From Manhattan, New York, we add these great amps to our amp stock in the shop.
A little bit of history:
Alex Aguilar, co-founder of this brand along with bassist Dave Boonshoft, is the man behind the legendary Sadowsky onboard preamp. In 1991 Aguilar opened his own amp repair shop (next door to Sadowsky); Dave Boonshoft needed a studio quality tube preamp and asked Alex to build one for him, and the mythical DB680 was born ("DB" for Dave Boonshoft). BAsed on the success of that unit, they created Aguilar Amplification in 1994. Later would come the DB359 and DB728 heads, the OBP-1 internal preamp, and later the brand's flagship, the DB750 hybrid head, as well as the GS and DB series of bass enclosures, the world famous DB924 external preamp and the OBP-3 internal preamp (used by dozens of luthiers) and the new AG500 amps. From 2003 the company is run by Dave Boonshoft and Dave Avenius.
The AG series marked a new direction for Aguilar, as the first units with no tubes inside. The power section is Class T, a variation of Class D, only more efficient, developed by Tripath Corporation. Just take a look inside and you'll see a nice Toroidal Transformer; this ensures plenty of power for all the electronic components. 4 huge capacitors act as a power reservoir if needed.
The power section offers 500W RMS at 4 Ohms, and you get the feeling that there's always more power available thanks to the impressive headroom. Many brands measure power at peak over a specific frequency (typically 400 Hz), especially tube amps, but if you measure it at 80Hz you'll see you get much less power. Aguilar do it "the right way", measuring at the whole sonic spectrum. That's why Aguilar Watts seem to be louder Watts.
The concept behind the Aguilar Sound is based on a high quality power amp section that is flat and transparent sounding, letting the preamp do the sound tweaking part of the job. This is inherited from Aguilar's flagship amp, the DB750.
Let's now go to Channel 2, which makes this such an special amp.
The Saturation control adds the desired amount of distortion, which is internally followed by a compensating
gain stage, which ensures the output volume remains constant and the channel free of overload regardless
of how much saturation is dialed in. There's enough range here to go from a mild snarl to a powerful growl and even full distortion.
The Contour pot takes care of the midrange, giving a more scooped sound as you turn it up, while the Presence control adds top end fuzz-like detail.
If you have tried bass overdrive pedals, you have probably noticed that most of them add too much distortion and what's worse, you end up losing your bottom end, making your bass sound like a big guitar. We are glad to report that there's no such thing here. The "Deep" switch in Channel 2 (again +6dB <100Hz) does a great job at making your bass sound like a bass regardless of the amount of saturation used.
Playing through the AG500 is quite an experience. Just as you are having fun with the Saturation channel, switch to Channel 1 and you'll get again a clean sound with a quick attack. It is actually like having two amps in one. Even if Distortion is not your thing, it makes sense to pay just a little more and get this 2 channel amp, because sooner or later you'll find an use fro channel two. It could well happen that you have not used saturation for bass so far because you hadn't found a proper unit, but we assure you that channel 2 is addictive. You've been warned!
-Perfect Effects Loop: pull "Send" for -20dB operation, pull "Return" to switch from Paralell to Series. Neat!
- Professional Balanced DI with Pre/Post EQ and ground lift switches
- Input pad (-15 dB) for active or hot basses; the "Peak" indicator lets you set up the correct input gain easily in order to get the best performance and signal to noise ratio. By the way, this amp is dead quiet.
- Tuner Output, and footswtich controlled Mute and Channel Switching
- All this in a very light amp (8Kg/17 lbs) that comes with a side handle and ear racks.
We are seeing more American brands move their headquarters and/or manufacturing facilities to Asia in order to reduce costs. Nothing wrong with that, but the truth is most of the times you get a lesser amp that doesn't sound half as good as the original, nor do they compare in terms of construction, components or quality control . We are happy to see that Aguilar are still making their amps and cabinets in the US, and are making them with painstakingly attention to detail and quality control.