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Roland DB-900 verses Ampeg (Specs)


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I'm ready for a new amp this Spring and had my mind on an ampeg pro series head but the local music shop wants me to consider the new Roland DB-900. So I ask him for cabinet/speaker freq. response specs and he returned empty handed saying it doesn't come with them. So I call Roland and ask them for the same specs at -3db and -10db just like Ampeg offers. Rolands told me that since they have broken all the rules with this amp it could reproduce anything I play and didn't require specs. I'm Suspicious and must ask, aren't all speakers & cabinets subjected to the same limiting physics outlined in the Thiele small Parameters. Can someone tell me if Roland is for real with the DB-900 ?
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Sounds weird to me. Sound is sound, and subject to the laws of physics. They ought to be able to give you some kind of specs. And if not, Roland needs a better explanation than "we've broken the rules with this amp."

 

Maybe there's someone else at Roland you can speak with? I'm guessing that you've already tried their website and come up empty handed.

 

Good luck.

spreadluv

 

Fanboy? Why, yes! Nordstrand Pickups and Guitars.

Messiaen knew how to parlay the funk.

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The ways in which specs are reported does vary, and it is very often not possible to compare two pieces of gear by specs alone. However, not reporting any specs at all seems a little strange to me, at least without a better explanation than "we've broken all the rules." There are shortcut specs that are common (like reporting SPL for a speaker at only one frequency -- often 1 kHz) as opposed to reporting SPL at a variety of places across a range of frequencies (for a good example and explanation, try Eminence ). Does the Roland amp reproduce frequencies as low as a Bag End ELF system does? Does it cover a frequency range similar to those covered by multi-way cabs from folks like AccuGroove and Acme?

 

I think that Roland ought to be able to provide some kind of scientific data about their DB-900. They give us info about it's power (320W RMS), so they ought to be able to tell us something about dBs and frequency ranges.

 

In the end, our best tool for evaluating gear is our ears, so if possible, lowdown, you should find out if you can A/B a DB-900 and an Ampeg rig with your bass(es).

spreadluv

 

Fanboy? Why, yes! Nordstrand Pickups and Guitars.

Messiaen knew how to parlay the funk.

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i think their reticence is due to trying to compare a DB-900 to an ampeg. they're totally different beasts. since the DB-900 uses quite a bit of modelling and DSP to achieve its sounds, the cab specifics are not nearly as important as the sound and loudness of the whole.

 

personally, i think people are way to specs-intense, anyway. look at them to get an idea if the product is in the ballpark. you're looking at buying one, so it sure seems like it's in the ballpark. from there, compare sound, price, flexibility, etc. and don't worry about watts, SPL, or Hz. do you buy a car because it has 131hp instead of 128hp, or do you buy it because the whole car is what you want?

 

robb.

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Originally posted by robb.:

i think their reticence is due to trying to compare a DB-900 to an ampeg. they're totally different beasts. since the DB-900 uses quite a bit of modelling and DSP to achieve its sounds, the cab specifics are not nearly as important as the sound and loudness of the whole.

Good point. I hadn't really thought about that.

 

Originally posted by robb.:

personally, i think people are way to specs-intense, anyway. look at them to get an idea if the product is in the ballpark.

 

robb.

Another good point. Once you've identified that it's "in the ballpark," you gotta try to go try it out.

 

Peace.

spreadluv

 

Fanboy? Why, yes! Nordstrand Pickups and Guitars.

Messiaen knew how to parlay the funk.

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Originally posted by Sweet Willie:

Sounds weird to me. Sound is sound, and subject to the laws of physics. They ought to be able to give you some kind of specs. And if not, Roland needs a better explanation than "we've broken the rules with this amp."

I agree with Sweet Willie, but with a bit more bile. This sounds like the worst kind of mumbo-jumbo. Unless they've figured out a way to stimulate your brain directly (i.e. bypassing your ears), I'd say it's not just weird, it's insulting, and it makes me think they're trying to feed us all a bunch of crap.

 

And I really don't care who they're afraid of being compared to - of COURSE it doesn't sound like an Ampeg. It's a solid state combo amp with a smattering of 12s and 10s and a tweeter, and a bunch of digital signal processing.

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Originally posted by robb.:

personally, i think people are way to specs-intense, anyway....

This from an engineer !! :D

 

Of course you guys are right - specs get you to a general area, but its the actual volume and sound (with your bass) that count.

 

Clearly, you talked to a misguided salesperson on the phone. Very few people would put up with that "broken the rules" thing. The modeling and DSP is why they said they can "reproduce anything". It's up to your ears to prove if that's true!!

 

I've known keyboard players with Roland KB amps that are very happy with their performance and reliability. If your tests suit you, I wouldn't be afraid to buy one. But music-man and others are correct - it's a very different amp than anything Ampeg makes. It's "more" than their combos, but can it really do what Ampeg's head/cab products can do?

 

Tom

www.stoneflyrocks.com

Acoustic Color

 

Be practical as well as generous in your ideals. Keep your eyes on the stars and keep your feet on the ground. - Theodore Roosevelt

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Originally posted by Tom Capasso:

This from an engineer !! :D

[rant] yeah, well i'm tired of "audio" engineers who never use their ears, only the numbers. it's no wonder amps sound so different -- it's not just that different people have different tastes. a lot of the audio engineers i've met are electrical engineers who happen to be working in audio. [/rant]

 

honestly, though, specs are a game. a good engineer would tell you that specs don't give a very good indication how something will perform dynamically (i.e. in real time), so they're only to give you an idea if the widget is close to the kind of widget you're looking for.

 

robb.

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To choose between those two needs to comparison experience side by side, that's I agree.

 

BUT we also need to observe the acoustic of the room and where we are from the speakers, or etc etc. This needs some other factors other than the amps/speaker itself. One or the other amps may sound better in different environment.

 

Specs are needed for a near absolute characteristic measurement of a product. So we cannot just overrule it.

 

Sound modelling is good technology, however it is still imitating something, and I don't think we can have a 100% imitation while the components are not the same. Cloning is something else..

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