Anyone compare the Shiva to the Aiken Sabre?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by bobbtoz, Feb 20, 2006.


  1. bobbtoz

    bobbtoz Silver Supporting Member

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    I currently own the shiva and for the most part I love this amp, but theirs always the next best thing around the corner. The Shiva is still probably the best amp I've tried for the tone I'm looking for, but I've heard some good things about the Sabre. Maybe some of you guys have tried both and can shed a little light on this.

    Shiva/ Pros:

    1. Best volume taper I've tried. Capable of great tones at very low volumes.
    2. Tone is dark. Not into very bright tones that have no bottom.
    3. Tone is very thick. Similar to a JCM 800 2204 w/ a eq in the loop.
    4. Sounds great w/ pedals. ( I use OD pedals to boost the 2nd channel, thats my preference over using distortion pedals on the clean channel.)
    5. Great low end.

    Shiva/ Cons:

    1. Love the sound at low volumes, but at band practice I struggle to get the "tone".
    2. Not enough gain. Pedals help, but I could always use more gain and sustain.

    I generally play lots of 80's metal. So I need an amp w/ great touch sensativity w/ all the things I like about the shiva and more gain on tap.
    Will the Sabre do this? feel free to discuss other amps that might be good alternatives.
     
  2. Killcrop

    Killcrop Supporting Member

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    I've had both.

    The Shiva is a great amp. I personally love the way it's voiced. I only have 2 complaints about the Shiva. Ok 3.
    1. It's not the most harmonicly rich amp. It would howl and scream with that cool controled feedback but only at high volumes.
    2. As a result of preamp gain it sounded a tad bit buzzy. Nota buzzy tone but a buzzy after taste.
    3. This is really nit picking but the Shiva combo was wicked heavy.

    The Sabre has just as good, if not better, master volume. The cleans are pretty close. I'd say a tie there. The OD on the Sabre is a little more modern. The Sabre has more gain, is more touch sensitive and is more harmonic.

    Not sure if I've helped but if I you are looking for a better low volume amp with more gain the Sabre could be it. Then again the XTC Classic and the SLO is right up there too.
     
  3. bobbtoz

    bobbtoz Silver Supporting Member

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    Sounds like the Sabre might be what I'm looking for. I agree that the Shiva is not the most harmonically rich amp and even w/ a pedal it still requires a good amount of volume to get that sweet controlled feedback. The shiva is capable of some serious volume.

    What did you replace the Sabre with? I'm guessing the XTC and/ or SLO.

    Anything you didn't like about the Sabre?

    Dose the Sabre sound as thick as the shiva?

    Thanks Bob T.
     
  4. Killcrop

    Killcrop Supporting Member

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    The Shiva is really thick sounding. Not much compares in that department.
    I ended up not replacing the Sabre. I wasn't using the gain on tap. My Tomcat gets me there most of the time.
     
  5. bobbtoz

    bobbtoz Silver Supporting Member

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  6. badtoneno

    badtoneno Supporting Member

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    I've owned both. The first question I would have for you is- are you gigging?
     
  7. bobbtoz

    bobbtoz Silver Supporting Member

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    Not gigging at the present. I mainly play at home, but I do play once a week w/ a band. Just practice sessions right now (this is pretty much for the fun of it) and the volume level is moderate. Posisible gigs in the future, but realistically mainly home and band practice.
     
  8. Plan9FOS

    Plan9FOS Member

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    IMO the Shiva is really a hard rock amp ... not a metal amp ... by itself. It is perfect for those of us who would go with a plexi and an overdrive for everything we play. The Shiva is darker, but not like Mesa where it needs to be cranked to be heard. I always cut through my buddy's Twin at gigs, and he plays loud.

    That being said, I wish the hell I had a Sabre. Just to shred a bit every now and then. Rock on .... :RoCkIn
     
  9. badtoneno

    badtoneno Supporting Member

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    OK, don't get me wrong, I think the Sabre is a great amp and built incredibly well. The clean side is killer. That being said, it didn't work out for me in a band context at all. It sounded great on its own but didn't cut through in my mix. Every band is different and all I can say is it didn't work for me.

