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Crate Powerblock 150w @ 4lb.

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by ole Jason, Jan 31, 2005.

  1. Although it's a guitar amp it still looks pretty sweet. Unless it's total garbage, I could see getting one for rehearsals or travel where huge tone isn't a big deal.

    I think they'd really be on to something if they ditched the distortion and upped the wattage a little and marketed it to bass players. The list for the guitar amp is only $250. I'm glad more lower end companies are starting to do super lightweight stuff.


  2. wow...that thing is crazy! i wouldn't mind a 4 pound head :)
  3. Looks like musician's friend is going to be getting them in April 14th. I'm going to get one and see how it works for bass. I may get a sansamp to run in front of it. I'll let everyone know how it is.
  4. It might work with an active bass going straight into it. 150 W isn't much IMO (@ 8 ohms much less), but maybe for small gigs with an efficient speaker it would work. Nice price, really nice weight. I'm hauling around a 20 lb MAG 300 right now.
  5. Yeah 150w wouldn't cut it as a main bass amp. This is going to replace my combo amp that is on it's last legs though. I use the combo for jazz combo rehearsals and groups that I have to play with at school like the steel drum band and percussion ensemble. I have to carry everything up three flights of stairs so the lighter the better. I'm still undecided on a cab. I'll probably end up getting a wizzy because that's something I could also use with my main rig as well.
  6. Plain Old Me

    Plain Old Me

    Dec 14, 2004
    The guit@rist in my new band wants to get one... When he does I'll try it out with my cabs. Heh, I dont want my guit@rist to have anything more than 150 watts...
  7. Frank Martin

    Frank Martin Bitten by the luthiery bug...

    Oct 8, 2001
    Budapest, Hungary, EU
    Such things exist for bass, too.
    The Acoustic Image Focus is 600W @ 4 Ohms, at only 5 or 6 lbs.
    Though it's a bit more expensive. But surely better quality, too.
  8. I can't quite make out the name on that little nameplate. What does it say? :eyebrow:
  9. Mr_Dave


    Mar 11, 2005
    Melbourne, Australia
    Employee - Basscentre Melbourne
    Bump for this one?

    anymore opinions?

    i tried one today through an ashdown mag410 with a stingray and it was suprisingly loud... i could see picking one up for rehearsals and coffeeshop jazz gigs...

    and yes i hate every other crate i've ever tried but this is damn cheap for what it is... didn't sound muddy like the combos ive tried..

    anyway, i'll open this one up again....
  10. Zero Cool

    Zero Cool

    Mar 20, 2005
    Im sure this has a switching amp inside. so the sound quality is probably pretty good for what it is. as far as how good it sounds as a guitar rig, well, how good does ANY solid state guitar rig sound???

    I have been curious about these as well. i wondered what a bass would sound like through one, can the distortion be disabled, either through front control operation or internal modification.

    I was thinking a 7lb Eminance Neo-lite 10" driver in a small box and one of these would make a nice light practice amp, and 150watts would be more then enough really.

    And for those that think 150 watts isnt enough, just look at all the Ampeg V-4B 100 watt heads that have been used by EVERYBODY over the years!

    You only gain 3dB everytime you double the power. 200watts is only 3dB louder then 100 watts. a just noticable difference.

    To sound twice as loud, you need 10 times as much power!!!!

    So to work that backwards, lets say you have a 600watt bass amp. if you halve the power to 300 watts, you have only lost 3dB, if you halve the power again to 150watts, you have now lost another 3dB or a total of 6dB, not enough to even make make a big difference.

    OK, so the Crate wont go to 11, but 10 is pretty dang good for a 4lb amp!
  11. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    Beat me to it!
  12. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    Again on the power..... volume is only a small part of the impact of wattage.... you can get plenty loud with a 50 watt amp if you want your bass to sound like a guitar. The difference in headroom and clean, open sound between a 300 watt and 600 watt amp is quite noticable (of course, all other things are never equal... higher powered amps from the same manufacturer also probably have higher quality components, larger transformers, etc.). FYI.... try cranking an Eden550 and then the Eden800 into the same 4ohm cab.... massive difference in fullness, punch and volume.

    There also seems to be a sort of minimum wattage threshold where those sub 50hz frequencies just don't seem to develop very well. Seems like 150 watts (especially 150 watts from a lower end unit) would be pushing that threshold.
  13. Eric Cioe

    Eric Cioe

    Jun 4, 2001
    Missoula, MT
    I've played many, many gigs with a 150@8ohm head running into a 2x10. While it didn't have major oomph, it did plenty fine. If you're running smily face eq, it wouldn't work, but with flat (like I ran) or mids boosted, it'd be fine in a lot of situations.
  14. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    +1 Depends on the type of tone, volume of the gig, sensitivity of the cab, etc., etc., etc.
  15. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    I'd be willing to be that there's a bass version coming down the pipe. Think of the Pod, the Variax... these had guitar versions first and bass products a few months or maybe a year later.
  16. I have a powerblock which I bought as a gift for my brother who recenly started playing guitar. I played my p-bass through it with my acoustic 2x15 cab. with the gain just past 12 o'clock i got some ok volume and was relatively clean. it was enough for a semi loud practivce with a drummer, the distortion is a little thin for bass, but clean it had some pretty good low end and the Eq is voicing is usable. Crate claims that this amp can be used for Guitar, Bass, Keyboards and Harmonica, so its quite a versatile little thing and at a great price.
  17. 8mmOD


    Mar 20, 2005
    I endorse & use Tech 21 pedals, Eminence loaded cabs, EMG pickups, Jim Dunlop picks & Ernie Ball Strings, BC Rich Basses.
    I've had mine for - maybe 3 - 4 months. Its a cool little amp, but IMO don't get your hopes up for it to be used as a stand alone bass amp, no matter what cabs you use... unless the rest of the band plays pretty d@am quiet. Here is part of my review i posted at harmony central


    It is a solid state single channel amp with straight ahead bass, mid & treble controls with an adjustable input gain and master volume. I only ever use one type of sound so its great for my needs. It has an fx loop, but you need a TRS cable to use it. It also has a headphone jack & xlr output which are both cab simulated.

