Author Topic: WT400 vs WT550 - Tone/Warmth Difference Truth or Rumors? Time for a Test  (Read 580 times)

Offline Good Times

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Well, just picked up a WT550B and can finally A/B directly with my WT400. I only had 5 minutes with them before I had to shut down, the kids going to bed :).

Before I give my first impressions, feel free to give any suggestions to help with a good comparison. I have considered replacing the tubes in both of them with new JJ's but not certain that is necessary since it seems the tubes in these amps have very little impact on tone or output, and they seem fine.

If it matters, I am using my Stingray 5 through a Bergantino Reference 210 and Reference 112 stack.

First noticeable difference was setting the gain, the "set level light" engaged sooner with the 400 (around 12 o'clock) and later with the 550 (2.5 to 3 o'clock). Also, they sounded quite different with everything set flat, the 400 being a little more mid scooped and less robust compared to the 550 (not a bad thing, just different set flat). I did not have time to work with the EQ to see if I could make them sound identical, but will get to that tomorrow. As far as "warmth" goes, could not tell a difference in the 5 minutes I had to mess with it.

Feel free to give suggestions/thoughts.

Best wishes
« Last Edit: January 05, 2018, 10:18:41 PM by Good Times »

Offline Rip Van Dan

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Re: WT400 vs WT550 - Tone/Warmth Difference Truth or Rumors? Time for a Test
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2018, 02:05:58 AM »
Don't worry about changing the tubes to any special brand.  Any good 12ax7 (or 7025) will work fine.  These tubes operate within some very specific parameters in the impedance section of the amp to add a touch of warmth to the sound.  They are not in the gain section so there will be virtually no difference at all between brands.

Historically, the consensus has been that the WT400 was the best sounding amp Eden ever made.  When making your comparisons, be sure that the auto-compressor is by-passed and the Enhance controls are turned off.  Turning the Enhance up scoops the low-mids out and boosts both the bass and the treble, so please turn it all the way off (to the left) when comparing the two.

Let us know how it goes!

Dan
Rip Van Dan
Dan Gracia
'82 US-made Fender Jazz Bass with maple neck
5-string Rogue LX405 Pro (Surprisingly good "no-name" bass)
WT500/800 Highwayman (signature model)
D.N.S 410-8
Line6 X2-XDS wireless
=========
spares:
Eden RS400, GK BK250, GK 115 cab, acoustic B410 cab, Sunn Beta 202 (2x12)

Offline Good Times

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Re: WT400 vs WT550 - Tone/Warmth Difference Truth or Rumors? Time for a Test
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2018, 09:30:28 AM »
Thanks for the input, and yes, the enhance/compressor was pulled and at 0. Will get back to it later today. I was a bit surprised at the gain and "level set" indicator difference. Wonder if that has something to do with the tone, robustness (if that is a word), and output/db's being greater/louder with everything else set the same, including volume knob. We will see what happens with some EQ work. Peace
« Last Edit: January 06, 2018, 09:36:02 AM by Good Times »

Offline Good Times

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Re: WT400 vs WT550 - Tone/Warmth Difference Truth or Rumors? Time for a Test
« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2018, 12:10:10 PM »
Well, after further testing (about 50 minutes of A/B), the amps are more similar than different. After I adjusted the gain a little on the 400 all the perceived difference in mid-scoop and robust vibe disappeared.

That being said, the 400 definitely seems warmer and more articulate across the spectrum, and the bottom end "tighter" for lack of a better word. I worked with the EQ on the 550 in an attempt to match the 400, but could not.

All that said, no one would be able to tell the difference in a live setting, and the 2ohm option on the 550 has some definite advantages. Both great sounding amps.

Funny, tested my Genz Benz GBE750 and Shuttlemax 9.2 along with the 400/550 and definitely prefer the Eden sound, much warmer across the sonic spectrum and bigger/tighter bottom end. Might be time to get rid of some gear.

Peace
« Last Edit: January 06, 2018, 04:42:00 PM by Good Times »

Offline Rip Van Dan

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Re: WT400 vs WT550 - Tone/Warmth Difference Truth or Rumors? Time for a Test
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2018, 12:16:11 AM »
Hey Rodney,

Nice report.  Thanks for taking the time to A/B them and report back to us on your findings.  Well Done!!

