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The DB728 finally arrives!

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by oddio, Apr 2, 2004.

  1. It's been a full two month wait and I've only got about an hour of playing time on it so far, but here's a short initial report.

    The amp arrived very well-packed, but this turned out to be no defense from the shipping company. This is a heavy brute that apparently took a shortcut or two along the way. There was something rattling around inside and it turned out that one of the 6550s had broken clean off. Man is this thing OVERBUILT! Anyhow, it took a while to extricate a few errant bits (thankfully only plastic and glass), finally get a new tube in there and tentatively flip the power and standby to the "operate" position. Good to go!

    One of the reasons that I had thought to buy this amp "new" was the excellent warranty, handled through my local dealer. One way or another they're going to replace all of the tubes (so that all are properly matched), but in the meanwhile I am fully operational. There's something to be said for that little bit of insurance.

    Now to drive home, trying not to get a speeding ticket along the way.

    To say that I wasn't prepared for this amp is an understatement.

    The sound is HUGE!!!

    To be honest, I'm not sure what I expected. I was hoping for something comparable to my Trace V8, but this is a whole new level. There's more than enough power to drive a pair of Acme Low B2s, and at levels seemingly comparable to my PLX3002. Of course there is a little less headroom, but digging in yields that trademarked Aguilar tube-y goodness. To my ears the sound is closest to a vintage SVT than anything more modern that I've heard, it's just that there's a bit more of it. Hey PBG, what are your thoughts? I know that you recently started playing with one of these. Comments welcome.

    I'll follow on with a full report in short order. :hyper:
  2. ihixulu

    ihixulu Supporting Member

    Mar 31, 2000
    South Shore MA
    liar. you hate it. i'll send you my address so that you won't be saddled with that piece of cr@p anymore.

    :hyper: :hyper: :hyper:
  3. Haha!!! Thanks for that moment of levity. You know that I'm breaking it in for you first....

    Interestingly, I went to fill in the online registration and noticed that the DB728 wasn't listed in the product lineup. I wonder if it was just a web oversight, or if they're planning on moving away from big tube power to solid state.
  4. I've not had a chance to give a it a gig's workout. I plan on using it with my pair of EB 2x12's. I was supposed to have an audition gig tonight, but I didn't hear from the band. I'll let you know my thoughts once I get some use out of it.
  5. It seemed prudent to wait and try the DB680/DB728 in a band situation before posting any "definitive" comments. It's easy to be excited about a new piece of gear, but the proof is always what happens in a live scenario with other players. I'm happy to report that my cautious optimism has been replaced by unbridled enthusiam.

    Also, having had the opportunity to look inside I can say with certainty that this is the most overbuilt and well-designed tube amp that I've ever seen. Okay... on to the good stuff.

    I did some initial testing and comparison with my Trace V8 head, with the DB680 + QSC PLX and then with the DB680/DB728. The Trace head has a very characteristic sound... it purrs and roars beautifully and the built-in compressor is wonderful. The DB728 is much closer to a vintage SVT with lots of grunt; buttery, warm, smooth, fat and gritty if pushed hard. To be fair, the DB680 and PLX also sound wonderful together. There are some scenarios where I will need the extra power, and that's something it really delivers. I'm not retiring my PLX.

    My biggest surprise came during the live scenario. Typically I would use the DB680+PLX with 4 Acme B2s for the venue in question, but I decided to chance it and opted for the DB680/DB728 with just 2 Acmes. Unbelievable! It's extremely obvious that the DB680 and DB728 were made for each other. I could play at much lower levels than usual but blend better and REALLY CUT through the mix. This combination is voiced perfectly and is just what's needed for driving a pair of B2s. Surprisingly there's a massive amount of power and headroom available. Sound? I've never heard an amp sound more authoritative. All of the warm, fat lows are there and the overall sound is s-m-o-o-t-h and punchy, with as much or as little grit as you want. Based on the crowd and band comments I have never sounded better.

    We all know that the DB680 is a great preamp. In combination with the DB728 however, the sum is much greater than all of the parts. Clearly Mr. Boonshoft was able to work some magic by designing both pieces to compliment one another perfectly.

    For quite some time I've followed Vanselus' comments on this pairing with a small degree of skepticism. The "voice of reason" kept bringing me back to the old adage about a power amp being nothing more than a "straight wire with gain". Still, his enthusiasm and the clips on BassTasters that helped me decide on the DB680 were exactly what I needed to find what I was after. He has been absolutely correct all along. I owe him thanks not only for his encouragement and enthusiasm, but his insight.

