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Thoughts on Ashdown heads??

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Richard Lindsey, Jun 18, 2001.

  1. I like my Carvin R600 head quite a bit, but I've been having a funny problem--it tends to shut down when I try to bridge it into a 4 ohm Acme Low B-2 (which it is explicitly rated to do), even at quite moderate volumes. It's coming back from the shop this week, but if the problem isn't fixed, I'm getting my money back and getting something else. I might do the rack thing, but somehow I feel as if bringing a rack to some of the smaller gigs I do is like taking a woman to a movie in a tuxedo--overkill, in other words. Irrational, perhaps, but ...

    Anyway, I'm thinking about alternate heads that would be able to put out 500-600 watts into 4 ohms. To narrow the field, I don't like Hartkes, I'm tired of G-Ks (played too many and never loved them), I'm indifferent to Ampegs, I like the higher-level SWRs but find them a tad too boingy, and no way can I afford Glockenklang. Eden I like, but I was wondering about other choices. Hence the query about Ashdowns. Anybody tried these? How do they stack up against, say, Eden?

  2. I was thinking about one of the combos myself. They don't seem to be too popular here in States yet. No reviews to be found online that I've seen. But hey...if John Entwistle likes them then can't be to bad ;)
  3. captainpabst


    Mar 18, 2001
    i've played some ashdown stuff in the store - sounded really good. it was their 500w head (the light blue one) with the more expensive 4x10 (can't remember if that's the mag series cab or not). the tone was warm and musical...clear...but also kind of retro - sounded like tubes.

    i noticed a very appreciable difference between their lower and higher priced cabs - the cheaper one sounded thin and hollow (same head same settings)- just not pleasing (to my ears anyway).
    the higher $ cab sounded great, but kind of wanted to crap out at a higher volume level. you could probably get a better cab for the same $. heck, just yesterday i saw an swr henry 8x8 on clearance at mars (they're having a big sale right now) for 679. i was kind of pissed because i paid like 899 for mine. ya win some, ya lose some, y'know?

    anyway, sam ash carries ashdown. you could check 'em out there.
  4. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Ashdown's 500W head was what I tried several weeks ago. Sam Cash and Musician's Fiend weren't showing them in their catalogs at the time, so the price/performance ratio wasn't good. Not that the performance was bad, but the high price the merchant paid because he wasn't buying in quantity like those big, catalog, stores was obviously passed on to the customer.

    Based on that experience, (admittedly, in a music store), I'd pay the extra money and go for an Eden. The reason is that the Ashdown couldn't get as wide and warm as my Carvin R heads, even without the SansAmp. Once I dialed in the subharmoniser thingie, I got more of the fullness I was looking for. However, Edens get the fullness with just their inherent design, only better.

    While the Ashdown cosmetics. e.g., script writing, VU meter, et al), are retro-cool, I think all that superficial design work is reflected in the price. It's just me, but I like saving the money and getting a more no-nonsense head like the Eden.

    Perhaps it was the Ashdown cabs I tried it with, a 4x10 and a 15, but I couldn't find the brilliance and hi-fi I want for slapping and popping. They were more thuddy, like older Ampeg designs.

    If you can consider it financially, Musician's Fiend now offers one of my all-time loves, Aguilar. If you're looking at Eden, you might as well look at Aguilar's "lower-end" (not really a term appropriate for Aguilar) gear. The fact that they're not just all tube anymore is reflected in the pricing of newer models.

  5. Bridge mode effectively divides the 4-ohm load into a pair of 2-ohm loads. This is the most severe operating mode for the amp, and results in the maximum current draw and heat generation. Furthermore, bridge mode doubles the voltage swing applied to the speakers because both channels operate in a Push/Pull mode. This voltage can be lethal in higher powered amps.

    The test for your amp would be to bridge into 8 ohms instead of 4. If the problem is gone, you are running too low an impedance for your amp.
  6. Actually, they were made for people who do not play slap and pop (like me) and wanted to get away from the bright, modern sound. So what you encountered is acually an inherent part of their design. I think they sound great. Mark Gooday has actually said that if he had his way, he would make an amp with four knobs - input volume, bass, treble, and output volume - but he knows that he wouldn't sell very many. I'd buy one.

    On a related note, my Buster has five rotary controls (input volume, bass, mid, treble, and output volume), plus a switchable seven band eq. 75% of the time, I keep the graphic switched off. Sometimes less is really more...

