Back in 2019, EBS announced a new Reidmar model, the 502 head with a 2-ohm minimum impedance compatibility. So, it was only fitting that Reidmar‘s cousin, Magni, also received the upgrade treatment, too, arriving on the scene in the latter months of 2022.
The Magni 502 combo that we have in today is a product refresh featuring two new 10” neodymium drivers, a new sweeter-sounding tweeter and the Reidmar 502 inspired amplifier, all packed into an easy-lift, lightweight-yet-rugged cabinet. EBS has shaved off a massive 6 kg from the weight of the Magni 500. In addition to the new neodymium speakers, woven steel grill also contributed to the overall weight saving.
As to be expected from EBS, the build quality out of the box is solid and has a real feel of excellence about it. Up close, there are no signs of ill-fitting tolex or lack of attention to detail. On the outside, I love the Nordic-inspired graphics: Móði and Magni are the sons of Thor; apparently their names translate to “wrath” and “mighty,” so we’d better get in to the details and find out just how mighty the new 502 combo is!
Weighing in at just over 15 kg (that’s just about 34 lbs.), the 22” high combo isn’t a hefty beast and healthy humans should have no real issue lifting it in to the back of a vehicle or moving it about the stage. Speaking of playing on stage, the amplifier section is located in the back of the cabinet and faces upward to make it easier to see when the combo is set on the floor.
On to the top panel, it’s a familiar sight for those who are already enjoying the Reidmar range. For the uninitiated, it’s a well-thought layout that can be seen on dim stages, too, owing to the use of black paneling and white, bold text. The Magni 502 features a single 1/4” input jack for instrument connection, with a 1M ohm impedance, suitable for active and passive basses – including those with piezo elements.
Magni 502 features a one-knob compressor and in my review video, I show a couple of positions, but taking into consideration how video and audio is treated by hosts online (such as YouTube), it’s not always easy for you to hear the subtle differences in effect. I like to think of the compressor on board as a limiter-style device that tames transients, rather than some of the more aggressive and “colourful” effects we can get out in the wilds. So, I like to have the compressor just kicking in to smooth levels out a little, leaving my overall sound big and balanced.
Magni 502 features many equalisation options, including a model-specific tailored “preset shape” function, labeled “Character”. Like the onboard equaliser, there is a button to disengage the function, but when enabled, a low and high-end boost and a slight attenuation in the upper midrange gives my bass sound an overall sense of increased mass and clarity. This alone is enough for the bass I used in the review and didn’t need to reach for the onboard EQ or the active electronics on my bass, itself!
All Things Being Equal
Speaking of which, let’s look at the equaliser section. It comprises four bands: Bass, Treble, Bright and a semi-parametric midrange (labelled “Middle”). The midrange knobs allow us to dial in the specific frequency we want to boost or cut, which can be really helpful when dealing with problematic room and stage sounds, or zoning in on that sweet spot sound for slap, finger, plectrum playing or any other style. Although it is far from a gripe with Magni, or indeed any of the Reidmar range, I have to say that I love the additional EQ available on the EBS 802, but of course that comes with a cost and a need for more room on the panel.
My fussy tastes for a semi-parametric is met, given the width of the sweep starts at 100Hz and progresses to 6kHz. I have a couple of basses that seem to sound better with an extra bit of kick dialled in around 120-180Hz region, so having a semi-parametric that doesn’t fall short (some start at 250Hz) is very useful, given how important the lows and low-mid frequencies are to us bassists.
A small adjustment seems to go a long way, and thus there’s no need to max out any or the equalisation controls. It’s good to know there’s more boost than is mostly necessary, keeping in mind that smooth adjustments will often sound much better than aggressive response curves. Bass boost is centred around 60Hz and is of a shelving type at 12dB/oct with a huge 18dB of boost and cut available. More than enough for all applications and the centre frequency certainly helps to add weight and girth to the bass sound.
For the Treble frequencies, again a shelving filter centred at 6kHz, along with the same amount of boost and cut as the Bass filter. In my video review, I show you it’s possible to smooth out the overall bass sound by attenuating note attack in the top end for a more traditional bass tone, or, by reaching for a plectrum, I can boost the treble for a more aggressive sound. I think this would work well with EBS’ drive pedals and would certainly help to cut through the scooped “metal” guitar tones from our thinner-stringed brethren.
Finally, for the equaliser section, to add air and sparkle to your tone, EBS includes a Bright knob that adds additional clarity with a high-pass shelving filter at 10kHz. You’ll notice this one more through high-quality tweeters, such as the one onboard the Magni. Should you enjoy using effects on your bass, such as reverb and chorus, this will surely add some extra richness to your harmonics and overtones.
