Review: EBS Reidmar 750 head

November 4, 2016

Sweden’s EBS has long blazed a unique trail through the bass gear landscape, integrating its distinctively Nordic knack for eye-catching design into a series of wellregarded products that span from bass rigs and combos to a line of high-end stompboxes. EBS steadfastly held onto its triedand- true Class AB power-amp designs—until 2011. The wait paid off, as the latest generation of lightweight technology is far more robust and stout-sounding than the earliest examples. The Reidmar 750 blends an analog preamp that’s essentially similar to the pres found on EBS’ other amps with a power-amp module capable of 700 watts rms, promising to deliver the EBS signature tone (dry, fast, and full-bodied) with power that only recently would have required a ton of weight.

At first glance, the Reidmar 750 seems bigger than the average lightweight head. Popping off the top revealed why: There’s a substantial amount of empty horizontal space in the chassis. While this does make the Reidmar a bit bigger than some competitors, it also results in a full-size front panel that doesn’t obligate shrunken knobs and tiny text. With the cover off, I noticed the Reidmar’s simple interior layout. A single circuit board spans the front panel’s length, hosting the potentiometers and associated preamp circuitry. A molex-terminated ribbon cable connects the preamp board to another pair of circuit boards that govern most of the amp’s I/O,  including the differential-opamp-driven balanced output. By far the biggest component in the Reidmar is its ICEpower 700ASC/X amplifier module, which pairs a Class D power amp with a switchmode power supply on one surface-mount circuit board. ICEpower is the most common provider of Class D/SMPS modules to bass-amp manufacturers. After many encounters with this and other ICEpower modules in heads, I’ve come to believe that the sonic differentiation among amps is mostly due to varying approaches in preamp design. While there is some room for originality in the power amp module’s implementation, the real variety is found elsewhere in amp circuits these days.

The Reidmar 750 boasts a feature-packed preamp. Adjacent to the gain knob is the character switch. When depressed, a preset “smiley-face” EQ contour is applied to the signal, diminishing midrange response while boosting bass and treble. Next up is the comp/limit control and its accompanying status LED. The simple one-knob affair allows you to govern the compression ratio up to a maximum of 3:1, an effective ratio for bass but not one that could be called limiting. A 4-filter EQ handles the bulk of the tone shaping. In addition to the standard shelving bass and treble bands, there’s a semi-parametric middle filter for altering the crucial midrange frequencies. I like the circuit’s broad range; it’s effective all the way from 100Hz to 6kHz, which overlaps into the bass and treble ranges. The bright knob augments the treble control; it’s also a shelving circuit, but its knee is at 10kHz, perfect for adding air and sheen to a sound. Cleverly, the entire EQ circuit is defeatable via footswitch or with the front-panel filter active switch. This functionality makes it a useful tool for dialing in two easily accessed tones on the fly. The last stage of the signal is the Reidmar’s tube-emulating drive circuit. It can add gentle even-order distortion at low settings or increasingly aggressive sounds as it’s rolled up.

The EBS’ design is clean and easily understood, and its construction seemed solid throughout testing. It doesn’t sport fancy high-end parts, but what’s on offer is all of a high quality. EBS went a long way to add a ton of functionality to the head in the form of a robust I/O section, including two jacks for remote switching of the character, filter, drive, and mute functions. Unfortunately, muting is only available via footswitch. The EBS also sports q" jacks for headphones and a line out, as well as the always-handy r" jack for playing along with an external audio source.

STRONG SWEDE

Anxious to give the Reidmar a go, I promptly hooked it up to EBS’ own NeoLine cabinet (see sidebar), flattened out the EQ, and plugged in my Moollon J Classic 5. With the filter disengaged, the EBS’ inherent tone is dry, with extremely fast transient response, and a resilient responsiveness to aggressive lowfrequency input. I was especially charmed by its sharp and brilliant high-register voice, especially when I rolled up my bass’ tone control and popped hard on the G and D strings. Also immediately apparent was the Reidmar 750’s massive volume capability. It’d easily be loud enough for just about any stage where reinforcement via monitors isn’t available.

While the Reidmar’s somewhat sterile sound without any of its tone-sculpting engaged had an authoritative PA-style presence, I was happy that each of its audio-altering circuits substantially enhanced the head’s personality. I’m not a fan of mid-scooping contours like the character control, but frequent slappers might find it just the trick for a quick dip into Marcus Miller territory. The EQ worked as expected; due to the filters’ broad frequency range and relatively wide Q, it offers the amp’s most potent tone shaping. Another big contributor to the Reidmar’s unique character are its transparent and effective compressor and its remarkably potent drive control. Used in tandem, there’s a lot of variety available, with the compressor helping to tighten and add punch to the saturated sound.

The EBS Reidmar succeeds in delivering EBS’ characteristically taut, bright, and punchy sound in a lightweight package at a reasonable price. While it isn’t as svelte as some other Class D/SMPS heads, it has a distinctive vibe that helps it stand out in a crowded field. Coupled with one of EBS’ capable Neo- Line cabs, the latest from the company is as competent a lightweight rig as you’ll find at the price.

To test the Reidmar 750, EBS also sent along a NeoLine 2x12 ($1,400 street). Like the rest of the NeoLine, our tester was made from lightweight spruce plywood with 13-ply birch baffling. A pair of customdesign neodymium drivers are combined with a 2” high-frequency driver to offer a 40Hz–18kHz frequency response and a high sensitivity of 103dB @ 1W/1M. Clocking in at just a shade under 47 pounds, the NeoLine 2x12 is well matched to the Reidmar 750, offering solid low-frequency extension and enough transient response to convey the head’s already quick personality.

SPECIFICATIONS

EBS

Reidmar 750
Street
$700
Pros Versatile preamp; thoughtful design; superb power output
Cons Mute only available via footswitch
Bottom Line An excellent addition to the lightweight amp marketplace, the Reidmar delivers EBS signature sound in an affordable and portable package.

SPECS

Power rating 700 watts RMS
Input impedance 1MΩ
Tone controls BASS: ±18dB @ 60Hz; MID: ±15dB @ 100Hz– 6kHz; TREBLE: ±18dB @ 6kHz; BRIGHT: ±15dB @ 10kHz
XLR DI output PRE/POST switch and GROUND LIFT
Power amp Class D
Power supply Switchmode
Output jacks One Neutrik Speakon
Weight 8.2 lbs

Made in China
Contact ebssweden.com

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