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Keep the PF-500?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Chondroulis, Feb 7, 2021.

  1. So, at a pre-pandemic gig the dirty power (or something?) at the venue fried the main board of my Ampeg PF-500 (confirmed by a pro). In the meantime, I've been using my SVT-400T with my Ampeg 210HE and 115HLF cabs, which, eh, it's fine for rehearsal and it's not like I'm gigging these days. But in anticipation of someday getting back to live performances, I'd like to get my amp house back in order before then.

    Do I:
    1) Replace the main board on the PF-500 and call it a day?
    2) Replace the main board on the PF-500; sell it and upgrade to PF-800 in the hopes that it mitigates the gain clip issues I sometimes encounter during a particularly loud set?
    3) Scrap the whole PF experience altogether and go with some other Class D solution? What's your favorite and why? I like the PF sound paired with my '86 P-Bass, but DO NOT like the gain clip "feature".
  2. Blues Bass 2

    Blues Bass 2 Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2001
    Davenport Iowa
    Not much help but I sure like my PF800 . No problems with any kind of clipping and keeps on working . I get the red light flashing once in a while but it doesn't make it sound or perform different .
  3. 2saddleslab

    2saddleslab Supporting Member

    May 30, 2003
    My pf800 has worked flawlessly since purchased new in 2017 and it's been used everywhere from quiet indoor gigs to larger outdoor stages. You can find smaller, lighter Class D amps but hard to beat the pf800 for value & classic Ampeg tone.
    Chondroulis and petergales like this.
  4. Actually, very helpful. What kind of cabs are you using?
  5. Yeah, I really do prefer that Ampeg tone. I'm usually disappointed whenever I have to use someone else's rig as part of a backline. My hope is that by going to 4 ohms over two cabs AND upping the wattage that I'll have enough headroom to still be nice and loud without crossing that "protect mode" threshold.
  6. Blues Bass 2

    Blues Bass 2 Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2001
    Davenport Iowa
    I was using a 212 cabinet with Deltalite 2512 speakers that was a good match at 4 ohms . Now I use a pair of 115 cabs with Deltalite 2515 speakers .
  7. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2008
  8. 2playbass

    2playbass Supporting Member

    Aug 12, 2013
    I'd replace the main board and keep it. It's a simple replacement. The main board malfunctioned in my first PF-500 (after about 4 years of use), but at the time there were no replacement boards available (in Canada). I bought another new PF-500 because I liked the first one so much. Once the replacement boards were available, I replaced the board in the first one, and now I have two that have both been completely reliable. I keep one at a practice space, or I can have a backup for big gigs.

    FullCompass seems to be out of stock, but I think you might find one here:
    MAIN BOARD FOR PF500 - AMPEG - 2034544-01
    lokikallas likes this.
  9. TheDirtyLowDown


    Mar 8, 2014
    My Ampeg PF500 died on me at soundcheck for an outdoor concert last summer -- our only gig between March and now. It always had trouble overheating, but this was a complete fail. I'm glad I had a backup amp!

    I replaced it with a Quilter BB800, which is lighter, more powerful, and even though the controls are quite different I was able to dial in a great tone in no time. Positive comments from the band at outdoor practices all around, so I'm not going back to an Ampeg PF series amp.
    jeff7bass likes this.
  10. I will at the very least replace the board. I was still having issues going into that "clip protect"mode (or whatever it's called) about 10% of the time. Which is still too often, if you ask me. I'll get back up and running and make the call then!
  11. I don't think I've heard of Quilter BB800, I will check it out for sure. Are you using Ampeg cabs?
    TheDirtyLowDown likes this.
  12. TheDirtyLowDown


    Mar 8, 2014
    No -- I bought a Barefaced Bass - Big Baby 2 about two years ago, and since then I've sold my GK neo 4x10. The BB2 is a 1x12 + adjustable horn. It is expensive, but it handles 800w, is brilliantly well-balanced, well built, and weighs only 29lbs which helps my aging back. It's an 8-ohm cabinet, so the Quilter BB800 will deliver about 400 watts into it. That's plenty loud, even in our 6-piece band.

    But here's a caveat: those preferences are completely based on my need to repeatedly haul this stuff into bars/clubs, set it up, tear it down, and haul it home. So a 4lb amp and a 29lb speaker are a big help for me given that requirement. If we had roadies, or if I was younger, I'd buy myself a DB 751 and a Barefaced 8x10 (tagline from the web page: "needed by no-one, wanted by everyone!") and the only thing bigger than my sound would be my smile. :)

    Good luck with your shopping, purchase, and playing!
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2021
    Chondroulis likes this.
  13. SiSoldier

    SiSoldier Supporting Member

    Oct 28, 2013
    Los Angeles
    From reading the post you may ultimately be happy with fixing the amp you like and calling it a day or purchasing another PF500. Not sure what the replacement board cost, but a used one can be bought for less than $300.
    Chondroulis likes this.
  14. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    I once did a sitdown with a PF500 and 800. They sound the same, but the 800 has just a little bit more junk in the trunk that I believe is caused by the extra wattage. Never really noticed wattage making a difference in sound with like trad SS amps, but I sure have noticed it with like micros. So I'd be tempted to snag an 800 myself. Sold mine off while trying to make up for losing all my work once Covid hit, but since I've pretty much retired from playing, I'll be OK with the other 4 or 5 amps I have :D
    Chondroulis and 2saddleslab like this.

  15. Yep, same reason I'm going for PF series, my old man back ain't what it used to be! :)
    TheDirtyLowDown likes this.
  16. I feel like 800 watts would give me that extra head-room I'm looking for while still retaining the "sound" I love coming out of the PF amps.
    JimmyM likes this.
  17. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    Ya, and even at the low volumes I play at, I could notice the extra "oomph" factor. It's subtle and you actually have to listen for it, but I think it's worth the extra scratch.
    2saddleslab likes this.
  18. SidNitzerglobin


    Feb 12, 2019
    FWIW, I've found my PF500 to compare favorably to any of the other Ampegs I've had in tone (late 70s VT-22 head, PF50T, recent V4B reissue, MicroVR). I've liked it a good bit better than the other class D bass amps I've owned (Gallen MB-200, TC BG250-208, & Little Mark Tube 800) aside from the newer version Terror Bass which is solidly in contention w/ the V4B for the favorite bass amp I've had. I've generally not needed to open the PF500 up more than ~3/4 though. It does sound like the PF800 might be the better option for you.

    I've hung onto my PF500 mounted on the flip top of my PF115HE as a (probably pretty hard to justify at this point) backup since it doesn't windup taking up additional space & I doubt I'd windup recouping a whole lot of cash on it if I did move it along.
    Chondroulis likes this.
  19. I feel like PF-800 is in my future.... :)
  20. I've been hooked on the Ampeg sound since the 80s. I'm a big fan of the PFs, and I'm hoping 800 watts will solve the "clip protect"mode nonsense I've been experiencing...
    SidNitzerglobin likes this.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

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