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Early 80's Son of Ampzilla

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by 76JazzRay, Apr 16, 2009.


  1. 76JazzRay

    76JazzRay

    Mar 30, 2009
    Arizona
    I have an early 80's "Son of Ampzilla" model 401 made by the Great American Sound Company. It's been in my closet for about 20 years unused. Called the company and they told me it probably needed to be refurbed and would charge me about $450.

    Is this worth it? Should I just plug it in and see what happens? I need some advice as I need a power amp to pair with my Demeter HBP-1 and 2x10 ported Ampeg cabinet.

    Just wondering if this is worth it or should I just buy a more recent Crown (or similar)?

    Thanks.
     
  2. jimmyjames77

    jimmyjames77 Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2005
    Just West of Chicago
    Get the Stewart 2.1 if you are going SS. Amazing amp.
    Tube route, go for a Peavey classic 400 power section into your pre. You can find those amps for almost around wha ther're gonna charge you for the refurbishing.
     
  3. 7flat5

    7flat5

    Nov 28, 2003
    Upstate NY
    Just plug it in and see what happens. There is no reason why it should need $450 worth of work unless it has issues.

    I don't believe this was originally set up as an instrument amp, was it? I assume it had line-level RCA inputs for hi fi use. I'd use it for that, and get a PA amp for the bass. But, no reason why it shouldn't work, with the right inputs.
     
  4. 76JazzRay

    76JazzRay

    Mar 30, 2009
    Arizona
    You are right, it has RCA inputs. When I spoke with the designer, he said it would work fine for bass. This is the kind of stuff I'm concerned about since I have no real specs for it.

    I do know it's 80W/side (stereo) at 8ohms and can be bridged. Will also go down to 2ohms/side.
     
  5. 7flat5

    7flat5

    Nov 28, 2003
    Upstate NY
    These are considered a classic among some audiophiles. There's one now on Audiogon for $500. And, they are huge and not portable at all. I'd sell it and get 1000W worth of PA amp, I think. That 210 is going to want some power.
     
  6. 76JazzRay

    76JazzRay

    Mar 30, 2009
    Arizona
  7. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    +1
    IMO it's worth far more to somebody else as a collectible than it is to you as a bass amp. I'd sell it and put the money into something modern with higher wattage.
     
  8. BassmanPaul

    BassmanPaul Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2007
    Toronto Ontario Canada
    Now Bongo, don't get all uppity since ya' own a Presidential pooch! :)

    Paul
     
  9. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY
    At a big 150w @ 4ohms, I don't think I'd be psyched to make this my rig...you can go louder cheaper and lighter these days. If you're not a collector, then sell it to someone who is and reap the rewards with a new higher powered rig.
     
  10. BassmanPaul

    BassmanPaul Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2007
    Toronto Ontario Canada
    OP Bring the amp slowly up to power using a variac. If you have no access to such a thing you can simulate it using various wattage light bulbs.

    Make a jig, AC duplex socket, a screw in lamp socket and a length of cable with a plug. wire neutral of plug to neutral of duplex socket. Similarly wire the ground. Hot of duplex to one side of the lamp socket. Hot from plug to the other side of the lamp socket.

    Plug the amp into the duplex and switch it on. By using a low wattage light bulb in the lamp socket you can control the amount of power going to the amp. The lamp should glow and then fade. This will form the electrolytics in the amp and, if the lamp glows brightly show if something is shorted. If everything seems OK use larger and larger wattage bulbs and finally plug directly into the AC.

    Paul
     
  11. 76JazzRay

    76JazzRay

    Mar 30, 2009
    Arizona
    Thanks gang! I'm going to see if it works then try to sell it. I plugged it in with no load or input signal and the power light came on, but the meter lights did not. No heat or smoke or bad smells.

    Just seemed like for $450 I can find some good juice for my bass rig. :bassist:
     
  12. billfitzmaurice

    billfitzmaurice Commercial User

    Sep 15, 2004
    New Hampshire
    Owner, Bill Fitzmaurice Loudspeaker Design
    +1. It's a hi-fi amp, nice in its day, but a third the power and twice the weight of a new QSC.
     
  13. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru.......... Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2006
    Did you speak with Andy? I know him going back to the mid '80s.
     
  14. 76JazzRay

    76JazzRay

    Mar 30, 2009
    Arizona
    I spoke with James Bongiorno. Seemed like an ok guy but not very friendly like a James Demeter or Lindy Fralin.
     
  15. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru.......... Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2006
    Jim was not the designer of the GAS gear, as much as he'd like the world to think so! :scowl: He is a great salesman but not an engineer. Andy Hefley was the design engineer of all that great stuff. He also designed and built PIE amp and other electronics for The Grateful Dead.
     
  16. 76JazzRay

    76JazzRay

    Mar 30, 2009
    Arizona
  17. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru.......... Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2006
    Bongiorno is very good at claiming credit for things he did not do! :rollno:
     

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