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Ampeg B4R vs PLX QSC + PreampX for tone

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by jwendt99, Jan 25, 2005.


  1. jwendt99

    jwendt99

    Oct 20, 2004
    Northern CA
    I'm needing a new amp (my 25yr old GK 400RB is wearing thin). I'm considering either an Ampeg B4R or a pre/power setup using a QSC PLX-1602 or PLX-2402 and a preamp (SVPCL, FX-1, or ???). I have tried a couple B4R and like their tone a lot. I have no way to try a QSC PLX + preamp combo, so I'm asking for opinions and advice here. Will I be able to get B4R-like tone (or even better tone - whatever that might mean) using a QSC PLX + preamp combo?

    I'm using a Schecter Studio-4 and an old Cort headless that I'm about to drop a set of Barts into. Cab right now is a SWR 4X10T that could probably use an upgrade at some point also.

    Thx,
    Jim
     
  2. BillyB_from_LZ

    BillyB_from_LZ Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2000
    Chicago
    When at the Ampeg store, were you able to try out an SVT-CL to see if you like the tone of it? Which did you like better?

    Did the store have an SVP Pro or and SVPCL to try out? If they do, patch it in to the poweramp input(s) of the B4R and see which you like better.

    Personally, I like the solid state Ampeg preamps and wish that they made a rack mount version of either the B2R or B4R preamp. I already have the PLX2402.

    The tone section on an F1-X is very different from the Ampeg...if you can plug into an old tube Fender Bassman head, it's like that (similar circuitry). I tried out a friend's F1-X and didn't care for it at all.

    The last thing that you'd need to be concerned with is whether the B4R has enough power...it should. If you're shopping at Guitar Center, hopefully they have a Workingman's 4x10 to try the amp with although they might not appreciate you trying to rewire their Ampeg and SWR demo racks :D

    Good luck!!!
     
  3. cb56

    cb56

    Jul 2, 2000
    Central Illinois
    I own a B4r and an SVPCL pre amp. I've been a solid state kind of guy all along until I got my SVPCL. Actually the tone of the two units are very similar. I tried an SVT3pro before I bought my B4r and didn't like it. The pre amp of the SVT3pro sounded kind of compressed and distorted to my ears. My SVPCL does not sound that way at all. Matter of fact I have to crank the gain on it to get any distortion at all. A good thing IMO. Right now I am using the SVPCL into the power section of my B4r. I think either way you'll be fine. btw as far as the B4r having enough power. You can bridge the two power sections into a 4 ohm load for 1000 watts. With my current set up SVPCL/B4r into 410/15. If I turn the output to the 9 o'clock position I get complaints from my soundman.
     
  4. jwendt99

    jwendt99

    Oct 20, 2004
    Northern CA
    It sounds like running a SVPCL into a PLX-2402 might get me that ampeg tone in a preamp/poweramp config. I'm wondering:
    * (I need to go try a SVPCL somewhere, but) Can the SVPCL produce the same solidstate tone as the standalone B4R in addition to the SVT3Pro-like tube tone?
    * Does most of the "tone" come from the preamp portion of a head unit? (thus running a SVPCL thru either a B4R power section or a separate PLX will yield about the same results)
    * Do you, cb56, and others running a B4R into a 4x10 cab and a 1x15 cab use the B4R crossover to frequency split the signal going to the two cabs, or do you just run both cabs full range?

    Thx,
    Jim :bassist: (sorry, just had to try one of those little hyper icons)
     
  5. BillyB_from_LZ

    BillyB_from_LZ Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2000
    Chicago
    If you can't find a SVPCL locally, buy it here http://www.musiciansfriend.com/srs7/g=home/search/detail/base_pid/481842/ and you can audition it with your bass, cabinets, etc for 45 days...

    Or, to save a few bux..they even have a blemished version
    http://www.musiciansfriend.com/srs7/g=home/search/detail/base_pid/481842X/

    Here's the head:

    http://www.musiciansfriend.com/srs7/g=home/search/detail/base_pid/481700/

    Tube power amps add their own sonic signature when you overdrive them and saturate the output transformer. I'm sure that they have some tonal effect at clean levels, but not as pronounced as the preamp.

    The way I read his post, CB56 bridges his into two 8 ohm cabinets resulting in a 1000 watt power output.

    It looks like $899 is about the going rate for PLX-2402s today (I paid like $725 for mine three years ago from Mark at Life Effects Pro Audio in Oklahoma). But the combined price of SVPCL and PLX isn't much more than a new B4R and it will be a lot lighter... PLX weigh just 21 lbs. each.

    Lord Valve might offer better pricing on PLXs than this...
    http://www.musiciansfriend.com/srs7/g=bass/search/detail/base_pid/481558/

    By going the separate route, you can always change preamps as your tastes change, but you'll have a clean, light reliable power amp that should suit you for all time... Gosh, when would you ever need more than 2400 watts bridged into 4 ohms?

    Honestly, I don't think you could lose either way!!!
     
  6. cb56

    cb56

    Jul 2, 2000
    Central Illinois
    My opinion is that the tone comes mostly from the pre amp. I also have a Yamaha power amp that I've used with the SVPCL and there is no diffrence in tone. Just so happens that my yamaha doesn't do a 4 ohm bridge like my b4r (even though the Yamaha literaure at the store said it would). Yes I bridge both cabs full range. No cross over frequency split. IMO the SVPCL does not sound like an SVT3pro. I think it sounds cleaner and more similar to my B4r even though the B4r is solid state. One other thing to mention about the SVPCL is that it has NO effects loop. Don't know if that is something that is important to you or not.
     
  7. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    the cl wont sound like the b4r. in amps with a solid state power section most of the tone comes from the preamp itself. some claim to hear differences in different solid state power sections, some say they're full of it. either way, the preamp gives you most of the tone. as previously stated, amps with tube power sections are a different story.

    i dont have experiece using the ampeg crossover but i have used a bunch of others. 99% of the time you're going to like the sound better running both cabs full range. crossovers are great in pa setups where the cabinets are designed to reproduce certain potions of the audio spectrum, but with bass cabinets that are designed to reproduce almost all of it, crossovers tend to do more harm than good. IMHO - ;)