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Amp Decisions

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by swrbass2004, Aug 26, 2018.


  1. swrbass2004

    swrbass2004

    Aug 14, 2018
    Hey guys, this may be my first post. I can't remember. Anyway I'll try to keep this as short as possible. I've been using a Hartke LH500 and have had to bring it to get worked on a couple times and want to get something more reliable/better tone. I don't HATE the tone I'm getting but I like others better such as Ampeg/SWR. I use it with an Ampeg Portaflex 210HE and Portaflex 115LF. I LOVE my cabs and feel like I'm not doing them justice with that Hartke head. I've looked at the Portaflex PF800 to complement them PERFECTLY(watts, tone, and lighter weight) but the reviews on their reliability in that PF amp line is terrible. Does anyone know if they have resolved this? I've also looked the Aguilar Tone Hammer 500, but would rather have the extra headroom if I can. The TC Electronic BH800 is another possibility but I've heard the tone is sort of sterile. Lastly, I've considered getting a used Ampeg SVT-3 Pro as buying brand new is a little more than I want to spend but I've heard the reliability/longevity of the SVT line is great. I'd say 700 is probably the most I'd want to go right now. Any advice you fine people can give would be much appreciated. Hope you've had a great weekend!
     
  2. Might be an Ampeg Club somewhere on TB. :cool:
    Find a guy called Jimmy M
    He’s knows a thing or two Ampeg-wise.
     
    Wisebass likes this.
  3. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2006
    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    fEARful Kool-Aid dispensing liberal academic card-carrying union member Musicians Local 72-147
    The PF800 has not, IME, had the problems that beset the PF500. It is a good choice, IMHO. The PF500 has probably been sorted out by Ampeg by now—though I would be hesitant to buy a PF500 used.
     
  4. dagrev

    dagrev Supporting Member

    Jun 21, 2006
    Kentucky
    As Jim said, I think the PF issues have been sorted out.

    You mentioned Ampeg and SWR. Two very different sounds there. There are plenty of Ampeg threads for various heads. Read those to get a good idea about the good and maybe the bad of those heads. I'm an Ampeg fan--if you want light go PF. If you want real tone get some tubes and and you won't go back except in a pinch. But tubes won't fit your budget. The 3PRO has five tubes and sounds most like a tube amp of anything I've played.
     
  5. scottfeldstein

    scottfeldstein Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2011
    West Bend, Wisconsin
    The Ampeg SVT-3 Pro seems like a lot of money for a 450w amp. Yeah, I see that it has tubes in the preamp stage, but there are others that do this. For comparison, I got my Carvin BX1500 used off eBay for $380 a year ago. That's up to 1500w (when bridged, at 4 ohms).

    And anyway, I'd definitely want to give the Portaflex line a try, just so I could flip top it into your 210 :)
     
    Jim Carr likes this.
  6. swrbass2004

    swrbass2004

    Aug 14, 2018
    I know this is a loaded/possibly pointless question but....

    Do you think Ampeg would be honest if I contacted them via email and asked about their issues with the PF amps or do you think they would say "it's all good" and I would probably just have to find out on my own?
     
  7. As long as Ampeg has been around, (and didn’t Yamaha just buy them recently or was that something else?) I would guess they’d give you a straight answer.

    Sure can’t hurt to try.
    It will be up to you to decide if they give you the answer you want to hear.
     
  8. jastacey

    jastacey Supporting Member

    Feb 8, 2009
    Houston,Tx
    I'd say get the ToneHammer 500, don't let the wattage rating decive you, it really is a loud little amp, you just have to spend some time understanding the interactive tone controls
     
    Al Kraft likes this.
  9. Dollars/Watt is poor way to judge an amp.
    If you have to stay in a budget then do so. And Carvin gets (or got) a lot of love for that reason.
    There’s probably a good reason though that you see pros using Ampeg a whole lot more than you see them using Carvin.
    If you like what you hear when you try the Ampeg, you may decide it’s worth the price.
     
    InhumanResource likes this.
  10. JimmyM

    JimmyM

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Yamaha just bought Ampeg in May from LOUD Music, so they've got nothing to lose now :D But I can tell you, too.

    The PF-500 did have a bad start in 2011. Wildly popular but there were quite a few folks who complained of shutdown issues. It was bad for about a year, then complaints gradually started tapering off in the second year after some design tweaking and got down pretty low in the third year. Nowadays, you might see an occasional complaint, but their failure rate isn't any better or worse than any other amps from what I can tell. And the PF-350 and PF-800 have always been pretty solid designs with low failure rates. Have seen occasional complaints on here, but overall not much. I have a PF-350 and 800 from the years they came out and they're still going. Never owned a PF-500, though.
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2018
    High Camp, edencab, Jim Carr and 2 others like this.
  11. scottfeldstein

    scottfeldstein Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2011
    West Bend, Wisconsin
    Well, I'm getting a second hand one later in the week. It's a trade of my GK MB500 with another TB'er. Fingers crossed.
     
    JimmyM likes this.
  12. bass40hz

    bass40hz Cigar smoker, scotch drinker, American Patriot Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2014
    Sussex County, NJ
    no endorsements yet...Are you listening Spector, DR, GK, Line6?
    Not a single issue to speak of on this one ;-) As Jimmy intimated above, the later builds are pretty solid ;- Rock on.
     
  13. swrbass2004

    swrbass2004

    Aug 14, 2018
    JimmyM how do you like the tone of the PF800?
     
  14. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2006
    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    fEARful Kool-Aid dispensing liberal academic card-carrying union member Musicians Local 72-147
    You can get a forum member's attention like this: @JimmyM
     
    swrbass2004 likes this.
  15. JimmyM

    JimmyM

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I think it is terrific, not as good as a tube amp, and for the lightweight stuff I slightly favor the SVT 7 Pro, but not by much. Just used my 800 on a gig the other day and it was sweet.
     
    swrbass2004 and Al Kraft like this.
  16. swrbass2004

    swrbass2004

    Aug 14, 2018
    A lot of people are saying that these PF series amps fault and shut down when pushed moderately. Is this your experience? How hard do you push yours?
     
  17. JimmyM

    JimmyM

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    There was a time it was true about the PF500 and SVT 7 Pro, but not the PF800 and PF350. They've been fine from the start. Occasionally you might get one that doesn't work since any amp can break, but it's either a defect or a shipping issue and not something inherent in the design, and their failure rates are low. I have a PF350 and PF800 from the years they were first introduced and both have always performed for me and never had a shutdown issue.
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2018
    Al Kraft likes this.
  18. scottfeldstein

    scottfeldstein Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2011
    West Bend, Wisconsin
    Well, here's hoping. I just traded my GK MB500 for an Ampeg PF500. My only impressions thus far are that the baked-in tone is fairly dark and that it's bigger and heavier than I anticipated it would be. But as my new apartment practice/backup amp, I think it'll do just fine. Right now I have it paired with a GK 112 MBX.
     

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