    One of the coolest features is it has a switching power supply so it is lightweight & can be used at any voltage worldwide without an adapter.

    I haven't used the amp too much yet. So far I have just been using it for guitar through headphones & it actually sounds pretty good. I intend to try it for direct recording soon - for both guitar & bass. I did quickly try it through a 412 and it sounded very good, more on that below.

    Sound Quality: 9
    I don't see this amp being enough for "clean" tones at high volume. It does get pretty loud when the input gain is all the way up. I'd say the distortion is similar to a JCM 800. Pretty good for rock and roll and veryY tube like. If you pick lightly or back off on the volume the sound cleans up nicely. Pick harder and it is a warm smooth distortion. Using it with a '77 strat, the tone of the guitar really comes through nicely.

    The amp is rated 150 watts at 8 ohms. I played it through a 412 cab and compared it to my Ampeg VH150. The VH150 blew it away for depth & volume, even though they are both 150 watt amps, but the tone is - dare i say- identical... with the VH150 being able to produce a heavier distorion. The powerblock seems to be less noisey than the VH150, but that may be because the VH is old or simply due to the higher input gain of the VH.

    I tried a soldano pedal in front of the powerblock & it was very beefy, but noisey (that pedal is noisey to beging with). I am going to try it with a "clean boost" type pedal and see if I can beef up the input gain without all the noise. Don't get me wrong, the distortion sounds killer, I just like MORE!!! I have not tried this thing out with my band yet, but I am guessing it will be slightly underpowered. But with PA support and monitors it probably would do just fine. I am giving it a 9 because I WANT MORE DISTORTION!!! otherwise it would be a 10.


    with that said, I have since used it for direct recording, but just the cab sim part. I ended up running the preamp out from my

    VH150>powerblock>focusrite voicemaster>protools for guitar

    and the preamp out from my

    SS150>powerblock>focusrite voicemaster>protools for bass.

    This was a "drop A" heavy project and I think the results were good.

    The preamp in the powerblock is the Crate flexwave which is basically the same as the Ampeg VH series preamp. I never cared much for thge flexwave clean tone for bass - or shall I say it sounds tube like at lower volumes but gets a bit ugly if you push the input gain. I actually prefer the SS150's preamp over the powerblock for bass, it has more attack, the powerblock rounds that off too much for me.

    IMO the cab sim on the powerblock is very useable for direct recording. As I stated in my review above, the distortion for guitar is a bit weak for me, but the tone is nice. but I also prefer the VH preamp over the powerblocks flexwave. The VH has more balls for guitar. I tried a variety of pedals to overdrive the powerblocks input to try & get more distortion for guitar, but didnt find anything that worked very well, which is why I used the VH 150's pre to record my guitar parts.

    Just for fun, I also ran the powerblock through a stewart power amp into a 410+15 cab using my bass & that sounded "ok", but didnt sound great IMO.

    I couldn't see myself using a powerblock stand alone in a live setting for guitar or bass, probably not even at rehearsal. "Maybe" it would be loud enough as a stage monitor for guitar if your band is less loud than mine, but it won't carry a room. And I just don't see it useable for a live show for bass.

    To sum up- for the price, the powerblock is a cool little amp to have around IMO, but understand its limitations... IOW, don't expect it to be able to do EVERYTHING :)


    I also need to add that my band plays pretty loud. The drums are at least 100+ db un-mic'd, so you do the math as to how much power I'd personally need to keep up. Of course not everyone needs that much power, but just keep in mind that the powerblock is not a "powerhouse" :)
  18. 61pollmann


    Apr 30, 2005
    I recently bought a Crate Powerblock after our sub guitarist brought one to a gig. A local music store had stocked quite a few of them, originally selling them for about $180.00. When he told me that they had a special on them for $133.00, I bought one. Just so you know, I play both electric(Modulus) and double bass(Pollmann) through either a Walter Woods or an Acoustic Image driving two Bergantino 112's. The Crate has more than enough power(when bridged) to adequately drive the speakers to fairly high levels. The tone isn't quite as refined as my other two amps, but they are several times(5-10x) more expensive than the Crate. After I bought mine, our regular guitarist bought one, as well as another player I know. My main use will be to have a small, light backup amp in my accessory bag. I have no problem recommending this amp. The amp has a triangular blue led in the letter A. The joke is that we are going to rename our group "Blue Light Special." Maybe K-Mart will sponsor us.
  19. X Wolf

    X Wolf Guest

    I recently had the use of a Crate Powerblock for a couple of days and I thought it was a very cool concept for guitar but definitely not for bass. The tone IMHO was too thin for bass and had not much bottom, warmth or fatness. I realize it is only 150 class "D" watts but I think you can do better for Bass. On the other hand if Ampeg/Crate makes a true bass version of this amp it would be very handy indeed for practice and small coffee house type gigs with a small 10" or 12" speaker.