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Ampeg PF500 issues, using it as power amp now

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by monkeybass68, Apr 10, 2015.

  1. So, I bought a used PF500 over a year ago & have used it regularly without a single issue. A couple of weeks ago while at a rehearsal studio (I always bring the head with me & plug into their cabs), I started hearing a ton of distortion from the rig & I didn't have my overdrive pedal on. I initially assumed there was a blown speaker in the studio's 8x10. I didn't think much of it, but decided to put a fresh battery in my Spector just in case that was the problem. (FYI I do have the -15db button depressed when using active basses, so that's not the issue).
    I go back the following week, but this time I'm in a different room with a different cab. And what do u know, there's the distortion again. I checked every cable, every jack, plugged straight in (with no effects) and even plugged in a passive bass, but the problem was still there. I then decided to try plugging into the power amp in and low and behold, the distortion was gone.
    I did this all over again at home with my own cabinets and came to the same conclusion, its the PF500. Well, I've since decided that instead of going thru the cost & headaches of getting it repaired, I'm going to use it (at least temporarily) as a lightweight power amp. I've hear so many horror stories about the older PF500s that I thought this would be the cheapest and least stressful solution for the time being. I had already pre-ordered the new Ampeg DI (which seems to be their version of the Sansamp BDDI) & I plan to use that as my regular pre-amp once it arrives. I'm praying that I'm happy with that set up; otherwise I'll be in the market for a new amp again :-(
  2. pfschim

    pfschim Just a Skeleton with a Jazz bass

    Apr 26, 2006
    SF Bay Area
    first off, sorry to hear the PF500 (or at least part of it) went on the fritz. I hate it when that happens.
    how does it work/sound as a power amp ? I'm guessing its a pretty neutral class D power amp.
  3. ^ yup, pretty neutral. My tone hasn't changed drastically using it this way, but it's not quite where I want it. Hoping the DI does the job. Here's a link to what it is: Ampeg: Bass Amp Series - BA-112
    Don't mind the name on the link, it does go to the right place ;-)
  4. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2008
    There are some simple tests that you c an perform.

    Select pre eq, test to see if the distortion is there. This bypasses part of the preamp.

    Plug an instrument cable into the pre out into the power amp in. Test the amp.
    Plug an instrument cable into the fx send and fx return. Test the amp.

    See if any of this helps.
  5. ^ I appreciate the ideas, I'll try the ones I haven't yet tried.
  6. DalibortheBeast


    Aug 10, 2011
    I sympathize. I'm on my third pf500. Warranty is long over. It has now become my most expensive practice amp.

    I on the other hand have found it as a useful pre amp. I recently got a Fender PA 100 for guitar and bass. Nice amp but lacking mids. I use the pre amp out straight into one of the four inputs in the PA. I'm not completely sure this is correct as I should plug into the effects loop but since the PA has none I've done this with no issue.

    My pf500 always cut out when driven hard so if I ever gig with this setup I can get all my volume from the PA. My backup plan is to run two signals to the amp. One signal into channel one of the PA and the other into channel two with the pf500 preamp. That way I get the tone of both amps and if the pf500 cuts out I'm not left with no amp.
    monkeybass68 likes this.

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