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Crest Pro 7200 vs. Crest CA9

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by davidk_528, Oct 20, 2006.


  1. davidk_528

    davidk_528 There goes the neighborhood...

    Jul 20, 2006
    Seattle Area
    I'm on the fence about my upcoming power amp purchase and asking for informed opinions on these two choices, preferably from folks who have used or at least auditioned both. I've seen this question asked in a couple of threads but never answered so I thought I'd give it a shot.

    I'd like to know if you noticed a difference in the sonic performance of these amps, and if so, could you please describe it. If you've tried both and didn't/couldn't tell much/any difference, I'd be interested in knowing that too.

    The power amp will be paired with a Demeter VTBP-201S preamp via a dbx 160A Compressor/Limiter and will most likely be used to drive either an Accugroove Whappo Jr. or a Bergantino HT322.

    The advantages of the Pro 7200 are:

    - Lighter weight
    - Smaller size
    - Speakon® outputs
    - Newer technology (is this really an advantage?)
    - Others?

    The advantages of the CA9 are:

    - Consistently glowing reviews from users with lots of choices/experience
    - Others?

    I realize this is a personal choice and that it's hard to go too far wrong with either, but I'm finding it difficult to impossible to A/B the two so am asking for the benefit of others' experience.

    Please -- I would prefer this not become a long debate on the virtues of SMPS vs. old school design amps -- there are already plenty of threads covering this ground. I would appreciate direct opinions from those who have owned/used/tried both.

    Thanks in advance,

    -- David
     
  2. tadawson

    tadawson

    Aug 24, 2005
    Lewisville, TX
    The 7200 is definitely a higher end model than the CA series stuff. Crest, however, is all very durable, and built like a tank. I have some of the older Pro stuff, as well as CA's, and sonically, they are the same, at least to me. I would think that the CA would be less $$$, but the 7200 being lighter, may also have appeal. The 7200 would likely be a bit more durable, but that is probably debateable (the Pro series are designed more as touring amps, whereas the CA is targeted to the midrange/upper midrange market).

    - Tim
     
  3. Figjam

    Figjam

    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Anything that costs more than the CA series new doesnt seem worth it to me. The CA series are already insanely expensive.
     
  4. J.Wolf

    J.Wolf Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2003
    Asheville, NC
    Contributor- Bass Musician Magazine
    I got my CA9 used for $450. Thats the low end of what they go for, but they're not too expensive I don't think. Cheaper than a PLX with similar power handling thats for sure!

    I don't know if the 7200 sounds "better" than the CA9, but I have my own opinions about lightweight switching amps versus "lead sleds". I love the sound of my CA9, It absolutely kills!! I wouldn't give up that sound to save 30lbs!!!!!

    big vote for the CA9
     
  5. Figjam

    Figjam

    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    The used prices of Ca's are good but IIRC the new prices are quite high. I, too, love my CA and dont care about the weight. The audience hears what it sounds like, not how much it weighs.
     
  6. davidk_528

    davidk_528 There goes the neighborhood...

    Jul 20, 2006
    Seattle Area
    I appreciate all the input; thank you.

    Just to clarify, I can get either for the same price and that's within my budget, so price difference is not an issue.

    I guess what I'm looking for is someone to give me a good reason NOT to go with the Pro 7200, like: "I've used them both and the 7200 doesn't come close to the sound of the CA9", or "I can hear a subtle difference, but they both have that Crest sound".

    Thanks
     
  7. smperry

    smperry Administrator Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Bay Area, CA
    A really good person to talk to would be Robb...send him a PM to rcz. He used to work for Peavey/Crest, designed some of the power amps, and currently owns a 7200. He's a good guy, who's put up with dumb amp questions from me. I know he loves his 7200.

    Marshall
     
  8. el_Kabong

    el_Kabong

    Jul 11, 2005
    Here's a slightly different take on it which doesn't answer your question. :p

    I'm assuming the reason you're considering either crest is due to those consistently glowing reviews?? If you're on the fence regarding your decision it seems to me that the weight difference isn't the decisive factor, it's a 'nice to have'. My advice is go with the ca9. That's the amp that people refer to. Different ears form different opinions about how things sound so I'd go with the amp that has the widely held reputation.

    Even less to the point, I have ca9, it's part of a pa rig. I've played though it on my own before and been suitably mesmerised by it's power but basically thought it was overkill. It's performance didn't seem to justify dragging it about. I used it for the first time at a rehearsal this week in place of my usual wt800b (1100w bridged). In context with a band, the difference is vast, much to my surprise. So much more weight to the low end and great articulation/dynamics. I think it's people making mistakes like mine (making judgements out of context etc) that contributes to the varying opinions on subjects like the merits of different amps.

    Anywhoo, if it's the ca9 reputation that's got your attention I say get a ca9.
     
  9. Figjam

    Figjam

    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    I agree. The ca series adds amazing feel and punch to the low end. With my preamp set completely flat, my tone is amazing.
     
  10. I am also one who chooses to haul a "lead sled" around. Although my back initially said "no", my ears overruled the decision by a wide margin. "Big iron" amps like the Crest CA deliver punch, headroom and the fast transients needed for electric bass appliications. Large capacitors and iron transformers get my vote... and I've personally found none better than the CA9.
     
  11. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Both are excellent choices but, as a loyal user, I'd go with the CA series. I use a CA-6 to light up my Acme B-4. Never had a lick of trouble either.

    Riis
     
  12. lo-freq

    lo-freq aka UFO

    Jan 19, 2003
    DFW, Texas
    It's easy (and probably pretty valid) to say that if your back can handle the load, you can't go wrong with a CA9, but I think what davidk was hoping for (me too) was someone who had gigging experience with both the CA and the newer Pro series amps (or some newer similar lighter amp).

