Tecamp Puma 500 vs. Epifani UL502

Discussion in 'Amps [BG]' started by sleepingorb, Aug 12, 2013.


  1. sleepingorb

    sleepingorb

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2013
    Hello everyone!

    I know, both amps have been covered in several threads now and again, but I want to know if someone has actual experience with both (preferably in an A/B manner).
    I did a pretty comprehensive mega-test with a number of heads last week, where the Puma came out on top of the Aguilar TH500, the Glockenklang Blue Soul and several others.
    At the same time, I got my eyes on an Epi UL502 at a very reasonable price.
    Thing is, I will most likely not be able to play them side by side. And by the time I'll get to hear the Epi, the Puma will be nothing but a distant memory...

    So if anyone could share their thoughts on how one compares to the other and what to look out for I'd be very thankful! :hyper:

    The Puma was from the most recent series I believe, but has there been any reissuing of the UL502 that I don't know of?

    Few words about me: Currently my main project is a funk band, but with a rather modern sound. Beside that I'm backing a couple of singers from one of those casting shows on TV, where it ranges from pop to club to almost everything.

    Also, I'm heading on tour in the fall where the amp will be used exclusively as a Preamp/DI (in-ear monitoring and such), so any additional info in that regard would be nice!
  2. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2005
    Location:
    Wisconsin and Upper Michigan
    I gigged a 502 for a while, owned the original Puma500, and was involved in prototype testing for the new (current) 1 space Puma500.

    Here is my take:

    Epi502 The good: Massive power and low end wump... really impressive. The 'not quite so good (IMO): the low end tends to overwhelm the upper midrange and treble, resulting in this head having a reputation for sounding a bit 'dark' (even though is sounds fine at home). EQ is quite limited, service and support is mediocre at best. Full size head with some weight to it. There is a newer, even higher powered model that is smaller and some say a bit more evenly voiced (I've only heard it at NAMM, and it reminded me a lot of the 502).

    Puma500: The good: Super small, lightweight, no fan (super quiet), VERY even voice right out of the box, GREAT EQ. Unique combination of 'top end present but still warm and musical. The 'not quite so good' (IMO): If you are in the US, service and support is a bit tricky (although this brand is represented by some VERY good retailers... Austin Bass Traders an Fretspot). More of a 'time' issue than a big problem. The DI is an unusual design with no ground lift, and some have reported noise in some situations.

    It would be the Puma500 all the way for me, although the Puma900 would probably be more 'apples to oranges' with the massive output of the 502/501.
  3. sleepingorb

    sleepingorb

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2013
    Hey Ken,

    thanks a lot for your input!
    The overwhelming low end on the Epi sounds a bit daunting, especially if it's not noticeable when played solo... But good to know nonetheless.
    I heard about the horror stories concerning customer service, too. Certainly no brownie points there.

    The 'not quite so good' part of the Puma should not be an issue for me as I live right here in Germany. :D Although the noisy DI is also a factor I can not really circumvent, more of a hit&miss I guess.

    Our experiences with the Puma500 correspond pretty well, I adored the EQ on that amp and it sounded absolutely supreme with everything set flat.
    I might have to consider the Puma900 then, soundwise they should be the same, right?

    Anyhow, I would go with the Puma in a heartbeat, but before I heard it I was so set on the Epi502 (based on TB reviews/videos and having tried it once back when I didn't care a whole lot about amps), and the price tag is so friendly (100€ cheaper than a new Puma500) that I'm having a hard time letting go of it.
    Guess I'll just have to hear for myself then.
  4. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2005
    Location:
    Wisconsin and Upper Michigan
    +1 That tonally the Puma900 is identical (to my ear) to the 500... just more power. Same box, same knobs, same everything except the actual power module.

    The DI 'issue' seems to be only in rare occasions. Most use the DI with no issue, and I never had a 'front of house' issue with mine. However, if you are using it as your primary input to a recording studio or whatever, there are some reports of it interacting strangely with some interfaces, etc. So, worth looking into if you do any of that stuff.

    Hopefully, you can find a 501 to check out so you can be sure.

    Edit: I have a ton of relatives on my mom's side in Kiel.
  5. sleepingorb

    sleepingorb

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2013
    Alright, that sounds good.
    I'll see if I can dig up a 501 somehow, but Epifani is even rarer to come by here than Tecamp on your side of the world.
    So it'll boil down to whether I like the 502. If not, Puma here I come! :)

    Thank you again!

    P.S.: I'm in the very south of Germany, so Kiel is not exactly round the corner. But I heard it's nice up there. Lots of fish and all... ;)
  6. Scott McArron

    Scott McArron

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2007
    Location:
    Kaiserslautern, Germany
    I can attest that the Puma500 and 900 sound identical. Had both together for a while and tested this side by side. The only difference I could find between the two was where the volume knob sat when pushing the same volume, and for obvious reason. The 500 had all the power I needed and the 900 should never leave me wanting if we were to need more. Love my Puma900!
  7. asbs

    asbs Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2010
    Location:
    Nouméa, NC.
    I get the puma 900 for two days at home.
    Good amp but not my taste. Also get a little hiss that I couldn' put off.

    I just receveid an UL 501 this week from Music Station in Germany. They carry both brand and give a very hight service.
    You may be abble to play both in this place.

    I love the Epi. The mid cut is a very apreciable fonction.

    Work very well with my Sadowsky 5 and a 4*10 markbass.
    And also love it with my Rob Allen and a Baer ML112.
    It got the Hi-fi-clean sound who works weel with the RA and bring out very well the piezo and the woody taste.

    Difficult for me to be more in the tech explanation.
    (I don't have the KJung knowledges)
    But I would resume that the Epi give me more fat tone that the Puma, and bring out more the growl.
    But still have a bit of hi-fi sound.
    The EQ section is far enought suffisent for me.
    I would not say that the 501 is voiced darker (IMO), but I feeled the puma sounded "lighter".

    To resume, two nice amp, but the Epi sounds better for my hears. (subjectivity)

    Good luck !
  8. sleepingorb

    sleepingorb

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2013
    Thank you guys for your input. I guess it's KJung's word against yours here, asbs. ;-)
    I'll get to decide for myself this friday because I'll be able to A/B the amps briefly after all. Very excited!

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