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Intermediate Member
Username: gare

Post Number: 170
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Wednesday, March 30, 2005 - 2:36 pm:   Edit Post

I was wondering if any Alembicans have any first hand knowledge of Acoustic Image amps. Such as tone, power, etc.
I searched the archives, but there little info there.
Dealers for these seem to be rare animals, nearest one to me is about 50/60 miles away.

Username: davehouck

Post Number: 1565
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Wednesday, March 30, 2005 - 2:42 pm:   Edit Post

David Burgess is an Alembic playing member of our group and is also a dealer for Acoustic Image. He's on the other side of the world from you, but he should be able to give you some good first hand info.
Username: newuser

Post Number: 18
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Wednesday, March 30, 2005 - 4:14 pm:   Edit Post

Since my Alembic is still under construction, I can't claim to be an "Alembic playing member" yet, but I do have an AI Focus 1R and swear by this 4 pound wonder. There are some reviews around the net:

Acoustic Image @

Focus @

Clarus @

With 600 watts @ 4ohms/300 @ 8ohms I find it loud enough to hang with the rock guys (strong drummer, guitar player has a Marshall, I'm wearing -20db earplugs! :-) ). It's tiny and light. It has a Notch Filter and a sweepable High Pass Filter for URB/Microphone use (feedback killers), and modest bass, mid, treble and brite controls. If you like the sound of your bass(es) then the AI amps should fit your bill. If you like lots of EQ on the amp side then you might not be too happy.

To my ears it has a "Hi-Fi" yet warm sound. In many ways it reminds me of the Walter Woods amps (the "Alembic" of amps, I played one of the old beige ones once and have never forgotten it). Of course the adage "Garbage in, garbage out" comes to mind.

I find that my Gibson Tobias (Bart 18v w. 3 pos mid switch), sounds great through it. I get compliments about the tone from musicians and lay-folk alike.

I played a Pedulla Buzz with Alembic PJ PUs (vol, vol, tone cut, similar to the traditional Fender passive set-up), through it and thought it sounded great too.

However when I have used my old Ibanez (SDGR series), the anemic nature of those PUs/electronics are evident.

If you need a tiny, light system that has major EQ you might look at AI's new Focus SA (mono amp stage only), with a SansAmp Bass driver (the little one in a stomp box). I used to use one with a small amp and the Ibanez sounded much better that way.

Advanced Member
Username: dnburgess

Post Number: 392
Registered: 1-2003
Posted on Wednesday, March 30, 2005 - 7:03 pm:   Edit Post

The AI head units are indeed very nice sounding amps. (The combo units are not really ideal for electric bass.)

Hi-fi but not brittle is probably a good description of the sound. In common with other switchmode amplifiers (e.g. QSC PLX) the Focus does not sound very loud for the rated output - but should be plenty for many situations. E.g. The other night I saw one being used in a small venue with an Acme B2 in a 10 piece band doing horn heavy TOP, EWF, etc - the bass sounded really loud without FOH support.

The convenience is impossible to go past.

It doesn't sound as good as my F1X + power amp stack - but that weighs over 50lbs - and hardly ever leaves the house since I've had the Focus. Most of the time I take the Focus or a Thunderfunk - which is another great amp - but not as light.

David B.
Advanced Member
Username: kungfusheriff

Post Number: 294
Registered: 8-2003
Posted on Wednesday, March 30, 2005 - 11:46 pm:   Edit Post

I borrowed a Clarus from a friend earlier this year and tried it, with my S2, through every cab I could get my hands on.
I guess I'm the one that didn't like it.
The convenience is weighs nothing, is smaller than any comparable product and has some pretty serious oomph. But I didn't like the tone...I'm one of those who believes every factor in a signal chain has an important influence on the tone, including the dead air between speaker and listener, so the dead-flat accuracy of the Clarus left me wanting.
If you want to hear exactly what your bass sounds like (I have on many occasions, plugged good 'phones directly into my Series, so I know what she does), AI amps with a good cabinet will make you happy. I ended up buying a Baby Blue. My ancient WW was sold to help finance the Alembic, FWIW, so I never got to hear them together.
Intermediate Member
Username: gare

Post Number: 172
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Thursday, March 31, 2005 - 7:38 am:   Edit Post

Thanks for your responses.
I was curious if these amps were conservatively rated power wise, or over/under rated. I'm not really in search of mega wattage, but a different tone than I've been using. (think Squire,Lake,etc)
Currently I'm using a Mesa 400+ and/or a Mesa Walkabout, into a Schroeder 1210 cabinet. Not getting what I want from the 400.
I've run the Walkabout preamp into the 400 power section..closer, and a heck of alot louder. I've run a Sansamp Bassdriver into the power section, that was nice too,but not quite there.
And a Furman PQ3 as a preamp.
And I've run the bass directly into a power amp.
The 400 is a beast to move around, so for moving around purposes I've been mostly using the Walkabout lately, and the power is sufficient for my needs.
The newer/smaller/lighter packages are appealing.
Another thing I've been looking into is the True Voice pre.
One of my requirements is that all eq can be set completely flat.
Aint this tone quest thing fun ?
Senior Member
Username: palembic

Post Number: 1967
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Thursday, March 31, 2005 - 8:06 am:   Edit Post

I have a colleague who once had this thing
He was very happy with the sound. I don't remember if it was the 115 or the 210. Though I DO remeber that he combined it with an extra speaker from time to time and he came out with a very versatile set-up.
Just an idea.


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