    The Shiva is a bit dark and compressed. This may lead you to believe that it wouldn't hold its own in a mix that well but I found the exact opposite. Some things you just can't predict.
     
  10. MightyGuru

    MightyGuru Member

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    Interesting...what was missing? Some midrange content?
     
  11. Plan9FOS

    Plan9FOS Member

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    That about says it all ... until you play the Shiva live with a band you cannot really appreciate it. It really does have great presence amongst the other instruments and PA ... and does not sound dark at all in the mix.
     
  12. Killcrop

    Killcrop Supporting Member

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    Totally agree. The Shiva slices and dices.

    As far as Hard Rock or Metal goes they each fit their own niche.

    The Shiva is like a Jerry Cantrel sound. Think maybe something off Dirt.

    The Sabre has more gain and would be more in the realm of Mr. Scary.

    If you need more than that you are in Uber or Recto territory.
     
  13. badtoneno

    badtoneno Supporting Member

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    To this day I still don't know. I tried a bunch of different cabs and speaker combinations. Messed with EQ settings, you name it. The amp sounded damn good on its own. When I started playing at practice it disappeared. First time I gigged with it, I kept cranking it and still couldn't hear it. The clean channel was fine though.
     
  14. bobbtoz

    bobbtoz Silver Supporting Member

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    If the Sabre gets lost in the mix that is defintely not good. The shiva shines in a band situation. Did you find that the sabre sounded as big as the shiva? Could you give specifics as to which has a thicker tone? Better harmonics ect?

    Thanks Bob T.
     
  15. Killcrop

    Killcrop Supporting Member

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    Harmonically the Sabre has way more going on. Again I never Played the Sabre live but can't see how it would not cut.
     
  16. MightyGuru

    MightyGuru Member

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    I owned a Shiva for a couple years and really liked it...not love but pretty close. In the end what I tired of was the darker, compressed nature of the OD channel. Don't get me wrong, as stated, it sounds great in a band mix but getting the amp to sustain and feedaback was a chore without pedals. I loved the clean channel a bunch, though. Damned amazing with a taste of verb and a bit of od.

    I have a Sabre coming next week so I'll be able to make a more informed comparison soon.
     
  17. * velcro-fly *

    * velcro-fly * Supporting Member

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    I've owned both.....

    Sold both.....liked the Sabre better than the Shiva.

    Now have an Aiken Intruder and think it's one of the best amps on the face of the Earth. Period.

    The Intruder has a more raw tone to it - closer to the Marshall thing I was going for. The Sabre is an awesome amp, and I do miss it, but the Intruder is one of the few amps I've owned inthe last couple of years that I honestly don't get tired of hearing. Actually bought this one back after selling and realizing what a mistake I had made.

    Granted, the Intruder doesn't have a dedicated clean channel, but the cleans available are just awesome when rolling back the guiatr volume or just running it a lower gain level. I'm A/B ing with my Hayseed 30 for cleans and just gaga over my setup. :dude

    Steve E
     
  18. MightyGuru

    MightyGuru Member

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    That's a really nice rig, Velcro. Hard to beat those tones.
     
  19. badtoneno

    badtoneno Supporting Member

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    Shiva has the thicker tone by a little but the Sabre had better harmonics. Generally brighter amps would appear to cut better but I didn't find it in this case. If you'd hear the Sabre on its own, you'd think there would be no problem in the mix. I played a small club with it and I've never heard anything disappear so quick. Same thing at band practice. It still puzzles the hell out of me. I've only run into that a few times with amps. Some people have said the VH4s don't cut through well but that hasn't been my experience at all. Currently, my Splawn sounds massive in the mix. I guess you don't know until you try.
     
  20. reaiken

    reaiken Member

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    I still don't understand this - I've never had anyone else complain about a Sabre getting lost in the mix, and I've gigged with mine many times with no problems, same for band practices. The soundman for my band actually preferred it over my Invader, which I retired and started using the Sabre exclusively. I wonder if something was wrong with yours?

    For the record, I've never heard a Shiva, so I can't compare the two.

    Randall Aiken
     

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