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Ashdown Amps - what are the differences between models?

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8 hours ago, dangoose said:

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

That's a sexy awesome sounding amp. Is the cab a RM?

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11 hours ago, PeteJ said:

Just out of interest, what are the CTMs like?

Fantastic sound, eq next to pointless but really clear powerful sound.

Also, a little heavier!

 

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On 18/01/2021 at 10:12, 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 did a direct comparison between the Retroglide and the RM500 at the last SW Bass Bash. No idea why it should be, but the RM500 had noticeably more punch or kick to it.

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50 minutes ago, Woodinblack said:

Fantastic sound, eq next to pointless but really clear powerful sound.

Also, a little heavier!

 

Yes, the eq is quite subtle. One day I’m going to do some frequency measurements on it.

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10 minutes ago, PaulWarning said:

what's the difference between the MAG and ABM ranges?

In my opinion they are very different.

I gigged the old style revision 1 mag 300 and mag 410 for years and the ABMs for a couple.

The mag is more middle based to my ears, sounds good, but quite individual.

The abm seems to fit nice and warm in the mix more easily.

The main difference for me is in a band setting. The abm on it's own can sound quite uninspiring, but in the mix it's great. The mag (from memory) is quite nice isolated and needs more work to fit.

Just be careful when choosing an ashdown - theres that many revisions and versions of the same names amp it can be very confusing. Ie the mag 300 is absolutely nothing like the 220. The abm evo 2 is nothing like the abm evo 4. Then theres mags with evo revisions!  Theres also the rm range. Then rm cabs with mag revisions and straight rm cabs.....which are half the weight. It can get confusing!

Edited by la bam

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3 minutes ago, la bam said:

In my opinion they are very different.

I gigged the old style revision 1 mag 300 and mag 410 for years and the ABMs for a couple.

The mag is more middle based to my ears, sounds good, but quite individual.

The abm seems to fit nice and warm in the mix more easily.

The main difference for me is in a band setting. The abm on it's own can sound quite uninspiring, but in the mix it's great. The mag (from memory) is quite nice isolated and needs more work to fit.

Just be careful when choosing an ashdown - theres that many revisions and versions of the same names amp it can be very confusing. Ie the mag 300 is absolutely nothing like the 220. The abm evo 2 is nothing like the abm evo 4. Then theres mags with evo revisions!  Theres also the rm range. Then rm cabs with mag revisions and straight rm cabs.....which are half the weight. It can get confusing!

very confusing.

As I've said before I had an ABM 500 EVO iii, was not impressed, soon move it on it seemed underpowered to me, maybe I got a duff one

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15 minutes ago, PaulWarning said:

As I've said before I had an ABM 500 EVO iii, was not impressed, soon move it on it seemed underpowered to me, maybe I got a duff one

I just won one on ebay (£160), but not too fussed about the power as it's for home use, want to try it for the tone. Personally I think all the wattage ratings from the various manufacturers are all dubious anyway. I used to own a Laney DP150 (150w) and that seemed as powerful/loud as some of these 500w offerings nowadays.

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5 minutes ago, PeteJ said:

I just won one on ebay (£160), but not too fussed about the power as it's for home use, want to try it for the tone. Personally I think all the wattage ratings from the various manufacturers are all dubious anyway. I used to own a Laney DP150 (150w) and that seemed as powerful/loud as some of these 500w offerings nowadays.

well your right about that, as has been said before some of the old Trace amps are ridiculously loud and rated at 200 watts! but you would expect the same manufacturer to rate their amps the same way

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1 hour ago, PaulWarning said:

what's the difference between the MAG and ABM ranges?

The one sentence answer from Mark Gooday:

" The MAG doesn't have a valve in the pre-amp."

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3 hours ago, Woodinblack said:

Fantastic sound, eq next to pointless but really clear powerful sound.

Also, a little heavier!

 

True and the mellow button scoops the sound out too much. I've run an eq pedal through the DI loop with great results. I find overall the best set up is: Mellow = off, Bass at 12 with Low button on, Mid at 3 O Clock, (doesnt really matter what mid shift you use) and Treble at 12 with high freq. 'on'. Crank up volume to almost max and use the gain to control the loudness.    

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14 minutes ago, PaulWarning said:

very confusing.

As I've said before I had an ABM 500 EVO iii, was not impressed, soon move it on it seemed underpowered to me, maybe I got a duff one

Same with me, I liked the sound but couldn't get the level I needed with loud drummers and guitarists.

In retrospect I think it was the cab not the amp that was at fault. I was playing it through a ABM 1x15.

I now have a Barefaced compact, which is very efficient, and forked out £134 for another ABM 500, that I found on ebay.

This time around I doubt the amp will run out of gas as the Barefaced is a lot louder than the old ABM.

