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Thunderfunk TFB550 vs Ashdown ABM500?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Scotius2001, Oct 3, 2005.


  1. Anybody had the opportunity to put these heads side by side? Particularly interested in the volume comparison. Are they on a par or is one have more apparent headroom than the other? Tried searching but nothing answers that particular question. Thanks in advance for the input.

    SR
     
  2. Bigwan

    Bigwan

    Feb 22, 2002
    Ballymena (hey)
    I've got an ABM and tried the TF and preferred the simplicity of it - it really is the best plug-and-play amp there is. Sounds great. I'm interested to hear what people think of the volume difference. Didn't get to crank the TF...
     
  3. bump...
     
  4. Poon

    Poon

    May 20, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    bump
     
  5. jokerjkny

    jokerjkny

    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PA
    +1

    the "timbre" knob is gold.

    the ABM is a great head, but the TF is lighter, smaller, and easier to carry w/ the handy carry handle on the side of the unit.

    tonally, the TF feels faster more forward, more responsive. the ABM can feel a tad congested, but no doubt, ashdown gets my love outta ALL the big manufacturers.
     
  6. emjazz

    emjazz Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    Boston, MA
    I have an Ashdown EVO500II. I tried a Thunderfunk. It did nothing for me. It was much too punchy, I couldn't tame it at all. If you want punch than that's the amp for sure. If you want warm and sound that's as big as a house than the Ashdown is the way to go. Just two different amps for different people. I will say that the power section of the Ashdown, although it leads to a little more weight, is also what adds to the amazing "size" of the sound that comes out of the amp. It's also an extremely managable amp to carry around. It's not what I'd consider heavy. The head version, not the rackmount, also has a carring handle on the side. I have this version with a cover for it. It goes in one hand and my HT112 in another.
     
  7. jokerjkny

    jokerjkny

    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PA
    emjazz,

    that punch is very present in the TF sound, BUT, with the semi para EQ, you can pull out some of that punch around the 120Hz, turn counterclockwise to the left on the timbre knob for a warmer sound, then maybe up a little of the enhance for some air and depth, and VOILA, luscious pillowy bass goodness. :)
     
  8. Back to the original question, how do they compare as far as loudness and headroom?
     
  9. emjazz

    emjazz Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Ah, very cool to know.

    Sorry for the bit of a highjack Scotius. I haven't been able to compare them back to back so I'm not much to you.
     
  10. Poon

    Poon

    May 20, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    Bigwan, are you saying you tried the TF and preferred the TF or saying you have the ABM and preferred it. The way I read it was that you preferred the TF after trying it...Aside from simplicity, was there something sonically that you really liked?
     
  11. GRoberts

    GRoberts Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2003
    Tucson, AZ USA
    I tried both the TF550 and Ashdown ABM500. Side-by-side, using my bass (F Bass BN5), my cabs (Bergie HT322 and also a Bergie HT/EX112 stack), in my home. I agree with EMJazz. The TF was nice, but it did nothing for me. The TF550 did not have the sparkle, presence or Magic of the Ashdown ABM500 to my ears.

    Let me also preface my opinion by saying I really wanted to LOVE the TF550. I was trying every way possible to fall in love with it. But it did not win me over the way it has with other players whom I greatly respect. I do not discount anyone else's praise whatsoever.

    As far as Loudness and headroom, I would say it's a draw. Both TF500 and Ashdown ABM500 have enough gain to play at what I believe is 'stupid-loud-volumes' without breaking a sweat or distorting. I was very impressed by the TF550's ability to go louder, and louder, and when I boosted the EQ ranges; it just kept playing clean, only louder! The TF has very impressive power output and headroom. Equally, I have never experienced any volume or headroom limitations with my Ashdown ABM500.

    I also tested both amps on a large Concert stage at our state fairgrounds where I wanted a loud, punchy stage volume. Both amps had plenty of headroom and volume, but the tone of the Ashdown and it's flexibility won me over. While the TF550 says that it sounds like a tube amp, the Ashdown ABM500 has a preamp tube and I can clearly hear the difference.

    As far as speed of transients go, my Ashdown ABM500 always delivers. The tube is in the preamp and it can be dialed in for as much tube tone, or as little as I want. The Ashdown does not use tubes in the power output section, so it is plenty fast and responsive sounding.

    Lastly, as far as plug and play goes, there is an overriding tone that the TF550 has that I could never get rid of. Sort of a midrange honk which I'm sure is great for cutting through the mix. But I couldn't match the sparkle of my Ashdown ABM500 tone.

    I kept the Ashdown and returned the TF550. Never looked back. No disrespect intended toward TF's. They are wonderful amps and perform very well and they are very lightweight. That's cool. But I preferred Ashdown based on tone, sound, and features.

    Hope this helps. Gary
     
  12. Thanks for the review. Your description is similar to my experience when comparing the TF550 to the EdenTW550... I could definitely hear the 'tube' impact on the Eden sound. While they were close, I preferred the quickness and punch of the TF... however, I can totally understand other players preferring a little more warmth and fatness of that tube-type pre.
     
  13. vision

    vision It's all about the groove! Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2005
    Ann Arbor, MI
    I've tried the Ashdown in a music store, and I was really impressed with its warm tone. My only problem with it is the weight...It weighs around twice as much as the Thunderfunk.
     
  14. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    Not to throw another wrench in the works, but have any of you guys tried the Music Man HD-500? I just spend some time with a new (to me) HD-500 over lunch, and I came away very impressed! Great clarity/articulation, but with a solid, punchy low end, and a hint of tube warmth. I really like this head so far!

    Tom.
     
  15. vision

    vision It's all about the groove! Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2005
    Ann Arbor, MI
    Nice...you might have to update your SS head shoot-out! :bassist:
     
  16. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    Yes, I do! I have to add the HD-500, Hughes & Kettner BassBase 600, and Ashdown Labs MK500. :D
     
  17. vision

    vision It's all about the groove! Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2005
    Ann Arbor, MI
    Wow...you have so much gear, Bassplayer should really do an article on you. Seriously.
     
  18. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    More like Psychology Today... :meh:
     
  19. Crockettnj

    Crockettnj

    Sep 2, 2005
    North NJ
    absolutley agree. (with teh former, not the latter)

    anyone in the right position listening?
     
  20. vision

    vision It's all about the groove! Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2005
    Ann Arbor, MI
    Seriously. Just take some good pics of various combos of Tom's gear, and talk to him about his experiences with different basses/amps/cabs. It would be one of the best interviews they've had in there in a while...