    If 'we' (the bass players) could get CA-type sonics (or better) out of a lighter amp, then you have a 'no-brainer' situation (assuming the cost differential is manageable).

    That's one of the questions I have regarding the Lab.Gruppen fP series as well -- although, their 'new' price is definitely out of my price range at the moment (and I doubt you'd find many on the used market for quite a while).

    There seems to be some newer development with some of the newer 'D' class amp variants with switching power supplies that apparently sound better than the previous 'early' incarnations.

    Bottom line question is "are they sonicly equal or better than the best lead-sled type amps (Crest CA, Crown MA or MT, EV P series, QSC ~now out of production~ MX series, etc.)?".

    So, who's gigged with both types (heavy vs. light) of any of the above?
     
  13. lo-freq

    lo-freq aka UFO

    Jan 19, 2003
    DFW, Texas
    Do you run the CA6 bridged?
     
  14. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Yep, sure do! I believe its rated at 1400 watts or so @ 8 ohm. Bought it as a package deal along with an Alembic preamp and Furman power conditioner some years ago. I said "meh...its a power amp. They're all the same." Well, I've been through 3 or 4 preamps but the Crest isn't going anywhere.

    Riis
     
  15. J.Wolf

    J.Wolf Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2003
    Asheville, NC
    Contributor- Bass Musician Magazine
    I've gigged with a Stewart 2.1's, QSC PLX 2402, and the CA9.

    No comparison for what I was after. Even at similar volume settings, the lead sled has much more muscle and torque to the sound.

    That being said, I think some people prefer the tone of the lightweight amps, which makes it a no brainer as far as I'm concerned (lighter and better sounding??.... Hmmmmm). But I really go for that taught, muscular slam that I get with my CA9, and haven't been able to get with any other poweramp I've tried (haven't tried a macrotech though, and those seem to be right up there. I think I remember devilman saying he preferred the crown to the crest)

    I've listened one of the high power lightweight crest amps, but that it was tough to compare (the pro 8200 is 1450w stereo @ 4 ohms, and the CA9 is 900w stereo at 4 ohms). I only heard it briefly and not in a band context and it did sound pretty good. The owner has had alot of amps in the past, and he was very pleased with it. Course...... thats a $2k power amp as well...
     
  16. davidk_528

    davidk_528 There goes the neighborhood...

    Jul 20, 2006
    Seattle Area
    Thanks for the excellent suggestion, Marshall. I actually PM'd Robb on this subject about 3 weeks ago. He said that he's still very happy with his pro 7200; he likes the light weight but still gets the famous crest sound with deep and tight bass.

    Robb went on to say that he has not done an A/B with the CA and Pro 7200 though he's tested both on the bench and has done a lot of listening and reliability tests with the CA amps and they're also sonically outstanding.

    I may have to see if I can buy both with the option of returning the one I don't prefer.

    Thanks again,

    -- David
     
  17. lo-freq

    lo-freq aka UFO

    Jan 19, 2003
    DFW, Texas
    That would be cool.
     
  18. davidk_528

    davidk_528 There goes the neighborhood...

    Jul 20, 2006
    Seattle Area
    Yes, too many folks rave about Crest power amps in live bass guitar rigs for me to ignore that. The fact that Jim Bergantino recommended the CA9 to me (and has to others) and that Mark Wright (of Accugroove) uses a Pro 200 Series amp both at trade shows and in his personal rig says alot too, IMO.

    Weight is not the decisive factor, but it is definitely a consideration, (maybe somewhere between 'nice to have' and the decisive factor) as are the speakon® connectors which I clearly prefer to the five-way binding posts/banana jack route on the CA9.

    Good point, well made. What I'd most like to do is A/B them and post a review on TB. Seems like there are others here who are curious about this question. Not that my opinion would be the last word or would settle anything for anyone (far from it). But it would be one more data point on a question that has been asked at least several times on this forum and to my knowledge not yet answered.

    I think you're right about that. I also think that there's a certain amount of residual tribal knowledge/opinions about SMPS amps. I agree with lo-freq that when they SMPS amps first came on the scene about 15 years ago there were some that were not so good (to be diplomatic), but the designs are better now. I expect that some (but not all) of the negative opinions on these amps are a holdover from that time.

    I think the full credit answer will just be for me to A/B the amps with the cabinets I am considering and pick the combination that "does it for me".

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this, el_Kabong,

    -- David
     
  19. davidk_528

    davidk_528 There goes the neighborhood...

    Jul 20, 2006
    Seattle Area
    I'd just like to thank everyone who took the time to share their thoughts and opinions on this.

    I really appreciate it. This is a great forum, and I'm glad to be here. Time for me to step up and become a supporting member.

    Thank you.
     
  20. el_Kabong

    el_Kabong

    Jul 11, 2005
    This is exactly my experience. It was a major surprise to me when my bridged eden is supposedly more powerful than one side of a ca9. The specs for the ca9 claim that it's flat to within less than 1db, 20hz - 20khz, so it's not as if the response is deliberately voiced to produce that weight/muscle, whatever you want to call it. It seems that it simply has the grunt to reproduce the instrument's output accurately.

    David, sounds like the perfect solution if you can get hold of both amps and A/B them. I'll be very interested in your opinion. I'm not getting any younger and that ca9 isn't getting any lighter! After my experience though, I'd definitely undertake the same exercise before making a purchase. BTW re the speakons, it's a relatively simple job to pop rivet an aluminium strip across the back of your rack and install some panel mount speakons in it. Permanently wire them up and at least you don't have to mess with the binding posts again.
     
  21. 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.

     
    Jan 28, 2021

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