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XS400T Review

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by RevGroove, Mar 12, 2004.


  1. RevGroove

    RevGroove Commercial User

    Jul 21, 2002
    Burlington ON Canada
    Manager, Account Services: Long & McQuade Ltd. (Burlington); MTD Kingston Basses International Emerging Artist; Bartolini Electronics Emerging Artist
    Well, I finally made up my mind and I've returned to the Yorkville/Traynor amplifiers, a name that I grew up with. SWR makes a very fine amplifier, please don't get me wrong, but I'm really impressed with the new stuff coming out from Yorkville sound, that I took the plunge, dumped my Goliath III and picked up an XS400TC this evening after I finished my shift. The XS400TC is the carpeted version of the 15" combo, only with two 10" drivers.

    I'd actually gotten a chance to try out and review a prototype, this is what I wrote for the engineer who'd designed it (and wait till you see what's coming next!!!)


    XS400T Review

    I was privileged to try a prototype in the new XS BassMaster amplifier series from Yorkville, the XS400T combo (2x10). After hearing how the new head sounded in comparison to the BM400 series, I was really impressed. Overall, very easy to dial in tone with the 5 band EQ (with adjustable parametric mid) as opposed to the 10 band graphic equalizer found on the BM400. The adjustable “scoop” control (previously contour, an on/off function) is an added plus. In addition to the limiter (on/off) there’s now an adjustable compressor. Other new features include a tuner out jack with a mute function for silent tuning, and an effects blend knob for dry/wet signal mix when using effects in the effects loop (found on the rear of the unit). Also on the back of the amp there’s a tweeter mute switch if you wish to go that route. Returning features include a footswitch jack for use with a dual footswitch (i.e. TFS-2)

    In addition to the speaker out puts on the back of the amplifier (2 ¼” jacks as well as another new feature, a speakon jack), there’s also an XLR DI out, switchable on the front panel to decide whether to send the signal post or pre EQ from the bass.

    The big news though is the fact that the XS400 comes with a new tube preamp, with a parallel overdrive/gain circuit. You can control not only the amount of drive, but how much drive is blended with the dry signal as well.

    I received the XS400T prototype on Wednesday December 3rd. The amp didn’t even make it into my house when I got home…straight from the company van to my car and I was on my way to rehearse with my classic/soft rock group. The only effect used inline with my Spector bass (outfitted with passive EMGs and an active preamp) was a Boss V-Wah pedal. I immediately noticed there was more clarity without loss of low end then with the 15” model. As stated before, it was extremely easy to dial in a tone that I was happy with. But the big surprise was the overdrive. Previously, I eschewed using distortion in my rig and never really used any. But this was a testing process right? So for our arrangement of “Come Together”, I dialled in a fair amount of overdrive and set to playing the main groove…and Yorkville made a believer out of me! My only concern though is that the speakers seemed to clip a bit when in the toe up position, but using the tweeter mute function and switching to the passive input seemed to alleviate this issue.

    The next night was rehearsal for the Sunday morning service at my church, where I usually use a 400w head and a 4x10 cabinet. In this situation, I use a Spector bass with active pickups and preamp. In that setting, the amp performed well, though I had to boost the mids just a hair so I could hear myself better. Excellent for slapping and funk grooves; the team was at first worried that I wasn’t using my usual rig but after three tunes it was apparent that the XS400T was going to cut it.

    Sunday morning “dress rehearsal” and main service. What can I say? I WANT ONE!!! I used the XLR out to run a line directly to the drummer’s powered monitor and he loved it! We were totally locked in because he was able to get a better signal direct rather than blended in with the main monitor mix. I miked one of the 10” speakers with a kick drum/bass microphone to send my signal to the board. Feedback from those in the know in the audience confirmed that the bass not only cut through in the mix, but also sounded rich and full! Stage wise, I was able to crank the volume without boosting the mids for my own monitoring purposes.

    The XS400T stacks up very nicely against other 2x10 combos in its class from other manufacturers such as SWR, G&K, and Fender with clarity and punch for a variety of applications.

    Pros: The new 5 band EQ; 10 inch speakers with tweeter mute; tuner out and mute function; and overdrive

    Cons: Compressor ratio is set at 2:1 and not adjustable. Cabinet’s painted finish is painfully abrasive.


    If you get a chance, go for it! The only change I'm making in my new set up is that I'm going to be using he balanced out from the amplifier and I'm no longer using the Audix D4. Cheers! :bassist:
     
  2. The only thing with my xs400h was the scratchiness of the nobs, but you just hafta pull them out a bit so that they aren't contacting the metal plate behind them.
     
  3. RevGroove

    RevGroove Commercial User

    Jul 21, 2002
    Burlington ON Canada
    Manager, Account Services: Long & McQuade Ltd. (Burlington); MTD Kingston Basses International Emerging Artist; Bartolini Electronics Emerging Artist
    My knobs aren't giving me any problem whatsoever, nor did the prototype I had have any similar issues. I can't wait to play it live again! :bassist:
     
  4. Subculture13

    Subculture13 Jamming Econo

    Apr 9, 2003
    Toronto, Ont. Canada
    What's coming next down the pipe from them should be stellar if they keep this track record up.

    Great review RevGroove... Are you going to submit it to the Gear Review section up above?
     
  5. RevGroove

    RevGroove Commercial User

    Jul 21, 2002
    Burlington ON Canada
    Manager, Account Services: Long & McQuade Ltd. (Burlington); MTD Kingston Basses International Emerging Artist; Bartolini Electronics Emerging Artist
    Just noticed the gear review section over the weekend, I'll throw it up on there shortly. Thanks!

    :D
     
  6. RevGroove

    RevGroove Commercial User

    Jul 21, 2002
    Burlington ON Canada
    Manager, Account Services: Long & McQuade Ltd. (Burlington); MTD Kingston Basses International Emerging Artist; Bartolini Electronics Emerging Artist

    Done...