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Tried the Ashdown ABM Evo II 500 today

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by pablomigraine, Nov 21, 2005.


  1. pablomigraine

    pablomigraine Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 9, 2005
    New York
    VP & Managing Director - Willcox Basses
    While getting repair estimates for my torched power amp, I check out the Ashdown today. I will preface the following by saying it was plugged into a low level ampeg 410:

    Okay My Lusty Stingray 5 into Ashdown Evo II 500 into Ampeg 410he. I was seriously disappointed. I started with all EQ flat on the bass and on the amp. Tube drive at 50%, subharmonic off. Had a GREAT overall character, but seemed to loose all definition in the low registers. "dig-in" fingerstyle yeilded sweet sounds on the A, D and G, which turned into a boomy hum on the B and E strings. No response to dynamics on the B. No matter what kind of attack or pattern, it was like switching on a machine programmed to hum at 40hz, and turning it off when you mute. No definition or snap to the notes, mid-tempo 8th notes on B and E gave a constant boom with nothing seperating the notes played, just the change in pitch, kind of liking holding down a key on an organ.

    I started messing with the EQ, and I liked the way the controls interacted. There really was alot of range and I can't imagine anybody would have diffuculty finding a pleasing setting, but nothing got rid of that messy bottom end. I mean we're talking poop here. The Valve drive was cool, and added nice fuzzy warmth, but at settings past 1 o'clock, just made it muddier. With the valve drive dimed and the input in the red zone, the saturation was not pleasing at all. Really ugly and not in a good way. To me I was hoping to hear something more akin to the dirty side of a Mesa Big Block, or even an broken up SVT sound, but it was just a messy unpleaseant sound more like radio static through a subwoofer. This only got worse with eq tweaks.

    The Subharmonizer sounded very musical in high registers, but the closer you got to the nut, the slower it began to track, and when plucking open A, you can actually hear the octave come in about a half second late.. Like: BahhhhBuhhhh

    Overall, I really wanted to like this amp. It was very light for 575 watts and a pleasure to move around, and it had one of the most musical and powerful EQ sections I ever tried, but the Subharmonizer tracks VEEEERRRYYY slow, the Valve drive only sounds good in 2/3rds of it's range, and the all out saturation is very unpleasant. A sound you just don't want to listen to. Most of all the thing sounded like it wanted to be played with a piccollo bass. The was nothing but mud anywhere below the A string. We're not talking about the often well liked woofy low mid character, or the also well liked booming bottom...we're talking about messy, undefined humm and buzz. It didnt even sound like a bass. Playing an open E or B just sounded like garbage. The only thing that made this go away was setting the bass control on my instrument to full cut, and the bass knob on the Ashdown at about 9 o'clock, and what you're left wth is a tinny, woofy sound at about half the volume.

    I cant be the only one who;s had this experience. I cant imagine anyone with drop tuning or a five string ever coming near one of these if this is how they all sound......

    Am I retarded?
     
  2. emjazz

    emjazz Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Very interesting. My experience with my Ashdown EVO500II couldn't possibly be anymore different than what you explain. I am going through Berg cabs though which are much clearer and cleaner than an Ampeg cab. Ampeg cabs are slow to begin with. I play a Roscoe 6 string and the low notes are just as clear as the high notes. It's a pretty warm head but never would I say it's mushy in the low end.
     
  3. markorbit

    markorbit

    Apr 16, 2004
    Sadly my experience with Ashdown amps have been very similar. I really wanted it to be 'MY' amp but I found it very disappointing and the valve grind just sounded trashy. Infact, most preamp overdrive from any amp just sounds trashy to my ears, I think I'm starting to realise that the full grunt sound I want is only going to come out of power tubes.

    Now maybe it's a different story when pushed a little.. these amps are highly rated by many??

    Anyway I'm probably going to get a V4BH.
     
  4. JAUQO III-X

    JAUQO III-X Banned

    Jan 4, 2002
    CHICAGO,IL.
    Endorsing artist:see profile.
    I have been using Ashdown since 96 and have never had the problem you described.I mainly use the ABM EVO 500 rc head and the ABM 210 500 EVO II Combo and again never had the problem,maybe the ohms didn't match.


    http://www.ashdownmusic.co.uk/artists/detail.asp?ID=50
     
  5. pablomigraine

    pablomigraine Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 9, 2005
    New York
    VP & Managing Director - Willcox Basses
    never had the problem,maybe the ohms didn't match.

    8 Ohm cab
     
  6. sloppysubs

    sloppysubs

    Nov 24, 2002
    Swansboro, NC
    I'm with emjazz and Jauqo on this one. I've had the complete opposite experiances.
     
