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The end of my Ashdown Saga

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by pablomigraine, Mar 26, 2006.

  1. pablomigraine

    pablomigraine Commercial User

    Feb 9, 2005
    New York
    VP & Managing Director - Willcox Basses
    There are few people intimately fammiliar with my previous thread about my Ashdown headaches, to whom I promised an update, and for anyone else you can read the original thread here: http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=237535

    Okay, so after being in touch with all of the Ashdown heads of state, Mike Van Tine, who's for the most part running the New Jersey Distribution warehouse for Ashdown, drove 300 some mile up to Albany to see me today. Bearing a stationwagon full of amps, shirts, coffee mugs and other goodies, we set up so I could demonstrate exactly what the problem was. He agreed there was definetly some kind of issue with the output section on Amp #3, ( the second replacement that was sent to me ), explained that amp #2 ( first replacement ) should never have seen the light of day becuase it was shipied incorrectly, and that my original beef with Subharmonic on my original amp, the only one that didn't clip out, was a widespread problem which was fixed in early 2004 with a redesign of the whole Subharmonic circuit board. He went on to say that shippng and warehousing have been in a far less than ideal state since Ashdown first entered this market. Apparently, after The Founders of Ashdown refused to sell the company to Fender for $802.75 Gigamillion, Fender made some serious behind the scenes attempts at preventing distribution of the Ashdown brand in the US entirely, leading to the neccessity of having a seperatley owned Distro center. The warehouse is a distro center for several brands, and a great deal of QC is done right there. Mike blamed inexperienced staff, and a 2000 mile stretch of ocean between the amps fresh off the line and the Company's owners, for alot of the errors. These are problems nobody wants to hear about, and most people who have malfunctioning amps aren't even going to care, but as a small business owner, I can understand and respect these type of problems, and what really impressed me was the sincerety and generosity behind the company's efforts to please me and make everything good, as well as taking the time to demonstarte to me the continuing efrforts to streamline and inprove thier QC measures and shipping procedures....... Try calling Ampeg and asking if one of thier executives wouldnt mind driving 4 hours to your place and checking out your problems before giving you a new amp.....

    Bottom line, as I've said before, Ashdown has the best sounding bass amps I've ever used. Otherwise I would have lost my patience after the first replacement amp malfunctioned, gotten my money back, and bought something else that wouldn't have sounded as good, but performed reliably.... Ashdown went way above the call of duty to help me get things straight, opened the door to many more good things and a great open repore between myself and the Brand ( as well as many other players ) and earned themselves a dedicated friend of the company.

    For those who posted on my previous thread about problems with thier Ashdown stuff, check and recheck your problem to make sure it's the amp to blame, get some opinions, and reach out to Ashdown directly. They will go the extra mile your local dealer may not to make sure you're happy and get your money's worth.
  2. anyonefortennis

    anyonefortennis Supporting Member

    Jun 28, 2005
    Lincoln, NE
    So did you get a 4th amp then?
  3. lo-freq

    lo-freq aka UFO

    Jan 19, 2003
    DFW, Texas
    I assume you now have a properly working 500 II?

    How does it sound with your Schroeder 410?
  4. pablomigraine

    pablomigraine Commercial User

    Feb 9, 2005
    New York
    VP & Managing Director - Willcox Basses
    Indeed I did, in perfect working order.

    Yep, and it sounds very naughty. The stuff pretentious shredder guitarists have nightmares about.... as with just about anything mated to a Schroeder 410 will.........
  5. 8mmOD


    Mar 20, 2005
    I endorse & use Tech 21 pedals, Eminence loaded cabs, EMG pickups, Jim Dunlop picks & Ernie Ball Strings, BC Rich Basses.
    I had a really pleasant chat with Mike Van Tine at winter NAMM in January. A guy I know endorses Ashdown & introduced me to Mike over some shots of Jager at the Hilton. Anyway, he seemed like a straight up, sincere, nice guy. It nice to know that he went the extra mile for you (ok, 300 miles), but unfortunately it sounds like he is fighting an uphill battle with the product. I hope amp #4 works out great for you!:)
  6. Headroom


    Apr 5, 2002
    I'm glad your story had a happy ending. The quality of service provided by a distributor who would drive 300 miles for a single customer is impressive. I have heard so many good things about the Ashdown sound.

    Obviously, such heroics cannot be done for every customer, and the fact that the company needs to perform extensive QC of its products so far along in its value chain is troubling, and undoubtedly expensive. However I’m not an investor, nor likely to be a customer in the near future. Best of luck to all.

