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Ashdown RM-800-EVO 11 review

Heavyweight bass sounds from a compact head that has all the power you could need

  • £599
  • $1079
Ashdown RM-800-EVO II
(Image: © Ashdown Engineering)

MusicRadar Verdict

A flyweight amp head with a lot of muscle under the hood, the RM-800-EVO II taps Ashdown’s design nous for a fully-featured setup that caters to all styles, not to mention all musical situations, too.

Pros

  • +

    Great set of features at a great price.

  • +

    Lightweight yet powerful.

  • +

    Footswitchable drive and sub features.

  • +

    EQ offers comprehensive control over your tone.

  • +

    Headphones output for silent practice.

Cons

  • -

    Nothing.

Ashdown RM-800-EVO 11: What is it?

Ashdown Engineering’s bass amp pedigree means that designs such as the RM-800-EVO II arrive with a certain amount of expectation. Like many new amps, the idea is to kick out as much power as possible from the smallest format.

Therefore it should be little surprise to learn that the Class D head weighs just 5.5lbs, with a haymaking 800-watts to play with. This modern development is fast becoming the norm, but we should not take it for granted. It wasn’t so long ago that our backline was actively hostile towards our lower backs.

Not only is the RM-800-EVO II amply powered, it has a lot of features, too. This compact, solid amplifier – complete with the signature Ashdown VU meter on the front – has active and passive inputs, mute button, an EQ in/out, a Shape button, controls for input gain, compressor, bass, middle and treble, with two more dials set at 240Hz and 1.6kHz for further EQ adjustment. 

Ashdown RM-800-EVO II

(Image credit: Ashdown Engineering)

It’s like ‘EQ: The Redux’, and is a prime example of some of the imaginative thinking that is driving the evolution of bass amplification today. 

And yet, this is a simple setup. The compressor is a single-knob affair. There is a drive control that dials in a flavour of drive that will fuel suspicions that Ashdown has smuggled a vacuum tube into the RM-800-EVO II’s design. It hasn’t.

Other controls include a line mix, output, and a sub control that, like the drive control, is footswitchable. Now, that is handy. So, too, is the headphones preamp and line-in, and the two Speakon combi jacks, effects loop and – of course – a XLR DI output. This is ready for the stage, studio or home.

Ashdown RM-800-EVO II

(Image credit: Ashdown Engineering)

Ashdown RM-800-EVO 11: Performance and verdict

One of the benefits of all this power is the headroom. The RM-800-EVO II can flatten all before it before breaking up. Setting the EQ flat is a good place to start dialling in a sound. Here you have your bass guitar’s sound more or less uncoloured. Once you start moving EQ, however, the sky’s the limit.

Also consider...

Hartke LX8500

(Image credit: Hartke )

Hartke LX8500
Hartke has come up with one seriously versatile amp here, that's sure to find an audience with the gigging pro and serious amateur alike.

Markbass Little Marcus 800  
Available in 250/500/1000 watt models also, the 800 model sits comfortably in between the two power extremes, offering fine tone-shaping options with a more than capable power output.

An EQ section like this is a godsend in so many situations. Not least of which when playing live, when you need your tone to sit well within the mix. So many of the solutions to EQ issues you might have when gigging can be found on that front panel.

You can turn a relatively lacklustre bass into something upfront, full of presence and upper-mid definition. Alternatively, plummy thump is just a couple of turns of a dial. It’s easy to use, too.

Some bass amps present themselves as being for the rockers, for the slap and percussive players, for the old-school Muscle Shoals RnB set, but then you have amplifiers such as the RM-800-EVO II that feel very much like all styles can be accommodated.

Alternatives at this price, with this many features and an abundance of power, are thin on the ground, and build-wise Ashdown has once more distinguished itself.

MusicRadar verdict: A flyweight amp head with a lot of muscle under the hood, the RM-800-EVO II taps Ashdown’s design nous for a fully-featured setup that caters for all styles, not to mention all musical situations, too.

Ashdown RM-800-EVO 11: The web says

"We’ve come to expect great bass gear from Ashdown, and the RM-800 EVO ll amp continues this tradition of affordable, pro-quality amplification from this family-run business. The addition of the headphone preamp and adjustable line in give it a bit of a competitive edge when compared to many other bass amps in this class, and allied to the renowned reliability, light weight and comprehensive features, they make this quite a bargain. This amp is certainly worth checking out."
Bass Player Magazine (opens in new tab)

Ashdown RM-800-EVO 11: Hands-on demos

Ashdown Engineering

Andertons

Ashdown RM-800-EVO 11: Specifications

  • MADE IN: China
  • POWER: 800W @ 4 ohms
  • FEATURES: VU meter, Active/Passive Inputs, EQ in/out, Shape, Mute, Compressor, Drive (with in/out buttons) Sub filter, EQ: Low, mid and Treble, plus two further tone controls at 240Hz and 1.5kHz, Headphone input with on/off, Line in with mix control, Send/Return, XLR DI Output, 2 x Speakon, two-year warranty
  • DIMENSIONS: 12” x 9” x 3.5” 
  • WEIGHT: 5.5 lbs
  • CONTACT: Ashdown Engineering (opens in new tab)

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