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Tell me your Ashdown horror stories

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by svtcobraboy81, Jan 3, 2013.

  1. I'm looking at a used Ashdown ABM EVO III at GC and I really like it. So smooth and warm, perfect, except while I was trying it out 3 people came up to tell me about how they love Ashdown but they hate the plague of reliability issues associated with them. This is scary for a guy that needs a reliable touring amp.

    So tell me about your experience...
  2. bassie12


    Aug 23, 2008
    If its a UK made unit, it should be great. I bought a 500 watt EVO head 14 years ago, gigged it regularly for 7 years, sold it to a gigging bassist friend who still works it several times a week. Loud, toneful and reliable has been my experience.
  3. RickenBoogie


    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    Ashdown is no different from ANY reputable amp maker. Their top-of-the-line gear is always their best, Ashdown's is the ABM line), and as with ANY piece of electronic equipment, sometimes stuff breaks down. If the amp is working properly when you buy it, it shouldn't have problems later, unless it's mistreated.
  4. AaronHuff


    Oct 31, 2009
    Seattle, WA
    If you can find older, UK-made ABM EVO, you'll probably be happier. I owned two (one was a backup for touring) and used them for years. Like bassie12, I eventually sold them to friends who are still using them. The only problem I ever had was the fan getting a bit noisy for recording. I hear the newer ones are less reliable.
  5. IPYF


    Mar 31, 2011
    I've never met anyone in Australia who has had any hardware issues with Ashdown kit; even the MAG series seems as reliable as most. I've known people who have disliked the tone, and people who've been unimpressed with the lack of volume on the MAG series, but nothing related to built quality.

    I've actually met far more people who've had GK kit break down on them (myself included). I recommend Ashdown to anyone I meet who wants to buy their first rig. For the money you really can't walk past them.
  6. I had a 300 MAG that never let me down, used it for years as my main gig amp, Not enough power for bigger rooms though, Like Aaron said though, the newer ones are'nt as good as the older ones.
  7. Reliability rumours work like this: One guy posts a minor technical problem with their amp, others run of waving thie arms in the air shouting OMG OMG I will NEVER EVER buy amp from evil Brand X again. EVER.

    Joel - you just met 3 of those guys.
  8. ErnieD


    Nov 25, 2004
    Well quite a few years back I ranted on here about my issues with my new ABM 500 RC head when it just fizzled out at a gig after about 12.6 months of ownership. I know better now than to go online/internet and start railing about MI quality without first searching as many options as possible.

    I didn't curse anybody or go off on anybody or anything like that but I was very p.o.'d my great sounding, first very expensive, amp left me hi n dry so suddenly. I'm much better now. :smug:

    Music store I bought it at was cool in that they let me pick out another amp from their shelves while they sent mine off. I picked a Genz Benz GBE600 and never looked back. When they called me 11 months later to say my Ashdown was fixed, I told em, keep it. I'm keeping this Genz.

    But I really liked the way that ABM 500 sounded and kept thinking about that tone. Moreso, when they put out the MicroBass heads but I was still unsure. Still shaky on Ashdown, I got a real good price on a new MAG 300 II head from TBP last fall, so I took another chance at an low priced Ashy just to hear that tone again.

    Its quite underpowered for what I mostly need to gig. But that tone is still there and I dig that built in compressor alot.
    My best results is when I run the MAG head into my 4 ohm, TB153 cab, using a passive JoBo 5 bass. Huge tone outta that rig, blues band guiturdist loves it.

    Now giggin with a Motown/Funk band mostly and when I used the MAG head with my 4 ohm, Eden D210T (modded with Deltalite 2510's) a couple Saturdays ago. I could not hear my P5 out of it at a gig. I was in the PA and could hear the FOH and monitors but the lowend mud was so huge I could not dial it out.
    So I brought in my GB Streamliner 900 at second set and all was great again. That amp sounds nice thru that Eden cab. So I guess this MAG head only plays well with certain of my cabs. Of course, I can't use my STM-900 with my Epifani UL410 cabs, no mids at all. So the quality seems to be there, this is a MIChina model. But its holding up so far and even after it fell to the hard floor off my UL410 on casters...TWICE, the first time I used it at a club gig. :rollno:

    So it seems to take a lickin and....well you know the rest. Good luck.
  9. I've had an Ashdown combo for over 6 years now (may even be closer to 7 now). It's been pushed and punished and the most horrible thing happened... the bulb in the VU meter burnt out.

