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How many use separate pre/power amps?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Cornbread, Apr 16, 2001.

  1. Cornbread


    Jun 20, 2000
    Lawrence, Ma
    Lately I've been thinking ahead with regards to amp upgrading. It seems to me that getting separate pre/power amps is the best way to go. How many of you folks have that type of rig and what advice could you give me about power amp and preamp selection?
    What do you think about the QSC amps? One 500W model has a list price around $550.
  2. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    You need to choose your power amp based on your present or planned cabinet configuration, and all that should be based on what kind of gigs you'll be doing and how much you're willing to haul around. If your cabs are rated at, say, 500-750 watts at 4 ohms, I'd go with at least a 1000 watt amp for plenty of headroom. Power amps aren't as tough a call as preamps, but you can't go wrong with a Crown, QSC, Mackie, Hafler. I use the Mackie 1400 and I think it's a great value and it sounds terrific.

    Preamps are very subjective. How much tone shaping do you want, how versatile, etc.? Look at the features...I used to have an Eden Navigator, which sounded great, but I'd never use all the tone capabilities the thing offered. I traded it for an Alembic F1-X, which is a very basic but high quality unit. I think that's "the one" for me. Also check out Demeter, SWR, Aguilar, etc. Price will determine lots of this, too. A used Alembic can be found for $350-400.00 and a used Mackie 1400 for $400-450. That's a hell of a lot of tone for $700.
  3. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    I've been the seperates route (bi-amps and tri-amp setups) and couldn't agree less that it's the best way to go. It's a different way to go than an all in one amp.

    Mike's post is right on the money. It depends on what "you" like and need.

    Of the preamps I've tried I like the Alembic F1X the most (I know...it's a personal problem;))
    It just sounded right. I've tried the Tech, the Kern, the Aguilar, I still have a Yamaha, had an Ashley, the Eden, the Peavey, the other Alembic, etc., etc., etc. I haven't tried an Avalon yet but I've touched just about everything else.

    Given all of the amp choices I lean towards QSC or Crown. I've tried the rest.

    Given all of this and that, for me, my all in one fits the bill perfectly.
  4. I run the pre/power set-up. I use a Carver PM1400. 700 watts a side @ 4 ohms. I have been thru a few pre's, currently the Alembic F-1X(which I like) and The Aguilar DB659 which I liked ALOT-but had to sell, and I used the Demeter(which didnt dish out the ow end I love) I have big cabs so the power amp setup was more of a necessity than a preference but there nothing like headroom to complement great tone-they do go hand in hand.
  5. Carvin sells power amps with good $$ to the watt ratios, and someone on the board a while back said they had a good "damping" factor, which makes the bass tighter. I don't really know about that though.
  6. JohnL


    Sep 20, 2000
    Grayson, GA
    I do the preamp/power amp thing as well, and love the sound of my setup. It is, however, a highly subjective field, and I totally agree that it is what YOUR ears like that matters. One thing that sometimes gets overlooked is the way a particular bass sounds through a system compared to another bass. Some preamps "color" or change the bass's tone a lot more than others, (ie: the brand's "signature" sound), while some manufacturers try to make a preamp that does not color the sound at all. I am not educated enough on the subject to start a discussion on how different power amps will affect the tone, as well as different brands of speakers, but I'm sure to a degree that these things come into play as well. I am fortunate enough to have a bass that sounds sweet (I think) even when played through a Pignose, and I love the way it sounds through my relatively cheap BBE preamp. Another bass might sound totally different, even bad. I would love to have an Alembic, Kern, or Demeter, but right now, those look like Christmas list items! Good luck in your search!
  7. Turock

    Turock Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2000
    I use a Demeter preamp with a Hafler Pro5000 poweramp and I am very pleased with my sound.
  8. I, myself, have never even considered playing on a combo. I have always been using separate pre / power amp and cabs. Whenever I play on a combo I get frustrated.

    But I play a loud music style and IMO a combo just can't do the trick. Not enough power (1x15), or when it's got plenty of power it's got no low end (4x10).

    I use a Digitech Studio Quad as a preamp/EQ/multieffect and a Yamaha P1600 power amp. The cabs are of "in-house manufacture", so to speak.

    You can't go wrong with power amps like QSC, Crest, Dynaudio, Mackie. Yamaha is cheaper, but has a better price/quality ratio IMO.
  9. Jeff in TX

    Jeff in TX Supporting Member

    Nov 1, 2000
    Lone Star State
    I use a Kern preamp and QSC PLX 2402 power amp setup with 2 Acme Low-B2 cabinets. Never been happier with my sound.

    I especially like the fact that the QSC is light (~20lbs) compared to many other power amps.
  10. mikemulcahy


    Jun 13, 2000
    The Abyss
    I use 2 Crown power amps. I agree with Joris, a combo just didnt cut the mustard.
  11. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Green Audio ME-1 dual channel preamp

    Green Audio GA-1000 poweramp w/ 2x500 W @ 4 Ohms

    I wouldn't reommend a poweramp with less than 1 kW.
  12. Jerry J

    Jerry J Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2000
    P-town, OR
    I recently stepped into a component setup. Since I love the Eden thing I picked up a Navigator which I just think is the Cat's Meow. Bells and whistles for days. I twiddled alot the first few days but think that I've got it set up so I don't touch it too much anymore.

    On Bob Goleier's (sorry for the misspelling Bob) recommendation I got the Crown CE-1000. Got it at GC for $470. It fits real nice in my ProTec rack bag. If I'd had the bucks I'd gone for the K1 or K2. I just couldn't justify the 3x cost. I'm happy with the tone of the CE and it seems to have lots of oomph and real strong lows. No mud from my B string. The amp has a nice damping factor.

    Now I guess I should contact Crown but I have an 8 ohm Bag End S15 and a 4 ohm D10 Bag End. I should be able to use both those cabs in stereo without a problem of mismatch, should I? The Navigator has a cross-over (nice feature!). I'm just concerned that the impedence mis-match would be a problem for the amp. Nothing like this is address in the owner's manual.

    I was interested in the Stewart amps but nobody carries them except LA Bass Exchange. I was also interested in the Crest CA-9 but it was just too deep of a cabinet.

    It is tough trying to get sound people to talk to bass players about using a PA amp strictly for bass.

    Good luck!
  13. BassDude24


    Sep 12, 2000
    If any of you guys want a good power amp, I would strongle sugest the Carvin HT760M cause it has been discontinued, so if you order one, you will get it, only it won't be 750 watts. The reason it has been discontinued is because they have upgraded it to 1000 watts, so if you order one, it will still cost as much as the 750 watt model untill they put out a new catalog. Plus it has a nice built in eq.

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