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Head vs Power/Pre - who's changed over?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Weenie Boy, Oct 16, 2005.

  1. Weenie Boy

    Weenie Boy

    Sep 22, 2004
    Why did you change from using a head to a power amp/preamp set-up...or why did you change from using a power amp/preamp setup tp using a integrated head?

    I'm looking to build a new rig for giging. Medium size venues, playing funk, blues...etc Looking for others to share their experiences with this issue. I used to use a rack systems years ago (many) and thought it was heavy and cumbersone. Things have come along ways over the years. A power amp/preamp rig using a QSC PLX or Stewart World can come in a three rack space bag weighing 22-30 lbs. Integrated heads have come along way as well.

    Opinions sought!
  2. Dave Siff

    Dave Siff Supporting Member

    I used heads for a long time, but my quest for more power and headroom led me to a pre/power set-up. With a head, I could never seem to strike a good balance between preamp volume and power amp volume. My new rig seems a lot easier and more flexible.. I turn the power amps up to around 80% or 90% and use the preamp level as my master volume. I've got more power than I'll ever need, but the headroom is beautiful. And, the whole thing weighs less than the last integrated head I had.
  3. Unchain

    Unchain I've seen footage.

    Jun 20, 2005
    Tucson, AZ
    I'm using a head now, but will soon go power/pre.
  4. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    I have had many of each. I currently use an Eden WT-550 head and Bergantino HT112 cab. I went with this for weight and portablility. It sounds great, too.

    For 97% of my gigs, it's all I need. Alone or with PA support it realy put out great sound and a lot of it. Most of use simply don't need all that gear any more.

    I did have a lot of fun (and blow a lot of $$) when I was experimenting though. For me, I can't think of a time when this won't be more than enough. Your situation may be different.
  5. emjazz

    emjazz Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    Bronx, NY
    I've been back and forth many, many times. I love the headroom of a pre/poweramp setup but not the weight. I've yet to find a light weight poweramp that can hold a candle to the large powersupplies in heavier amps. My last poweramp was a Crest CA6. Unbelievable amp. More than I needed and it wasn't light. I play jazz/improvised music and just don't need the kind of volume the Crest put out. I now have an Ashdown EVO500II and I never feel like I need more volume. I can carry it in one hand and I always get an amazing sound with very little eq'ing. No regrets.
  6. I got both. A Mesa 400+ and and Ampeg SVP-Pro/Art SLA-2 pre/power. they both weight about the same.

    I use the Mesa for gigs and recordings. The other set up is for home use.
  7. MODNY

    MODNY Guest

    Nov 9, 2004
    i've changed to a pre/power

    i find its alot cleaner/clearer

    but i still use asmall head for practice and travelling easy
  8. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    I originally switched to pre/power for more headroom. But I remain switched for the following reason: I'd rather own one amp and a bunch of preamps rather than a bunch of heads.

    Actually, I own two rack rigs, four and six spaces. Each contains a two-space lightweight power amp. I fill the remaining spaces by selecting from the following modules (all 1-space): five preamps, one compressor, one power strip. Other possible rack modules would include tuner, FX unit, crossover.

    So: instead of searching for the head that has all the features I want, I can essentially build my own.
  9. Juniorkimbrough


    Mar 22, 2005
    Mississippi / Memphis, TN
    Endorsing Artist: Lakland Basses
    My pre/power rack is no heavier than the head I had was. I love the headroom and the options you have tone wise by switching out preamps. Also when I used a head I was always worried about the knobs getting knocked off or damaged while in the band trailer on the way to gigs, now I have nothing to worry about since the rack protects all of that.
  10. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PHL
    big important gigs, i'll pull out my all Demeter rig.

    for the smaller shows, either the Epifani 502 or EA iAMP make the trip.

    but if i had to make a hard choice, i'd stick w/ a head. no sense in taking a huge rig, when you can find terrific tone and lots of power in many of the sub 20 lbs. heads.
  11. orskard


    Mar 17, 2004
    i started with an old peavey head and now i have a plx 1202 and a RBI.... i like the power, dont really love the tone, thinking changing the cab will help, not enough lows from my 2x10....i guess a lot of you are right, the weight thing is about the same plus i have a lot more power. I just dont like my SKB case, i feel like its going to break, the plastic just seems thin. I know its a lot lighter than a flight case, but other than that i see myself sticking with my rack. Unless a really really nice head comes up.
  12. Matt Morgan

    Matt Morgan Fellow Conspirator Supporting Member

    Oct 21, 2001
    Plano, TX
    Started with heads a long time ago, then swithched over and went with pre/power set up until last year. I finally came to my senses and went back to a really good, lightweight amp head.
    It's so nice carrying around a 19lb. 800w amp in a padded shoulder bag instead of taking an entire trip to haul in a 70+ lb. rack. I honestly don't miss the extra headroom. It was nice knowing that I had 2000w availble but I never came anywhere near using the potential of that set up. I can't ever see myself playing in a situation that requires more than the 800w that I can muster now. That's why God made PA systems.
    Amps continue to get smaller, lighter, more powerful and better and better sounding. I don't think I'll ever go back to the big rig, but that's just me!
  13. rockstarbassist

    rockstarbassist Banned

    Apr 30, 2002
    The Woodlands, TX
    Endorsing Artist: HCAF
    I like the versatility of having the modular setup.
    Granted it's not always the easiest thing to get sounding exactly right, but you can always add or try different things and that to me is what makes it worth it.

    I only regret selling one head, and that was my M-Pulse 600....... REALLY wish I still had that one!!
  14. i will be changing to a pre/power...why?..because im getting an ampeg svp-pro for redicously cheap
  15. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Terrific Twister

    Apr 12, 2001
    Olympia, WA
    I went from an amp to a power/pre because I needed the power. I went back to an amp because I was tired of fussing with it.

  16. smperry

    smperry Administrator Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Bay Area, CA
    Endorsing Artist: Martin Keith Guitars
    I was pre/power for many years because I liked testing out different preamps, and having lots of clean power. I switched to a head, because I loved the sound of it and the price was right. It's also smaller and lighter than my old setup.