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The enigma of Ashdown

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Sir Toby, Apr 19, 2021.


  1. Sir Toby

    Sir Toby

    May 3, 2020
    Looking for 1x15 combo and among the usual suspects are two Ashdowns:
    - AAA 120 EVO
    - Studio 15

    They look amazing, are packed with usable features such as 5-band EQ, valve-emulated drive, headphone out and aux in. Lightweight and beautiful.
    BUT!!!
    Almost no sound exemples, reviews or diskussions. I have read them all so no need to insert links to the few exemples out there.

    So why is the internet deadline silent about these? Has nobody bought them? Are they rubbish? So amazing that it's a secret?
    Many threads started with one or two answers so maybe not much new to and from this otherwise very talkative and helpful community.
    Any input appreciated!
    They cost half as much as their equivalents from Fender Rumble 200 and other 1x15's
     
    Hammerfield and spatters like this.
  2. Gearhead17

    Gearhead17 Supporting Member

    May 4, 2006
    Mount Prospect, IL
    In the USA, there are few places that carry Ashdown gear. It's not easy to obtain, so there are fewer reviews and chatter about them. From my brief use with the gear (big heavy Ashdown head through their 410), it sounded OK, but I was not excited to buy the product. The Root Master 800 (I think?), was not so great. I remember buying it on clearance and being underwhelmed with it. Don't remember exactly why, but I am glad I returned it.
     
    Sir Toby likes this.
  3. abarson

    abarson

    Nov 6, 2003
    Santa Cruz
    I agree that Ashdown is a bit odd as far as their combos go, mainly in their inconsistent support of extension cabinets. The Studio 210 is the only model in the Studio lineup of combos that supports connecting an external cabinet, yet all models claim to be 8 ohms max load. This doesn't add up.
    The OriginAL 112 and 115 can both support an 8 ohms extension speaker, but their 210 is wired so that each 10" 8 ohms speaker has a dedicated connection and cannot support an extension speaker.
    Other than that, their feature set is well thought out. Pricing in the UK and EU favors Ashdown against the US manufacturers, but they don't have much leverage in the US market.
     
    Sir Toby likes this.
  4. I echo the sentiments here. Their products are impossible to come across in US stores and I've played through one or two and wasn't impressed or excited. I have seen quite a few of their products in a store near me called Music Go Round, which specializes in selling used gear. My feeling, right or wrong, is that if there is a given make or model of gear that people are always selling, be wary. There's a reason for that.
     
    Meaculpa, Gearhead17 and Sir Toby like this.
  5. Sir Toby

    Sir Toby

    May 3, 2020
    I didn't think of that! It's a british company and they are quite community in Europe and low in price and from the few reviews out there also pretty high regarded. But if they don't sell them in man US stores that explains the absence of talk and first hand reviews
     
    knumbskull and abarson like this.
  6. Gearhead17

    Gearhead17 Supporting Member

    May 4, 2006
    Mount Prospect, IL
    OP: The best thing you can do is try it for yourself. If you like it, buy it!
     
    Ed Byrnes, Sir Toby and Meaculpa like this.
  7. spatters

    spatters

    Mar 25, 2002
    Contrary opinion: my RM head sounds wonderful, and is my favorite out of all the Class D heads I've tried. (Though I haven't got to try a Mesa TT800 yet, or any of the super high dollar ones.) It excels at warm, mildly dirty vintage/tubey tones.

    I suspect you don't hear much about Ashdown combos in the USA because Fender has much better distribution and costs less. You'll have to find and try one for yourself.
     
    Novarocker, Sir Toby and jeff7bass like this.
  8. jeff7bass

    jeff7bass

    Apr 9, 2009
    Sir Toby likes this.
  9. Erik herman

    Erik herman Gold Supporting Member

    100% try it out for yourself! Some people really like them. My experience was with the Rootmaster 800 and the CTM30. I wasn’t a huge fan of the rootmaster, couldn’t really get the wooly sound to go all the way away and that left a lot to be desired, playing with some decent grit was fine but it always sounded like it was missing a certain threshold for clarity/grit/muddiness. The CTM30 aka the Little Bastard was really cool, gave me a real appreciation for lower wattage tube amps. Kind of like driving a small car like a race car. Instead of driving a race car on the street. Ultimately it was fun playing by myself and recording but it was just a little output shy of being useable with my band so I moved it along. That amp sounded great!
     
