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Crown XLS402 -- just bought it...

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Rockland Eagle, Jan 29, 2005.

  1. Rockland Eagle

    Rockland Eagle

    Jan 29, 2005
    Austin, TX
    I just bought a Crown XLS402 to use as a bass amp, and thought I'd share my thoughts and experience with it so far. Basically: it's a great amp for the price, and would be good for club PA or DJ use, but it's probably not the best choice for a bass rack.


    Price paid: $300 plus tax
    Power (bridge-mode): 800 @ 8, or 1160 @4
    Weight: 25lbs

    Height: 2U
    Depth :15 inches (measured from ears to back of rear mounting brackets):

    I got the Crown for a couple of reasons. One, I was in a huge hurry (my backup-backup amp, a beat-up, underpowered Hartke 350-watter, had finally died) and I had to get whatever Guitar Center had right then. Two, it was very cheap, light, and powerful ($300 for 25 lbs. of 800w/1160w is not bad). Three, it had a 3-year warranty.

    The amp performs like I expected. It "sounds" like about 800 honest watts to me, bridged at 8 ohms. I wish I had been able to spend the extra 100 and get the bigger XLS602, but only because my band is very very loud (three guitar arena-rock). The clip lights come on when I hammer a low E, but it doesn't have that awful speaker-destroying sound. The fan is definitely not quiet, but fine for club stage use.

    Problem: the depth of the amp requires a huge rack, and I doubt it's going to fit into any cases designed for portability (I have limited experience with rack gear of this sort). Guitar Center didn't have a rack smaller than ten spaces that would fit it. Neither did any of the neighborhood pawn shops. Neither did anyone I know. This amp is very very deep, and it has rear mounting brackets for support. If you left the cables plugged into the back of the amp, it looks like it would require almost 17" total internal depth, from the front of the volume knobs to the back of the cables.
    **If anyone knows exactly which racks will fit this, please let me know. I'll update this post when I find what will work.**

    Problem: it only has XLR inputs (DOOOHH!!!). And, to run bridge-mono, you have to make a custom y-cord (it even says "use a custom y-cord" in the instruction manual). Not included. It requires two balanced XLR inputs, with their phases reversed. Both input signals have to be identical, and both amp channel levels have to be identical. A simple "bridge" switch sure would have made this amp much more flexible.

    With all the scrambling around to emergency-solder up a y-cord and the unsuccessful search for a rack, I ran out of time and had to play a show with the amp just sitting on the speaker, and a preamp sitting on top of that. Couple of scratches resulted, so I guess I'm stuck with it.

    At the second show (last night), I had it in a rack (with about 3" sticking out the back...), and the Crown performed very well. I was able to keep up with the ultra-dense mix of my band, barely, running one 4x10 Carvin cabinet. Obviously, it felt like Godzilla compared to the little Hartke I had been using. I'll be adding another 4x10 cab as soon as I can to drop the load down to 4 ohms--we'll see if it overheats then.

    The sound quality seems very good, lots of tight low end, but it's hard really make a critical evaluation since I'm using a crappy old Ashley preamp (yuck). When I get something better in front of the Crown, I'll do some more critical listening.

    My evaluation: a good amp, for someone else. I'll probably keep it for a while, assuming I can find a rack for it, save my pennies, and sell it to a DJ and get something else.


    Jason Crow
    Rockland Eagles
    Austin, TX