Price paid: £ 950
Purchased from: Flying Pig
Sound: I use several different basses with this amp from a Fretless Rickenbacker 4003, to Active 5 string basses. The input features Two jack sockets, which cater to both high and low inpedance instruments. The only thing I would say about that is that I suspect the low impedance input is connected to the high impedance, but with resistors in line, to lower it, rather than a separate circuit. I believe their Valve Bass amps have true independant inputs, rather than this cheaper alternative.
It always sounds great regardless of the Bass I use and the speaker is more than capable of handling the bottom string on an active 5 string. The combo itself does not feature a high frequency horn. However the 2x10 extention cab did, so it didn't really matter too much to me.
There are no negative sound issues for me with this amp regardless of volume. It has always given me what I required of it. // 10
Reliability & Durability: Reliability... Hmmn... Right, here goes!
In the 10 years I have had this amp it has been consistantly reliable right up until about 2 years ago, when all Four Mosfets blew mid song. Just prior to this happening, I became aware of a lot of heat coming out of the front vents followed by an acrid smell of burning copper. Mosfets traditionally do not handle heat well and will blow if the heat is not dissipated fast enough. When I took it to be repaired, I asked them to check the fan was okay. The mosfets were replaced and the fan was pronounced as working fine. "It was just one of those things!" is what I was told.
A few months ago whilst playing, I suddenly started to feel heat from it and immediately detected the smell of burning copper, so I switched it off straight away. Whilst switching it off, the fuses blew to protect the output circuit. I finished the gig using the DI circuit into the PA which was still operating. When I got home, I opened it up and saw tell-tale signs of heat damage on the Output PCB by one of the mosfets, so knew what had happened. However, this time, I chose to check the fan myself, as in the months prior to this, it sometimes seemed to run warm. When I put a 12 volt current across the fan it operated and worked fine, so I left it running and after a bit, it stopped. I tried starting it again and it wouldn't. Eventually it started again, before stopping again. This carried on for a while.
When I ran a multimeter across the fan, it showed a resistance and as stated above, did work for a bit, but intermittantly.
A new fan was put in, as well as the mosfets. (I replaced them all, to be on the safe side.)
Since then, there have been no problems and it works like it always did. It would appear that the fan working intermittantly caused the problems on both occasions, but was not picked up initially as the multimeter showed a resistance, even when the fan did not rotate.
The main weakness of the design appears to be that Mosfets are twitchy around heat which a 300watt beast creates and so a working internal fan is essential, or problems will arise.
The only other issue I ever had with it is that the DI output did not work once, which was later traced to a dry joint.
My grading of this amp has dropped due to the fact that the Amp is dependant on a working fan and the one supplied, became unreliable. That being said, a Ferrari with a blocked radiator will go bang just as well, so I don't blame the amp anymore. After the first time it went, I took a while to get my confidence back, as I didn't truly trust the "It was just one of those things!" that I was told. // 7
Overall Impression: My Overall impression is that this is a good amp, with good facilities. I play professionally and it is my Main rig onstage, as well as for recording for the last 10 years. (Sometimes I just DI into the desk when recording! ) It has in its lifetime been used as the main Bass amp at several Outdoor festivals, meaning it ran continually for 12 hours at a go, with no issues and nobody ever having reason to complain about its performance, regardless of the types of music they played into it.
As it is now 10 years old, I probably should be thinking about replacing it with something new, but I've yet to try anything which produces the sound and feel I get from it. Ashdowns are nice, but I don't really feel like it would be an improvement over the Trace. New Traces are really just Peaveys with the Trace Brand name, so I'm not all that thrilled with them yet. Until I try something that I feel is better than this, I'll continue to use it.
It is a shame that the Original Trace Elliot Company went bust, otherwise I'd have probably replaced this with a newer model of theirs.
Is there anything I hate about it... No! It's great Amp... Although if somebody is buying one, I recommend that you replace the internal fan with a new one, as my original one stopped being reliable after 8 years. Since the youngest one of these amps available will be older than that, changing the fan would be a wise precaution, for anyone buying, or using this amp.
I paid for this amp with the proceedings of One gig. It has proved to be a great amp financially, regardless of the relatively minor repar costs.
I've always looked after it (Despite the Cats! ) and it only ever let me down twice. I am confident that it will still work for another 8 years, but if I still own it then, I'll probably take the precaution of fitting a new fan every five years or so... New fan... 7.00. Amp repair... 130.00. You do the math! // 9