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Klystron Bass Magnifier from Ashdown Engineering

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The new Bass Magnifier bass amps are a whole line of bass guitar amplifiers that include 200, 400 or 800-watt heads, seven combos and eight different speaker cabinets. Made in England, all of these amps feature a built-in studio quality harmonizer that adds a lower extra octave to your original bass sound. This sub-bass signal can be mixed into the finished sound or can be routed separately to Ashdown's 400-watt powered sub-woofer cabinet.

Starting with the pre-amp stage, the Klystron Bass Magnifier (I find this name a quirky since a klystron was special vacuum tube developed to amplify microwave radar signals towards the end of W.W.II) uses both solid-state and a dual triode tube stage for a range of very clean to warm or even fuzzy bass sounds. Inputs for both passive and active basses are provided while a retro-looking VU monitors input levels. Tone controls are straightforward rotary bass, mid-range and treble with two additional faders for an extra 15dB of cut/boost at 180Hz or 340Hz and 1.4kHz or 2.6kHz. This works out to a total of seven bands of EQ.

The output section of the Klystron is composed of a row of MOSFET power transistors, toroidal transformers and doubled up output capacitors. Instead of a noisy single high speed/capacity cooling fan, four quiet low speed fans are use to cool this power output amplifier. The chassis is made from 16 gauge zinc-coated steel with full foil shielding to minimize electrical noise and interference from external sources.

Other niceties: all cabinets and amp tops are made from plywood with screwed and glued joined corners, covered in a "buffalo" covering and sealed to eliminate air noise; Ashdown uses speakers by Celestion; a front panel mounted XLR connector for DI; permanent tuner jack; a footswitchable mute; and all amps and combos are backed by a five-year transferable warranty.

The 400-watt head sells for 949 English pounds retail. For much more about the whole range of the Ashdown Klystron Bass Magnifier series you can contact: Ashdown Engineering at Howe Farm. Southend Road, Chelmsford, Essex CM2 7TE UK. Phone them at 44 (0) 1245 477010 or Email to:

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