Rounding Out the Details
The noise-free preamplifier signal path is all analogue. This feeds into an in-house designed class-D amplifier module, which is described as a “soft clip design to preserve volume and solid bottom end at high volume,” rather than having the signal choked by an overzealous output limiter, for example. The 502 power section delivers 500w RMS in to a 2-ohm total load, or 250w RMS in to 4 ohms. This is a good match for the internal speakers that, according to the manual, are rated at 300w RMS. If you’re fussy about getting all of those “watts” out, then a similarly rated 4-ohm extension enclosure will be fine. For example, an external 2×10 cabinet will give you a great 4×10 horizontal stack – a configuration I like, as it pushes the speakers up towards the ears, which any gigging bassist will know is a massive help, especially on smaller stages. Speakers pointing at your calves don’t make hearing yourself any easier! Of course, there’s nothing stopping you sitting this combo next to an EBS Pro Line 8×10 monster cabinet and hooking the two up for a huge back line sound! Something I would very much like to try!
The combo I have in for review is brand new and thus it hasn’t clocked up many hours of playing to loosen up those two neodymium cones a bit, but, going from “flat” with the equalisation bypassed to dialing in some wide boost and cut, the combo immediately sounds full and larger than life.
Round the back of Magni, all the connections you are likely to need are at your disposal. Mains input socket on the left: and something as simple as having a removable lead means fewer things dangling around in transport, as well as selecting a different mains plug type, depending on where you are touring with this combo!
I’ve already talked about connecting an extension cabinet; EBS provides a professional Speakon® connector, here – something I prefer to see on all modern amplifiers, where possible. For silent rehearsal, Magni 502 features a single headphone output socket. However, there’s no auxiliary input, like its big brother, the 752 amplifier head. There is a line out feed that is useful for running a separate power amplifier and additional cabinets for maximum low end devastation when necessary!
Magni also features an effects loop for inserting effects after the onboard compressor and equalisation. Indeed, the inserted effects will also sound in the DI output when set to “post.” You can insert instrument level and line level products, here.
The standard D.I. (“Direct Injection”) output is last to note on the rear panel. There’s a ground lift and a selector switch to choose between having your direct bass sound (taken after the pre-shape) or in the previously mentioned “post” setting, all the effects being present at that output.
The all-wood cabinet is double-ported and has been coated in a new hard-wearing vinyl covering to help protect it on the road; and it looks stylish, too! We’re even treated to a heavy duty handle on top, making Magni 502 as portable as possible.
The Bottom Line
Rounding up this review, my thoughts about the Reidmar heads are still as solid as they have been from when I first got my hands on the Reidmar 470 and Classic 112 cabinets – a great, clean-sounding combo here that I am pretty sure will reward users with a good solid sound. Obviously, there are limitations to any combo and there’s opportunity to unleash not so nice noises with any, but, if you need to turn up, then the ability to hang some pretty beefy cabinets off the back of this thing is only going to be a good thing, offering a super modular rig.
|Company:||EBS Sweden AB
Grindstuvägen 44-46, 16733 Bromma, Sweden
UK distribution: https://www.handinhand.uk.net
USA distribution: https://www.adamhall.com/us-en/contact
|Model:||Magni 502 2x10|
|Country of Origin:||Designed in Sweden, Manufactured in China|
|Year of Origin:||2022|
|Warranty:||2 years minimum|
|Enclosure:||Double ported (front and back), lightweight plywood|
|Exterior:||Hard wearing Vinyl|
|Driver:||EBS Neodymium 10” drivers and tweeter|
|Preamp Type:||Solid state|
|Power Supply:||Switched-mode power supply (SMPS)|
|Rated Output Power:||500 watts (2 ohms), 250 watts (4 ohms)|
|Inputs:||One ¼” instrument input|
|Outputs:||Headphone, Line out, External speaker out, balanced XLR DI|
|Controls:||Gain, Compression, Bass, Semi-Parametric Mid, Treble, Bright, Volume, ground lift, Pre/Post EQ. EQ engage, Character Filter engage.|
|Other Features:||Ported cabinet|
|Accessories||Dust cover Included|
|Dimensions:||Size: (H x W x D) 56 cm / 22" / 44 cm / 17.3" / 36.5 cm / 14.4"|
|Weight:||Weight (total): 15.4 kg / 33.95 lbs.|
|Price:||£1095 (UK), $1,399 (USA)|
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