Psst... Ready to join TalkBass and start posting, make new friends, sell your gear, and more?  Register your free account in 30 seconds.

Has anyone tried a Crown XLS in their rack? DON'T!

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by TheCreature, Apr 28, 2004.


  1. TheCreature

    TheCreature Supporting Member

    May 22, 2002
    Dallas, TX
    I picked up a new Crown XLS602, advertised as 1600W into 4 ohm bridged, for pretty cheap. The Stewart was overheating and I wanted something more reliable. From the beginning it was making a clicking/clacking sound on the peaks - not speaker farting, not clipping distortion, but it sounded more like the power supply was starving out. This was bridged into 4 ohms. Stereo, each channel into 8 ohms was fine - just not loud enough! Over several gigs I tried several different cab combinations, wiring, preamps, etc. Everything pointed towards the power amp.

    I brought it into the local service center with my cabs and reproduced the problem. We swapped out another XLS602, same thing. We swapped in a Mackie 1400 and, monster tone! We figured we found some design problem, whatever.

    I started communicating w/ Crown marketing and service people. After a week of email tag, this is what I got back from them...

    "That amplifier at 4 Ohms bridge for subs it not the model I would use for this application. Current limiting is kicking in and what you are hearing is a clipped sound, 8 Ohms bridge no problem. The XLS was designed as an entry level amplifier and for full range small DJ or night club applications."

    So, tough s*** is what they said. So sad. There's no mention anywhere that this model is unsuitable for a bass amp at 4 ohms. Shame on me, right? I should have known that an amp this inexpensive wasn't right for the application. That's BS. The problem is that Harmon bought Crown and is living off Crowns reputation. The XLS amps are crap. You should see the inside. Looks like a $19.95 DVD player.

    Now I get to dump it on Ebay. It's back to a PLX for me...
     
  2. Sorry to hear that, pal. I have had no problems with my XLS402, but my cab is 8 ohms so...
     
  3. jawzzz

    jawzzz

    May 23, 2003
    Denver Colorado
    When bridging, did you use the splitter cable for the input? I noticed that when I was going to bridge mine, it had to have a special cable to do so. I have not yet had a problem with mine, sorry to hear that you have. :meh:
     
  4. TheCreature

    TheCreature Supporting Member

    May 22, 2002
    Dallas, TX
    Yeah, I used the inverting cable.

    Most (all) bridgeable power amps have a switch somewhere for stereo or bridged operation. Except the XLS. You have to buy (or make) a Y cable that has the inputs to the amp out of phase. That was a surprise. GC had the Y cable, but I had to resolder pins 2 and 3 of one side.
     
  5. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Terrific Twister

    Apr 12, 2001
    Lacey, WA
    I used a XLS402 with zero problems. Sorry to hear about yours.

    It is your responsibility to assure your purchase will suit your needs. This has nothing to do with Harmon living off Crowns rep. It appears as though you didn't do your homework, and sprung for a cheap deal.

    "Quality is remembered long after the price is forgotten."

    -Mike
     
  6. jawzzz

    jawzzz

    May 23, 2003
    Denver Colorado
    Having to use a special cable to bridge the amp is the one thing that I don't like about the XLS amps. I bought mine (XS 402) specifically for live sound application and as an emergency backup to my XS 700. I used it for a couple of weeks hooked up to my (2) 210 XST cabs (4 ohms ea.) and I thought it was plenty loud. For the live sound, I have two 4 ohm 2x 15 cabs hooked up to it and I would not want any more power. I have not had to bridge the amp at any time because stereo is plenty enough power.

    IME, preamp settings make a world of difference as to how loud an amp sounds. The input sensitivity on every amp varies, so the preamp has to be dialed in to the amp.
     
  7. Nightbass

    Nightbass

    May 1, 2001
    Seattle, WA
    From your profile, it looks like you're using a Bag End S-15D, or Aguilar GS-112, or Flite 210, or a combination of two of them. And since they are small cabs, you're trying to get more sound out of them than they are able, so you're clipping the amp. Methinks you really need a pair of efficient 410's instead of more power.

    There's nothing wrong with the Crown XLS, or the Stewart you bashed in another thread. I have a 1.2 and Lord knows I play loud, bridged into 4 ohms, and it has never once overheated. The original owner used it in hot outside Sacramento summer gigs, and he never had a problem either.

    Choose the right tool for the job, and you'll be happier.

    Nightbass
     
  8. TheCreature

    TheCreature Supporting Member

    May 22, 2002
    Dallas, TX
    I mean, sure, 8-10s would certainly help get the levels up, but I'm to old (and ugly) to be hauling 150-200 lbs of cabinets around. The reason I wanted the Stew in the first place was for weight reasons. That's also why I try to use small portable cabs (need to update that profile - I'm using (2) Epi 210 ULs now).

    I didn't mean to bash the Stew - they're great amps. I know I pushed it hard, but I never ran the amp into clipping. It only shut down a few times, but after that I was always worried about when it'd happen again. They could have put a little CPU fan in there - there's room in the box and it wouldn't cost much...

    My first Stew was driving a pair of EA VL210s. It would shut down for non-thermal reasons. My hypothesis was the VLs, with all those drivers and crossovers, were presenting some sort of wierd reactive load that the Stew couldn't handle. 8 ohms, 4 ohms, no difference. Very strange...

    The XLS, however, is very much *not* a traditional Crown amp.
     
  9. TheCreature

    TheCreature Supporting Member

    May 22, 2002
    Dallas, TX
    I plugged in a PLX1602 - what a difference w/ this weekend's gigs. One outside gig w/ no PA support, one big room. Those EPI 210s really like being spanked.

    Sorry if I was cranky in the beginning. I've used lots of Crown gear over the years. It's positively the best. This thread was in NO WAY meant to be a Crown bashfest. It was meant to be a real warning. Four ohm loads and low frequencies are not what this power amp is for. I heard it w/ my ears, and Crown tech support verified what I heard in writing. The low load is the problem. When I ran one 8 ohm cab per side there were no funny noises and it was *louder* than with both cabs at 4 ohms bridged. Really.
     
    crguti and blastbass like this.
  10. Nightbass

    Nightbass

    May 1, 2001
    Seattle, WA
    And I see your point now. You made a fair warning to those who might consider an XLS because they are inexpensive and have the intention to drive a 4 ohm load. This might save someone else the trouble down the road.

    Glad it ended well. Perhaps the TB Credo should be "When in doubt, buy a PLX." ;)
     
  11. blastbass

    blastbass

    Mar 8, 2016
    bombay
    Using an xls1500, no issues.
     
  12. middy

    middy

    Mar 14, 2007
    Texas
    Why is everyone resurrecting 12-13 year old threads today?
     
    blastbass likes this.
  13. blastbass

    blastbass

    Mar 8, 2016
    bombay
    Agreed, didn't even read the date, pl disregard my earlier post.
     
  14. pacojas

    pacojas "FYYA BUN"

    Oct 11, 2009
    MEXICANADAMERICA
    but if you start a new thread people will tell you to use "The TB Search",... which sucks, imo. :)
     
    blastbass likes this.
  15. spankdaplank

    spankdaplank

    Jan 19, 2003
    Philippines
    A few years ago I bought a Crown XLS1000 as an all around power amp based on the price and name. I did try it as a bass amp with my Ampeg SVTIIP preamp and was just generally disappointed with the sound and apparent power (yeah, I know the input voltage required on this amp). I now use it to drive the subs in my studio. Works okay for that purpose.
     
  16. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    Once again... Just because it's inexpensive ... Doesn't mean it's a bargain...