clue
  12. Lockout


    Dec 24, 2002
    Oh, I see. Does that ever need to be tweaked or can it just be left alone?

    Okay, now I've got one final question. If I do buy the DB728, is there anything I should tell the seller about shipping? Like... should I ask him to take the tubes out and package them separately? Or will they be okay? He's shipping it in a SKB rack case.
  13. coyoteboy

    coyoteboy easy there, Ned Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2000
    Sactomato, CA
    DB680/728 owner/lover here. good question about shipping! When I bought my used 728, it came in a box about 3'X 2'X 2' full of foam and padding and such, but the outside of the box was fairly worn. I didn't check the tubes immediately after receiving the amp, but after a while they became microphonic. three of the stems at the base of three tubes were broken in the sockets when the tech checked em out, and he fixed them, but they were still micro-. I'm not sure if they broke in transit, but it's a good guess. I might suggest that the tubes ship seperately. Remeber that each tube should be marked for thier proper place in the amp if they are shipped seperately.

    the 728 has incredible headroom. dig it.
  14. get it, you will have more than enough power!!!:bassist:
  15. Lockout


    Dec 24, 2002
    Well it was a close race but I managed to pull out with the highest bid! :)


    I think I ended up with a pretty good deal :D

    One thing I was wondering, though, vanselus you said that you plugged your bass directly into the DB 728 for the preamp shootout, would it be safe for me to do the same, and run the 728 into my Hartke Kickback combo speaker for practicing at low volumes? Or is it not a good idea?

    Thanks for all your help everyone! :)
  16. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PHL

    i dunno if that's a good idea, cause the 728 only has outs that suited for going only into speakers. if you plugged your 728 into the Hartke's bass input, i think you'd be asking for mad trouble!

    if you've got a separate cab, just run thru that, and keep the volume down. i'm sure you'd still have that sweet tone despite the volume drop.

    also, keep in mind, his basses have some pretty high output onboard pre's that have enough juice to push thru the 728 for any sound at all. with a passive bass, you might not fare as well.
  17. Lockout


    Dec 24, 2002
    Actually, the Hartke Combo has a 1/4" speaker cable going from the back of the amp down to the speaker that I could unplug from the amp and plug into the DB 728. :)

    And my Spector's got an active preamp in it, but passive pickups (for the moment), so yeah I don't know if the output will be high enough...I'll just have to wait and see.
  18. Lockout


    Dec 24, 2002
    Well, the 728 finally came today, and I tried it out through my Hartke combo's speaker. It sounds really nice!! :eek:

    I'm sure it'll sound even better through some Aggie speakers; I really don't care for the sound of my Hartke speaker.

    One thing I was wondering, though, I noticed on the back of the 728, there aren't any Speakon connectors, there are 1/4" outputs and these red and black connectors (binding posts, I believe.) According to Aguilar's site, there are Speakons on the newer models. The serial # of my amp is 164; is this an older model before they started putting Speakon outputs on them? I was kinda hoping they'd be on it...Is there a way I can have the binding posts taken out and get some Speakons put in? Or would that be more trouble than it's worth?

    Another thing I was wondering...the power cord that came with the DB728 isn't as long as the one for my Hartke... they are both removable and appear to have the same type of plug that goes into the amp, so is it safe to plug the Hartke one into the Aguilar? Or no?

    And finally...After using the DB728 for long periods of time, should I leave it on standby for several minutes to let the fans cool it down before turning it off?
  19. BryanB

    BryanB Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

  20. Lockout


    Dec 24, 2002
    Why is that?

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