Price paid: $ 699
Purchased from: Musicican's Friend
Ease of Use — 5
I noodled with the settings for AN HOUR before the amp produced a sound that was halfway decent. And that's halfway. I noodled with the guitar too, trying to make some headway. The Stiletto's a great bass, and if the RM can't pull a good tone out of it, there's no hope for the amp. The owner's manual was badly proofread, unclear, and confusing. And the Ashdown's control setup was basically bass-ackwards from everything I'm familiar with. Peaveys aren't especially clear cut either, and I manage to make mine sound damn good. It shouldn't be hard to dial in a good tone. Baseline tone shouldn't suck. The manual should make sense, especially if you're introducing the product in a region that may be mostly unfamiliar with with it. You failed with this one, Ashdown.
Sound — 4
This was quite possibly one of my greatest gear disappointments ever. In fact, it was probably THE greatest gear disappointment ever. After 2 or 3 weeks of searching for a reasonably lightweight combo with good power and a decent price, I decided on the Ashdown Rootmaster. I've played 10" rigs before. My main stage amp for several years was a Kustom Groove 310С. I know what to expect for sound from a multiple 10" setup. This combo DID NOT deliver.
Out of the box, the sound was dull and flat. Еhe low-B on my Schecter Stiletto Elite-5 farted out and just sounded dead. After fidding with the 5-band EQ and shape switch, I was able to dial in a warm punchy tone....as long as I was playing notes higher on the scale than low Eb. What I could find had a nice character, but I had to work for it. And it wasn't good enough to make up for the shortcomings.
The drive channel showed some promise and would've been fun to noodle around with. However, the Sub-Octave feature was a laugh and then some. It mostly sounded like a broken chorus or something.
420 watts was not to be heard or felt from this combo. My TNT115 delivers 160 and produces considerably more light-fixture rattling at a third of the volume. There was no POWER, no presence. I feel a bass amp should have an intimidating tone, and the RM Mag failed to deliver. A good amp can make a sucky guitar sound decent. But when a good guitar sounds like crap through an amp, well... we gots us a problem, Jefe.
Reliability & Durability — 7
I can speak to neither reliability or durability as the amp went back in the box for return after 2 hours. On the surface it seemed fairly well constructed with lots of care and attention to detail in the craftsmanship. Everything worked as far as switches and knobs, it just didn't deliver on sound or power. The cabinet is beautiful and the control panel is sharp looking and clean. No seams, lines, scratches or breaks in the coverings to be seen. Perhaps a dud? I don't know and am not going to take the time for find out. Back to the warehouse she goes.
Overall Impression — 5
This was a fantastic disappointment. Ashdown amps seem to be generally revered in the UK, and I had hoped this foray into lighter-weight, lower-priced combos would deliver. I sincerely hope this is a lemon and many people are enjoying this product, but honestly, I'm soured on the marque as a whole from this experience. I'm also kicking myself for buying an amp sight unseen without ever having heard the thing. I should know better at this stage, but sometimes you get lucky, right? Must've used that luck up on something else.