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Ampeg PF's are the bugs worked out?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by eno50, Oct 10, 2013.


  1. eno50

    eno50

    Jan 31, 2009
    North of Memphis
    Hello everyone,
    I'am in the market for a class D amp and I'am a big fan of Ampeg and have a BR100,SVT big Rig, B108 and a 15"
    cab and a 15-10 cab... so Yea I'am an Ampeg fan since the early 70's...
    I have been craving for one of those PF amps ,either the PF-350 or the PF-500 just to use on the smaller cabs,
    they may sound good on the 810 too, but my main concern is that after all the reading here on TB ,I'am a
    little concerned about the amps,Have they worked all the problems out ,a lot went back for repair and many here on TB had issues with them..
    I most of the time wait a while when new products come for this reason,the problems are most of the time worked out after the 1st production run...
    Anyways is the QC dept on the ball now...
    Are the two amps voiced different ? I can see more controlls on the 500 ,and I also seen a pic on here where
    the ampeg guru Jimmy had a ,looks like a pf350 on top of an old ampeg 810 that looked like.
    he was gigging with and that looked pretty cool to me.
    You Guys chime in and give me the skinny on these little amps......are they safe to buy now!!!!
    Thanks Eno
     
  2. TwoRivers

    TwoRivers

    Aug 26, 2012
    Las Cruces, NM
    I bought a PF-350 initially, but soon thereafter found a refurbished PF-500 on the guitar center website, so returned the 350 and bought the 500. As far as the similarities or differences in sound, I'm probably not the best to offer that information since I played the 350 through a 410hlf and I play the 500 through the PF-115he's. The cabs probably have as much to do with the sound as the amp does.

    That being said, I've had my PF-500 for over a year now and have gigged it quite extensively. I've run it with 8 and 4 ohm loads and pushed it pretty hard (gain and master both around 2 o'clock) and haven't had any problems. I make sure to reset the gain before each gig. I like the clip light to barely blink when I'm playing my absolute hardest (probably don't ever play that hard during the gig), and I find that gives me the response I'm looking for. I set the compressor about the same way, then adjust the master to the desired level. The reason I make sure to reset the gain every time is because a lot of the information I read about this amp suggested the problems people were having were due to input levels. The knob can be budged during transit or setup and different pedals or instruments can affect the input level. Because of that, I choose to play it safe and reset it every time...it only takes a few seconds.

    Some other problems were related to EQ, which also affects input level. If you boost anything in the EQ, make sure to compensate for it by reducing the gain. I typically have to boost the bass to about 2 o'clock and cut my highs to about 11 o'clock to get my desired sound, otherwise the amp can sound very mid heavy and a bit thin in the lows. Could be my instrument or my ear, but that's how I typically set it. I would be interested in knowing if some of you other PF users have the same findings with respect to EQ.

    Overall I love the amp and the character of the sound it produces.
     
  3. johnpbass

    johnpbass

    Feb 18, 2008
    Glen Mills, PA
    I have the PF350 - great little amp, no issues after 9 months. Has that great Ampeg tone, simple effective EQ (give me a mid control centered at 500 and I'm good to go), plenty of power for what I'm doing, and easy to schlep in a smallish gig bag.
    I've run the amp using 1-15, 2-15s, 1-12 at 8 ohms and 4ohms. Lot of punch when pushing 2-15s.
     
  4. eno50

    eno50

    Jan 31, 2009
    North of Memphis
    I have had several ampeg heads that seem to not have the power as quoted,but yea it was the input gain and
    setting it right made all the difference,I have a P-bass that must have very weak pickups because you have to set the gain around 8 to get the peak light just to blink and really dig in to do that. And other basses all different.
    But yea knowing how to set the input level is a plus in tone...
    I'am just wondering ,was the PF-350 just under powerd for you ,was the reason you upgraded? or did you want the more tone controls the PF-500,?

    Eno



     
  5. Dave Curran

    Dave Curran Lilduke

    Jul 27, 2013
    NEPA
    I am going monday to buy a pf-500 from a local store. I'm taking my tele and jazz to test it out. I have no issues buying it new. I think I would be getting the newest revision, and it's got a warranty. I wouldn't buy one used unless it had the pwr board replaced, or was cheap enough. Of course around here the used marked is sparse and everyone wants what GC wants... And I want to play my bass's through it so I KNOW I'm gonna like it.
     
  6. Bowe

    Bowe

    Apr 1, 2013
    Italy
    There are a few TBers that will say otherwise but I think that early problems are over. Just make certain that the unit you get was built this year, there may some early ones still on the shelf at some lower volume retailers.
    I think it sounds awesome and is a solid performer, that is why I bought one (and I don't have an endorsement deal).
    With the local dealer, check to make certain they got it this year at the least.
     
  7. 254 stringer

    254 stringer

    Apr 15, 2010
    Waco Texas
    Yes check to see when it was built. I bought a pf500 in May from musicians friend and it is a rev D. So they still have some old stock on the shelf but it has been fine so far and I still have plenty of warranty left just in case.
     
  8. Mike in Chicago

    Mike in Chicago Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2011
    Chicago
    Trollin, trollin, trollin...
     
