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What Became of ADA ???

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by rickbass, Mar 18, 2004.


  1. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    I guess I just wasn't paying attention - do you know what happened to ADA Amplification ???

    My old "Bass Players" mags have their full-cover ads, (early 90's) and showed the likes of Wooten, Claypool, Rainey, and Bailey, as endorsers of their gear.

    Were they just all "blow" and no "go" or what ??? :confused:
    I never even saw ADA's in use where I was playing then.

    Thanks!
     
  2. ONYX

    ONYX

    Apr 14, 2000
    Michigan
    If I remember correctly, they went out of business some years ago.
    At one time , there was a press release about it on the internet.

    I did a search for it, but came up with nothing.
     
  3. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Yeah, ONYX - That's one thing I checked and it's almost like they never existed. The few used ADA's I've seen for sale are dirt cheap.
     
  4. Gorgula

    Gorgula

    Oct 16, 2002
    So Cal
  5. Both Victor and Les used their programmable preamps, the MB-1 or MP-1. I know Les used the guitar version. They were really awesome pieces of gear. Completely MIDI programmable preamps with some great controls. I think there was even chorus on them. The Mesa Triaxis is pretty much the closest thing to the ADA preamps, but the Triaxis has 5 preamp tubes to ADA's 1.

    A lot of users swear by them, but you're on your own if they break down.
     
  6. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Thanks much for that site referral, Gorgula!

    It has excellent tech info.

    I just wish it addressed why ADA vanished :confused: All the posters in their discussion pages seem to be "true believers" in the fact that ADA's were the nazz.

    No one seems to address why Tarnowski dumped the company.
     
  7. I seem to recall that their factory burned down and wiped them out.
     
  8. Gabu

    Gabu

    Jan 2, 2001
    Lake Elsinore, CA
    Oh, wow... That's a sucky way to go down. :(
     
  9. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Was it Steve Rabe??? ;) :oops: :oops:

    No, seriously --- if it was a vital business, wouldn't insurance have put the ADA name back in the game ????
     
  10. Deano Destructo

    Deano Destructo Music Man/Upton addict. Hasn't slept since 1979. Supporting Member

    Dec 10, 2000
    Austin, TX
    Thats what happened as I understand it too. You can still reach one of the builders through the above adadepot.com website. He still maintences and customizes there products I believe. :)
     
  11. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Basically they overetended themselves. They started as an effects company in the 70s...their flanger was very popular and they made some good digital delays as well in the 80s.

    They got into the amp business in the late 80s and had a bunch of flop products which probably is what took them out.
     
  12. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Thanks brianrost...........that really does sound logical.

    The amp technology sounds like it was very high tech - like some kind of programmable head.,,,,,,which would explain ADA's background in effects.
     
  13. BruceWane

    BruceWane

    Oct 31, 2002
    Houston, TX
    Yep, their factory burned to the ground. I don't know why they didn't rebuild - could have been that their insurance was inadequate, or that the cash from the settlement looked better than the potential of the business. A lot of equipment manufacturers profits are pretty marginal.

    I use an MB-1 bass preamp. It has 2 tubes, not 1, 12AX7 style. It has a chorus and a compressor. Not sure, but I beleive one tube is dedicated to the preamp, one to the compressor. The compressor is very good, the chorus so-so, but I'm not real into chorus on bass; it sounds great solo, but in a band context doesn't usually work so great. Five bands of EQ, the middle three are parametric. Two effects loops which can be programmed in or out of the signal chain. Built in crossover for bi-amping. It's as flexible as your imagination, and a very nice sounding preamp, but you wouldn't really know it from the factory pre-sets; with a bit a tweaking, you can get loads of useful sounds out of it, and you can save every one to memory and recall it at the tap of a footswitch.

    One thing to keep in mind about this pre is that while it is midi programmable, it is not a digital audio device. The audio signal stays completely analog, but it is digitally controlled; kinda like having little motors on all the tone and volume knobs of your preamp that change the settings on demand. There are no motors though, it is all done in circuitry. So in this way it differs from the ART Nightbass, which converts your signal to digital for processing. I've tried a Nightbass and didn't care for it at all. There are certainly some digital processors out there that sound great, but I think ART skimped on the analog to digital converters, and the sound suffers.

    I use an ART footswitch with mine, don't recall the model off the top of my head, but it's the big one with 2 "expression pedals" that you can assign to control any parameter you like. I use them mostly as a volume pedal with the ADA, with a little practice you get a wonderful sound that mimics a cello or a bowed acoustic bass almost perfectly. Especially cool with just a bit of reverb to make the notes blend together seamlessly. You can set it up as a wah pedal, but it's not quite as good as an actual Cry-Baby or Morley.

    The main reason I bought this preamp is that it has 2 channels, tube and solid state You control the volume of each individually, so you can set the tube channel to distort and blend it into the clean SS channel for any balance of clean/dirty you desire. Also each preamp channel has 5 tone contours available, so you can make the tube distortion low and thick with the SS channel thinner for clarity, or vice versa, or anywhere in between. And of course with the programmability, you have can have multiple flavors of distortion all available with a tap of your toe, from a slight edge, which is great for imitating a Ric, to all out industrial grind. But above all, THE DISTORTION STILL SOUNDS GOOD ON THE B STRING. I haven't shopped around in a few years, but at the time I bought the ADA, every distortion pedal I tried, whether it was specifically for bass or not, either thinned the sound too much or didn't sound very good on any note below the A or G area. This thing sound good all the way down.

    With 12AX7's, it is just a little noisy. Not bad at all, but it is there. I've heard that this can be cured by using 7025's instead, but I haven't gotten around to trying that out.

    It's been completely reliable and seems well built, so I'm not really worried about it breaking down. They never had a reputation for breaking. But I'll probably buy another as a backup just to be safe.

    Overall, I'd say it doesn't sound quite as good as say, a Demeter or an Alembic pre, but it can sound very, very close to both. The difference is that there are a lot of preamps that do one sound perfectly, but this one does practically any sound very, very well.