Price paid: € 395
Purchased from: Feedback Musicstore
Sound — 9
Hooked up to my Schecter four-string with two massive EMG humbuckers, this beast roars! I bought an extension cab recently (the Ashdown 410T deep (about 240 euro's)) and this makes the sound very rich. It just sounds right, complete. Although you can create a lot of different sounds, I like this amp most when it's only amplifying. In my opinion, an amp should be a magnifying glass, exclusively making the input signal louder. This amp does the trick very well. I love hearing the sound my bass is actually making, not the effects in between (although those come in handy too a lot of times). I play a lot of different styles, from Megadeth to Steely Dan. This amp handles every sound perfectly. To test its noise, I tried to turn up the input level and output level to max (without actually playing the bass, that would destroy your ears instantly). Only when I turned up the higher EQ-knobs I heard little noise, which seemed to come from the pickups rather then from the amp itself. Every other noise coming from the amp would directly be subdued when playing. This amp in combination with the extension cab is perfect for any small to medium gigs. Arms-races with guitarist or agitated, aggressive drummers are easily beaten with this stack. Versatile and loud, this amp is well worth the money, compared to other amps in this price range.
Overall Impression — 9
What's more to say? This awesome old-school-looking amp definitely was the right choice for me! My guitarist got a slight disappointed look on his face when he knew I would blow his Marshall-stack away (yes, it actually can compete with the fat sound coming from an amp like that). I'm totally happy with my purchase!
Reliability & Durability — 7
Well, this thing is a tank. I'm not sure whether it would deflect bullets, but everything else you might throw at it can't hurt it. It has a heavy, solid wooden casing with little metal plates at the corners. I'm quite sure the electronics and the drivers are of good quality. The knobs are big and solid, making a very though impression. When gigging I'm not going to take any backup with me when I know I've got this beast in my backline. In the first place because it simply is reliable. In the second place because my back won't survive dragging another amp like this everywhere I go. It's heavy, but this ensures me that it won't break down easily. I've actually never heard of anyone with a broken Ashdown amp. The only thing I'm a unsure about is the front of the amp. It does not have a steal grill or something to protect the speakers. It would be a terrible loss when something punched through the carpet on the front...
Features — 8
This relatively small solid-state combo, built in 2009, packs a whopping 307 watts of power (indeed, exactly three hundred-and-seven watts). A single 15" Blue Line speaker is capable of producing a powerful, yet accurate sound. Of course Ashdown's old-school-looking trademark is built in the front panel: the awesome VU-meter. With the 5-band EQ and the "deep" & "bright" presets it's possible to create any sound that comes to mind, from a growling thunder to a flat and rich jazz sound. What surprised me most was the effect of every single knob of the EQ. Turning each one slightly up or down actually changes the sound a big deal. This way you can easily create your own distinctive sound or make subtle changes (With some cheep EQ's I feel like I'm just turning a few pointless knobs around without the slightest effect). Anyway, the front panel also features passive & active inputs, a compressor, an octaver, effects send & return and a D.I. out. Last but not least there's the mighty output knob, which is only turned up ever so slightly when I'm practicing at home. This amp surely is loaded with some cool features, but I'm missing a pedal-input to Switch the compressor and octaver. On stage, things can get a little complicated when trying to jump from a little solo with the octaver to a heavy chorus with a lot of compression. Besides this amp makes a lot of side-noise (non-electrical). The cooling fan in the back sounds like a vacuum cleaner, disturbing me sometimes when playing at lower levels. The thing weighs a ton, and is not very easy to carry around, but still the sound is well worth it. Also, there's no headphone-output. But who buys this 307 watt beast to plug headphones in it? All in all, I'm very pleased with the assets on this amp. It has everything you might aspect.