THE EBS FAFNER II DUAL CHANNEL BASS AMP IS A REAL MONSTER. LEARN HOW TO MASTER IT AND YOU WILL NEVER WANT TO BE WITHOUT IT! RAW, PURE TONE AND POWERFUL TO THE EXTREME!
Two channel preamp. The EBS Fafner II uses a two channel preamp. The bottom channel is for a Clean sound and the top channel is for Drive, both with tone controls to shape the frequencies exactly as you want them.
Parallel mode.The channels can run in parallel mode. That means that the signal splits in two after the input Gain and Character filters — one goes through the Drive channel and the other goes through the Clean channel. At the end of the line, there´s a level control for the Drive channel (LEVEL) to control how much distortion you want, and a level control for Clean channel (CLEAN LVL) to set the balance between the distorted and clean channel. From there the signal goes to the main Volume control. In this setting, you will leave the bottom clean and defined, while you add as much distortion as you like on top.
Serial mode.You can also run the channels in a serial mode. Then you can apply all tone controls to shape a clean sound, or you get the Drive to affect the whole tonal spectrum. In this mode, the signal goes through the Clean channel filters and then into the Drive channel.
Remote inputs. If you add a footswitch, such as the EBS RM-4, you can kick in the Drive when you need it, offering extended flexibility on stage. The same footswitch can be used to kick in the Character Hi and/or Lo pre-shape filters, and bypass the EQ as well as mute the amp.
The Drive.The advanced Drive has some optional Boost and Tube modes too. Boost mode simply boosts the whole frequency range as you turn up the Drive level control. The Tube mode sends the signal through a 12AX7 (ECC83) tube adding tube character and compression to the clean channel.
Character filters.The Fafner II offers a Hi and a Lo boost character filter. Both engaged at the same time create a mid scooped, pre-shaped sound character. They can also be used one at a time to boost just the lows or highs.
Compressor.The famous built-in compressor adds a smooth and seamless level of compression to your sound, just as much (or little) as you like. On the Fafner II it compresses the clean channel only, leaving the drive channel as wild as you want it unless you are using the amp in a serial mode.
Dual balanced out.A unique feature is the TWO balanced XLR-outputs on the front. These can send out a pre- and a post-EQ line signal — at the same time! This is great in the studio or on stage and gives the sound engineer two different signals to blend together.
Effect loops.Individual effect loops for each channel and a common loop with a mix level control provide maximum flexibility when hooking up your effects.
ARTISTS USING THE EBS FAFNER II: Steve Di Giorgio [Testament/Death DTA], Peter Iwers [In Flames], Mike D'Antonio [Killswitch Engage], Bjorn Englen [Dio Disciples], Henrik Sandelin [Avatar], Jason Klein [Butcher Babies], Josh Wilbur [Grammy Award Winning producer/engineer] and more...
Steve Di Giorgio, from the recent Death Dta tour. Photo by Daniel Falk.
Photo: Daniel Falk
EBS Fafner II
- Input Impedance 2 Mohms
- Frequency Response 20 - 20.000 Hz
- Gain Range -00 - +30 dB
- Maximum Compression Ratio (Compressor) 3:1
- Tone Controls
Bass +/-18 dB @ 80 Hz
Middle +/- 15dB @100 - 4.500 Hz, Q=0.7/1.8
Treble +/- 15 dB @10 kHz
- Drive Gain Range 0 - 40 dB
- Drive Type Tube (ECC83)
- Post Drive EQ
Middle +/- 15 dB @50 - 2.000 Hz
Edge +/- 12 dB @ 6 kHz
- Other Features
Hi and Lo Preshape EQ,
Common Effect Loops,
Soft Switch Remotes for Drive, Mute, Filter and
Character Preshape EQs,
Dual Balanced Outputs
- Speaker impedance 2 - 8 ohms
- Continuous Output Power
750 W RMS @ 2 ohms,
>600 W RMS @ 4 ohms
- Dimensions (W x D x H) 19" x 14" x 3U (48cm x 36cm x 13cm)
- Weight 16 kg / 36 lbs
Demos & Samples
Video tutorial of the EBS Fafner II by Dave Marks, produced by EBS & PlayAlong.com:
REVIEW from Bass Guitar Magazine, UK
”There’s a distinct quality you get when playing through this rig, almost as if you’re listening to your bass through powerful studio monitors after an experienced engineer has added just the right EQ.” - Fafner II & NeoLine 410
REVIEW from Bass Quarterly July-Aug (GE), 2011
EBS FAFNER II – 750 Extreme Edition
By Christoph Hees (Translation from German)
The products from EBS have long been known for their workmanship, just like Swedish cars. It is known that the company with the blue and white logo guarantees more bang for your buck. And with the latest model Fafner II you’ll get the most wonderful, one hundred percent Made-in-Sweden, fantasy dragon tale – a modern bass legend!
