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
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
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
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:
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
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
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)
from January 2020:
ze200 is pretty well known in the meantime. It is played and loved by
many bassists in nearly all European countries.
and every unit is handcrafted very carefully by me.
The zadow amp in action with
's ROOT 70