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Debating whether to go Pre Amp/Power Amp...Need help...

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Tony G, Mar 31, 2006.


  1. Tony G

    Tony G

    Jan 20, 2006
    NY
    In my experience as a bassist, I have only used heads. I have owned some great GK heads, and know own an SWR Working Pro 700. I've been reading a lot of threads here, and in my search for pure, unadulterated, clean tone, it seams that a pre amp/power amp combination might be what I seek.

    Now, I really like the sound I get from my WP700, but I'm afraid of its reliability. Occasionly, while rehearsing at my drummers house, it will pop like the power has been flicked off, and then on again immediatly. I don't know what is causing it. Also, the other day, I left it on for a little while, and when I came back, the LED's displayed that both the power and pre amp were clipping, even though I had it muted. When I removed the mute, I could get no sound. Turned the amp off and then on, and it still didn't fix it. I smacked it on top, and low and behold, that worked. It was like a solenoid or something that protects the amp from clipping was stuck.

    Anyways, I have gotten off topic. I went to my local music store and tested a BBE Bmax through a Crown XLS 402. It was the brightest, cleanest signal I have yet experienced. Is this the way I should go? Is a pre/power setup better than a head?

    Please help me decide.
     
  2. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    I would not say that it is really a 'preamp/power amp versus head' thing, and that it is actually more of a 'this gear versus that' issue. I have some preamp/power amp rigs that kill some of my heads, and I have some heads that kill some of my preamp/power amp rigs. And of course, you need to consider the entire rig. Gear synergy is a big thing.

    But, looking at it this way, is there room for improvement in your current rig? I would say 'yes' (and I would comment that this is true for most of us), but the question is, how much room for improvement, at what cost, and is that cost worth the potential benefits.

    Of course, reliability issues paint this in an entirely different light. Your current SWR head sounds like it has issues, unfortunately. What cab are you using, and what price range is available if you have to replace the SWR?

    Tom.
     
  3. Tony G

    Tony G

    Jan 20, 2006
    NY
    Thanks for your help on this Tom. Unfortunetly, right now my funds are very limited. I currently use my WP700 through a 4 ohm Avatar B410Neo. Thats it, nothing else.

    I don't want to be cheap, but I think I can have the Bmax used at my local store for $150-$200, and musicians friend is selling the Crown XLS 402 for $249, so I would try to talk the local store down to that price. That would result in a nicely powered rig for about $450-$500. Not bad, if I do say so myself. Also, since I have a 4 ohm cab, if I ever decided to buy the 212Neo from avatar in a 4 ohm variation, this new setup would work nicely.
     
  4. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    Hey, that's not being cheap! That BBE is probably a very good preamp in that price range, and I do not doubt that paired with a good amp, it should offer notable improvement over your current rig. The prices on those Crown amps are pretty darn good. They were blowing out the 602's for $249, too (but I see that this deal is apparently over and my XLS 602 is on backorder).

    Tom.
     
  5. Tony G

    Tony G

    Jan 20, 2006
    NY
    Well, my local shop has the XLS 602 for about $350 also. I was thinking about going that direction, but I'm not sure I need the extra power for the money. Have you tried the XLS series with good results? The prices on these things just seem to good to be true.

    If not the BBE, what preamp would you reccommend? Any chance you have something for sale that would fit my needs? :smug:
     
  6. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    To be honest, I haven't been able to check out that line yet, but I agreed that the prices were just too tempting. And if they don't sound killer on bass, you can always drive monitors or something with them! :p

    Well, it's more expensive, of course, but that $499 deal on an Epifani Quest II is pretty killer. But in truth, in that price range, the BBE is going to be hard to beat, I think. I did have (and sold) an older BBE 383 preamp, and that thing was stupid good for the money. Oh, and I have one or two things that I might sell, but in your price range, I'd stick with the BBE.

    Tom.
     
  7. Tony G

    Tony G

    Jan 20, 2006
    NY
    I was just looking at that Quest II preamp. How does that thing sound? I see that you have one. What do you pair it up with power amp wise?

    Thanks again for all of you help here.
     
  8. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    It is an excellent sounding preamp, in my book. Very smooth and articulate, with it's own midrange mojo (still trying to figure out exactly what's going on, but it does have a unique, though not unbalanced, voice through the mids). It's all about a wide range of clean tones (no overdrive/distortion). For $500, shipped, it is a most excellent deal, in my book.

    Tom.
     
  9. Tony G

    Tony G

    Jan 20, 2006
    NY

    I am just about to pull the trigger on the Quest II. Do you think it will pair ok with the XLS 402 or 602?
     
  10. cheezewiz

    cheezewiz Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2002
    Ohio
    That'll be a nice sounding rig. One other thing you may consider, is a GK1001RBII. I think the head would fit your style really well, and is available for $600 new.
     
  11. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    Again, I haven't heard one yet, but I would think that it would make for a killer overall rig for the money.

    Tom.
     
  12. Tony G

    Tony G

    Jan 20, 2006
    NY
    Ok. I pulled the trigger on the Quest II. $500 is an offer I couldn't refuse. Oh man...what have I gotten myself into...
     
  13. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    The world of great tone, my friend! That is what you have gotten yourself into! :)
     
  14. Tony G

    Tony G

    Jan 20, 2006
    NY

    Haha, thanks for all of your help Tom!

    I can't seem to get to epifani's website. Is it down or something? Does anyone have thier number so I can order the rack ears? Or does anyone have a set they will sell me?

    Also, how many rack spaces doesn thing thing fit?
     
  15. Vic

    Vic There's more music in the nuance than the notes. Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Central Illinois
    Staff, Bass Gear Magazine
    I think it's fair to say "a damn nice preamp". However, even if you don't like its voicing, MF is real good about taking returns, and you can even get them to eat return shipping if you complain that the product doesn't match the picture (Epifani only has older pics of these showing the discontinued limiter feature).

    On the other hand, if you like to keep things simple, and have a limited budget, I second the GK vote. I like to think I have a pretty particular taste for tone, and the 1001RB-II is a GREAT amp... ESPECIALLY for the money... and really especially if you find one used (not much more than the QII!).
     
  16. Vic

    Vic There's more music in the nuance than the notes. Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Central Illinois
    Staff, Bass Gear Magazine
    Two.
     
  17. Tony G

    Tony G

    Jan 20, 2006
    NY
    Thanks Vic!


    and thanks to everyone else for all your help! I really appreciate it!
     
  18. Dan1099

    Dan1099 Dumbing My Process Down

    Aug 7, 2004
    Michigan
    You'll probably be wanting a rack, now, too. Obvious, i know, but easy enough to forget.
     
  19. Tony G

    Tony G

    Jan 20, 2006
    NY

    Yeah, I currently have a 2 space rack holding my WP700. I will probably just trade it in for a 4 or 6 space rack when I trade the SWR in for a power amp.
     
  20. Tony G

    Tony G

    Jan 20, 2006
    NY
    Ok, I just got back from my local shop, and I came home with a Crown XLS 602 and a six space rack.... Someone please tell me I made the right desicion. This will work with my 4 ohm Avatar B410, right? I need some comforting right now....
     

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