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Ampeg Portaflex 500 Review!

Discussion in 'Amps [BG]' started by faulknersj, Dec 19, 2013.

  1. faulknersj

    faulknersj Supporting Member

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    I know that some players experienced issues with this head when it first came out, so I purchased mine from a local TBer with cautious optimism. Mine is a 2nd generation PF 500 from what I understand and had been sent to the guy as a replacement for an earlier one he had issues with. I have had this head for about 6 months now and wanted to really put it thru it's paces before posting a review. I have gigged this head 4 or 5 nights a week during this time and have had zero technical issues. My band employs a couple of different sound men for different types of venues, and they both for whatever reason immediately preferred this head to my main 'go to', a Genz Benz Shuttlemax 6. The DI output is really hot and they both prefer that I use the -40db pad, but they love the DI on this head. This head has a meatier tone stack than the flat transparency of my GB Shuttlemax. It feels a bit low boosted and mid scooped, but as a player who likes my mids to sit 'just so', I can still get the articulation i need to be heard in the mix. I have a buddy that has sat in with the band, and I really like what I have heard from out in the audience. This head has also worked very well with all of my basses; a 73' Jazz w/ flats, a Fender 'Custom Classic' Custom Shop Jazz with a J-Retro pre and rounds, a P Bass, and my Musicman Sterling (which is in the video below). It has also paired well with my Genz Benz Neo X 212T, and my buddies Bergantino 4x10. At 500 watts, it actually has plenty of power for my needs. I play funk, soul, jazz, Top 40, disco, and some Latin. I cannot attest to its ability to hold up when competing with huge guitar stacks for metal etc. The interface on this head is super easy to use: Gain+Master Volume. Compression Knob (which I don't use), Bass, Mid (5 point mid frequency selector), treble, FX Blend (which I also don't use). I usually set it pretty close to flat. With my active bass...I set it flat and use the on board J-Retro EQ. With my passive basses, I tweak as needed for the room. While I love the look of this head, and think it has a really cool design, my one nitpick is that I wish it were a little bit lighter. It's not heavy per say, just heavier than other class D heads and when gigging as much as I do, lighter is better IMO.

    Based on my experience, I wouldn't hesitate to jump on one of these if you are on the fence. When you consider the price point on these, especially used, I think these are one of the best bargains out there right now. Cheers!



    Video Of Me Playing Live Thru the PF 500 with No PA Support thru a Genz Benz NeoX 212T

    http://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=...ist=UU1Mtb5mAWZtDUIGGi9CqCGg%5D%5BSIZE%3D%224

    Ampeg Website: PF500 Page: http://www.ampeg.com/products/portaflex/pf-500/
  2. Freddels

    Freddels Musical Anarchist Supporting Member

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    The vid sounds good. Are you still using the Avatar TB153? Which cab is paired with it in the vid?
  3. kimokeo

    kimokeo

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    Video does sound good. Just wish you guys had more lighting for the video. Couldn't see any of you guys playing.
  4. neckdive

    neckdive

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    Thanks for taking the time to review this. I am currently researching investing in a new amp and the PF 500 is on the list. What cab are going through in the video? Do you have any videos or sound clips of your 73 Jazz with the Ampeg? (I have a 75 Jazz with flats)

    Band sounds tight and the MM sounds great with the Ampeg - good for you.
  5. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

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    Disclosures:
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Lighting, eh. Sound, yay! Killer band and killer playing. Rig sounds fat, too. Can't say I ever thought of the PF500 as mid scooped, but I do find myself turning the treble down to 9:00 when I've plugged into one.
  6. faulknersj

    faulknersj Supporting Member

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    I'm playing thru a Genz Benz Neo X 212T cab in the video. I usually play the Avatar at my rehearsal room.
  7. faulknersj

    faulknersj Supporting Member

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    I don't think I do..but I'll look to see. It sounds killer thru this head!
  8. faulknersj

    faulknersj Supporting Member

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    Compared to the 'flat' voicing of my Genz Benz head I would say that their are some mid frequencies scooped...although their could be a little hump in the low mids. Maybe u could find out Jimmy?
  9. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

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    Eh, I just turn knobs till it sounds good to me and don't really care what the knobs are like at noon ;)
  10. faulknersj

    faulknersj Supporting Member

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    Well...however it is voiced I dig it.
  11. P Town

    P Town Guest

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    faulkersj,

    Have you tried the DI post EQ?

    I get some noise on the DI when set to post EQ. I suppose this may not be unusual, but I was a little surprised that such an otherwise fine amp had the amount of noise mine had. It's not really a problem for me anyway.

    The biggest complaint I have about mine, is that I didn't wait for the PF-800 to come out.
  12. CLMSHQ

    CLMSHQ

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    faulknersj,

    Great Sound. I love your band's style and have seen several videos in the past.

    I have debated over and over to go to a PF500..and have come close to purchasing one. I play a LMIII, Avatar 410 or 112 on smaller gigs/rehearsals. I am pleased with it, but do miss the sound and ease of an Ampeg to obtain the tone.

    After a year of hard work, going through horn charts ect..My current band is getting to work early 2014' doing the casino's here in CT and some Corp Functions.
    We play similar kind of music, with Mowtown, Chicago, TOP, ect.

    If the LMIII isn't doing the trick, I know what head to get next!
  13. faulknersj

    faulknersj Supporting Member

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    I haven't tried it. I always send a pre-EQ signal so that the Soundman can dial it in unadulterated in the FOH. The way things sound thru my 2x12is totally different than how things will sound they 18" subs and other FOH speakers. This also allows my to tweak the EQ on the head to get the sound I want on stage thru my cab without affecting his Front Of House mix.

    Cheers!
  14. faulknersj

    faulknersj Supporting Member

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    Thank you!! The Markbass Heads are great little amps IMO!
  15. kpc

    kpc

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    Whooo.....great job. The drummer is killin it!! Good job on the bass! The band is tight. I also own a pf500 and pf800. I use the pf210 with it and it kills! Never had a days problem with either head since the day it bought them. There voiced very well as they are aren't they! Great video. A little more light on the band though!!!..... Cheers!!
  16. Pet Sounds

    Pet Sounds

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    Allow me to add to those congratulating you on your playing skill, tone and the tightness of your band. Great clip. And thanks for the review.
  17. tekdiver500ft

    tekdiver500ft Supporting Member

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    I never tire of listening to the JJs, so thanks for sharing. I'll add another request for a better key grip and/or photographic director and/or cameraman. However, y'all always rock, and this was no exception. I have a PF-800, and used to have a PF-500, so I totally concur on your assessment of the head.
  18. lowendblues

    lowendblues Supporting Member

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    I don't regret buying mine. I prefer it over my GK MB500.
  19. CL400Peavey

    CL400Peavey Supporting Member

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    IMHO musicman basses and Portaflex amps are a winning combo.
  20. faulknersj

    faulknersj Supporting Member

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    Thank you for the kind words!

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