    But I'd really love to own an Aguilar 680+728 rig though...
  7. b, I'm quite sure you're right: the impedance was too low for the amp. That was my beef! It *shouldn't* have been too low, because Carvin specifically said that the amp could be bridged into 4 ohms. My reasoning was, if the amp wouldn't work right at the level of usage I was giving it--which was very moderate--then either (1) it was wrongly spec'ed and should not have been rated to be bridgeable at 4 ohms or (2) there was something wrong with my unit. I did send it back, and I'm supposed to receive it on Friday. Supposedly the tech upgraded it with some heavier-duty resistors and suchlike, but we'll see ....
  8. Today, well after I posted the original message, I walked over to my local Sam Crash at lunch, and whaddaya know, there were a couple of Ashdowns. My impressions were not too different from yours: more of a retro, tubey vibe. Nice for some things but not a knockout, and it felt at times a bit "slow". It couldn't seem to do the SWR/Eden "Enhance" knob thing at all, but I'm certain it wasn't designed to, which is cool. I'm not a slapping fiend, but I do play 6-string and I need a bit more HF air than I could easily get out of the Ashdown. When I crossed the street to try an Eden, that did indeed suit me much better. Of course the cab was different too (Ashdown 4-10 vs Eden 410XLT)....

    If the problem with my Carvin is solved, I'll probably keep that for a while. Oddly, my Carvins are the only amps I've played where I get basically the sound I want by just turning on the amp with all the tone knobs set flat.
  9. EXACTLY! I use a Ric 4003 with flatwounds and play straight ahead ROCK...amps like SWR and Eden are very nice but they're voiced for a high end sound that can be fine tuned and tailored for people who slap etc. They're bright and modern...which doesn't appeal to me because of what I play. Warm fat and thumpy...plug in, crank everything up and play is my approach..and that's why I like old Peaveys, Kustoms, Ampegs, Acoustic, and now Ashdown. Dave Alexander of The Stooges or Dennis Dunaway of Alice Cooper....that the tone I go for and the modern amps just don't do it for me.
  10. =^..^=


    Jan 25, 2001
    Stuck on a rock !
  11. I just ordered one of the MAG200 210 combo today. Not the top of the line deal, but will do the job for my needs just fine. I'll post my thoughts on it when it arrives.
  12. Just be aware that the MAG series will be a little bit brighter than the ABM range. They don't have the tube in the preamp, so you won't really be able to dial in any dirt. The great thing about the ABM series is that the tube in the preamp actually can change your tone significantly, as opposed to other amps with one 12AX7 in the signal path.
  13. Thanks, folks. I'm a bit wiser now than I was.
  14. Right, yes I'm aware...but it was more in my price range. If I want dirt I use a Sans Amp.
  15. When you're trying out one of the ABM heads, make sure you play with the Input Mix. The clean side is all-solid-state, the dirty side is tube-based; setting the knob to a mid-point mixes between SS and Tube.

    Check out the manuals at: http://www.ashdownmusic.co.uk/manual.htm

    I bought an ABM300 head (as mentioned elsewhere); no regrets whatsoever. It does go well with my playing style though; fretless, etc...
  16. James G. Ellis

    James G. Ellis

    Jun 22, 2001
    Having owned Eden, SWR, Aguilar and Ashdown equipment, I feel I can render an opinion here.

    The Ashdown is a smooth, creamy sound which excels at fingerstyle amplification... or a grindy, tubey sound which is great for rock, blues, etc.
    The Aguilar is just great, period, but exceptionally weighty... even the DB359.
    To me, Eden and SWR are great sounding stuff. If you need more midrange, go Eden. If you need more "scoop" go SWR.
    For me, the best blend was an Ashdown ABM500 with SWR and Ampeg cabs.
    Gets a good hi-fi tone if needed or just the right "hair of the dawg" if necessary. Oh, and lots of power... unless you've got a gig at Red Rocks or something.
    I find the Ashdown to be my overall favorite for sound, portability AND cosmetics.

  17. I just bought an Ashdown Entwistle signature preamp and a Stewart World 1.2 power amp I'm bridging into my Ampeg 8x8. WOW. I'm not too keen on G-K or SWR, on the "modern" end of the spectrum, and I don't really care for the Ampeg grind all the time. The Ashdown is perfect for me. Like Matthew, I don't slap, but I can dial in a good bit of tube when I want to, and clean it up and brighten it quickly, also. This is the best bass preamp I can recommend for the amount of range it offers the fingerstyle player. Full, creamy tone, a very musical sound.

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