  6. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Congratulations, man! Sooaaahhhh, did you order the optional packhorse to lug everything around?
  7. Nightbass


    May 1, 2001
    Seattle, WA
    You think that's bad, try living near him and being able to lend each other gear... he's single-handedly added the DB-680/DB-728 rig, Epi T-410, EA CXL-112, Read Purity, iAmp 800 and his Fodera to my GAS list....
  8. I'm sure he will calm down when his Aggie is fixed and returned. Meanwhile, great job turning the tables on him for a change, Nightbass. Now he's gassin' for your rig!

    Thanks for the comments everyone.

  9. vanselus

    vanselus Supporting Member

    Sep 20, 2000
    Boulder, CO
    Guys guys, don't blame me! Blame your ears :)

    (and those damn R&D guys that keep coming out with more great gear)

    Oddio - great to hear you dig the DB680/DB728. They truly are more than the sum. Don't worry - I really liked the crown k1, but it will never replace the grunt of the 728. Since you mentioned it, the DB680 has been fixed and returned, the 728 too. Nightbass has my DB728 right now, and he'll have the DB680 in about 20 minutes...

    Walsh - sorry man, can you blame me for wanting you to be happy? at least i don't SELL gear - then i'd be as hated as Gard :D

    And Nightbass - you forgot the Avalon U5 in your list :) Oh wait, you already bought that!

    Munji - that's exactly why the Aggie rig normally stays home, and the iAMP gigs with me. Go figure.

    Basstasters strikes again! :D
  10. Next you'll be trying to convert me from my Acmes to Epi. :rolleyes:

  11. Aristotle


    May 12, 2002
    Easton, MD
    My mule gets the job done, a little prod from a glowing red brand and he sets up my pedalboard too!
  12. jacove


    Apr 12, 2003
    Aalborg, Denmark
    great to hear you like the DB728, I'm expecting mine in the end of next week, I'll let you know how it goes... ;)
  13. Please feel free to chime in! Something tells me that you may just like it... ;)
  14. coyoteboy

    coyoteboy easy there, Ned Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2000
    Sactomato, CA
    Interesting about the DB 728 + Acme B2's. I also has B2's when I got my 728, and I felt that those speakers IN NO WAY handled anything that the 728 put out. Based on my initial trial with this combo, I was very afraid that I was going to simply pop those tens right out of thier frames. So I got an Epifani and all better. Of course, that was a while ago, before selling the Epi, then the 728...I'm keeping the 680 though!

    ...well for now...
  15. vanselus

    vanselus Supporting Member

    Sep 20, 2000
    Boulder, CO
    There's no preamp that sounds better with the 728 than the 680 - believe me, i've tried them! :D

    I'm sure it's not the power that made the ACME's jump, they can handle a lot more. Probably the low dampening factor. I didn't prefer the sound of the 728 into the ACME cabs anyway, a little too thin and deep . IMHO the Aguilar heads benefit greatly from a stack of tens - or the T112. Matt Garrison used to use a DB680/DB728 into Epifani cabs...
  16. I'm mostly playing Wal basses, and two Acme Low B2s are a good match in combination with the DB680/DB728... with preamp settings that are reasonably flat and using the bass to dial in what's needed tone-wise. If I needed higher volume levels I would be looking at more efficient speakers like Epifani, but I've yet to need the level on the DB728 set beyond 12:00. Also, I have nothing subsonic going on there to make the speakers jump any more than they should. Factoring the Wal in, it's very tight and articulate with just the amount of vintage SVT grunt... definitely not thin or boomy. One of the all-time great match-ups!
  17. jacove


    Apr 12, 2003
    Aalborg, Denmark
    The 728 arrived today and I have never heard a more full fat and warm bass sound come out of my Bergantino speakers (nv610, HT322)...TONE HEAVEN. I haven't tried it yet on a gig, but will this weekend...i'll let you know how it goes ;)

    The only thing that worries me is the very loud fan noise, but I guess it will be more quiet when placed in a flightcase and of course when playing in a band situation....right?
  18. How did I know that you would be enthusiastic? :bassist:

    Fan noise? True enough... you'll notice it much less in a rack case and in your band situation. There is a low setting for the fan, but to maximize tube life running the fan on high is recommended. The low setting is about the same as my QSC PLX and the high setting is a little louder, but it disappears a few feet away even on a quiet stage.

    Enjoy, and be sure to post your impressions after you've taken it on a gig!!

  19. Lockout


    Dec 24, 2002
    That's the only issue I have with my DB 728... the fans make it somewhat of a pain to practice at home with. :(

    It sounds great though, and it'll sound even better once I get these bad tubes replaced. :)
  20. vanselus

    vanselus Supporting Member

    Sep 20, 2000
    Boulder, CO
    At home it's annoying, but at a gig you'll never notice. Even the quiet ones.

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