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Non-ICEpower Bass Amps?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Low Class, Feb 24, 2019.


  1. Low Class

    Low Class Supporting Member

    Jul 4, 2005
    Orange Park, Florida
    What I found in reading reviews on most ICEpower bass amps is the common description of "too clean", a characteristic I'm also hearing. I read a lot recently about the new 1200 watt ICEpower and how it was supposed to have the heft of the old leads sleds, but a few days ago I had the opportunity of playing a new amp that had the new 1200 watt ICEpower module and was thoroughly disappointed as it took "too clean" to another level.

    Although it may be short, I'd like to get a list of presently manufactured bass amps that do not use the ICEpower module. The ones that I know of seem to have a better overall tone that one would expect from a bass amp. They are:

    1) Quilter Bass Block 800
    2) Acoustic Image Clarus
    3) Epifani UL901

    If there are any others please post! Looking for Class D and other than Class D.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2019
    jeff7bass, svtb15 and Rice like this.
  2. Passinwind

    Passinwind I know nothing. Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    For starters:

    Markbass
    Ampeg
    Peavey
    Ibanez
    TC Electronics
    Carvin
    Trickfish
    Jule Amps
     
  3. Low Class

    Low Class Supporting Member

    Jul 4, 2005
    Orange Park, Florida

    The TC Bh800 I have owned and it did sound better than the ICEpower amps. Markbass...well. Isn't Carvin gone?
     
  4. Passinwind

    Passinwind I know nothing. Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    I don't necessarily buy into your basic premise at all, in all honesty, but vive la difference!
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2019
  5. abarson

    abarson

    Nov 6, 2003
    Santa Cruz
    It seems to me that the majority of an amp's tonal character would be in the preamp and EQ section, and the ICE module is merely the brute force to get it to the speaker. But I'm not an amp designer.
     
  6. None of the TC RH amps to my knowledge have ICEpower. But they do have a heavily baked sound that works in their favour. The "baking" is in both the preamp and the power control module.

    I don't think you're right. I've heard PA Power amps that used Class-D power sections and they absolutely had the power to push dual-18 subs and not imply they were running out of steam at all.

    I DO think that with all the miniaturization, amp companies are turning to more and more DSP to squeeze their preamps into tinier and tinier single circuit boards. At the same time, they're wrestling with keeping costs down and that, I believe is what you're hearing.

    Try taking what you consider to be an anemic class-d amplifier and take the effect send out into a lead-sled power amp like a big honking' BGW, Crown, or even the power-amp in of an 800RB (which is actually Class-H) or something, and I think you'll find it still sounds about the same.
     
    Heavy Blue and alaskaleftybass like this.
  7. Low Class

    Low Class Supporting Member

    Jul 4, 2005
    Orange Park, Florida
    Yes they do have a heavily baked in tone, but the also have more of a heft to them that seems to be missing from the ICEpower amps.
     
    SickAura and Vincent Bryan like this.
  8. For sure. Part of that baked in tone seems to be the DSP in the power-amp that boosts the initial pulse the note before taking over and smoothing out the playing. It's not just a matter of letting that transient through, it seems to actively expand the transients in certain frequency bands to give that feeling of heft. Those amps are designed to try and mimic a specific feel and sound and they do a pretty good job - I love my RH750 - but there's an awful lot of computing power under the hood to get it there.

    Most other class-D amps aren't designed to mimic anything quite the same way. That aside, it's possible that GK, with their new forthcoming amps, are taking a similar tact to TC and baking both the preamp and power amp to shape how they respond to input. That wouldn't be a bad thing if it got the job done, and GK is no slouch when it comes to engineering a great sounding amplifier.

     
  9. JGR

    JGR The "G" is for Gustav Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 29, 2006
    Maryland
    President, CEO, CFO, CIO, Chief Engineer, Technician, Janitor - Reiner Amplification
    It has nothing to do with the ICE modules, at all. Ignore all the TB rhetoric. It’s a function of the preamp and how the parts are integrated into a system. You can slap random speakers in a box and they will make sound, but they won’t be optimized. Same goes with sticking something in front of power module.
     
  10. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    I'm not an engineer, but in my view, baking tone into the power amp doesn't make sense from a design perspective. The reason is that it's almost always simpler and cheaper to process a small signal than a big signal. Also, sticking anything weird into the feedback loop of the power amp could threaten its stability, i.e., its ability to drive interesting speaker loads without mishap. So it would have to be done quite conservatively.

