SWR/Acme/Ashdown cab advice

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by bassbloke, Aug 28, 2003.

  1. bassbloke


    Feb 26, 2002
    I recently bought a Goliath Jnr (imported from Germany). My amp is a QSC PLX 1602 with an SWR Grand Prix pre-amp. I already have an Ashdown Mini 48, to all intents and purposes brand new.

    At the time I ordered the Goliath I didn't realise there was a possibility of sourcing and Acme Low B from the US at a similar overall price. I'm within the 30 day period for returning the SWR. I have a bunch of options:

    1 Sell the Ashdown and:

    a/ Return the SWR and order two Acmes
    b/ Keep the SWR and order one Acme, run them together
    c/ Keep the SWR and order another

    2 Keep the Ashdown and

    a/ pair it with the SWR
    b/ return the SWR and pair the Ashdown with an Acme.

    Sorry if these choices are confusing. I like the Ashdown's portability and loudness but am not convinced about the sound - very coloured and middley. I much prefer the SWR sound, but still find it a bit lacking on the B string. I've never heard the Acme, but keep hearing great things.

    Any thoughts?
  2. alexclaber

    alexclaber Commercial User

    Jun 19, 2001
    Brighton, UK
    Director - Barefaced Ltd
    Aha! We meet again...

  3. bassbloke


    Feb 26, 2002
    Hi Alex,

    I've been speaking to Andy and awaiting a shipping quotation. That could be a dealbreaker if it's too high but at around $100 per cab I'd be interested.

    Incidentally, did you end up paying duty?
  4. tombowlus

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

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    Have you listened to the Mini 15? I would think that it wouldn't be as midrange-heavey as the Mini 48, and it would of course look killer. However, I have a Mini 10T, and I have heard that it is tonally similar to the Mini 48. It makes for a great "cutting midrange" type cab, but I certainly wouldn't want to use it solo without some low end support. By comparison, my Epifani T-110UL sounds like an El Whappo! But if you haven't already tried it, my first step would be to pair up your Mini 48 with a Mini 15.

    Between the SWR and ACME options, I would go for selling the Mini 48 and getting two ACME's. But that's my personal preference. I consider SWR cabs to be fairly colored sounding, but if you like that color, then maybe an SWR Son of Bertha or Big Ben along with the Goliath, Jr. would be the way to go. Or, you could try just a Triad cab.

    Hope this helps, Tom.
  5. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    I got my Ashdown mini 1x15 just over a year ago. At the time I compared several alternative cabs including the mini 4x8, which really appealed to me (on the grounds that it ought to be tight, punchy, crisp and clear).

    I was suprised to find that the mini 1x15 sounded much better to me on it's own - my characterisation of the 4x8 was that it was a little 'harsh', which I guess probably equates to your 'coloured and middley'.

    I think it would sound great in combination with the mini 1x15 and will still be the first thing I check out if I feel the need to upgrade my rig. However, it's not a cab I'd want to use on it's own for my current applications.

    How much money do you reckon you'll lose if you sell the Ashdown? In your situation, my first choice would be to pair the Ashdown and SWR cabs together and see what they sound like (are they both 8 Ohms?).

  6. bassbloke


    Feb 26, 2002
    Hi guys,

    I started off with an Ashdown C110 (I've still got it in fact but I'll be selling as soon as I get round to it). I found it underpowered, assumed an extension cab would solve the problem so bought the Mini 48. I still found that underpowered and by that time had decided I wasn't hugely in love with the Ashdown sound. I did consider the Mini 15 but for various reasons decided against. I certainly prefer the sound I'm getting from the SWR to the Ashdown. I also find the Mini 48 "harsh".

    I will lose a bit of cash - the C110 has been used about 10 times, the Mini 48 twice - but I've got used to the idea that my venture into Ashdown was a mistake and I'm just putting it down to (painful) experience. I'm basically a funk/jazzer not a rocker and the Ashdown sound just isn't for me. I'm using a Lakland as my main bass and it has a lot of quite fiery middle which the Ashdown just seems to exaggerate.
  7. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    Interesting... my band is in the urban jazz / soul vein and I love the sounds I get with my rig for that context (Sei 6 -> Sans Amp Bass Driver DI -> Ashdown Mag 250 head -> Ashdown ABM mini 1x15).

    I don't think I've heard Ashdown's called underpowered before either (in fact, I've always been incredibly impressed with how loud they are).

    Mind you, I've never tried it with a Lakland...