Just need a gig to test my theory.

I'm still waiting.....

 

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2 hours ago, Quilly said:

True and the mellow button scoops the sound out too much. I've run an eq pedal through the DI loop with great results. I find overall the best set up is: Mellow = off, Bass at 12 with Low button on, Mid at 3 O Clock, (doesnt really matter what mid shift you use) and Treble at 12 with high freq. 'on'. Crank up volume to almost max and use the gain to control the loudness.    

I find the ideal setting is to let the amp do what it is going to do, put the volume on flat out, put the gain at whatever volume you want*, and do any tone corrections that you need elsewhere. The knobs look cool, I don't think its fair to expect them to do anything else :D

* unless you want real crunch, then put your bass into the low output socket, put the gain flat out and control the volume with volume. Or better still, turn everything flat out and let the band adjust to you!

 

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3 hours ago, JohnDaBass said:

Does anyone know how the OriginAL-500H fits in? Is the tone stack similar to the RM-500 & 800?

I think the tone stack is similar yeah, it’s just designed to be a super simple clean amp and have to say it sounded great on a recent Andertons videos review.

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3 hours ago, Quilly said:

True and the mellow button scoops the sound out too much. I've run an eq pedal through the DI loop with great results. I find overall the best set up is: Mellow = off, Bass at 12 with Low button on, Mid at 3 O Clock, (doesnt really matter what mid shift you use) and Treble at 12 with high freq. 'on'. Crank up volume to almost max and use the gain to control the loudness.    

This is something I measured earlier. This setting is:

Mellow - IN

Bass - 12 o'clock  Deep - OUT

Mid - 3 o'clock  Shift - IN

Treble - full  Bright - IN

With my Steve Harris P is sounds huge. With the CTM-300 I'm too scared to crank the volume to full and use the gain for loudness. Even with both at about 8 o'clock it's getting too loud for the house.

B 50 M75 T 100 in out in in.jpg

 

 

But it is a subtle EQ, this has the Mellow - IN and all others OUT and then the Bass Mid and Treble at the following percentages.1365444355_Amp1.thumb.jpg.58c9c8acf8727dd3e2aa9647c11e4113.jpg

 

Edited by bartelby
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Yep, it isnt exactly a huge difference is it!

The buttons do more than the knobs, but best just left alone. I know if you contact ashdown they will send you stuff to change that, but I never bothered.

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16 minutes ago, Woodinblack said:

Yep, it isnt exactly a huge difference is it!

And given how the controls interact with each other, it does take some getting used to.

 

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1 hour ago, Woodinblack said:

I know if you contact ashdown they will send you stuff to change that, but I never bothered.

What can they send to allow you to change it? Might give that option a go if I don't like the tonal variations.

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There is a thread on that somewhere on here, whoever it was who did it said it really opened the amp up.

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9 hours ago, stevie said:

I did a direct comparison between the Retroglide and the RM500 at the last SW Bass Bash. No idea why it should be, but the RM500 had noticeably more punch or kick to it.

Maybe because of the way the volume controls work, which @BassBunny mentioned earlier?  Or maybe because of the different eq? 

All I know is I've been using the Retroglide solidly for a few years now, and I never have to crank the volume too much. It's loud.

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3 minutes ago, Doddy said:

Maybe because of the way the volume controls work, which @BassBunny mentioned earlier?  Or maybe because of the different eq? 

All I know is I've been using the Retroglide solidly for a few years now, and I never have to crank the volume too much. It's loud.

what is the difference between having the input gain on full (which I do using a passive P bass) and using the master volume to control loudness , or the other way round?

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2 hours ago, bartelby said:

This is something I measured earlier. This setting is:

Mellow - IN

Bass - 12 o'clock  Deep - OUT

Mid - 3 o'clock  Shift - IN

Treble - full  Bright - IN

With my Steve Harris P is sounds huge. With the CTM-300 I'm too scared to crank the volume to full and use the gain for loudness. Even with both at about 8 o'clock it's getting too loud for the house.

B 50 M75 T 100 in out in in.jpg

 

 

But it is a subtle EQ, this has the Mellow - IN and all others OUT and then the Bass Mid and Treble at the following percentages.1365444355_Amp1.thumb.jpg.58c9c8acf8727dd3e2aa9647c11e4113.jpg

 

I’m going to save that and try is with my CTM100, cheers 

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7 minutes ago, PaulWarning said:

what is the difference between having the input gain on full (which I do using a passive P bass) and using the master volume to control loudness , or the other way round?

I'm not technical or anything, but I've always used the master to give me maximum volume, while using the gain to set my level. If I set the gain anywhere near full, I invariably end up clipping the preamp before ever touching the master volume.

 

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