    Novarocker, Sir Toby and spatters like this.
  10. Altitude

    Altitude An ounce of perception, a pound of obscure. Supporting Member

    Mar 9, 2005
    Denver, nee Austin
    I had an Ashdown MK500 for a while around 2006. I didn't keep it long - it was heavy, sounded no better than adequate, and that was when all the lightweight stuff started hitting the market.

    But to be fair, I think the MK500 was a certain thing that Ashdown was doing with Mark King at the time that had more Trace Elliot DNA than Ashdown in the design. It needed repair within the first ~18 months though, and the shop took forever getting parts.

    It would be interesting to hear one of their woolier amp offerings, but again they aren't easy to find over here.

    Here it is behind me.

    2021-04-19_16-42-37.png
     
    Sir Toby likes this.
  11. spatters

    spatters

    Mar 25, 2002
    The Rootmaster amps really like to add dirt, even if you don't turn on "overdrive". If you want a clean sound out of them, you don't just have to keep the VU meter out of the red: you have to keep it under about 10:30. This means you will be turning the input gain WAY down, or even using the active input, and cranking the master to compensate.
     
    Novarocker and Sir Toby like this.
  12. I’ve been down the Ashdown road a bit and sold a ctm 300 and 2 evo iii abms, just couldn’t get a non woolly sound, but I’ve recently got a abm 600 evo iv with the new eq and it’s totally different, can get a hifi clear chime. I’ve got 6 amps and this ones getting all the action.
     
    Novarocker, Sir Toby and WG Plum like this.
  13. WG Plum

    WG Plum

    Apr 9, 2021
    Seattle
    I loved my ABM 500 Evo II 210 combo, it was UK-built. It was heavy as hell, but it sounded beautiful, warmth for days ( I don't slap and prefer a more vintage tone ). Can't speak to these models though. Gotta try them out to really know if they'll work for you. It's always interesting to read other's thoughts on amps. A lot of people like the Aggy Tone Hammer 500 head, that's an amp I could never de-wool, but couldn't get 'my' sound out of.
     
  14. hennessybass

    hennessybass

    Oct 11, 2008
    Bayou City
    Agree about they are not as available in the US, and so, less talk about them.

    When I lived in Austin, there was a dealer, and I had a couple different 115 cabs. They were pretty nice. I knew some other dudes at the time who were pretty into Ashdown.

    I also owned a LB30 when they first came out. I actually did a couple gigs with the Little Bastard and 215s! But It's hard to find Ashdown stuff.

    2Pb7eXOVdvINGrk38nCajlmn9xkosvPWPiQ-cbXuw_yJRlOyHLaLlD_1stc_STJ1bxZVQvTA=w526-h701-no?authuser=0.jpg

    The LB and 115 was just about perfect for home and practice.
     
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  15. 60bass

    60bass Supporting Member

    Apr 24, 2005
    Charlotte, NC

    Last time I checked Sweetwater had a good supply of Ashdown stuff in stock. No way to try it ahead of time though.
     
    Sir Toby likes this.
  16. superheavyfunk

    superheavyfunk 音楽は人生だ

    Mar 11, 2013
    Toronto
    Ashdown is to the UK, as Yorkville/Traynor is to Canada: Quality brands that are built and sold mostly locally, and are familiar to everyone in the land in which they are made.

    Ashdown amps aren’t my favourite but they’re good. The sub hz function on them is actually amazing and adds a ton of heft to your sound. When I was in a reggae band, I used the ashdown I had at the time exclusively.
     
    son_of_mogh, Sir Toby and spatters like this.
  17. 57pbass

    57pbass Supporting Member

    Aug 1, 2004
    Bayside, New York
    I recently acquired a Geezer Butler Ashdown head. Have not gigged with it but it sounds great at home. Nicely designed and solid construction. I never played through Ashdown gear before this purchase since it’s not in the major stores. I did have a question that I sent along to Ashdown and heard back from the guy who I believe founded the company and the head engineer who was one of the designers of this head. Very helpful.
     
  18. I have an Ashdown “Mag 300 Evo II” combo which I got for a song through the local classifieds. It’s a good sounding amp hobbled by a meh speaker in a boat anchor of an MDF cab. No dealer support and I could not find anyone who would work on it for less than its replacement cost. It’s going to get transplanted into a head cab and left in the car for backup.
     
    Sir Toby and spatters like this.
  19. NortyFiner

    NortyFiner Drunken Sailor Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2008
    Portsmouth VA USA
    Speaking as an American, I can only recall once or twice even seeing an Ashdown amp in an American music store, and those were used. They're just not common over here, for whatever reason.
     
    Sir Toby likes this.
  20. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
    May 7, 2021

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