Nordic Amps are currently one of the most interesting trends in the bass range. Could this be because of EBS’s rediscovery of the grim myth of Fafner? The story revolves around a father’s murder; the youngest son’s gruesome seizure of his father’s wealth and his brother’s ensuing role as the dragon guardian of the captured treasure. The tale makes a nice addition to the operating instruction, just like the included ear plugs. Possibly however, Fafner’s recent popularity can be explained by the search of today’s bass players for eternal values when making new purchases.
Making their way through the magical world of today’s music shops, the intrepid bassist experiments as much as possible, playing here and there with lightweight amps that have fantastic performance data and encountering quite a few moderately priced offers. But in view of the ever-broadening range of features with ever-increasing digitization, along with sophisticated performance data, now and again some woofers can end up clueless. Where are the amps of yesteryear? Amps with dynamics? And above all – amps with the all-important legend factor? This is where the EBS Fafner II comes into play, a huge powerhouse from an industrial suburb of Stockholm. Let’s be honest: wouldn't a no-nonsense bassist, in view of this 35 pound (16 kg) race car of an amp, immediately ignore all of the latest gimmicks, newfangled lightweight design and even the most seductive but hollow high-power promises? Wouldn’t they immediately sell the band bus and live happily ever after with this treasure - no need even to hurt a hair on any relative?
The steel casing of the rough, ready and brutal amp measures three rack height units - truly the stuff of Nordic legend. This unusual size is due to technical considerations: the gigantic interior aluminum heatsink and above all the massive transformer require a lot of cool air. Thankfully, the massive angle brackets are removable so that the equipment can be used without a rack. In my opinion this turns the Fafner into irresistibly compact, technically powerful eye candy for all well-equipped clubs with fixed backline installations. On the front, high-gloss polished handles help when manouvering the power station, while on the rear panel, its massive feet allows the powerhouse to be set down without damaging any of the numerous connectors. The extremely potent transistorized power amplifier cools via an efficient airflow system; a generous, rear mounted temperature controlled fan blows air to the interior through a large filter grid.
The compact electronic structure of the Fafner is perfectly crafted. A toroid transformer with a diameter of almost 8 inches (20 cm) and the enormous power section of the analogue power amplifier sets the hearts of bass technicians racing. At the sight of Fafner II’s real treasure it becomes clear why consistent performance is guaranteed: power is channeled via 14 power transistors which permit stress-free handling of high continuous power outputs, not to mention the phenomenal reliability of the power amplifier under all load conditions. Fafner II delivers 750 Watts RMS at the low impedance of 2 ohms and 600 Watts RMS at 4 ohms, comparable to a good eight-cylinder Diesel engine. This places Fafner in the high-powered range of analog bass amplifiers.
In use, the stable, high power capacity allows critical loads down to 2 ohms for example when using two 8xl0" stacks with 4 ohms each in parallel. On the audiophile side, Fafner’s high continous output capacity permits the full usage of individual, power-hungry, 8 ohm high-end speakers - a scenario, by the way, that few heads have been able to master in my experience.
The second generation of the Fafner head has also in the preamp section a number of useful features ready: the 100% aluminium knobs are comfortable for simple adjustment of all important specifications. Adapted mid and high-mid parameters for using the drive channel in clean mode also enable detailed signal design – for example, there is an adjustable one-button compressor directly behind the input section. To quickly create a basic setting the character filters can be used to set a sound with low-end emphasis up to a more shimmering sound. Both filters combined allow for a powerful bass sound.
