This is a review of my experience with a fairly old school combo bass guitar amp from Ashdown Music. These haven't been made for a long time now but they can be picked up fairly cheaply used and if you know what to look for you can get a very capable example that can ace rehearsals and do small Gigs easily. And is very easy to carry around.
The MAG 250 is an intermediate amplifier version that sits nicely between the old school MAG 200 mosfet combos and the later MAG300 bi polar amp combos. What you can expect to get is a fairly lightweight chipboard cabinet that is covered with black carpet and has two rear ports on the speaker box. Standard plastic corners, and a rubber strap handle are fitted. Originally no rubber feet were fitted to these combos so they are prone to wear on the bottom panel. The amp chassis section is fairly interesting in that its made of lightweight magnesium alloy and only a fraction of the weight of EB180 and MAG300 steel chassis versions. This is a major plus as it gives the combo a very lightweight feel. The pre-amp is standard MAG specification and the power amp section is essentially a MAG300 with a smaller 250VA toroidal transformer. Early MAG 250's were convection cooled but can be prone to overheating if used at high power for extended periods. Later examples had a cooling fan fitted ( a standard 80mm Jamicon fan unit ) longitudinally inside the amp chassis. These are the most desirable versions. The standard speaker fitted to these units was a SICA branded 8 ohms 15 inch unit. I'm not sure of the power rating as its not stamped on the chassis but expect this is the same unit fitted to MAG 300 combos of the time so likely to be between 200 to 300 watt rating. The driver seems fairly efficient and can easily handle the MAG 250 output.
In use the pre-amp is bog standard MAG. You have high/low inputs for passive/active basses, an input volume, 5 band EQ with bass(usually swept around 100Hz), low mids swept normally at 220Hz, middle swept at 660Hz , high mids swept at 1.6 Khz and treble swept around 7Khz. There is a low boost and a high boost switch, a main EQ in/out and a switchable sub octaver with adjustable knob. The DI is post EQ and there is an effects send/return and a tuner /line out. if you have ever used a MAG or an Electric Blue amp these will all be familiar and the EQ section can create a wide variety of tones. RM users will also find these controls familiar. The rear panel has two speaker out jacks with a safe minimum impedance of 4 ohms. Essentially adding an external 8 ohm cab will allow the full power and headroom to be used.
In use this combo can really deliver a fine and powerful output from its inbuilt speaker. I tested this with a p-bass straight in and with the input around 3/4 and the master around half on the dial, it delivers a tight focused output that sounds clean and detailed around 30-40 feet away. One thing you will notice is the amp chassis gets very warm at this sort of high volume and after a long session. This is normal as the chassis is also part of the cooling mechanism for MAG 250's.
The combo tested in this review was owned by me and originally was built and left the Ashdown UK factory around May 2003. It was reviewed last year at a local rehearsal studio.
In summary, here are some pros and cons:
lightweight alloy amp chassis makes this a breeze to transport (15.5 KG typical total combo weight)
Lightweight particle board cab
Rear ported for a deep smooth tone
Punches easily as high as later MAG300 combo's for loudness.
Cheap as chips used
Simple to repair/maintain
Parts cheap and easily accessible.
Efficient SICA blue line driver
Typical Ashdown tone.
rehearsal / small gigs only
prone to overheating during long gigs if it doesn't have the cooling fan update.
prone to wear on the bottom panel as did not have rubber feet as standard and carpet/corners can get torn/worn.
cats love these combos for sharpening their claws so never buy one from a cat owner as it will likely be torn to shreds down the side panels.
Verdict - one of Ashdown's hidden gems where lightweight amp chassis design/technology wasn't appreciated at the time(except by those in the know).
Set of flatwound chrome long scale medium gauge bass strings. Only played once before deciding I needed a lighter gauge.
Gauges are: 50, 70, 85, 105.
The strings are cut to fit a Fender Jazz bass so will still be long enough for all types of bass.
Normally £42. Will post for a couple of pounds extra.
I’m looking to upgrade my Sub Phatty to a 37 key Moog, preferably the Subsequent 37. Trades possible with cash your way.
Will also consider straight sale. In great condition, keys are very slightly yellowed and includes Moog branded soft case.
Get in touch!
Selling my Atelier Z Jerry Barnes M265. Top of the line, hand made in Japan, 70s style bass from Atelier. Bought new a few weeks ago and in literally "as new" condition. Fantastic instrument and craftsmanship, but selling as I'm much more of a 60s pickup position / alder body guy. Easily nails the 70s super jazz, Marcus Miller type of tone. It has an upgraded electronics package (including a passive tone knob), adding additional versatility. 70s type of sound but without the huge weight! (pretty light for an ash 5 string). Currently setup with quite low action with no buzz at all.
Jerry Barnes (Chic's bass player) signature model.
Neck : Maple with binding, 21 Frets
Body : Ash
Tuners : GOTOH
Bridge : Vintage-type
Pickups : ATELIER Z JBZ-5
Preamp : ATELIER Z EQ-M
Control : F vol, R vol/switch A/P, Passive Tone, Stacked Bass/Trenble
Colour : Vintage Natural gloss
Gig Bag: Padded deluxe
Sring spacing at bridge: 19mm
Plenty of feedback:
NO LONGER FOR SALE
See last post below for a new video demo!
Tentatively putting my Overwater up for sale on here. I'm in no rush to sell it but open to sensible offers. Anyone in the SW London area is welcome to give it a try.
Anyone who's played one of these knows the kind of quality you can expect from this. It was built for me in 2017 by Chris and the team and would cost around £3500 to have made now I believe. I originally ordered it with an East J Retro which I have since changed for a J Tone giving it a more vintage sound and the versatility of a passive tone control. It will also come with the extra capacitors which are easy to switch out to adjust the roll off of the tone control. I also swapped the pickups from Overwater Ceramic to OWs new Alnico ones. I will include both sets of pickups for the buyer and a Fender Hard Case.
Spec is below, let me know if you have any questions, it's in very nearly perfect condition, a few marks on the headstock and a couple of tiny dinks on the top of the neck are pictured below. You are welcome to try in Chessington, KT9. I will also consider posting fully insured.
- Maple 21 fret bolt on neck
- Nut 46mm
-19mm string spacing
-MOP block inlays
-3mm side dots (1mm bigger than standard for extra visibility)
-J Tone Preamp
-OW Noiseless Alnico Pickups (Ceramics for more HiFi sound also included)
-Hipshot Ultralight Tuners
-Custom Seafoam Green Finish
The tiny black mark in the picture below was just rubber and has now been cleaned off.