    A possible exception is tailoring the power amp to handle overload signals in a musically favorable way, but even in that case, I'm not sure it doesn't make better sense to tailor the signal going into the power amp, and to let the signal stop just shy of letting the power amp go into clipping. Or the preamp can sense the onset of clipping in the power amp and tailor the input signal as needed. The original "DDT" compression in Peavey amps was based on this idea.
     
  11. Sorry, as far as I know from speaking to TC, it's not IN the power amp component that actually drives speaker level current. It's a module which runs between the preamp and the power amp current drivers.

    The power amp runs on its own, although like most class-D modules, there is data that can flow backwards to tell other circuits what it's doing. Even the master volume does not provide direct access to the power amp. At low volumes (like 1-3 on the dial) the DSP alters the compression ratios, timing, and filtration to act like a kind of clarity/loudness boost at low volumes. There is also some transient expansion going on.

    It's not just a fast vari-mu limiter circuit like DDT was.

    As far as I know, TC isn't doing anything to the amp at speaker power levels to get the sound it does. Certainly nothing like Rolands FFP speaker monitoring addendum which used IR sensors to read the cone movement.

    But that aside, the RH series can run an odd combination of speakers because they knew the impedance figures for their speakers and how they behave, so you got the "three of our cabinets, but two of theirs" literature that confused people.

     
    fdeck likes this.
  12. Rice

    Rice #bluecollarbassist Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 17, 2018
    San Diego, CA
    Is there a good link to learn more about the available power modules on the market and how they may differ?? At the very least, I tend to agree with the OP, although "too clean" isn't the description I'd use, rather "too thin", at least at higher volumes. I won't pretend to know anything about anything, but I can't argue coincidence. I trialed Aguilar, GK, Euphonic Audio, Mesa, Quilter and Acoustic Image, and the first four all sounded the same to me (having ICEpower), and the latter two didn't (having proprietary power modules.) So maybe it is a coincidence, and I certainly can't afford to trial everything, but what else could it be?? Similar gain stages?? Potentiometers?? Is less, more??
    (Unleash the hounds...)
     
  13. I could go one step further and say I thought that my EA iAmp350, which was a lead-sled type of amp felt anemic. It certainly didn't feel like it had much oomph to it, and at one point I had three at my disposal, and they were all underwhelming amplifiers for me. My Hartke 3500 MOSFET felt more powerful.
     
    svtb15, murphy, StayLow and 1 other person like this.
  14. Rice

    Rice #bluecollarbassist Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 17, 2018
    San Diego, CA
    My old Hartke 3500 was one of the best amps I've ever owned. I only decommissioned it because I broke the plastic 1/4" active input off the circuit board, and the tube stage died altogether, and it is too expensive to repair, so until I got disposable income, it'll stay in the garage. But I'd LOOOVE to keep it as a studio amp... They just don't make it like they used to. :)
     
  15. I still use mine from time to time. I just replaced the tube on mine (which had been microphonic for years) with a JJ 12ax7 and it sounds like it should. Lots of power to that amp. Mine's from the early 90s.

    But I was pretty upset at how unremarkable the iAmp350 was, especially since everyone was raving about EA. I liked the CXL cab (and still have it) but that amp was a let-down.


     
    murphy and Rice like this.
  16. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa, Product Support-Genz Benz
    I don't think you could list a group of more dissimilar sounding amps if you tried. If they all sounded the same to you, there must be something else going on IMO.
     
  17. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa, Product Support-Genz Benz
    The DDT circuit was the beginning of actual "loss of feedback control" detection type circuit, it operates differently than many of the conventional circuits that are commonly associated with "limiters" that bass players associate with that function. It's also quite different than what's typically implemented in DSP type limiters, especially the way the onset of clipping is detected..
     
    jastacey, Rip Van Dan, Kaplan and 3 others like this.
  18. bassfreakah

    bassfreakah

    Mar 26, 2011
    Endorsing Artist Ernie ball strings
    EDEN and GK well the older EDEN stuff. To me these guys started the light weight amp wave before all the class d power amps. The RB GK amps still have the class AB power amps.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2019
  19. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa, Product Support-Genz Benz
    You do know that there were others that were on board before these two, to ignore Walter Woods would be disrespectful to his contributions for example.
     
  20. bassfreakah

    bassfreakah

    Mar 26, 2011
    Endorsing Artist Ernie ball strings
    You are right buddy!!! the thing is, the market is full of great amps that are not class D. And most of them are easy on the back!!
     
    kentiki likes this.

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