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Trace-Elliot AH500-7: Impressive!

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by realdeal, Jun 18, 2007.

  1. realdeal

    realdeal Inactive

    Dec 10, 2004
    I wanted to post about my newest addition. I first tried it a week or so back, and couldn't get the "music store" sound out of my head-
    So I needed to buy it, try it at home w/ my basses, and ultimately on the job, which will be this Thursday.
    I am really loving this sound- This is the "smaller" head of the TE line-
    7-band series, 500 Watts RMS into 4 ohms; "60% of output power" into 8 ohms. I'm running (2)Cabs, so I am maxing the power from this unit.
    To begin with, and I know a lot of players here have "issues" or "needs" for this- understood!:D - This amp is LOUD! I haven't come anywhere near close to opening up, and I can tell that I won't need to when playing out, initially at 300-or so capacity clubs. It has lots of headroom.

    These amps are different animals- I've never owned a Trace, and the one rig I did play with as backline I didn't like at the time. I know the older all-valve heads are highly coveted.
    But this one is Mosfet all the way- the bigger verson is a hybrid, with 12-band eq, (2) pre-amp tubes, a blend/drive circuit and some more bells and whistles, but the AH500-7 is basic.
    To begin with: On Trace, no bass-Mid-Treble- No rotary controls at all except for the Gain, Master, and Compressor, which I definitley will get to in a sec!
    The amp "defaults" to a pre-shape as soon as you turn it on, and that works for me, because it is a NICE Mid-Scooped eq- they define it as the "Classic Trace-Elliot Sound"- I don't know, because they are new to me, but I sure like it!
    You can overide this at the push of a button and tweak your eq with in this case a +/- 15db 7-Band Eq. Frankly, it doesn't seem that lively to me; but it's not necessary, either because of my active basses, or the fact that the pre-shape is just so good sounding.

    Now- Press a button, a blue light goes on, and Compression! the finest I've heard. Hard to describe- they call it "soft-knee compression"-you can read about what they say on the website; I find it awesome.
    It defines the note, it nails a slap, and punches out fingerstyle, adding superlative definition. At about 12 O'Clock, it really begins to compress, and move it to 1,2, or 3 O'Clock, it's almost like an effect.
    Kind of like an octave, or doubling, of the note, but subtle, not overt- All the while, keeping a great sounding punch and attack in the overall voicing. I like it; it really fits a lot of what I do on the bass and how I do it.
    Can't wait to try it with the rhythm section soon, playing out.
    Now this head is made in England- I understand that Peavey has taken over distribution here in the States, but they are mfd. in the UK.
    As for the cabinets the rig was set up with in store- Very nice sounding, a Compact 15 and a 2x10 with horn. Nicely tuned, and with Celestion drivers which complimented the entire Trace-Elliot "English" vibe somehow!
    I'll probably pick those up later, I liked them too, but didn't want to break the bank, yet!
    Right now, in case you wondered, I run them through my Ampeg Classic cabs- a SVT-15E and a 4x8 with horn. The combination sounds excellent. I'm an Ampeg fan, and could well do with this combination!

    All-in-all, a VERY impressive sound, very unique. Way differently voiced than my others- All-tube Ampeg V4BH, all-tube Mesa Buster, an SVT3-PRO, and a Genz-Benz light as a feather Neo-Pak.
    The Trace is going to get some playing time with me-
    Each of my 4 basses was enhanced by it's character. I'm now an official Trace-Elliot Fan!:cool:
  2. Kelly Lee

    Kelly Lee Yeah, I'm a guy! Supporting Member

    Feb 17, 2004
    Marana, AZ, USA
    Great to hear that someone actually owns one of the new heads. It's even better that you like it! :D Please keep us posted on how it works out for you. Oh yeah, and BTW...

  3. murphy

    murphy Supporting Member

    May 5, 2004
    Thanks for the cool review!!
  4. realdeal

    realdeal Inactive

    Dec 10, 2004
    Well, asking ME to take pics is like...
    Anyway, one of these pics is a professionally-taken display pic, the other is taken by a way-less than competent photog with serious digital camera issues.... ME!
    I did want to show those interested a depiction of the amp, and "prove" one sits ontop my Ampeg cabs!
    Notwithstanding photo issues...
    Good on Trace-Elliot! Play one & see what you think!
  5. LarryR


    Feb 2, 2003
    Los Angeles
    Congrats on the new head. There's so much gear out there, but, a high-powered Trace or Ampeg.... timeless sound and built to last.
  6. brisonic


    Jan 1, 2006
    san diego
    I played one of these recently as well. I do like their level of built in features, they had it on top of trace cabs, it was good, but didn't induce the cant forget it tone in my head the original poster had. His 4x8 adds something totally different I'm sure.
  7. realdeal

    realdeal Inactive

    Dec 10, 2004
    The rig I played through was the AH500-7 head on top of the 1028 (2x10/horn) and 1518C (Compact 15") cabs.
    I played a Fender '51 P-Bass RI with it's PBSC pup, and wow, did it rock!
    I wanted the rig as set-up, but didn't want to blow my bankroll yet.
    I also wanted to see how the head would sound with my existing Ampeg cabs.
    The T-E enclosures are real nice- The Celestion drivers and their tuning/porting give them a solid edge in an Eminence-filled world!
    I'll own them as soon as the money tree replenishes itself a little!:D

    But my Ampeg Classic cabs have paid for themselves several times over, both in sound quality, and gig earnings.
    I'm especially fond of the 4x8-It has a tight, focused sound, and matches perfectly with a 15" enclosure.
    When I hooked up the Trace to them and played, I was stoked.
    The TE might not be everyone's cup of tea. A lot of heads feature extensive parametric or graphic eq's along with Bass-Mids-Treble, etc.
    Not this one. It defaults. And as I mentioned, the 7-band works, but to me it is not as lively as those that I have on my 3PRO or Mesa.
    I don't think it needs to be.
    The build concept with Trace-Elliot I think, is to get "their" sound.
    Almost a "plug and play" design.
    Works for me- I like it a lot.
    I really don't feel that the 4x8 drove the voicing of this head any differently than any of the other excellent enclosures that the head could be coupled with.
    In a way, it's similar to my classic '69 P-Bass. It's a passive instrument, the sound is in the wood, not lively at all, but roll off the treble, and the tone is inherent. It's what I want to hear.
    Same with Trace. I won't stop using my 3PRO or my Buster, or my V4BH, and I'll certainly carry the Neo-Pak to rehearsals!

    But I'm happy to have added a distinct and pronounced tone to my arsenal. There's a lot of good music to be played using Trace-Elliots's
    punch and attack.
  8. 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.

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