  9. Love my 350 but can't push it like I caN my gk200.. it clips soo early. Realy makes me change my playing style
     

  10. Ya think.

    +1
     
  11. Dave Curran

    Dave Curran Lilduke

    Jul 27, 2013
    NEPA
    I didn't think so, as I was thinking of posting in the other thread, or starting a new one stating my willingness to buy the pf-500. I really want that ampeg sound. I don't want (nor can afford to) deal with tubes or used lemons. This company has been around for decades, and still has a strong market share.
     
  12. shoot-r

    shoot-r

    May 26, 2007
    Illinois
    Do a T.B. search on the PF-500 series head.
    Learn all you can and make an informed decision before the purchase.
    If you feel it's for you go for it.......

    Try out all the heads you can, there's some "great" one's out there now.......
     
  13. Bitterdale

    Bitterdale Natural Born Lurker

    Dec 4, 2010
    Ocala, FL
    I bought mine in December of 2011. Never had a problem with it. I would suggest you buy new from American Musical, as they offer a free extended warranty - 1 additional year beyond the manufacturers warranty.
     

  14. AMS has a free extended warranty? Good deal.
     
  15. Steve Dallman

    Steve Dallman Supporting Member

    I bought mine about a year ago. The first one failed for no apparent reason the third time I turned it on. MF had a new head to me in less than 24 hours.

    I've pushed the head pretty hard this summer. No cut outs, or problems. I absolutely love this amp. If it goes, I will replace it, but I'll likely go with a PF-800 although I've had plenty of power with the PF-500.

    I've looked over the schematic, and I'm not even sure why it sounds so good. There is a mosfet stage at the beginning of the preamp but the rest is pretty standard op amps. It has the Ampeg Baxandall bass and treble and the active inductor based midrange but it's all op amps.

    I do believe that combination of the Baxandall bass and treble (passive but it acts like active, non-interactive boost and cut) and the inductor based active midrange is the key to the "Ampeg tone." Some companies have copped that topology but substitute a simulate inductor midrange and don't quite get it. The inductor is important IMO.

    I love the compressor and use varying amounts depending on the venue or song.

    I gigged with an SVT head from the mid-70's until 1983. This amp took me right back there.

    I did a gig with another player's Pro-7 and it was very similar to my PF-500 but there is something about the PF-500 I liked better.

    No problems with a year in. We'll see. I do carry a backup amp just in case.
     
  16. TwoRivers

    TwoRivers

    Aug 26, 2012
    Las Cruces, NM
    Hey Eno. The refurbished PF-500 ended up costing the same as the new PF-350, so I jumped on it.

    After having the PF-500 for some time, I am glad to have the extra features. The wattage isn't as much of a concern. Every gig I've played that would require two cabs has had FOH support. Overall, I just felt like the PF-500 was a more versatile amp, and given it cost the same as the PF-350 it was a no-brainer :)
     
  17. Dave Curran

    Dave Curran Lilduke

    Jul 27, 2013
    NEPA
    Thats my issue, no big music stores around here. Out of 3, 2 only have way overpriced old SS combos.... The store I am going to has both the ampeg micro stacks, a Rumble 350, A couple hartke heads and the pf-350 and 500. I will try most of em out when I go. Not having heard other brands live, just fender, ampeg, and traynor.

    This will be my first head, and I want to make sure the sound is there. Not worried about fail rate, as it seems it's been fixed. Plus the PA is mine and I DI anyways.
     
  18. mazak1

    mazak1

    Sep 16, 2007
    Just tried my new PF 500 amp through my 2X10 & 1X15 Trace Elliot cabs ,awesome .I use a MM Stirling 1993 with some light strings on and the slap sound is great . Can't wait to gig it. I also have a MM Sterling SUB 5 string which sounds nice.
    I was thinking about getting the PF 2X10 cab but I can't see it being must any better that the TE cab that I already have. Anyone tried PF 2X10 yet?
    I still can't make up my mine whether to sell my SVT3PRO ,but I think I'll give the new amp time to settle in.
     

  19. I use the PF210 along with my PF500 as my rehearsal rig. Other people have great results with it but I have so-so feelings about it. The cab sounds good but for me and my volume needs it feels strained. My results may be way different if I had a pair of the 210's but alone it's lacking for me. For a small-mid size lower volume gig it would probably do fine.
     
  20. will33

    will33

    May 22, 2006
    austin,tx
    I had a guys pf500+pf210 rig here for a while. His amp is one of the older ones and died so we're going back and forth getting a new, latest rev. board for his or just getting a 350 instead as the vast majority of issues seem to have been with the older 500's.

    Anyway, that means I haven't been able to hear the cab with the pf amp. What I can tell you is that there is a whole lot of Ampeg voice in the cab thst would get added to whatever the amp already has. It makes my Peavey T-Max sound just like an Ampeg.

    Fat, thump, and seemingly fairly loud for a 210. Other thing is, the 10's alone are fairly dark sounding to me. I hardly ever slap at all, but where in a lot of cabs I would be able to shut the tweeter off and still have enough topend, on this one I'd leave it on it's lowest setting so it still adds a little something uo there. Full on is too bright for me but might work for your slap.


    FWIW, my desired sound sits kind of inbetween vintage and modern. I play homemade speakers that use a 6" for the highs instead of a tweeter, but still are voiced a little towards the fat side. Not smooth and clean like a PA cab.


    My $.02.