By the way, I just saw that you are from Arroyo Grande.  I have lots of relatives there.  I grew up in Santa Maria and had two uncles in Arroyo.  Pretty much anyone there with the last name of Gracia is a cousin of mine.   Nat Gracia and Orville Gracia are my uncles from there.  Nat passed away many years ago, but my Uncle Orville is still doing pretty well.  Most of their kids (18 between the two families)  have kids now, so there's still plenty of Gracia's in the area.

The story goes that my Great Grandpa Gracia worked his way around the horn in a sailing ship in the 1800's and eventually  landed in San Francisco.  The crew was paid off in sheep and he headed south with his share.  He pretty well ran out sheep in Arroyo Grande and decided to settle there.  And that's why there are lots of us in the area.

Dan
Rip Van Dan
Dan Gracia
'82 US-made Fender Jazz Bass with maple neck
5-string Rogue LX405 Pro (Surprisingly good "no-name" bass)
WT500/800 Highwayman (signature model)
D.N.S 410-8
Line6 X2-XDS wireless
=========
spares:
Eden RS400, GK BK250, GK 115 cab, acoustic B410 cab, Sunn Beta 202 (2x12)

Offline jcadmus

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Re: WT400 vs WT550 - Tone/Warmth Difference Truth or Rumors? Time for a Test
« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2018, 12:23:44 PM »
I always thought the 550 was basically a 400 with a more powerful power amp, but are there any significant differences otherwise? The controls on the face are virtually identical.
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'76 Fender Jazz Bass, Pedulla Rapture J2-5, Music Man Stingray 5, Eden World Tour 550, Eden Terra Nova 501, Eden D210XST, Eden D410XLT, Eden D210XLT, DBX 160XT compressor, Furman power conditioners.

Offline Bob Cruz

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Re: WT400 vs WT550 - Tone/Warmth Difference Truth or Rumors? Time for a Test
« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2018, 01:18:26 PM »
There was a very useful thread here comparing the preamps between all these amps with graphs showing the frequency response with all knobs at noon and enhance off.  Unfortunately all the graphs in that thread are gone because Photobucket no longer allows third-party hosting for free accounts.  If I recall correctly, the WT400 preamp was somewhat unique in that the high end rolled off pretty quickly above about 12 kHz with all knobs at noon.  This could explain the perception of more warmth from that particular amp.  The other Eden preamps were more similar than different, and did have some high end rolloff but not as low as 12 kHz.  This is all from memory, so I probably have some of the details wrong.  Here's the thread in case anyone knows how to use the internet archive to dig up the pictures and graphs before they were taken down:

http://www.edenampsforum.com/index.php?topic=14257.0
Bob Cruz

GB Streamliner 900 and 600 - Peavey USA Cirrus 5 - SX Jazz 5 x2 - BC Rich Mockingbird 5 - Cruz 112 x2 (22 pound flyweight cabs I built) - Kustom 115 D140F - Avatar Neo 112 x 2 - Modded Fender Rumble 40 x2

Offline Bassmann1968

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Re: WT400 vs WT550 - Tone/Warmth Difference Truth or Rumors? Time for a Test
« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2018, 02:23:08 PM »
Some of the graphs were from me.
I will have a look at them and see what I can provide.
Rock on!
Armin

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Offline Bob Cruz

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Re: WT400 vs WT550 - Tone/Warmth Difference Truth or Rumors? Time for a Test
« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2018, 03:54:19 PM »
Some of the graphs were from me.
I will have a look at them and see what I can provide.
Rock on!
Thanks, Armin!  I tried the internet archive's Wayback Machine and it didn't have the graphs.... :(
Bob Cruz

GB Streamliner 900 and 600 - Peavey USA Cirrus 5 - SX Jazz 5 x2 - BC Rich Mockingbird 5 - Cruz 112 x2 (22 pound flyweight cabs I built) - Kustom 115 D140F - Avatar Neo 112 x 2 - Modded Fender Rumble 40 x2

Offline Good Times

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Re: WT400 vs WT550 - Tone/Warmth Difference Truth or Rumors? Time for a Test
« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2018, 11:04:50 PM »
Good stuff. I cannot speak to the technical side, and wish I could describe it better, but there is something different about the 400 sonically. There is a smooth/rich/even vibe within the mids, upper mids, and highs of the 400 that is not quite the same with the 550, I will call it "warmth" for lack of a better word. Still both great amps! Love how both amps sound with my Bergs (reference series), just a match made in heaven, better than all my other amps.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2018, 11:06:55 PM by Good Times »