Review: Ashdown MAG C210T-300 Combo & MAG 210T Deep Cabinet

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I mentioned it here recently that I was purchasing a new bass amp.  I like my current Behringer 3000BXT, but I wanted something a little more portable and, if the tone was an improvement, great!

I decided on the Ashdown MAG C210T-300 Combo and the MAG 210T Deep Cabinet.  They both arrived late last week giving me the weekend to test them out.  Right out of the box, I can tell you they look great and are well-built.  Given the relatively low cost, I’m sure the internal stuff isn’t super high end, but you can’t tell from the exterior.

It’s sturdy with recessed metal handles making both of them very easy to carry even for one person.  The back panel of the combo is recessed, which I really like.  It protects the speaker outs and switches when travelling.

The buttons on the front panel of the combo are a little iffy – plastic and without a noticeable click – and the big plastic knobs, while they look cool, aren’t super tight, so the chances of the eq getting bumped are pretty high.  But, again, with a lower-end cost, you sacrifice some things and that’s ok.

The combo stacks perfectly on top of the cab and looks fantastic.  The vintage-style Ashdown VU meter is a nice touch.

The first thing I noticed about the combo when I plugged it in was how much bass response it had and just how incredibly loud it was.  I have no doubt the combo is more than enough for any smaller venue.  When I plugged in the cabinet – they have an extension speaker out on the combo and even use a standard quarter inch L-plug for the internal speakers which is handy if you need to unplug them to test another cab, which I did – I was blown away at the volume level.  It is MORE than I’ll ever need at any club in Houston for sure.

The tone of the combo is outstanding – just what I would expect from a 2×10 combo.  It’s warm and the eq is really sensitive with a wide sweep.  Unlike a lot of amps that are just too bright, I found myself turning on the “bright” switch on the amp for some extra high end.  I dialed in a great sound in seconds.

The deep bass button I can see being really handy for bigger rooms.  It just brings in the subs nicely.  There is a button on there for “sub harmonics” which is basically a low octaver along with a knob for how much of it you want.  It’s interesting and I might be able to use it for recording because it is extremely subtle even with the knob at 100 percent, but I won’t use it much otherwise.

Like the Behringer, this has a DI on the front of the amp.  Personally, I prefer a DI on the back just to keep extra cables out of the way on stage, but it’s not a big deal. The combo also has an EQ on/off switch that controls the front-panel EQ section.  I could see that being helpful if I ever wanted to put a preamp in front of the combo.  Nice idea!

The extension cabinet, like the combo, is well-made and sounds great.  I isolated it with just the combo’s power and EQ and, while it doesn’t quite have the resonance of the combo (no doubt simply because the combo is just a bigger cabinet overall), it sounded punchy and clean.  The two together sound fantastic.  I can’t compliment the tone of this rig enough.  I literally found MY sound in seconds with little effort and, surprisingly, I found the tone to be remarkably consistent at both higher and lower volumes – generally, the mark of a well-made amp.
I also tested out the combo with my SWR Workingman 4×10 cabinet just to see and the low end literally rumbled the walls in the rehearsal room.  Probably overkill in almost every setting, but nice to know it’s available.

I’m honestly thrilled with this purchase.  For less than $850 including shipping, I got a fantastic new rig that gives me all sorts of options, sounds great and blows the doors off of most venues.  Sweet!

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