My Bass Rig 2

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Ashdown RM 420

Amp Head

The centre of my Bass Rig is my new Ashdown RootMaster 420 Head. It's a class D amp rated at 420w RMS @ 4 Ohms

It has a 5 band EQ (and a pre shape). It's got all the usual Ashdown features, a great VU meter, DI, send and return loops, plus an aux line in. It's also got a built in compressor, a drive and octaver analogue effects. I pop my effects pre-amp, so these on board effects are post signal chain. It's really nice to have another compressor, grit and octaver at the end of the chain as well as in the usual spots.

The preamp on this amp seems to like driving a lot, 3/4 is quite normal for this amp. Fully maxxed out and it breaks up to a really nice sounding overdrive. Combined with the drive knob...the overdrive grit is really nice. Nicer than a lot of my dedicated OD and Fuzz pedals, and I have a few!


Unfortunatly due to a fault with a PA, sending a live through amp, my 12' cab recently blew up and took out my Trace Elliot head. Which is why I needed a new amp. There wer other choices of amp on my mind, but this amp ticked all the right boxes and is a LOT lighter than my Trace Elliot amp. It was around 22kgs in weight and was a real lump to lug around. My new Ashdown is only 5kgs! It's of a simular power rating and should run a bit more efficiently becuase of the Class D design.


I'm currently using my 15" cab with this amp due to my old 12" cab speaker needing a re-cone.

The VU meter looks so cool...although it's not actually very useful. Pictured here with my 4 string fretless, MM pickup 2 band EQ and Pino...



The amp is a newer Class D design. It's interesting how simular these amps can sound, I do miss the Graphic i might invest in an MXR 10 band graphic for my pedal board. Initially, I thought the Ashdown was more darker and boomy sounding, which is true in my front room at low power levels. But open her up in a bigger venue and that familiar old sound was's a mid honk that is specific to Mark Gooday's designs. Ashdown is the spiritual desendant to Trace and it's a part of my tone. After 20 years...any other amp just sounds wrong to my ears. This amp needs the preamp pushed quite a bit. About 70% is about where the preamp really starts to sing and it gives me the tones I'm after. So I tend to keep the preamp gain high and adjust the output gain low. If the preamp is pushed past 75-80% then it breaks up really well into a glorious overdrive. Add a little compression and turn up the drive knob to 70% and the grit is very very nice. The two cascade really well. Top marks for that design! The octaver is analogue and is pre blended, so if the knob is fully on, it's about a 50:50 mix. Which is what most guys need in a 'taver. It's a pity it can be dialled fully on but it's the sound most people dial in anyway...but you won;t get a trigger synth sound out of it...but it's perfect for those mid 80's Pino fretless slides. The compressor is good, a nice simple one knob comp...but curiously the manual says that it's designed specifically to not increase the gain as the compression increases...well with my copy of this amp it certainly does increase grain a LOT. The 5 band EQ is great, really easy to use and good choices of frequency spots. I do miss my 7 band graphic...after 20's hard to change. So i might look up a MXR 10 band and pop it in the send and retun loop. What more can I's small and very light. It looks great and I love the VU meter. It's easy to get some great tones out of it...although it's easier to get heavy rock out of it than the trad pop / funk TE 80's tones. The mid shape EQ button does help a lot in that regard. I think there's a little bit of a baked in EQ which has been dialled at the factory. It's quite nice, but I think the 10 band graphic and a signal generator witll help me dial in a truly flat EQ tone. The the way is appalling...filled with copy and paste errors. If money was no object, I probably would have gone for the new Ashdown Retroglide 800 or the slighly harder to find ABM 1000 class D. But I'm confined to a limited budget at the moment and hence my current choice. It's a great amp and I'm hoping that it'll service my bass playing needs for a long time to come.