Hands-On Review:Eden WT-550 and D210XST
Paradise for the ears
By Oscar Sommers
For the past 30 years, the Eden company has been at the forefront of bass consciousness. Its bass amplifiers and cabinets have helped redefine what bass players expect from their equipment in terms of sound and performance. Talk to any Eden player and you're sure to hear the same sweet (and deep) love song over and over. It's not merely a broken record, though, as I found out with the WT-550 amplifier and D210XST cabinet.
A compact power plant
The World Traveler 550 bass amplifier is an Eden classic. It has all the things Eden heads are best known for: clean, warm sound; a hybrid tube preamp; and a simplified EQ that's easy to use. The preamp and controls provide lots of tone-sculpting thanks to defeatable compression, EQ with extensive semi-parametric mid control, gain, and the Enhance knob. There are also controls for a -12dB input pad (via push/pull pot on the Gain knob) and a master volume.
There are two things you should know about the WT-550 head: it has gobs of power and sounds fantastic. The high-current power amp section delivers up to 750W (@ 2ohms) and offers a minimum of 3dB headroom. It sounds great at high or low volume levels and the Enhance knob provides fabulous quick-and-dirty tone sculpting.
The WT-550 is also really small. It's a 1' square just under 4" thick, which contributes to its portability. The combination of compact size and incredibly rugged construction also made the WT-550 feel solid as a brick. In addition to a .090-thick (that's over 2mm!), one-piece aluminum chassis, it also has a one-piece steel cover and is built to military and FAA-type standards. I'd happily stand on it without worrying at all.
Bigger than a breadbox
While the D210XST Bass Cabinet is–yes–bigger than a breadbox, it's not much bigger. Just under 2' wide and 18" high, its only large measurement is the depth: 18-1/2". That spec–coupled with the rectangular PA-style porting and specially designed 10" speakers–gives the D210XST a big low end. The hand-built Eden speakers also supply the clear, even mids and highs, while the selectable tweeter gives the cabinet true high-frequency sparkle. No matter what, the D210XST sounded smooth all over. Eden says the D210XST weighs 59 lbs., but when I picked up the cab it felt lighter. With its size and weight, the D210XST is clearly aimed at players needing a compact cabinet loud enough to play small to medium-size gigs.
The D210XST is extremely solid feeling, just like the WT-550. In addition to their sound, Eden is famous for the hale-and-hearty construction of its speaker cabinets, and the D210XST is no exception. Crafted from solid plywood, it has reinforced corners and dado-and-rabbet glued joints. The interior of the cabinet is extensively braced and painted black, while the outside is covered in black carpet. The rear jack panel has Neutrik binding posts for input and link connections plus a pair of standard 1/4" jacks. You'll also find the variable tweeter control on the jack plate, giving you the choice of running it flat, off, at full output, or anywhere in between.
What I like best about the WT-550/D210SXT rig is its incredible ability to sound warm, articulate, and clean all at the same time. With a lot of bass gear this is a pick-two-of-three type of situation but Eden gives you the whole enchilada. Plus the WT-550 really let the sound of my bass shine straight through without changing it. I just set everything flat, turned it on, and had all the tone I could have wanted. I also found I needed a lot less EQ in general to get the sound I wanted–whether at band rehearsal or during a gig. The EQ and Enhance knobs were practically an afterthought.
The WT-550 is a completely professional bass amplifier that delivers everything most bass players will ever need: power, tone, portability, and flexibility. And the D210XST amplified my sound flawlessly with confident accuracy, smooth projection, and a big, big sound with plenty of low end. Together, they represent a gold standard as a compact, tour-worthy rig with plenty of tone and volume.
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