    Damn typos- where's my editor?
  7. syciprider

    syciprider Banned

    May 27, 2005
    Inland Empire
    You're right, Ampeg executives won't drive four hours to see me. Because I don't have to go through half a warehouse's worth of amps to get a good one :smug:

    Kidding aside, I'm glad your situation ended on a good note.
  8. I have contacted Ashdown via e-mail 3 times for requests and issues, and dealt with the same guy (Martin), who remembered me from a previous e-mail. The first time, I requested some LRF for my MAG300, and he replied with "I just dropped them in the mailbox."
    The second time, I had blown both fuses, but I thought the amp had crapped out, so I contacted them again. He got back with me within an hour, and detailed where I could find the fuses inside the amp, and said that if I lived in a rural area he'd overnight me 2 fuses.
    The third time I asked if resurfacing my amp's box would screw up my warranty, and he replied within the hour requesting pics of it when I was finished, and said my warranty was safe.
    Not a very exciting story, but it made a gigantic difference on how I look at the Ashdown products. Pablo's saga and resulting solution will affect my next amp purchase, for sure.
  9. I am so glad for you and for Ashdown. I love the sound and think the amps are an excellent value for the money. My problems have been minor compared to yours... nagging, but minor. I hope things continue to improve for them and they don't get swallowed up because when I upgrade I would love it to be to another Ashdown. Although, I do hear Genz Benz whispering in my ear.
  10. 1kinal


    Jan 18, 2006
    Montreal, Qc. Canada
    Endorsing Artist: SIT strings
    I also bought an ABM 500 EVO II...which was clipping...like pablo.

    I contacted Martin Burrows, and told him it was the third amp which was defect. He agreed it was not acceptable...

    I can't imagine Adam Clayton being treated better than I was, and now Martin is sending a new amp tomorrow morning (in a few hours in UK) directly to me. Forget about the store or distributor!

    Martin said he'd do anything to get me a perfectly working, AND reliable amp...even deliver it himself! I sincerely believe him, and I should get the new amp during the week. On my side I'm sending the clipping head directly to them, so Martin can have his techs test it and see what happened.

    I'll report when I'll get the new amp for sure.

    Ashdown definately has a killer product(s), who suffer from quality control problems, but I think they are heading in the right direction! With people like Martin Burrows and Mike Van Tine onboard, I'm confident to use their products.
  11. Sound Chaser

    Sound Chaser

    Mar 19, 2005
    Lockport, NY
    After what I've heard in this thread, I think I'll have to check some Ashdown stuff out.
  12. Lowtonejoe

    Lowtonejoe Supporting Member

    Jul 3, 2004
    Pasco, WA
    After what I've heard in this thread I'm really reconsidering Ashdown.

    It's been fun trying to decide between the Mark King and the ABM 500 but hearing all this worries me.

    Sure, the customer service is great (I've heard the same about Behringer) but it sounds like they have a few issues to resolve (like Behringer).

    Maybe I'll just skip Ashdown (and Behringer) for another 5 years and see what their track record is by then.

    They may say that their issues are resolved (like Behringer) but obviously there are alot of older pieces of gear that aren't resolved still waiting to be sold.

    Hmm...but then I've never heard anything negative about the Mark King models. Maybe deciding just got easier?


  13. JayAmel

    JayAmel Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2002
    Carcassonne, France
    This happy ending and the efforts made prove once again the high level of Ashdown customer service.
    They are very responsive, before as well as after purchasing.
    I had a minor issue with my MAG300R (blown light bulb on the VU), I contacted them and 4 days later, a new bulb had crossed the sea and was here.
    I have no doubt the efforts Ashdown still has to do with QC are considered seriously by the owners and positive results will pop out soon.

  14. georgestrings

    georgestrings Banned

    Nov 5, 2005
    It's always nice to hear of a manufacturer putting some effort into backing their product - although I had no plans to buy an Ashdown product, stories like these tend to make me warm to the idea...

    - georgestrings
  15. Cool that it worked out for you. However, I'm a big fan of customer service being a very rare event for a company. Sounds like they have real problems, although they seem to be working toward fixing them. I feel sorry for the distributor having to deal with all these manufacturing problems.... it's surely not their fault but they are the ones that have to deal with it.
  16. +1. They've been in business for something like a decade now (not forgetting that MD Mark Gooday was a designer and MD with Trace Elliot for a similar period before that), and this sort of stuff should have been ironed out years ago!

    And aren't the MAGs made in China these days?
  17. I bought a used cab a while ago, which had a problem that wasn't even Ashdown's fault - it was caused by the previous owner.

    I emailed Ashdown, and within hours a replacement part was in the mail to me at cost price.

    Yes, their QC can be a little awry sometimes (it's not totally forgiveable, but they are are constantly developing their products) but they have excellent customer service.
  18. dave_bass5


    May 28, 2004
    London, UK.
  19. If you're buying ashdown you should know the following:

    - the combos are RUBBISH, you can't hear a thing and the fuzz out even at low volume with low Bs. Im talking about the two or three ABM combos ive used at small venues.

    - The cabinets are quiet, and unreliable. I managed to annihilate a 15" driver in 5months without ever cranking the preamp. If you dont use an upright and/or lots of effects this would be fine though.

    - The tone is lovely!

    Indie amps really, or rock. I dont think I would use an ashdown again personally, if you need power and articulation over everything else they dont really deliver as well as you might hope. ABM 500 and upwards no doubt would be a safer all-round bet.
  20. At least twice a week for the last four years, at various sizes of venue, I have played an upright extremely aggressively at high volume using Ashdown cabs. I've never had a problem...

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