  8. bassbloke


    Feb 26, 2002
    The last time I played (only the 2nd time Iused the Mini 48) I was inaudible on stage. (I was DIed into the PA) I was so surprised at this I sent the amp back to the retailer on the assumption that there was a fault, but they couldn't find one. They even spoke to Mark Gooday, who said I shouldn't expect too much from what was "basically a souped up practice amp".
  9. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    That staggers me. What kind of venues do you normally play? If the stage volume was so high that I couldn't hear my rig, I think I'd be looking for a way to lower the stage volume!

    Could it be something like positioning? What are you 'competing' against? What have you tried that produces a volume level you're happy with? Do your neighbours like you... :p (ignore that one!)?

  10. Im a sock

    Im a sock

    Dec 23, 2002
    Central MA
    Hey, If you're a big fan of the SWR sound (like me), I think you should keep the SWR and add an Acme or Ashdown 15. You're not feeling the B because you have a 2x10. Just add a 15 (or even a 12), and you'll get the results you want.

  11. bassbloke


    Feb 26, 2002
    Wulf I was playing with a 10 piece funk/disco band. Smallish stage. In that situation you have no choice where you stand which I admit was prob too close to the cab. But with my previous rig (Hartke 350 and 4 x 10) there was not an audibility problem even in this situation. Also, I subsequently tried the Ashdown set up at a rehearsal with a smaller band and still had a problem. OK, you can say that in that case the band was louder than it needed to be, but have you tried persuading a band to turn down so you can hear the bass? In my experience a/ it doesn't work, or only works temporarily and b/ you end up a reputaton as Mr Horribly-Naggy. These were experienced musicians playing electronica, with two girls in the band, not testosterone fueled adolescents playing death metal. I'd rather go back to the position I was in with the Hartke, where if push came to shove one turn of a control solved any audibility problems. I was never close to being full up on the Hartke, whereas with the Ashdown I had constant feedback problems on the B string through being too loud.

    Anyway I now have 1600 watts so this is a historical problem!!

    (BTW In the house I use a Peavey microbass. I have a nice big house with thick walls & the neighbours hear nothing.)
  12. Bad_Boy


    Sep 16, 2002
    Luton in UK
    With regards to the 4x8 not being loud enough you might want to try angling the cab up as sound from a mini 4x8 is likely to be quite directional.

    From memory I think its rated at 102 db which would normally be considered loud, except you have the Jnr which is a 105db cab!

    Perhaps your pre-amp and the Ashdown don't mix to well, do you have anything else you could try out? That said if the Grand Prix is a keeper...
  13. bassbloke


    Feb 26, 2002
    I'm intrigued by the idea of adding the Acme to the SWR. The obvious attractions:

    - I avoid the hassle and shipping charges for returning the SWR to Germany
    - I'd have thought the Acme's low end would make up for the lack of it in the SWR.
    _ if I have a strong preference for one cabs sound I can change at some point in the future all SWR or all Acme.

    But I've been advised (Hi, Alex!) that the different sensitivity levels means that I couldn't use bridged mode on the QSC to run these cabs in parallel. I'd have to use stereo, 300w per cab, and this is less than gets recommended for driving the Acme.

    I'm not very technically minded, but one question that does raise is, given that the average 15" cab also has a much lower sensitivity than the Goliath Junior, wouldn't I have the same problem with a 15" cab?
  14. bassbloke


    Feb 26, 2002
    Sorry Bad Boy, wires crossed - with the QSC the Mini 48 is plenty loud enough, the volume problem was with the 1 x 10" combo. I'm just not sure that the Mini 48 with the SWR will be a great combination - I may not get a chance to hear them together in a "real" situation before I need to start making decisions, because I have limited time to decide whether I'm returning the SWR.
  15. I vote for the Acme sollution (but I'm of a biased opinion due to my owning a Low B-4). With the Acme underneath the Mini you probably wouldn't need to add any lows. As a matter of fact, you might find yourself cutting some.

    Of course, the better way to go (just my opinion) would be two Low B-2's or a single Low B-4. The two 2's would give you a lot of flexibility for different gigs. You've got the power in that PLX to drive them so I say; "Why not?"
  16. rockindoc

    rockindoc Daily Lama

    Jan 26, 2002
    Bonham, Tx
    I agree with the above advice. I added a single Acme B2 to beef up the low end of my EAVL210. I tried bridging both a 1000W Carvin amp and a 1600W QSC amp into the two 8ohm cabs. The EA swallowed the Acme like Jonah. I love my Acme's (I now use a pair of B2s), but a single B2 has some high volume issues, and because of it's low sensitivity, is hard to pair with a different brand. Either get two B2s (you'll love 'em), or add a 15" to your SWR.
  17. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    I've not had the problem where I can't hear myself, although I can live with not hearing the bass over the top of everything else. Once or twice others have asked me to turn up but I generally make minor adjustments and stay roughly at the same volume... that seems to encourage them to turn down a bit as I guess it then focusses them on listening harder for the bass, thus causing them to drop their own levels ;). I also try to make sure I'm standing on the other side of the stage from our guitarist (probably the worst 'volume hound' in the group).

