How reliable has your ampeg pf500 been?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Bunky, Jul 22, 2020.

  1. Bunky


    Jul 12, 2011
    How long have you had it , and have you had to do any maintenance?
  2. heatheroo1


    Dec 14, 2009
    Ephrata, PA
    had mine for about 5 years. No maintenance. Never had a hiccup.
  3. I've had mine 6-ish years, never needed any maintenance. However, the first time I used it on a dark stage I thought the compressor knob was the gain knob and thought the amp was crap. The next day I looked at the compressor knob at ten, and the gain knob at two and came to the right conclusion. Take from that what you will.
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2020
    Spectrum, JC Nelson, TerenceE and 2 others like this.
  4. Bunky


    Jul 12, 2011
    I don’t know much about this stuff as a guitar player. Any tips for using the compression?
  5. Crater


    Oct 12, 2011
    Dallas, TX area
    My PF-500 is now about 7 or 8 years old, it was a Christmas present. It's an earlier "Rev. C" board, one of the "unreliable" ones. Mine has never, ever cut out on me. I believe I've been lucky because in this regard because I've never had to push the power amp to the limit. I use a 4 x 10 G-K MBR cab, 4 ohms, and use a speakon cable.

    When I read about other people having problems with the PF-500, there seemed to be a lot of people trying to push 8-ohm 2 x 10 cabs to heavy-metal volumes. Once the class-D hits its power limit, it shu

    Maintenance? The only "maintenance" an end-user can do is to take the lid off and vacuum or blow the dust off the heatsinks and cooling fan.
    EatS1stBassist likes this.
  6. Honestly I more or less don't have it set higher than 09:00 or so if I even bother using it - but like anything, I'm sure somebody could chime in with its use in more detail. It just kinda squishes all of your notes into the same volume range, which is useful but not often thought about. Lots of people would use either natural compression from a tube amp, or have a separate compressor circuit running on stage or in studio, but some don't and the ones built into amps aren't regarded all that highly. For me, it's "good enough."

    At the end of the day, you just have to use it until it makes sense.
  7. pfschim

    pfschim Just a Skeleton with a Jazz bass

    Apr 26, 2006
    SF Bay Area
    I've had mine (PF500 + PF115HE cab) for about 9 years-ish. It sounds good, but it failed on me 2x on a gig under very modest use conditions (not driven hard) several years ago and I have relegated mine to rehearsal space use only. It has also crapped out a few times in rehearsal too. So, while I like the sound of it fine, I do not trust it for gigs at all and I have several other amps that have always been reliable, so its not a big issue for me.

    In fairness, mine was a very early rev and I have read that Ampeg figured the issues out after a few revs and newer ones seem to be reliable.
  8. Thehound


    Jul 11, 2011
    I bought one years ago when they came out and it fried within 2 months. I was given 2 replacements after that, they also fried quickly. I switched to the ampeg micro vr setup after and didn't have a hiccup with it for years. I can't put my faith in a pf500 again I tried real hard it sounded great.
  9. superheavyfunk


    Mar 11, 2013
    Never had a problem with mine for the three years I owned it. There was indeed done issues with the earliest run of them but it was a small but vocal minority who has that experience. Most of the ones out in the wild are fine
  10. drumvsbass


    Aug 20, 2011
    I had a PF500 that was my gigging horse for 3 years solid. Never a problem. Traded it and the cab for my PF-50T and a new PF cab (my older one wouldn't fit). My used rig sold a few weeks later, and then a few days later it was returned with a fried board.
    Apparently these heads were finicky about what speaker cable you use, and yet were shipped with total garbage speaker cables.
  11. DirtDog


    Jun 7, 2002
    The Deep North
    10 years for me more or less. Many many gigs. It’s served me well.
    BasturdBlaster likes this.
  12. Had mine since 2011, no problems.
    BasturdBlaster likes this.
  13. Inara

    Inara Fierce Fun Fretless Female Supporting Member

    Jun 12, 2017
    Seattle, WA USA
    When they were fairly new, I had two that were supplied as backline fail, both in low volume settings. From all I know they fixed the issues with later revisions. Many, many people have been gigging theirs for years with great reliability. I can't get past it, and won't own one due to memories of the bad experiences I had, but I think that's just me. I don't think they are any less reliable than most amps out there now.

    I do want either a Micro VR or a PF350 though ...
    shoot-r and BasturdBlaster like this.
  14. Ampslut


    May 15, 2017
    Barrackville WV
    I've not had any issues with mine.
  15. TheDirtyLowDown


    Mar 8, 2014
    I've been gigging regularly (or was until early March) for 7 years with mine. Reliable, predictable, and I've always felt happy with the Ampeg controls. It just works... except for once, at a blazing hot outdoor gig. I've rack-mounted it using a baseplate, and at soundcheck the amp refused to power up due to an overtemp. I pointed my small fan at the back of the rack case, and in a few minutes it came back to life. That's been (knock on wood) the only hiccup so far... and it's been used a lot.
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2020
    Bunky likes this.
  16. vvvmmm


    Dec 6, 2016
    5-6 years, no issues. And the compressor, BTW, is pretty useful.
    BasturdBlaster likes this.
  17. 2playbass


    Aug 12, 2013
    I had an early one with a rev C board. Worked very well for about 5 years of gigging, then it started tripping the fault indicator and cutting out after about an hour of use. Thankfully it started crapping out in rehearsal, not at a gig. It was not being pushed hard. At the time, it was going to cost me almost as much to replace it as repair it, so I bought a new one with a rev D board (I really like the unit). After several years, I have never had a problem with the newer one.

    A couple years after the rev C board failed in my first one, I found main boards for sale at at a reasonable price. I replaced the main board with a new rev D board, and now I have a backup. Replacing the main board is easy. If you dig around, you can still find main boards online.
    Jxff likes this.
  18. BassAdder27


    Nov 16, 2020
    I know this is an old thread but perhaps time to post some love for the PF500 now it’s under ownership and control of Yamaha.
    I’ve purchased a new made in 2020 PF500 and you can hear the fan running which to me is a positive point, it’s keeping it cool.
    I got thinking that perhaps many of the failures have been caused partly by fans not running at all and overheating when pushed ?
    I think the amp has a great tone and hopefully the earlier failures are long behind it. The prices are low for this head maybe to encourage sales and regain its market share ?

    I don’t believe Yamaha would let a faulty product continue and they have had three years to sort out matters so fingers crossed
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2021
  19. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    After the first year, Ampeg under LOUD tweaked the design of the PF500 to be a lot more reliable. It's those made in 2011 and 2012 that are the problematic ones. And the PF350 and 800 haven't had such issues.