After blaming it on other things, I've concluded that my Alembic F-1X preamp is capable of overloading the input of my Crest CA-9 power amp. With the preamp volume cranked up high, I can induce fierce, speaker-killing distortion on certain transient spikes. No clip light comes on when this happens (in fact, fortunately for my speakers, I've only done this with the amp's attenuators turned way down). For now, I'm simply keeping the F-1X's volume at about 5 and this makes a very practical solution. I can't imagine ever needing any more volume than what I get with the pre on five, and both channels of the CA-9 wide open. Never say never, though... and... the first time I accidentally bump that knob, or let someone else use the rig... I could wipe out both of my Accugroove cabs in an instant. That is no good, nosirree! BTW, putting my bass into the 6 db pad input of the Alembic will increase the usable volume level, but doesn't eliminate it the problem. What can I do to protect my speakers and milk all of the available potential from my rig? BTW, this is an older CA-9, and a tech from Crest told me that the input sensitivity isn't configurable on this model, as it is on newer ones. Any suggestions?