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Ampeg Portaflex vs Aguilar TH500 - What to do?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by jcerio, Sep 6, 2016.

  1. Keep the Ampeg PF-500 and keep the Aguilar TH500 as a lightweight backup?

    2 vote(s)
  2. Keep the Ampeg PF-500 and use the Peavey Nitrobass as a backup?

    1 vote(s)
  3. Sell both the Ampeg and the Aguilar, purchase an Ampeg PF-800, and use the Nitrobass as backup?

    10 vote(s)
  4. Sell only the Aguilar TH500, buy an Ampeg PF-800, and use the Ampeg PF-500 as backup?

    9 vote(s)
  1. jcerio


    Jul 27, 2006
    Syracuse, NY
    It seems to me I've been working awfully hard to get the tone I desire out of my TH500. I have it paired with two Aguilar SL112 cabs and it just seems to be more vintage-y than I like. It's very difficult to get a modern tone out of it. And believe me I've researched all of the settings and followed everyone's advice. I picked up a used Ampeg PF-500 and tried it out at a gig and I was blown away - all of the modern tone I wanted without much work - Set the gain as instructed in the manual, Engage Ultra Low and Ultra High, Set the Bass at 1 o'clock, dial out a touch of high mids at position 4, turn the tweeters down to 1/2 on the cabs. For slap, roll the midrange selector back to either position 3 or position 2 and it's all good.

    Here is my dilemna. I'm not sure if I should sell the TH500 (awfully expensive to keep around for a backup amp) and keep my trusty Peavey Nitrobass as a backup, or sell both the PF-500 and the TH500 and use those funds to purchase an Ampeg PF-800? I've read of reliability problems with the PF-500. How do I tell if I'm going to have this problem? Or should I just take my chances with it? Will a PF-800 blow my SL112 cabs up?

    Any advice or opinions welcome. I've put the options as I see them in a poll.
  2. noahw1


    Jul 22, 2005
    Los Angeles, CA
    Sell the Aguilar - you're not getting what you want out of it. I'm not sure about the reliability of the Ampeg but it sounds like the amp that you want so go for it. Or sell and go with the PF-800...just use your ears and you won't blow up your cabs.
    FlatwoundFunk likes this.
  3. Hamish MacCleod

    Hamish MacCleod Supporting Member

    Jul 13, 2014
    South America
    I just bought a pf800... very pleased with the purchase.
    Jaycephas likes this.
  4. Al Kraft

    Al Kraft Supporting Member

    May 2, 2016
    Northern Virginia
    I like the Aguilar for what it can do, but it is far from a jack of all trades. If it isn't your sound, I would say to move it along to someone who is looking for one while it's still popular. It doesn't sound like you would even be happy with it as a back-up, so that would sort of make the decision for me.

    As for the PF-500, if you have reservations about the long term reliability, I'd move it along as well. I never tie money up in things that I am not 100% satisfied with - life is too short and there are too many other options. Good luck with your decision!
    FlatwoundFunk likes this.
  5. jcerio


    Jul 27, 2006
    Syracuse, NY
    Thanks everyone! Anyone have any idea what a less than year old Aguilar TH500 is worth used?
  6. MrRobert


    Jul 7, 2011
    Costa Mesa, CA
    I think the Ampeg issues were on the first couple of batches of those amps and had been fixed pretty quickly. I have no idea how to check if your amp might be in that group, so if you're worried about it, sell it and get the PF-800! These modern amps are so reliable that I wouldn't even bother keeping a backup... But again if it makes you feel better and you can afford to keep your TH500, why not?
    RumbleMan3 likes this.
  7. BlackCatBassman


    Aug 11, 2016
    I voted to sell both the PF500 and TH500. The PF800 is a nice piece of kit and I think it was largely trouble free compared to the very early run of the PF500s.

    I would post that TH500 on Reverb and see if you can get between $500-$600 for it.
    Jaycephas, Al Kraft and MrRobert like this.
  8. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Yeah, the problems have been fixed in the PF500 for a good while now. You can date newer Ampegs by the year using their serial number system, although the date digit tends to move around depending on the model. On my PF800, the 10th digit stands for the date. But it's a letter which refers to a year...

    A: 2008
    B: 2009
    C: 2010

    Etc. Example, 2016 is represented by an I. So I believe the first PF500's came out in 2010 or 2011. Anything in the last 3-4 years should be in the clear. I say should because anything can happen and any amp can break, even the most ruggedly built and expensive, but it's working now. No reason it shouldn't continue on for a while as long as you don't drop it :D

    That said, the PF800 does kill. Sounds just like the PF500, but that extra wattage gives it a little extra oomph juice, even at the low volumes I play at. It's subtle but I could feel it. OTOH, ain't nothing wrong with the sound of the PF500. It's got plenty of oomph.
  9. arai

    arai Inactive

    Jul 16, 2007
    I'm a massive tone hammer amp fan but it's definitely got a baked in mid rich warm vintagy sound and the way you are setting the eq on the pf shows you want a more modern clean sound. No big deal just sell the tone hammer.
    The whole engaging the ultra low and high and boosting a bit of bass then taking even more mids out makes me think you would probably be better off selling the pf too and going with an amp that has less mid focus then the pf series . Something like GK or SWR
    FlatwoundFunk likes this.
  10. Sounds to me like you answered your own question. Not sure what you need to hear. But having owned and used the PF500 it's not what I call modern sounding. It has the baked in Ampeg tone. Not a bad either, Like the TH has the baked in Aguilar, vintageish sound. My "modern" is more like the GB Shuttle/Shuttlemax or Carvin or even my Glockenklang. Don't get me wrong I've been a B-15 owner for decades, but for vintage I want some real tube goodness. For modern I want some clean SS or D class even though they may have a tube in the preamp. So enjoy your PF, play what makes you happy. So, Enjoy and good day sir!
  11. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    If you hit the ultra-hi and low and have a tweetered cab, you can get what could be considered a more "modern" Marcus-ish mid-scooped tone out of it. That's why they put them in there...to get those types of tones.
    FlatwoundFunk likes this.
  12. Where are the carrots?
  13. jcerio


    Jul 27, 2006
    Syracuse, NY
    According to Ampeg, my PF500 was manufactured in 2014. I guess I should be safe from the reliability issues. I think I'm going to turn over the Aguilar and keep the PF500. Anyone interested?
    FlatwoundFunk likes this.
  14. okcrum

    okcrum in your chest

    Oct 5, 2009
    Verde Valley, AZ
    RIP Dark Horse strings
    I've also heard that's why they put knobs on the amp. ;)
  15. chris_b


    Jun 2, 2007
    It's simple. You need the gear that makes you sound how you want to sound. What's the point in owning any gear that doesn't do that.

    I play a TH500 but I mostly don't want a modern sound so it's the amp for me. If the Ampeg is your sound go for it but if you're changing I'd suggest a longer list than just 1 alternative.

    The Genzler M800 and Mesa D800 would be on my list.
    FlatwoundFunk likes this.
  16. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Apr 12, 2021

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