A close-up view of the new Piccolo 600 head, which has Active/Passive, Mid-Cut,
Mute, and Vintage
pushbuttons, as well as Gain, Mid-Cut, Bass, Mid, and Treble knobs.
He was the inventor of the 6-string
bass. Did you see a future in this
instrument, and how did it change
At the time, any 2x10 had a hard time
keeping up with a low B. With my cabinets,
you can slap the low B without it
farting out. Again, it goes back to tuning.
Other manufacturers weren’t tuning
cabs for that. Because of this, a lot
of players were trained not to play the
low B string so hard. Now you can play
with continuity because of the developments
we changed early on. If you have
ever seen Anthony play, then you know
how hard he can play. Right away, I
knew I would have to change the suspension,
make a bigger voice coil, etc.
When you work with players, perfecting
according to styles and needs, you learn
so much about your craft, while pushing
I am constantly talking with working
musicians about development and
needs. It’s the guys who are the weekend
players that I listen to. Honestly, professionals
don’t spend much money on
gear—it’s the working players who do.
For example, at the time, nobody was really
making a 1x10 or 1x12 cab. People needed
a cabinet to take on the subway and taxis,
and that’s where the idea for the UL (Ultra
Light) lines was born.
NYC obviously influenced your product
development. Could you have done this
in another town?
Chicago comes to mind, but I design my
cabs and amps around the players. So being
in touch with them throughout the years
has helped, and New York has a lot of
great players in a relatively small space. In
visiting all the underground clubs over the
years, I would bring a cabinet or two by
the club and get input from the best players
anywhere, while spreading my name
throughout the community of musicians.
The biggest stars would frequent the tiny
clubs to pick touring musicians, and it
would end up being this crazy jam session
of historic proportions. It was good to be a
part of that.
When did you start feeling less
like a boutique company and more
When we started selling more gear
]! Seriously, we had the NYC
line of cabinets, which was the 115,
215, 112, 110, 210, 310, 410, and
610. Working with Eminence yet
again, over the course of two years we
developed an efficient neodymium
speaker. This put the speaker weight
down to 4.6 pounds each, and we used
Italian poplar rather than plywood,
which cut cabinet weight in half. The
UL series was the result, with the UL
410 cab weighing 56 pounds. This
was the next big step in our company’s
growth. Once the UL was reviewed in a
national publication, it took on a new
meaning for our company. Our innovations—
bracing, 80-ounce magnets, and
speaker designs—were being noticed by
the big boys, and they started having to
redesign and play catch-up. At NAMM,
the other builders would visit and talk
about my innovations—which was a
big compliment. As we have grown
through the years, I have noticed more
and more backline companies coming
to me with requests for gear. That is a
huge step forward as the word spreads
around the globe.
Speaking of innovation, you have a new
development in your D.I.S.T. cabinets.
Yes! The Dual Impedance Speaker
Technology is something we are very
proud of. Every speaker in the world has a
single voice coil. We are the first to develop
a dual voice coil, with a user-selectable
8Ω or 4Ω impedance, which allows single
or multiple cabinet use. We can put them
in series or in parallel. Nobody else has
been able to perfect this feature.
Romano Ferretti, who teamed with Epifani to create a line of rock-focused bass amps,
shows off the
new Epifunky 300 (left) and Piccolo 600—both of which weigh just 4.5 pounds.
Let’s talk amps.
I had three tube preamps early on
that never made it to production. The
cabinets were selling well, and we were
quite busy with those. And, honestly,
lack of manpower and capital kept
amps out of our lines—but not off
our radar. This was in 1999. We had
a design for a digital amplifier at the
time, years before bass amps started
shrinking. We could have made very
small, powerful amps, but listened to
the suits who advised against such a move.
We pushed ahead at a later date, and the
PS 400 and PS 1000 were born. Our flagship
amp, the UL 902C, utilizes an amplifier
about the size of two packs of cigarettes
to produce 1800 watts. We chose to
put it in a 19" rack, but easily could have
made it fit in the palm of your hand.
What sets your amps apart from others?
Well, first of all, when we started all other
amps used to have some type of sound—the manufacturers
decided what sort of
sound you would get. You know when
you hear this brand or that brand. We
decided early on to give the tools back to
the player to achieve whatever sound they
want without limitation. We let you make
your own sound. We constructed the
preamps to be as flat as possible, with the
opportunity to create any type of sound
you have in mind. Also, we have fewer
components in our amps. When you run
the signal through too many components,
the sound is washed out. So we try to
keep circuitry down and keep the signal as
straight as possible. This allows a cleaner,
more powerful tone.
Also, our amp circuitry isn’t dependent
on the components. You can use the best
components possible, but if the amp doesn’t
work, then it doesn’t matter. We wanted it
all to work. The UL 502 and 902C are true
2-channel amps. If you plug in one bass,
you can use a footswitch to jump between
them, or you can plug into each channel
and control two instruments—such as an
electric and an upright, or a fretted and
fretless—with simple, independent EQs.
That design seems inspired by the jazz world.
Do you feel you cater more to jazz players?
It is where we started, but the interaction
also led to many innovations—because jazz
players are more demanding in their sound.
Last year, we started catering to the rock
world. The new rock line we have planned
is going to be a new era in bass. I have
noticed a lot of builders with “rock lines,”
but they are just repackaged copies of old
products. Where is the innovation in that?
We have a new designer and rock player
named Romano Ferretti, and we’re designing
a new look and new features in the
Which leads us to the future of Epifani.
The UL 501 is a single-channel version
of the 502, but this amp has another
innovation built in. We use a class-AB
power amplifier, and instead of using bulk
transformers, we designed a switching
power supply made specifically for audio.
It comes in at 7 pounds, with 850 watts
of continuous power. It rivals any power
amp that claims 1200 or 1500 watts.
We have also been working on the new
Piccolo amp for the past three years. In
the rush to make smaller amps, I didn’t
want to get something out just for the
sake of being small. It had to sound like
I wanted it to sound. It comes in at 4.5
pounds and 600 watts, and it has a big,
round, tone. We are very proud of this
achievement. We are also reintroducing
our combo amps, which will probably be
based around the Piccolo.
What are bass players asking for now, as
opposed to 20 years ago?
Styles have changed, and it seems we are
hearing frequencies in bass that we didn’t
hear 20 years ago. It seems that everyone
wants the new technology of smaller and
lighter cabinets and amps, but they want
the same thing—good sound. At the gig,
at the end of the night, you want to know
that you rattled the back of the room. You
want to know that you came with power,
clarity, and a big, fat tone.
What would you like to tell bassists who
have never played your amps or cabs?
Plug in, listen, and trust your ears!
The new, single-channel UL 501 rocks 800 watts at 4Ω (1400 at 2 Ω) and weighs only 8 pounds.