    I'm happy with my current set up and also manage to get along fine when using the venue's amp (eg. a mere 60W Peavey keyboard amp at the Spice venue where our next gig is... although that's only for stage monitoring and I have it on a stool in front of me, pointing back towards the band). In my experience, positioning (and being happy not to be the loudest instrument) has done the job - sounds like your mileage varies.

    Hope you get a sound and level that suits you without loosing too much money in the process.

  18. bassbloke


    Feb 26, 2002
    To be honest, Wulf, although you are avoiding direct language, there is a fairly clear implication contained in your posts ("I can live with not hearing the bass over the top of everything else", yadda, yadda) that the problem probably lies with me and some kind of ego driven need to be too louder than I need to be rather than the unsuitability of the equipment for the particular job. I don't believe this squares with the facts and I'm not sure why you feel such a need to rush to negative judgement.

    In an experienced band I never find the back-line to be the "volume hounds". The first stage in the "too loud" problem in my experience tends to be the drummer (loud drummer + enough on the pa for the sound engineers to be able to control his sound often means you are starting from a very loud base). The next stage tends to be the guys relying on monitors (horn players, vocalists) who are worried about intonation problems if they can't hear themselves above the drums. The back line (keys/gtr/bass) fit in with the the volume already set. Frankly, the keys and guitar could switch off their amps and I it would not hugely affect the volume I need to be at.

    No doubt a better quality pa service might help, but normally we are not earning the kind of fee that will justify more than two-four hundred for pa hire. I've noticed that on the occasions when we have had a top-notch pa hire company (usually when supporting name acts) the volume of the bass relative to the rest of the band on stage is invariably much higher than I'm used to.

    My problem with the Ashdown was simple: in the context I found myself in I was not audible. I had singers, drummers complaining they couldn't hear the bass, and when I can't do anything about it (sorry guys, the amp's full up) we have to ask for exta bass through the pa monitors which I think should be unnecessary and carries it's own problems in terms of volume escalation. This may be a reflection on the sound guys' competence to some extent, but I don't think it's the ego trip

    As I said, I never had any problems with the Hartke. I have a pal who plays an ABM 500 combo in a similar "big band with horns", having switched from a Trace 350 watt head and cab. He too complains that the ABM is nowhere near as loud as the lower-rated Trace and his sound sometimes gets lost in the mix. I'm not the only who's finding Ashdown delivers less volume than expected.
  19. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    You could read it that way but that certainly wasn't what's intended. I've not experienced the problems you seem to be finding with your Ashdown gear either with my Ashdown rig or when using what has been provided at various venues.

    I'll take back that bit about "hearing over the top of everthing else", which overstates the case. However, we do seem to have very different perceptions of the Ashdown gear.

    My band has a four piece rhythm section (bass, guitar, drums and keys), one or two horns and a couple of vocals and our gigs have been in smallish venues with crowds no larger than 150 people. I get the impression that you're probably talking about larger events. What size crowds are you normally playing for?

    I can't get away from the suspicion that the stage levels you're used to are what I'd consider too loud - but that doesn't mean that one of us is right and one of us is wrong - just different situations and different tastes (hence the reference to YMMV).

    From what you're saying, I get the impression that you really don't like the Ashdown stuff, so back to your original question, selling it and going with SWR or Acme stuff is probably going to work better.

  20. flamer


    Oct 18, 2002
    swindon, england
    Just to add my views!

    I use an Ashdown abm500 head with a warwick 210 and an newly acquired mini 15, in a very noisy rock band with a heavy hitting drummer, and it seems to do the job volume and tone wise!

    To my ears it pisses all over the hartke 4000 setup i used before, in fact my first laney amp kicked the hartkes ass.

    My only worry is i'm scared i'm gonna blow one of my speakers, so i've employed a compressor to curb the peaks.

    Anyway, that's my pointless post.

    p.s. From what i could ascertain Wulf really didn't seem to be hinting 'that the problem lies with you' at all...