    In all seriousness though, that's the only issue I've ever had with it, and Ashdown even sent me a free replacement bulb and pointed me towards a trusted repairman to replace it.
  10. Thats interesting, I replaced my Ashdown with a GK MB800 and have close to 100 gigs with it since I got just over a year ago and it has been bullitproof, I know other GK ppls have not been so lucky with theirs though.
  11. pbassnut

    pbassnut Supporting Member

    Sep 27, 2004
    Falls Church, VA
    I have an Ashdown ABM 500 EVO II that I bought used off TalkBass that has been kinda flakey for me. It worked wonderfully for about the first month I had it, then something wacky started happening with the input section where it would intermittently have weak or no gain. It'll work fine for months at a time and then have input section problems for months at a time. The first time it happened, I was playing a gig so I grabbed my Tech 21 VT Bass Pedal V2 out of my cables, tools and accessories bag and plugged it into the Line In jack on the Ashdown and bypassed the native Ashdown preamp section altogether. Quite honestly, it sounded better to my ears with the VT Bass Pedal and I like the Ashdown preamp section a lot (when it works right) so this is how I usually use it. I also have a Tech 21 RPM preamp that also works beautifully through the Line In jack on the Ashdown. For this reason, I've never taken it into a repair guy ... I'm afraid to shell out the money for somebody to try to diagnose the problem and then have them not be able to reproduce it. Anybody got an idea of what might be going on? Could it be as simple as replacing the preamp tube? I also have a buddy who has the same head who has also experienced problems with it.
  12. +1
  13. Dominic DeCosa

    Dominic DeCosa Habitual Line-Stepper Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 9, 2008
    Vero Beach, Florida
    DiCosimo Audio
    I had the MAG 300 head for a few years with only two minor issues. It arrived with a bad fuse, which was an easy fix. Also, one of the plastic push in buttons broke, though I was admittedly rough with it. I glued it back to tether it was fine since. Other than that, I never had a single issue with my amp. It never over heated or anything, and I constantly ran the volume full blast. The MAG 410 cab never gave me issues either, despite the loud volumes.
  14. Played Mag300 combo with extension cab. Made less noise than my 250w ( 180w @ 8ohm ) Trace with one cab.
  15. creis2


    Nov 11, 2011
    Cambridge, MA
    I own 3 Ashdown heads. A Klystron 500 UK Made, an ABM 500 UK Made, and an ABM 500 Chinese made.

    I tour and these amps are put through a lot.
    The only problem I had is that I dropped one of them down a flight of steps and broke 2 of the pots. I tried contacting them a few times for replacements, with no response. I then went right to their facebook page and made a post about my experience. My post was quickly deleted and I had someone from Ashdown call me right up and take care of me.

    Like you, I was originally concerned about Ashdown's reliability issues, I probably have a few threads of my own out there. Because of this I originally with with GK, which are known to be super reliable. They were okay.

    I saw one used at a local music store, played it, and knew I had to have it. Like you, I think this head sounds amazing. Being scared of reliability concerns, I bought two (later found a third at a Pawn shop for super cheap).

    But I NEVER had a breakdown. I think it's all rumor, these amps are VERY popular in the UK. I posted a similar question on the basschat.uk forum, and heard nothing but great things. A lot of major touring acts use them. Because of the good reliability, I'm going to be selling one soon.

    I've owned Ampeg, Mesa, GK, Genz heads and I'm only going to be using Ashdown heads in the foreseeable future.

    Did Guitar Center employees come up to you or customers? If it was the employees, don't listen to them. If they're anything like the people who work at the Fenway GC in Boston, they're a bunch of morons.

    For some reason there's a misconception out there that Ampeg is the ONLY and BEST bass amp company out there. They make OKAY amps, but there is so much out there.

    The best Amp makers are the ones who aren't popular.

    I'm not an Ashdown endorser, I'm just someone who didn't want to lug a tube head around and found the Ashdown is as close as it gets.
  16. JamesGoodall


    Aug 29, 2011
    Okay, so I never heard any of these horror stories of Ashdown, and I just got an ABM 500 evo-III, made in P.R.C., and I'm wondering what your experience with it was? I was going to get to try it out last night for the first time in a louder setting, just running it as a post-eq DI to my church's sound system, but the channel I was plugged into didn't work due to the entire system being redone last week...But from what I can tell playing in a quiet volume at home it works great and sounds good, though I'm still trying to dial in my ideal tone.
  17. creis2


    Nov 11, 2011
    Cambridge, MA
    I had a similar problem with two heads a few years back. One was with an Ampeg. The diagnosis was a loose solder joint.

    The second was with a Mesa head, I needed to replace the preamp tube.
  18. creis2


    Nov 11, 2011
    Cambridge, MA
    It's a great head, cuts through the mix well. Just be careful not to push the bass knob too much, it sounds good when playing solo, but sounds gross in the mix. I recommend starting with the EQ at 12:00 and making small adjustments.
  19. Really? I know Jimmy will get fired up , but their newer portaflex 500 has some of the biggest failure rates of all the class D gear. I bought one just for kicks and it lasted about three weeks before it went into fault mode, big pita to get it replaced, got rid of the new one and the guy I sold it to said that one failed. :bag:
  20. creis2


    Nov 11, 2011
    Cambridge, MA
    Well, like a previous poster said, all amps have their problems. I had an Ampeg SVT-7 pro that failed on me. I keep hearing about revisions that been made, but I'm still sour over it. A ~$1000 product should not have mass problems like that. I wanted to get it updated, but Ampeg was twisting my leg. Fine, lost a customer. Genz, Gk, Ashdown, Mesa, etc would like my business.

    But to prevent this thread from turning into a war.........................................

    Ashdown IME is very reliable.