New to power amps, need advice

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by rojo412, Jul 1, 2003.

  1. rojo412

    rojo412 MARK IT ZERO! Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    Okay, please pardon me (or redirect me) if this has been done before, but I need info and guidance.

    I just started looking at power amplifiers because I'm considering a component bass system with the Alembic F-1X as the "brain."
    The part I'm not too versed on is the "brawn." I currently use a GK1001RB and as much as I like it, it's got its share of problems. It powers my SWR Goliath III 4x10. I understand how it works, it's mono and there is no issue of how to get it hooked up. But it would need to be replaced if I decide to go pre/power setup.

    When I perused the selection of power amps available, I was frankly a bit stunned at how many options there were.
    A few sounded way too powerful (the SWR is a 700W cab). Most were stereo, which could be fun later, but I'd most likely just use it bridged mono.

    Basically, I'm just wondering where I should start looking. I don't want to get too extravagant and I don't want to blow my cab. I don't know if I should look at the stereo rating and run it as just 1 side, or look at the mono bridged rating and run it as that. I'd like to find something that is relatively basic and cost effective (paying for power, not a name).
    Models? Sites? Any help is appreciated.
  2. Trevorus


    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    crown ce1000, or qcs rmx802. Either would work great. The QSC is a bit cheaper, and withing what you want for power range. If you are really concerned about power with your power amp, then just don't crank it. You'll be fine.
  3. I'd look for a used Crown PowerBase 1 (450W bridged @ 8ohms) or PowerBase 2 (800w bridged @8 ohms).

    Go to the legacy products section.

    Oh, and if you get one, don't forget to set the input sensitivity switch to the proper position or you'll be hearing mouse bass instead of Goliath bass.
  4. Jerry J

    Jerry J Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2000
    P-town, OR
    There really is a TON of discussion here about power amps. Many really great reviews and info from many informed sources. You are starting out with one of the best preamps around. I have one and I love it. I also have several others and they are equally great. The plus is that most of the preamp out today are very light weight so you can actually put two preamps in a rack and couple that with a killer power amp that is also very light weight. This will give you a very versatile powerhouse that will handle most any situation.

    We as bass player/consumers are blessed with quite a few incrdible choices. The two power amps that are probably rising to the top of the heap has been the QSC PLX or RMX models and the Stewart. I don't think that you can go wrong with any of them. The PLX and the Stewarts are ultra light weight at under 25 pounds.

    I have a pair of QSC PLX's(PLX'i?)that I think are super. I've not tried out the
    Stewart as they are not as common or easy to find as the QSC. I'm sure that I'd love the Stewart equally as well. The Crown CE1000 is ok (I have one in my PA) but it quite a bit heavier than the PLX or the Stewart and there has been discussion about reliability but I've never had an issue.

    I would recommend getting the most powerful amp that you can afford. This gives you the headroom to handle most any situation(i.e. inefficient cabs) plus they tend to run cooler when idling along at half power. Plus the fact that the PLX 3202 weighs the same as the PLX1202 the issue comes down to cost.

    There are several source for both the Stewart and the QSC's that have pretty good pricing. Also, these amps do show up used quite often. Again, the QSC seems to be more common on the used market. I've noticed that both amps seem to hold their value quite well so the used market is still a bit high.

    So, as an example, if you were to go with a PLX1602 or a Stewart 1.6, they should put out around 300+ watts into 8 ohms. You didn't say whether your cab was an 8 or 4 ohm cab. Set up for single channel operation, assuming your Goliath is 8 ohms would be kinda under-powered. I'd say that you should be able to bridge into that cab and not worry too much as long as you aren't driving to hard clipping. That would be pretty darn loud.

    Well now that I've talked your ear off on this..if you have any specific questions please PM me. I owe you BIGTIME for all the help you gave me when I was getting my Fodera.;)
  5. rojo412

    rojo412 MARK IT ZERO! Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    Okay, I have a handle more on what I want, so I'll ask a few more questions.

    The 1602 seems to be the choice of people all over the place. It's just a bit more than I'd be able to spend, as well as more than what I need now. The 1202 is more in my range and is practically the same. Am I going to get the same "Chest Thumping Bass" that the 1602 gets? The 1202 is more suited for what the cab runs (700w/8ohm, also the bridged rating), it's more powerful than the GK (running 340w @ 8).

    Also, what will I notice with a doubling of power? Just headroom with a bit more volume or will it be night and day?

    Finally, if given the choice between a new 1202 for $450-ish or a used Stewart 1.6 for $500 or a 1602 for about the same, what would you do?
  6. Jerry J

    Jerry J Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2000
    P-town, OR
    Hands down, the 1602 or the Stew 1.6. Save the extra bucks up.

    I can sure understand tight money. I think that we all face that reality. But I always think "will I be happy if I settle or should I just wait a bit and go with what I wanted in the first place?". I would have saved alot of $$$ if I'd just held out. Look at it this way, you've got your GK that seems to be able to tide you over. Hang with that until a good deal comes along or you've saved the extra bread. This is all my 2 centavos.

    On the other hand, I really don't think that it would be night/day. It will be a headroom thing plus it will give you more otions on your cabbing down the road.

    Oh, I just re-read your post. YES you will get significantly more oomph over your GK. That may very well be night and day.

    As far as matching power to cab, the rule of thumb is: 1.5 times the rating of the cab so that would be 1000 watts for your cabinet. If you bridge the 1602 into 8 ohms that would give you????...I forgot what the 1602 is rated at for 8 watts. That sounds like a pretty good match.

    Really?? you can find a used/new Stew 1.6 for that price? Please PM me where that is. The Stewarts really hold their value on the used market and I've not seen a price like that at all.
  7. rojo412

    rojo412 MARK IT ZERO! Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    My big concern with used gear, sight unseen in the amp world, is reliability. This is overpowered by either a warranty, ease of repair or a solid history of bulletproof reliability in my book.
    Do any amps mentioned fit into the latter 2 categories? I can afford used and take a risk, I can afford less power new and get a warranty. What would you do in my situation, given the 3 amps I mentioned?
  8. I'm sorry, but I just can't resist. If you're looking for a powerful, reliable poweramp, go with a Crown. They are known for their reliability, and their warranty is transferable.

    I believe someone here has a mint PowerTech 2.1 for sale at a very good price... that someone would be me :rolleyes:
  9. rok51


    Sep 2, 2002
    Crawfordville, FL
    Might get flamed for this one, but if reliability/service is a major issue, you might think twice about the Stewarts. Those that I know have them, love them for their tight, clean sound and featherweight. It's only when one goes down that I start to hear tales of grief. There was some issue a few years ago involving warranty claims on amps built before the company changed hands. I doubt it would be an issue now as those amps should already be out of the warranty period. I don't know if the Stewart's design lends them to be serviced in the field or whether they need to be returned to the factory for service. One of the reasons I went with the PLX was the legendary (deserved) customer service reputation of QSC. From a player's standpoint I think you would be pleased with either amp. But, for your own peace of mind, please look into the servicing issue as well.