why no love for Acoustic Image on the slab side?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by PB+J, Jun 30, 2008.

  1. PB+J


    Mar 9, 2000
    arlington va
    Upright guys love 'em. I use a clarus head for slab gigs and it sounds great. Well voiced and extremely useful eq section, plenty 'o power, reliable, light, great customer service and warranty.

    Is it just marketing? They don't have your standard rock "look."
  2. Mushroo

    Mushroo Guest

    Apr 2, 2007
    I love AI for slab, sounds like you love them too, there's a little love right there! :)

    I use the Contra combo for practicing/small rehearsals, and the Focus SA as a highly-portable power amp. I originally bought the Contra to use with my ABG, but was impressed how good it sounded with electric.
  3. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Well - over here - you are looking at about £1,000 - which is a lot of money for something that small....:eyebrow:

    I think generally that BG players like to have a big rig behind them and also that a sort of volume to price ratio is more important and so the AI gear loses out both ways...?

    It's unimpressive looking and too expensive to attract people on a budget...who will go for the loudest for least money?
  4. NickyBass

    NickyBass Supporting Member

    Nov 28, 2005
    Southern New Jersey
    I use an Acoustic Image combo for upright gigs. It's small, powerful and doesn't color the natural tone of the bass. Since it's an acoustic instrument, it already has it's own voice. I just want that voice-only louder.

    For electric, though, I want an amp that gives the tone some charactor. I feel that the amp is part of the instrument.
  5. adge


    Jun 8, 2006
    sydney, australia
    I think the AI stuff sounds great with electrics... maybe it doesnt have the rock tone people want, but that can be achieved in other ways... (sansamp etc)

    i want an AI Focus SA for a power amp! anyone got one??!!
  6. tallboybass

    tallboybass Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2003
    Tulsa, Oklahoma
    Yeah, the Focus SA really rocks with a ParaDriver in front of it! :hyper: Haven't tried the Clarus or combos though.
  7. PB+J


    Mar 9, 2000
    arlington va

    Really? I'd have thought the exchange rate would be bringing the price down
  8. RHFusillo

    RHFusillo Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2000
    Houston, TX
    I really like my AI Focus for electric bass. It's reasonably loud and has a dark, relatively uncolored sound. I don't use it for all kinds of gigs, though -- for a blues gig, I bring something heavier (sonically and weight).
  9. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    Their cabinets are designed to be small light and low - meaning they're not "loud"
    They're actually full range accurate hi-fi cabs. Great for all acoustic instruments. Or any signal that you want to accurately reproduce.

    No problem mating an AI amp with a louder cabinet. I don't think AI is in this market because of all the cab combinations that are possible - most going against the grain of accuracy.
  10. Mushroo

    Mushroo Guest

    Apr 2, 2007
    When the AI products first hit the market, I remember seeing a photo of a Clarus head driving two Ampeg 8x10 cabinets! Needless to say, I couldn't wait to get one!

    The AI combos/cabinets do not have that punchy, rock n roll, multiple 10" speaker thing going on. My Contra gets swallowed up pretty quickly in a rock setting. But for acoustic/jazzy/quiet/mellow situations, it really shines. I actually have to cut the bass EQ because it pumps out some serious low end! (at low volume)

    My Focus SA, on the other hand, sounds plenty 'rock' through a 4x10. I am using a Raven Labs PHA-1 as the preamp, but thinking about adding a 'tubier' preamp (see my other thread on the topic).
  11. Wilbyman


    Sep 10, 2003
    Parkersburg, WV
    Even with the latest crop of micro amps, the ai stuff holds its own. They are well built, loud and really punchy. I think they have specialized every revision to be more db friendly and/or jazz guitar friendly. They just haven't gone after the electric bass market very hard and the Markbass amps have probably grabbed their share of late.
  12. ohskigod


    May 5, 2008
    I was at Guitar Center last week, and they hapenned to have a used Acoustic Image Contra sitting around.

    I played a squire affinity jazz through it (the bass i happen to own) and it aounded remarkable. Very clean and natural, for lack of a better phrase. they were charging just shy of 500 (489?). Might have been tempted but the screws on the amp were a little rusty, which tells me it was is very humid environments or something. I dont care about the bolts, its the internal electronics I'm worried about.

    the sound from that amp does stick out in my head though
  13. fish slapper

    fish slapper

    Nov 17, 2005
    Newberg, OR
    Count me in. I got my AI Clarus III for DB but LOVE it for BG rock so much that I sold my slab head. If I want it a little grittier I use my multi-comp pedal in the tubeism mode.

    Would love to try a Focus SA with a tube pre but I understand they've been discontinued.:bawl:

    But 500 watts at 2ohms is as much power I need.:hyper:
  14. Thunderthumbs73

    Thunderthumbs73 Supporting Member

    May 5, 2008
    I think my question is whether an AI combo (Contra or Coda) would work as an electric bass amp in a rock/pop context. I mean specifically whether it can be used in a rock/pop band as a stage monitor for stage sound, and keep up with a normal rock drummer (using sticks).

    I'm not expecting it to be an SVT, but also for it's power rating, I would expect it to be more than an acoustic amp. Anyone use one of these in a rock/pop setting with a drummer????

    I'm sure for anything without this higher volume context, it would be great with an electric bass.

    My frame of reference for my good sound is my 1/2 stack- Bag End, Crest Audio, Alembic preamp and filters.
  15. adge


    Jun 8, 2006
    sydney, australia
    AI combos in my band- not a chance.. not with my gui****s...
  16. B String

    B String Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    I use my Focus I with a ParaDriver in the effects return.
    This way I'm using the Focus as a power amp. Works great.
    I can still use the Focus preamp for my upright bass.
    Great amp. Lots of power. Fantastic customer service.
  17. Mushroo

    Mushroo Guest

    Apr 2, 2007
    Nope, not even close. I have tried it and been very disappointed using a Contra in a rock band. It is especially bad as a stage monitor because of the downward-firing woofer. You can't point it at your ears. :)

    Clarus or Focus head plus a different cabinet would be a great rock rig, however.

    edit: ps it is not the power rating (it has plenty of power) but the cabinet design that makes the Contra unsuitable for a rock gig. It will drive an extension cabinet, though.
  18. Guest043

    Guest043 Guest

    Apr 8, 2008
    i used to have my eyes on an acoustic image head..then markbass popped onto the scene and i havent tried any other amps since..
  19. fish slapper

    fish slapper

    Nov 17, 2005
    Newberg, OR
    I saw those but minimum load is 4 ohms. I have two 4 ohm cabinets and need a 2 ohm head when they are both used.
  20. Mushroo

    Mushroo Guest

    Apr 2, 2007
    For what it's worth, my Contra I can't handle a 4 ohm extension cabinet (even though it says it can). I asked AI about it (great customer service) and they said it's a known issue with the first batch they made. They offered to upgrade the power section for about $100, but I passed because I also have the Focus SA. I have heard the newer models are more 2-ohm-friendly than the old one I have. I mention this in case anyone reading the thread is shopping for used AI products and needs 2 ohm operation--stick with the Series 2 or newer.