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PeteJ

Ashdown Amps - what are the differences between models?

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I can't shake the interest in Ashdown now that I've started looking into them and reading comments from some of you on here about how good they are! I've stuck with Laney since the late 1980s, but am not too impressed with their latest offerings. I have tried Hartke as well, but similar really - although I do like the Hartke cabs with the metal cones.

What I am slightly confused about is the different Ashdown models that are available... what's the difference between the ABM and RM models? Is there much difference in tone/capability?

Cheers

Pete

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7 hours ago, PeteJ said:

I can't shake the interest in Ashdown now that I've started looking into them and reading comments from some of you on here about how good they are! I've stuck with Laney since the late 1980s, but am not too impressed with their latest offerings. I have tried Hartke as well, but similar really - although I do like the Hartke cabs with the metal cones.

What I am slightly confused about is the different Ashdown models that are available... what's the difference between the ABM and RM models? Is there much difference in tone/capability?

Cheers

Pete

Hey dude,

 

It's early so bear with 🙂

The Abm models you can consider the flag ship, Class A/B solid state power amp (old school heavy type), Big, loud and versatile. They have a pre amp valve for a blended drive section and a fantastic and versatile EQ

The RM are the light weight equivalent, 300/500/800 watts Class D Lightweight Power supply, I'd describe as a valve emulated blended drive, Just as good EQ

Both have a useable one knob compressor, Sub octave generator for some nice lower end growl.  

You can more or less get the same voicings out of each, it all depends on whether your happy to go big large and heavy or have a nice light weight amp.

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1 minute ago, Stofferson said:

It all depends on whether your happy to go big large and heavy or have a nice light weight amp.

In the grand scheme, the ABM heads aren't exactly that heavy anyway though, much lighter than any older Trace gear or a Peavey Mk VI head I had back in my youth.
If you've not been near lightweight amps, I think you'd probably find the ABMs lighter than the equivalent Laney or Hartke offerings, their latest version is the lightest yet!

I've got a Class D Ashdown MIBass 2.0 for home use which I've used for small gigs, but I also have a full fat ABM EVO II for if/when I get back to gigging properly again.
Ashdown ABMs are the only amp I've been unable to break, they take anything you can throw at them and keep kicking. Ashdown also have insanely good customer service and 5 year warranty on new gear.

A good friend of mine has an EM EVO II, the 800 watt model and it's very impressive, super loud and although I've not heard it at a gig you'd be heard pressed to guess it was class D.

Whatever you go with, I don't think you'd be disappointed.

Eude

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4 minutes ago, eude said:

In the grand scheme, the ABM heads aren't exactly that heavy anyway though, much lighter than any older Trace gear or a Peavey Mk VI head I had back in my youth.

Only in comparison 🙂.

Aye love my ABM, not a touch in my old trace gear weight wise. Totally agree though built like tanks and the best customer service in the business

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The new ABM600 evo iv in my opinion is the best 'all round' amp out there.

It's not too heavy - easy one hand lift in a case.

It's very powerful should you need it.

The eq section is well thought out and you'll get almost any sound you're after.

A little bit of valve pre warmth.

Very well priced for what it is.

Very easily and cheaply repairable by ashdown themselves.

Loads and loads of pros use them.

------

The RM500 is a nice amp. Very very loud for a class d 500w amp. Good eq. I was very happy to use one, but I didn't find it close enough to my abm to replace it. A lot of people find them similar, but I didnt really. The abm was far more flexible and capable of a lot more. Sounded sweeter.

-------

Also, the abm range has at least 4 revisions and some special editions. I found the evoiv much much clearer , more flexible and much louder than the evoii I had.

Edited by la bam
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I went with the Abm evo iv over the RM, the drive on the RM is completely different to the Abm - it’s more like full on distortion.

if I was going with the RM series I’d probably go 800w for the headroom.

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Ashdown do seem a bit all over the place on power ratings, I had an ABM 500 EVO III that wasn't very loud, when compared to a TE 200 watt, but I've been assured that the ABM 600 EVO IV is very loud, just read a review (on here) 

about the retroglide 800  (there's one on ebay for £160) that said it was underpowered, yet the RM 800 seems to be considered very loud

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7 minutes ago, PaulWarning said:

about the retroglide 800  (there's one on ebay for £160) that said it was underpowered, yet the RM 800 seems to be considered very loud

I never understood why people thought that because, as far as I'm aware, the RM800 and Retroglide 800 used the exact same power anp.

£160 for a Retroglide is a total bargain.

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As per @la bams post, the ABM600 is def the best amp I’ve ever had, incredibly flexible and powerful, and at 13kg still easy enough to cart about.

I can get the same sound that I want from my RM500, and in rehearsals or small venues there’s not that much difference between them, however get on a very big stage and the ABM has a greater weight & presence to the sound.

I’ll never tire of recommending Ashdown gear, especially the ABM600, unless looking for modern crystal clear highs it’s capable of virtually anything a bassist would want and also capable of a commanding presence on those big stages.

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Don't forget they do a line of full valve (preamp and power section) amps ranging from 30 - 300W. They sometime do once off builds of the now discontinued BTA400W and 427w small block.     

Edited by Quilly
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44 minutes ago, Doddy said:

.

£160 for a Retroglide is a total bargain.

seems the seller agrees (Cash Convertors) it's just gone up to £200

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33 minutes ago, alexa3020 said:

Just to confuse your choice further, there are new heads available for this year. The 12 band 600 looks interesting

https://ashdownmusic.com/collections/new-for-namm-21

This new one looks impressive. 

