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Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by simpy1, May 8, 2006.

  1. simpy1


    Mar 31, 2005
    New Zealand
    Well I've been posting a bit lately on this board, trying to end my expensive woes. Someone might be able to help sometime.

    The short version: Bought an EA NL-210 (8 ohm - I love it) but my 350W Trace wasn't cutting it (clipping at 3.5/10 volume), so I bought a Phonic power amp (XP2000 - 400W @ 8 ohms/side), and am using the Trace as a preamp.

    Now I have to turn the power amp to about 8/10 to get the volume of the Trace at 3/10, only difference is there's no clipping. But I lose some sound quality.

    I'm still not convinced that the Trace should clip at this volume setting. I know it's meant for TE speakers, and that TE recommend more speakers before more power, but I want a small rig. I had it serviced ($200!) and two FETs were replaced, but nothing changed soundwise. Should I take it in for another look, or resign to the fact I have to take the Trace and the Phonic to every gig? All I ever hear about TE heads is that "you'll never have volume problems"!!!! Arrgh!!

    I can get the volume from the Trace but I'll destroy my beautiful speakers in the process.
  2. murphy


    May 5, 2004
    Toronto, Canada
    Are you certain it is the amp that is clipping and not a speaker problem?....I believe that speaker puts closer to 4ohm load on your amp.
    However I heard a guy using the TE 350 amp here and same thing, he could get no volume and it sounded like mush...
    Well, if all else fails....get a Markbass head...LOUD
  3. it is very likely that the trace head is not fully driving your power amp. what output on the trace head are you using to drive the phonic power amp? what models are we talking about here? what is the input sensitivity of your phonic power amp? there are a lot of details involved making a good match among preamp/poweramp/cabinet when using a separate power amp. it's not simply plun'n'play.

  4. simpy1


    Mar 31, 2005
    New Zealand
    My amp is an AH350SMX, and I use one of the stereo line outs (there's a left and a right) to go to the input of the power amp. I have to put volume at max on the Trace to use it this way.

    Input sensitivity of Phonic XP2000: 1.4Vrms

    :meh: Any suggestions? I'm hoping one day to find a Trace preamp so I don't have to carry around the massive weight of the amp, but I don't hold my hopes high in New Zealand.

    EDIT: One more thing - I'm using a standard patch cable to connect the preamp to power amp. It recommends I use TRS, but says I can use unbalanced. Would this make a difference?
  5. Plain Old Me

    Plain Old Me

    Dec 14, 2004
    Is there a tube in the preamp? That would be a good quick replace if its the problem. Also try other preamps with the power amp. Could be the preamp in the Trace is just shot. If not, you need a bigger power amp. 400 watts per side (how do you have it wired to the cab, 1 speaker per side or the cab on one side?) is not ton of watts.
  6. simpy1


    Mar 31, 2005
    New Zealand
    I don't think it's the preamp because there's no clipping with the power amp - and that is still going through that tube.

    I use it one cab on either side, so 2x400 watts. I could try using it bridge mono, which would be 1980W through 2 cabs @ 4 ohms.

    Ideally I'd like to just be able to use the Trace.
  7. is your bass active? Try turning the bass volume pot down, and the Trace volume up. (Just using the Trace Elliot without the extra power amp.)
  8. simpy1


    Mar 31, 2005
    New Zealand
    My bass is active, and seems to be extremely loud when plugged into anything. It's something I've considered, so I'll give it a shot.
  9. bassman314

    bassman314 I seem to be a verb, an evolutionary process...

    Mar 13, 2005
    Bay Area, CA
    Does the Amp have either a -15 or -20 db input Pad switch, or a 'active bass' input?

    That will also help with the active bass issue.
  10. I had to do something similar with a Ric through every amp I played it through.
  11. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    That Trace is putting out very little wattage at 8ohms, and while the new EA speakers are much more efficient than the older ones, they still are only 'moderately efficient' (i.e., you need some pretty good wattage to drive them)

    Are you running your power amp in bridge mode into your 8ohm NL? I assume that amp puts out 800 watts bridged into 8ohms... that would be perfect for that cab IMO.
  12. while an input sensitivity of 1.4V is not unusual in power amp land, i would be surprised if your trace is capable of driving it. do the clip LEDs ever light? how about the -10 and -20 LEDs? if they are not lighting, then you are definitely not approaching full power from this amp.

    you will have to do some research, but i doubt the line outputs from your amp are balanced. if they are balanced, you will be able to get a signal that's twice as strong with a TRS cable compared a single-ended TS cable. so you'd be much better able to fully drive your power amp if the line outs are balanced.

    what i mean when i say "it's not simply plug'n'play" with power amps is just what we're seeing here. power amps have balanced inputs. most bass heads and preamps have single-ended outputs. additionally, most power amps require more signal to drive than most bass heads and preamps output. so you have to know what you're doing and how to achieve your goals to make them work together, because they weren't necessarily designed for each other.

    that's why so many people love stewart world amps and crest CA amps. they are more sensitive -- that is, the voltage required to drive them to full power is lower (.775V for the CA, 1V for the world) -- so they are easier to mate with lots of different equipment and get the hoped-for results.

    but as you're learning, it's not always that easy or straightforward. you may have to modify your power amp to get full power from it with your trace head. but it may be cheaper to return or sell your power amp and buy another cabinet. sometimes you just can't downsize as much as you'd like.

  13. simpy1


    Mar 31, 2005
    New Zealand
    My bass is into the Trace on 'active' setting, and on the power amp I can get all three lights to come on (-40, -20 and -10 dB) so it's driving it fine I think.

    After reading opinions of power outputs of Trace amps I wasn't too surprised when the volume seemed higher than the power amp.

    I think my solution is to run it in bridge mono mode, and just be super careful. That's almost 2000 watts, 1000 each for my EA NL-210 and Goliath Jr. III. Which is overkill, but hey it'll be loud! I think I'll keep the Goliath Jr. fairly low, it's got a 105 dB sensitivity (claimed) so I don't need to turn it up much anyway.

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