  7. pablomigraine

    pablomigraine Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 9, 2005
    New York
    VP & Managing Director - Willcox Basses
    Could it really have been the just the cabinet?
    If I get three more poeple tell me I'm crazy on this, I'll drag the Schroeder in and try again
     
  8. JAUQO III-X

    JAUQO III-X Banned

    Jan 4, 2002
    CHICAGO,IL.
    Endorsing artist:see profile.
    On the head you mention,there is an overdrive button,maybe you had it on and didn't know it(if so it would cause your bass to have an extra dirty muddiness to it) or the ohms were not matching(as mentioned before)I use 410 Ashdown cabs as well and they have a nice even bass response but they can get very boomy(depending on the room) but when that happens I just roll the bottom off and add mids and highs when needed.I think you need just a little more time to spend with situation.
     
  9. N*Joy

    N*Joy

    Nov 30, 2002
    Birmingham, UK
    Although I don't like Ashdown heads (biased by a sore experience with the ABM pre), I would attribute alot of that to what sounds like a head/cab mis-match. One thing that is always worth trying though is to slightly cut the bass with the rest flat as they strike me as 'bass heavy' amps rather than muddy amps.
     
  10. Toasted

    Toasted

    May 26, 2003
    Leeds, UK
    I didnt have this experience with my ABM 300 EVO II.
     
  11. jokerjkny

    jokerjkny

    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PA
    yea, me too, i LOVE ashdown gear. my fav large scale company, bar none.

    am thiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiis close to pulling the trigger on an RPM-1.
     
  12. popinfresh

    popinfresh

    Dec 23, 2004
    Melbourne, Aus
    I think I spotted the problem... Ampeg 410e.


    :p
     
  13. Maybe the ABM isn't for you...test drive the MK500... :bassist:
     
  14. JAUQO III-X

    JAUQO III-X Banned

    Jan 4, 2002
    CHICAGO,IL.
    Endorsing artist:see profile.
    The MK500 is very bright and hi-fi sounding,I use one on occassion but seem to go back to the ABM 500 series.
     
  15. emjazz

    emjazz Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Yup, the MK stands for Mark King.....pretty much tells you what the amp is geared towards.
     
  16. emjazz

    emjazz Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    Boston, MA
    As an aside, I owned the ABM500 a few years back. I ran it with 2 Bergantino 210's. It was incredible. I got a lot of compliments on how big and balanced the sound was. I ended up selling off that stuff when I left the country for a few months. When I came back I went through almost 2 years of trying many different amplifiers. A few months back I found a great deal on a barely used EVO500II. After being reminded by a friend how huge that amp sounded I bought it. I would've saved A LOT of money if I had just bought one of these again. I'm now reminded how incredible of an amp it is every time I plug in. The amp isn't for everyone, like any amp really. It's a warmer sounding amp. It's a great balance of vintage warmth and modern clarity. It sounds as big as a house and stays balanced, with the right cab, throughout a room. It's definately one of my all time favorite amps.
     
  17. GRoberts

    GRoberts Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2003
    Tucson, AZ USA
    I agree with EMjazz all the way. I also use my Ashdown ABM500 EVO RC with Bergantino Cabinets, (HT322 or with a Bergie HT112/EX112 Mini stack) Ashdown/Bergantino is known to be a stellar amp/cab combo.

    Gary
     
  18. lowmid

    lowmid

    Feb 2, 2005
    belgium
    Damn you fools I'm wanting a berg cabinet so much for my abm400 c210 combo right now

    btw I dig the tone in it like clear vintage warmth with a little edge but It definitely needs a 15 inch cab for my playing style which is heavy plucking on a funk/rock red hot mars volta type of playing

    ps: rocks with a guv'nor attached to it!!
     
  19. emjazz

    emjazz Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    Boston, MA
    I think what makes this combo work so well is the clarity of the Bergantino cabinets. They really allow the Ashdown to be what it is without adding too much to the already inherant warmth and size of the sound of the amp. The Ashdown EVO amps with the Ashdown cabs will give you a more "vintage" sound where the speakers will break up a bit.
     
  20. JAUQO III-X

    JAUQO III-X Banned

    Jan 4, 2002
    CHICAGO,IL.
    Endorsing artist:see profile.
    I never use 15's(because they have a little to much muddiness for my prefered tone)but once I was playing thru a Bergantino cab(I don't remember what amp I was using but I do remember it wasen't an Ashdown)I was so impressed with the clarity that I continued to play and just kept on digging the sound so while this is going on Bergantino himself happen to walk up and and I asked him what was in the cab,I was blown away when he informed me that there were two 15's in that particular cab and they were as clear as a bell.