In “Tube Mode" you can add the character of the built-in Groove Tube 12AX7 to the sound of the preamp. “Level” in combination with “Drive Active”are used to set the drive portion and volume of the over-drive. In this “dirty channel" there are a number of additional settings; with "Serial" you can decide if the signal for the drive channel is taken after the gain stage or after the processing of the clean channel. Likewise, the “Boost” switch (which only works in the drive channel) allows you to select a lower crossover frequency where the distortion shall kick in. A typical classic rock distortion of the entire bass signal is achieved by pressing “Boost”; in the unlatched position only frequencies above 350 Hz are run through the drive section giving you a sound more suitable for accompaniment.
What is remarkable in the EQ-design of the Fafner II is the above-mentioned additional feature of the drive channel in form of a parametric mid range (50 Hz - 2 kHz). The drive channel also has an edge-knob, often found on tube amps. The EQ for the clean signal path has Bass, High Mid and Treble controls, whereby (bizarrely) the High Mid control range is can be set from 100Hz to 4 kHz. With this semi-dual channel configuration, the Fafner is hugely flexible and can accomodate a wide variety of styles. On the front of the Swedish flagship there are also two XLR outputs to get the signal before or after the EQ. Ground lift and PAD switches can be used to reduce background noise and adapt the output level, respectively.
The back panel of the solid Swede is like the front panel – that is, full of possibilities! Apart from various separate sends and returns for clean and drive channels and the usual connections for line output, tuner output, remote control of the channels and a mute feature, Fafner also offers a low impedance input for wireless systems. The input on the front panel deactivates this connection. The loudspeaker outputs are reliable Speakon-connectors, but they cannot accomodate 1/4” plugs, as many other combination connectors can.
In both rehearsal and performance, the Fafner behaves entirely as you would expect from its state-of-the-art Scandinavian appearance. When power and standby are activated, the F rune glows red. In standby mode “0”, only the dot next to the F rune is lightening up. What looks like tube lighting, is actually achieved with LEDs in an energy-saving, reliable manner.
The outstanding sound features of the Fafner express accuracy, high power capacity and dynamics, as you would expect from a professional, top-of-the-range bass amplifier. The EQ of the new Swede proved to be handy during the test, and can be adjusted quickly and accurately. The onstage-important background noise level is barely noticeable, giving only a slightly audible vent noise, while its power output is as superior as the offered connection possibilites. Together with my high-quality, rather power-hungry near-field speaker, Fafner II impressively demonstrated that a current-stable amplifier with good impulse response proves itself as a funky musical companion. There’s just no substitute for a large”cylinder volume”!
Fafner’s clean preamp sounds mouth-watering; its power amplifier is striking in its capacity. When desired, it can channel the dynamic power of a dragon. Particularly intense passages on the low B and E-string are instantly and dramatically obvious not only in the performer’s direct audio range but also the neighbouring drummer’s. Fafner permits, if necessary, moderate compressor use and, from the point of view of the flexible EQ-section, proves itself to be a worthy stage partner. Even though I could not use the tube stage live in brutal drive mode, the adjustable sound from the first-class tube from Groove Tubes gives a welcome, Nashville-style enhancement to the powerful clean transistor tone.
Sweden - Twelve points
The new EBS flagship offers an unbeatable range of desirable features on-stage. High power output and excellent stability sit happily alongside a tasteful and purposeful tone control. Even the adjustable tube stage preamp has a host of possibilities for exact distortion adjustment up to an overdrive sound, without losing strength. Without a shadow of a doubt, Fafner II is the ideal lifetime amp for all serious professional bass players. It is also well suited as a fixed installation for medium sized and large clubs. For me, the new 19 inch dragon from EBS seems especially well suited for use at open-air festivals and large rock and metal concerts because of its impressive firepower and never sleeping vigilance. And if one looks past the purposeful design “à la brutal” - although the amp is not so heavy at all - Fafner’s sound possibilities are flexible enough to accommodate any powerful playing style due to the high-quality analog signal processing of the amp.