Michael Zadow


mor about the ze200 combo Although my profession is in electronics, my second passion is in the musical sphere of double bass and E-bass and playing in various groups from jazz to classical. I've been involved in this wonderful hobby for the last 40 years and that's exactly how long I've been looking for equipment that amplifies my double-bass so that it is clearly audible for both my self and my fellow artists - and moreover that it actually sounds like a double-bass.

After much trial and error I finally resigned myself to my Minibrute II which, due to its mid range qualities, could, more or less be heard.

Then there seemed to be a ray of hope as I stumbled across the Jonas Lohse Web Site, who presented, as his favourite amplifier, the Contra 1 from Acoustic Image. With this amplifier the base speaker was positioned downwards. A great idea which was already being used in Home Movies, Subwoofers etc but it was the Amis that first had the idea of utilising this principle in double-bass amplifiers.

I would have purchased one myself had it not been for Frank Fiedler, a professional bassist from Hanover. I had heard that he'd been spotted with one of these "round things", so I gave him a call and asked him what he thought. He was impressed with the pleasant tone and the "general presence", both for himself, fellow musicians and the audience. There were however a few serious drawbacks.

1. Amplification was only possible up to a certain level, even an additional preamp didn't help. The top end performance seemed to be limited.

2. During some gigs the Contra 1 switched itself off without any apparent reason and remained mute until the mains switch was turned off and on again.

Dr Rick Jones, the developer could only put this phenomenon down to power fluctuations which could only be eliminated by the use of power regulator. But such a piece of equipment is bulky and expensive!? Frank never travels to one of his performances without a second amplifier. In the meantime we don't doubt that Rick has this problem under control. The main motivation for us to develop our own Amplifier was the changed design of the Contra 2. Those who still possess a Contra 1 can be very grateful.

In the meantime Frank has been testing a prototype of our Combo and as he really likes his Contra 1 he was going to be very critical of our Combo, which is just what we wanted. Following the rectification of a couple of teething problems, Frank sent us this

E mail:

Hello Michael,
Thanks again for letting me test the Amp.
I've had 2 chances to test it to date: At a trade fair in a quartet with drums and at a trio concert.
On both occasions it proved a success;- it was especially pleasant at high volume.
The sound was very "transparent" and I'd now like to check it out in other surroundings.
All in all an incredible Amp, with the best "portable to size" ratio I know.

Short time later the following mail arrived:
Hello Michael,
At last, as promised, the results of further testing. Firstly I'd like to stress again how much fun it is to be on the road with this Amp. Such a small Amp that causes so much alarm: It amazed my colleagues. The exceptional Power/ Kg ratio is, I believe, an incredibly strong selling point.
Thanks to the low frequency response of the downfiring-speaker, we can now hold our own with modern guitars and keyboard sounds, which in low bass have improved in leaps and bounds.
What I notice most , compared to my old combination of Contra/GK, is the clarity of the sound. It seems as though the tone, in particular at the lower end of the scale, is reproduced 'linear', without any distortion. The tones are therefore particularly easy to pick out.
Dependent upon the actual acoustic and playing surroundings, I feel personally, that sometimes the tone is a little too "growling" although one gets used to quickly. Actually, with drums it doesn't bother me at all but without a drummer, well, maybe now and then. I can't say if it has anything to do with the pick up which comes about through the increased volume, or if it has something to do with the amp. Anyway it's something to look into. I'd also like to mention at this point how pleasant it is that the amp doesn't go 'knack' every time you connect or disconnect the cable. How did you manage this when nobody else seems to have done? It's great anyway!
Best regards

My problems with the Bass Amplification are solved once and for all, and if Frank can't find fault, then Zadow Electronics has for sure, one of the best Combos for Contrabass and E-bass on the market.

keep swinging!
Michael Zadow

Meanwhile the ze200combo has captured its steady place in Frank´s Equipment List. Have a look on it, please. It´s worthwhile!

Tip: Frank´s CD "For my grandma" is a great jazz album. There are phantastic bass-Solos on it like this one: lucky southern (keith jarrett)

Addendum from October 2016:

The ze200 is pretty well known in the meantime. It is played and loved by many bassists in nearly all European countries.

Each and every unit is handcrafted very carefully by me.

             The zadow amp in action with  NILS WOGRAM 's ROOT 70