I am a RM EVO user and I was an ABM EVO II user in the past, and I don't think they sound similar. I have gigged an ABM EVO II for some years and I love it. It's my favourite amp and I will get an EVO IV as soon as I can. I've been gigging the RM for a couple of years now and it has a unique sound. It's the best class D I've tried, kind of an old sound than modern. The EQ is its best feature, and with a little bit of drive and compression, it's a great amp. Especially for the price. I wonder how the RM compared to the OriginAL heads.

The ABM and RM both are great options. IMO, the RM has more punch than my ABM EVO II, a little bit more modern (but classic sound anyway). 

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50 minutes ago, alexa3020 said:

Just to confuse your choice further, there are new heads available for this year. The 12 band 600 looks interesting

https://ashdownmusic.com/collections/new-for-namm-21

that looks interesting, must admit I've never understood the logic of having a mix of rotary and slider EQ controls, getting close to relaunching the old Trace Elliots aren't they?

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55 minutes ago, PaulWarning said:

that looks interesting, must admit I've never understood the logic of having a mix of rotary and slider EQ controls, getting close to relaunching the old Trace Elliots aren't they?

It just looks like an updated MK500/JJB500

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5 hours ago, eude said:

Ashdown also have insanely good customer service and 5 year warranty on new gear.

Whatever you go with, I don't think you'd be disappointed.

Eude

 

5 hours ago, Stofferson said:

. Totally agree though built like tanks and the best customer service in the business

 

4 hours ago, la bam said:

Very easily and cheaply repairable by Ashdown themselves.

Loads and loads of pros use them.

 

3 hours ago, Lozz196 said:

I’ll never tire of recommending Ashdown gear, .....

Brand loyalty from people who get nothing (directly) from the Company other than great service and confidence in the product.

I bought a used amp from eBay - had it sent directly to Guy at Ashdown who serviced it and sent it to me AT NO COST!!! I didn't give them a penny but still benefitted from the legendary great CS.

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1 hour ago, TheGreek said:

Brand loyalty from people who get nothing (directly) from the Company other than great service and confidence in the product.

I get to make very loud noises too!

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I bought a lovely original ABM 500 in chrome from here for about £170 came with a fitted SKB case too. Think it took a bump being delivered and a couple of things didn’t work as expected. Took it to Guy at Ashdown who fixed it, changed the valve and gave it a service free of charge.34B860B4-2AA9-4112-85FC-D857249F2EED.thumb.jpeg.b6a68c43909796c06fcfb297946e8766.jpeg Wonderful customer service. Buy with confidence. 

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I got an ABM Evo IV 600 B-Stock before christmas, and it sounds fine in my room, just waiting to be able to have some gigs so I can try it out at a reasonable (or maybe unreasonable) volume.

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10 hours ago, Doddy said:

I never understood why people thought that because, as far as I'm aware, the RM800 and Retroglide 800 used the exact same power anp.

£160 for a Retroglide is a total bargain.

I spoke to Dave Green about the Retroglide when I got mine and thought it a bit underpowered. 

The design is different to virtually all amps out there in having a linear gain control, ( same as EA iAmp). Most amps hit near max output at 12 o'clock, the Retroglide keeps going until you hit the max of the control. His advice:

"Wind the Output gain control to max and adjust the volume from the Input gain control." Or " Send it to me and I can make some adjustments but don't complain if it blows your speakers up 🙂 "

Option A worked for me.

Edited by BassBunny
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22 hours ago, PeteJ said:

I can't shake the interest in Ashdown now that I've started looking into them and reading comments from some of you on here about how good they are! I've stuck with Laney since the late 1980s, but am not too impressed with their latest offerings. I have tried Hartke as well, but similar really - although I do like the Hartke cabs with the metal cones.

What I am slightly confused about is the different Ashdown models that are available... what's the difference between the ABM and RM models? Is there much difference in tone/capability?

Cheers

Pete

I’ve not had much experience with the RM class-D amps but can vouch for the ABM units as capable, great sounding, well put together, and reliable performance amps. My go-to amp incidentally is a twenty year old ABM 500EVO. It sounds great, still works perfectly and gigs really well. The valve in the pre-amp separates the ABM’s from other models and its worth mentioning different ABM models/variants do their valve sound a bit differently.

If your interest is dipping your toes in the Ashdown sound and you aren’t sure which to purchase, it may be worth trying to pick up a good inexpensive used Ashdown to try out.  ABM wise there’s a lot to choose from, they come in power outputs from around 200-1200 watts. Used RM class-D amps are also showing up regularly these days in the classifieds so that may be a good option to try.  I'm biased towards ABM's though and prefer amps that come in a wooden box, are covered with Tolex and actually have a carry handle on them 🙂

My initial interest in Ashdown amps started with a second hand ABM200 and I was hooked on the ABM sound after that experience. I’ve tried quite a few Ashdown things(and other things) since, but always come back to my ABM’s( I have two at present, the other is an EVOIII 500).

500 EVO.jpg

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1 hour ago, dangoose said:

and prefer amps that come in a wooden box, are covered with Tolex and actually have a carry handle on them

Now you're talking! Can't say I'm impressed with these lightweight tin-box amps that seem to be all the rage nowadays...

Thanks for the info.

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6 hours ago, PeteJ said:

Just out of interest, what are the CTMs like?

I’ve got a CTM-300 and it’s glorious. I’ve not even had chance to run it at rehearsal/gig levels, due to Covid. I wanted the 300 so I could have plenty of clean headroom if I wanted to be loud without breakup.

I got it from the Ashdown B stock sale for 1/2 the price of a new one.

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