To be honest I'm more of a vintage tube amp guy but I wanted to see what these new micro amps are capable of. The Tone Hammer seemed like a perfect choice as reports from various web forums are great and describe it as having a "tubey" sound. I not so sure I agree with that last bit. Perhaps the SOUND is kinda tubey but the RESPONSE certainly isn't. Still, it is one of the nicest solid state amps I've tried. Not as sterile sounding as some other solid state designs, definitely on the warm side. Very versatile with lots of controls to shape the tone. Personally I prefer a simpler layout but I guess it's nice to have options. The eq is very powerful. The relationship between the gain and drive settings can also be used to shape the tone/response of the amp. Unlike many other solid state amps it actually seems to have a "sweetspot" (which I'm sure will differ with personal preferences).
The output volume is impressive for such a small amp. I would compare it to 100-150w tube amps. I've been using it for rehearsals with a progrock band (loud drummer, Marshall 50w Plexi, Hammond/Leslie) and it worked great. Gigs in small/medium clubs would be no problem.
This amp will probably not be the first choice for tube enthusiasts but it's excellent as a backup amp or for situations where portability is an issue. It will easily fit into the front pocket of a gigbag. Fans of solid state amps will probably love it, unless they are into a very clinical "hifi" sound.
A dream amp for 99% of the bass players out there!
I was in the market for a small amp after owning a few (Gallien MB200, ATS LBA500, Ashdown Little Giant 1000, Markbass LittleMark II and a few others). It's the first Aguilar product I own and I must say it's up to expectations... looks well built and look, feel and sound are just high-end. It's not an amp full of features like compression, tone-shaping extras like contour or whatsoever - it's more a simple device for the gigging bassist. I like it... my only gripe (and it's very personal and only due to my taste) is that the high frequency control isn't set on the right frequency and isn't very powerful (or at least, not powerful enough to make the amp bright like some more "hi-fi" competitors). The mid controls is nice and the drive is very useable. Certainly worth the price. I'm not regretting taking the 350 against the 500, it's certainly loud enough for most situations (if not for all of them) and I like the low weight and small dimensions. Would I buy it again? Yep. MAYBE if I had to swap it for something I'd like to try the SWR Headlite, just 'cause I like bright tones but I wouldn't go back to chinese made amps like the MB200 - small but crappy in both tone and sound.
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