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Using a Simple Power Amplifier as a head

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by beachmando, Dec 17, 2013.


  1. beachmando

    beachmando Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2009
    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    In searching for a way to best reproduce the sound of my bass on stage I was wondering if using a simple, and small, power amplifier would work as an amp head?

    My thought is that before I go into my amp head I would split the signal, one going to my rig, the other going to the house. I could use studio headphones/record into pro tools before the split to perfect the sound and then the house and I would know exactly what that signal is.

    Here's the setup I'm thinking about building: DPA mic+Realist into a blender, floor tuner, possible EQ and compressor, into some kind of splitter, then into my rig and to house. My current rig is a AudioKinesis TC115 and an iAMP 500. The idea with using a power amp came in because I know the TC115 already has a natural sound.

    p.s. I know there are heads out this that do most of that and any recommendations would be great. I'll be on the road most of next year and will be trying out as many as I can. The iAmp isn't doing it for me right now. I love it as a bass guitar amp, just not on upright.

    Thanks,
    Erik
     
  2. beachmando

    beachmando Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2009
    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    As a side not I will also be trying out different pickup options too.
     
  3. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    Find yourself a used Acoustic Image Focus SA. I've been doing it for years and works great with just a preamp of your choice (currently a Headway EDB-2).
     
  4. beachmando

    beachmando Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2009
    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    Wow, that's exactly what I'm looking for. I'll keep an eye out for one. Thanks! Since they seem to be extremely rare, does anyone know of any similar products currently available? Maybe a PA power amp?
     
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  6. MR PC

    MR PC

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2007
    Demeter Minnie.
     
  7. Radkins

    Radkins

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2006
    Location:
    New york
    I was about to post a very similar question on this forum and then saw this thread. I have a headway preamp that I like and want a simple lightweight power amp for a small single cabinet.

    So far, the best option I've seen is the Carvin DCM200L. 4 lbs. 200W bridged mono output. They have more powerful models as well.

    Too bad they stopped making that Acoustic Image. That looks perfect.
     
  8. Greg Clinkingbeard

    Greg Clinkingbeard

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2005
    Location:
    Kansas City area
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    Setup and repair/KRUTZ Strings
    I used a Headway into an SWR Amplite for quite awhile until almost two years ago. The Clarus sounds almost as good and is much easier to use. It lacks just a bit of air, but the Headway is a pure Class A circuit so it's not quite fair. I remember the comparison being very close. FWIW, the Amplite is a great little unit that will deliver 400 watts into 4ohms. It's only drawback for me was the noisy fan which was still barely audible for club work.
     
  9. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2005
    Location:
    Olivette, Missouri
    Acoustic Image only built a small run of the Focus SA's. I believe
    there were only 70 or so made, and they were'nt cheap either. The
    new Demeter Minnie will do the trick nicely, I'm just waiting for
    my dear friend Ken Jung to get his, so I can try it out. I've
    been using my Headway EDB-2 on most all of my gigs.

    Ric
     
  10. cacophonic

    cacophonic

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2008
    Location:
    San Francisco

    Or...get any AI amp and run the preamp into the Effect Loop return(s). Almost all the advantages of the SA with the added bonus of being able to go directly into the instrument/mic inputs when you don't want or need all the extra paraphernalia.

    As for sound, you would be hard-pressed to find a more neutral, uncolored line of gear than the AI amps; and their customer support is beyond excellent.

    -bob
     
  11. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2004
    Location:
    Madison WI
    Disclosures:
    HPF Technology: Protecting the Pocket since 2007
    I asked one of the micro head makers why he didn't offer a power-amp-only version. He told me that due to low sales volumes, the power amp would have to be more expensive than the full head.

    I use a micro head effectively as a power amp by setting the tone controls to a neutral setting. On my EA Micro300, I just set all controls to the middle. On my GK MB200, I had to measure the curve to find out the flat settings. True, that sounds compulsive, but I happen to enjoy messing around with this stuff for fun.

    Also AFAIK the makers of some of the power amp modules have a stipulation that you're not allowed to use their modules in products that are just a packaged power amp.
     
  12. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    I once owned on the the EA iAmps. Those heads are amazingly neutral. The Micro300 seems very appealing to me but have no reason to purchase one since I already have the SA.
     
  13. MR PC

    MR PC

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2007
    I have heard that different brands are using the same power amp module as the next guy. Makes sense.
     
  14. pbasswil

    pbasswil Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2008
    If the goal is to avoid the signal going thru an additional preamp (since you'll have that functionality in your blender), one possibility is to use any amp head, but input via the effects return on the back.

    Going that route may actually be cheaper than a dedicated power amp (depending), but at the very least it'll be easier to find/more choice.
     
  15. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member

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    Quite true. Several of the micro head makers are using "IcePower" modules from Bang & Olufsen. This is not to say they're all alike, because there are a lot devils in the details of how a switchmode power amp is made usable for musical instrument amplification. Notably, how the amp handles overload signals is probably a differentiator.
     
  16. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2005
    Location:
    Olivette, Missouri
    +1 Some of the newer blenders, like the Headway EDB-2 work far better into a power amp, than in front of a amp head. Since there are only three small lightweight power amps around, the Focus SA, SWR Amplite, and the Demeter Minnie, an two of them are only avaliable used, using a micro head is a less expensive option.

    Ric
     
  17. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize!

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2004
    Location:
    Ottawa, Canada
    I doubt the blender/EQ/compressor will be able to drive a power amp properly.

    The iAMP with the EQ bypassed is probably the cleanest solution you are going to get. But since you already have the iAMP, try using the effects return trick. It will probably be more forgiving than a "real" power amp. And if it doesn't work, you still have the preamp!
     
  18. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2008
    Location:
    Colorado
    I have considered running my pedalboard straight into a power amp. But I like my Ampeg too much to quit doing it.
     
  19. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2005
    Location:
    Olivette, Missouri
    Sean M,
    The Headway EDB-2 is a Class A, Dual Stage FET pre amp.
    It drives virtually anything TB members have ran it into, including all the power
    amps mentioned. I gig with a QSC K8 powered speaker and the EDB-2

    Ric
     
  20. cacophonic

    cacophonic

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2008
    Location:
    San Francisco
    Erik, you wrote
    To which I suggested
    A couple of other replies echoed this approach. But I went back and re-read your original post, specifically the quote above, and thought you might be interested in a simpler arrangement.

    The AI Clarus and Focus 2R (and similar designs) feature two input channels, each with instrument and mic inputs and an effects loop. With this design you can leave the blender at home--that functionality is built into the amp (unless you want blend the mic and pickup signals upstream of the eq and compressor). With good mic placement and by careful adjustment of the mic/pickup balance, you might find that you can leave the eq pedal at home too.

    This statement is both interesting and perplexing. What is the advantage of going this route, unless you need a great deal of signal processing? Do you encounter problems with latency using this rig for live performance? What did you mean by "...know exactly what that signal is?"
     
  21. MR PC

    MR PC

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2007
    Devils in the details that's for sure!
     

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