Reviewed: Ashdown Studio 8 Bass Amplifier

Pro Music Australia | promusicaustralia.com.au | Expect To Pay: $339

The Ashdown Studio 8 is a 30 watt bass amplifier designed for practice at home, but because we’re all gear aficionados, we’ll find some much more interesting uses for it. The amp is small enough that it could easily be used as an enlarged tweeter for a dirty tone in either a live setting or studio session, or maximised as a fuzzy low-end for guitar or keys. The Studio 8 is the smallest of the Studio range, besides the Studio Jnr which is mostly its own beast. Weighing just 6.1kgs, the Studio 8 can easily be travelled with without breaking your back or the bank. It features one 8” speaker, and the other Studio amps in the range (Studio 10, 12, 15 etc.) have increasing sizes of speaker.

At face value, the Studio 8 is a 30 watt amplifier with EQ and a line in. The only Volume is a master volume control, providing an overall master for both bass/instrument input (via a ¼” jack) and line input mix, such as a smartphone or computer for playback of a backing track. The EQ is three bands, high, middle and low, and offers +/- 15dB of gain a pop.

 

For such a small amp and speaker, the Studio 8 provides plenty of low-end for solo or quiet rehearsal to ensure you sit nicely in the pocket of the mix that your bass shines in. This is partly thanks to the rear bass port, featured on the Studio 8 & 15 amps, allowing low end to escape while filling the room and shaking the floor. I can only imagine how much power you could muster from the varying sizes of Studio amps from Ashdown. The mids in the Studio 8 are present without overwhelming the lows with ‘whomp’ and mess, and the highs add a nice level of attack and articulation for a clear, balanced clean tone. The line-in mix knob allows you to blend in backing track, before finally deciding on an overall master volume.

 

 

Accompanied by a larger amp, the Ashdown Studio 8 would make a great mid/high frequency amp, usually dedicated to more gain and grit, while the larger amp handles the low mids and cleaner low and sub frequencies. It can prove difficult to capture a bass tone from the one source, and oftentimes, both in the studio and live, multiple tones are captured, re-amped, re-imagined and re-recorded to put together a ‘perfect’ tone. The Studio 8 could be your saving grace by splitting out a signal and using it as a dedicated high end/grit amplifier on a record. If nothing else, it’s a trick up your sleeve.

 

While these would be great uses for the Studio 8, what’s really missing is a dedicated line out/D.I. The addition of this would propel the Studio 8 into a higher league of amplifiers, but without it, it holds the Studio 8 back into the world of practice amps. While separate D.I. boxes aren’t hard to come by, nor expensive, it’s become such an expected feature of bass amps that I really feel it’s missing, even on such a small amplifier. Fear not though, because the Studio 12 and 15 both feature D.I. outs via XLR, coupled with dedicated drive.

 

Overall, the Studio 8 would be a great buy for entry level bass players and tone-chasers. The whole range of Studio amps from Ashdown provide great sound and plenty of handy features with varying levels of power and size. And in that case - why stop at one? The Studio 8 packs a punch that the Studio 15 can’t quite nail, and vice versa. The Studio 8 is a solid amplifier with solid features to provide a consistent practice amp for home or small bands.

Hits and Misses

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Small size, big sound, low weight

Great EQ section

Handy line input mixer knob

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No D.I. out

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