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Why no love for Ashdown?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Rickter, Sep 30, 2016.

  1. Rickter


    Nov 30, 2006
    Nashville, TN
    Looking around at various amplifier threads and rig threads, I have yet to see much in the way of love for Ashdown amplifiers, and I got to wondering why that is.

    Is it something as simple as not having as big a market share stateside as they do in the UK? Is it the "bang for the buck" or lack of? Is it "roadworthiness" or lack of? Or is it that their tone is an acquired taste or just not suitable for some?

    Recently I discovered the Ashdown Retroglide 800, which seemed really interesting, but it was quite a while between the release of the product and seeing anyone give any kind of a review on it. There still aren't many out there. I remember seeing the old Ashdown MAG line in years past and it seemed, based on reviews at least, that they had decent tone and moderate reliability, typical for most brands entry level stuff (e.g. GK Backline). Those that have bought into the ABM line seem to really like them, but there don't seem to be as many ABM owners as there are owners of the typical US domestic brands (GK, Ampeg, etc.).

    So why is it that there doesn't appear to be love for Ashdown?
  2. jnewmark

    jnewmark Just wanna play the groove. Supporting Member

    Aug 31, 2006
    Stax 1966
    Third St. Cigar Records staff musician.
    I had an Ashdown combo once, a 15 with a tweeter. Can't remember what model it was, if I remember right, it had the blue speaker in it. I used it mainly for rehearsals, and it worked fine for about a year, then it started to cut out intermittently, along with farting out at loud volumes. It had a nice tone, if you kept it lower. I sold it a short time later to a guy who was gonna work on it. The newer heads look interesting, but, other than me, I don't know anyone locally who used, or presently uses Ashdown.
  3. Guinness20


    Jan 24, 2013
    Liverpool, UK
    I think they sound dreadful.
  4. petrus61

    petrus61 Supporting Member

    "Astroglide"? Yikes.
  5. Rickter


    Nov 30, 2006
    Nashville, TN
    So what is it about their sound that you don't like? Not having any dealer nearby that stocks them, I've never been able to demo one. All I know is what has been presented in the way of youtube demos.
  6. Rickter


    Nov 30, 2006
    Nashville, TN
    Check one for reliability issues....
    pacojas and phall2112 like this.
  7. Daedraziel


    Aug 19, 2013
    Toms River NJ
    I used a mag300 4x10 combo for years with my band every weekend...Heavy as hell and the actual tone of the amp is not too much better than some low cost stuff you can get. The onboard EQ didnt do enough to iron out a clean sound and the sub octave effect button was basically useless...where would you ever need it? No ground lift on the direct out either

    I STILL have a blue 180watt with a 12" speaker combo...still heavy as hell (55lbs...). I blew out the speaker (blue cone) and replaced it with an Eden that actually improved the clarity of the amp. now it just sits in the basement and is used for rehearsal. STILL NO GROUND LIFT ON THE DIRECT OUT.

    I used to think I liked them until i went seriously shopping for amps. Do yourself a favor and get a fender rumble combo or something light and easily EQ'ed.
  8. TB is US-centric and Ashdown has not been a big seller in the US. Try basschat uk forum.
  9. BadExample


    Jan 21, 2016
    I've seen several posts with Ash cabs where the owner was happy. Can't recall if there were combo's or amps involved. Price seems fair. Not a lot of reviews at sweetwater. IDK about plastic cone models. Poly cones can sound good for stereo applications. Or maybe those are painted Al. A lot of 15" lovers would poopoo anything but a paper cone sight unheard I think. Bass Guitar Amp Cabinets | Sweetwater.com
    alaskaleftybass likes this.
  10. Used an Ashdown EVO series amp and 2 cabs; 1x15, 2x10 for about 4 years
    It was furnished by the rehearsal studio. It's tone was pretty good.
    For live gigs I used my own 1980's, beat up and road abused Peavey Mark IV amp with 2x10 cab and 1x15 Black Widow.
    Honestly, I thought the scrappy Peavey sounded better. Although I never used the Ashdown outside the studio.
    Or maybe I just like skanky amps that everybody's had a go at rather than prim and proper amps.
    MattZilla likes this.
  11. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather Supporting Member

    For one, they aren't readily available so a lot of folks don't own them. Or get a chance to try them out.
    GregC and Al Kraft like this.
  12. ASQTec

    ASQTec Above Average

    May 2, 2010
    I can't speak for anyone else, but as my 10 year old ABM 500 sits in the shop as I await a better quote than $300 for a new transformer, I have fallen out of love for Ashdown. I already have an ABM 500 sitting in my closet with a blown transformer, but at least I got about 50 gigs out of it.

    I loved the sound when they worked, though. I'm probably just the unlucky owner of two Ashdown lemons.
    ezstep and Rickter like this.
  13. Al Kraft

    Al Kraft Supporting Member

    May 2, 2016
    Northern Virginia
    I've lived in the Washington DC metro area for over 50 years and I've never seen or heard an Ashdown product in person. I'll buy the geography issue as a clear contributing factor for me, and most everyone I know.
  14. Rickter


    Nov 30, 2006
    Nashville, TN
    So far geography and quality are the two big hitters for reasons Ashdown is not more prominent.
    Thank you everyone for your replies.
    Killed_by_Death likes this.
  15. InhumanResource


    Dec 28, 2012
    Something I have noticed is that most modern amps that claim a "vintage" style of sound (I'm looking at you, ToneHammer) it translates as insta-mud. Not sure why that is, as there's plenty of old school amps that ring clear as a bell. Maybe Ashdown is one of these? My understanding is their schtick is the whole modern vintage deal.
  16. Wesley R

    Wesley R Gold Supporting Member

    I bought a demo Ashdown head and a two ten cabinet. The speakers blew on the store floor, they replaced them with Peavey's. Plenty loud for what it was I guess, nothing great about the sound. The head felt like it would come apart yet did not for the 2 months I owned it, turning it on three or four times. I do not believe I will seek another. The resale was horrible.
  17. BadExample


    Jan 21, 2016
    Plenty of other stuff comes across the pond. Maybe not geography as much as sound preference and them just not "taking off" here. If not stocked local, that's not going to help to close the sale. Failure rate is hard to judge on the internet. Poor build quality might be more obvious. A lot of stuff I read reviews on, audio or not, I have to discard half because they were written by someone using the vacuum cleaner to drive nails into their roof. You also get false positives, because a lot of people buy a POS, got burned, and are going to somehow making it better by saying it's perfect.
    Omega Monkey likes this.
  18. I play through an Ashdown all tube amp and love its tone.

    It's reliability has been shocking though. Soldering issues all over the place.

    One thing that turns me off about the company us the constantly fluctuating product line, and the special of those products always changing.
    DiscoRiceJ, RaggaDruida and DrayMiles like this.
  19. BadExample


    Jan 21, 2016
    Something like this statement bears weight, specific to a build problem, not caused by using it to hammer nails. Generally, 1st hand experiences expressed on TB would hold water better than an online store review (nameless, faceless, stupid people... we're schmardt as a whole).
    Al Kraft likes this.
  20. matthewbrown

    matthewbrown Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2003
    Harwich, MA, USA
    The 2X10 combo is 300 watts, 37 pounds and $500.00. That's not too shabby.
    Daniel Piper likes this.

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