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Trace Elliot, tell me about it

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48 minutes ago, Quilly said:

Well Mark Gooday did work at Trace..are ABMs just clones of trace heads then?

There are similarities for sure, in terms of the pre-shape but definitely not clones.

The ABM series are capable of a much more of an 'old school' sound. The valve drive feature on the ABMs can allow for much more grit and dirt to be added into the signal. The valve inputs on say, the Trace Elliot SMX I used to have add a bit of warmth to the signal but don't add much dirt. The ABMs have different eq points as well as fewer EQ controls as a 12 band graphic Trace EQ. So an ABM does 'feel' different to a Trace Elliot amp, though certainly with the right tweaking you can certainly get a 'Trace Elliot' type sound on an Ashdown ABM.

An Ashdown ABM is definitely an 'evolution' on the original Trace Elliot theme though. It is almost like what Trace Elliot 'might/should have' done in the mid late 1990s by combining the 'old school' style of the V types with the 'hi fi' style of the 12 band solid state heads.  

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2 hours ago, Quilly said:

Well Mark Gooday did work at Trace..are ABMs just clones of trace heads then?

I must admit to being a complete TE fanboi but have never got on with Ashdown heads. I know some players love them but I really don't like them at all. 🙁

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1 hour ago, Deedee said:

I must admit to being a complete TE fanboi but have never got on with Ashdown heads. I know some players love them but I really don't like them at all. 🙁

I have both the Trace AH-500 and and Ashdown CTM-100 valve head. They are completely different beasts I must admit and they both have their strengths and weaknesses. I would classify the Trace as having a very Hi-Fi clean sound and the Ashdown as having a much darker, warmer sound...but that's the valve heads head, I've no Idea what their SS / Hybrid heads are like.   

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I must admit, between the Ashdown and Trace there isn't much in it. Both have insanely musical EQ sections. I suspect you'd do better with the Ashdown if you're used to a GP7 Trace head, as that's what the ABM series up to the latest EVO4 has. 3 knobs for bass, mid and treble, with 2 sliders between each section for fine tuning. These sliders are also MEGA sensitive, you can sculpt about any tone you'd be able to get out of a Trace. In saying that, Ashdown for me just doesn't have that mojo that makes trace gear unmistakably trace. It has it's own mojo, and its awesome but as said before it does the whole "vintage" thing a lot better. If you're a guy who likes his P basses, and want a fairly SVT-esque growl without the weight while having an almost trace sound while on clean, the Ashdown would be your thing through and through. For tweakers and tone sculptors, who want that 80s/90s Brit bass tone, the Trace will be your friend. It also makes Rickenbackers sound as beautiful as they look 😁

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11 minutes ago, classamin said:

3 knobs for bass, mid and treble, with 2 sliders between each section for fine tuning. These sliders are also MEGA sensitive, you can sculpt about any tone you'd be able to get out of a Trace.

With a Trace (and in my experience with a Handbox, Genz, TecAmp, GK and various others) you can set your EQ with for example a P bass, but then if you switch basses mid-set to say a Stingray or Sandberg you still had your core sound but the P would sound like a P and the ‘Ray would still sound like a ‘Ray etc, etc. I found that with the Ashdown I could tweak the EQ to get a great sound, but if I then switched basses I’d need to mess about with the EQ all over again. The EQ seemed very specific and precise to the bass going into it. Probably a very good thing to some but to me seemed a bit of a faff.

As I said before there are lots of people far better placed than me who love them to bits, so each to their own.

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1 hour ago, Deedee said:

With a Trace (and in my experience with a Handbox, Genz, TecAmp, GK and various others) you can set your EQ with for example a P bass, but then if you switch basses mid-set to say a Stingray or Sandberg you still had your core sound but the P would sound like a P and the ‘Ray would still sound like a ‘Ray etc, etc. I found that with the Ashdown I could tweak the EQ to get a great sound, but if I then switched basses I’d need to mess about with the EQ all over again. The EQ seemed very specific and precise to the bass going into it. Probably a very good thing to some but to me seemed a bit of a faff.

As I said before there are lots of people far better placed than me who love them to bits, so each to their own.

Yeah, I'll agree with that one. Switching between my P and my Rick usually needs a minor tweak, especially when using either pickup solo'd. Using both pickups together produces a fairly nice sound, even when used with an EQ set for a P bass. But, then again sometimes utilizing the pre-set EQ shape can help massively for this too. If EQ fiddles are needed, the only saving grace is that I find the Ashdown easier to set than the Trace with its simpler EQ. As I mentioned before, the Trace sound is always unmistakably Trace, and sounds good no matter what but the Ashdown does tend to need a bit of a tweak depending on which bass is put through it!

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1 hour ago, classamin said:

Yeah, I'll agree with that one. Switching between my P and my Rick usually needs a minor tweak, especially when using either pickup solo'd. Using both pickups together produces a fairly nice sound, even when used with an EQ set for a P bass. But, then again sometimes utilizing the pre-set EQ shape can help massively for this too. If EQ fiddles are needed, the only saving grace is that I find the Ashdown easier to set than the Trace with its simpler EQ. As I mentioned before, the Trace sound is always unmistakably Trace, and sounds good no matter what but the Ashdown does tend to need a bit of a tweak depending on which bass is put through it!

Don’t get me started on Ashdown passive eq on the CTM100 valve head. It’s witchcraft trying to figure it out.

  • Haha 2

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1 hour ago, Quilly said:

Don’t get me started on Ashdown passive eq on the CTM100 valve head. It’s witchcraft trying to figure it out.

I was in fact looking at the CTM30 not too long ago, but decided I need more watts hence the purchase of the ABM. I never realised they only ever made 50 of the limited edition combos, 25 2x10s and 25 1x15s. Score! 

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9 hours ago, classamin said:

I was in fact looking at the CTM30 not too long ago, but decided I need more watts hence the purchase of the ABM. I never realised they only ever made 50 of the limited edition combos, 25 2x10s and 25 1x15s. Score! 

I had the 'Little Bastard' 30W head and it was one of the the nicest sounding amps I ever had. It gets surprisingly loud but not much in the way of clean headroom. 

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Posted (edited)

I’ve always wanted TE and my path to it was to buy cheap and bashed up and do a refinish, it has proven very cost effective.

I am almost there with the big rig, it’s just waiting on a second GP7 for a 2x10 cab just arrived... the setup is for a punk band I am in and it seems I am not only a bassist but also becoming a guitarist and vocalist for the 3 piece so the bass guitar splits off at the Fishman Fission pedal and provides gonzo power chops tracked from the bass and bass into the 4x10. Blending both into one amp sounds a bit messy.

This will do me.

 

3969D602-1DC8-4F1E-97F7-405A3E3B86BB.jpeg

Edited by PunkPonyPrincess
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I forgot I have a Little Giant, boxed, in my living room. 1000w in a tiny little package.

I've never used it in anger so can't say how it compares with the classic Trace Elliot gear or the Ashdown favourites.

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