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Power Amp Pre-Amp Combos?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Reviresco, Dec 20, 2012.

  1. Reviresco

    Reviresco Supporting Member

    Jun 5, 2011
    New England
    I have been thinking of getting a power amp and combining it with a nice pre-amp. I'm not really sure of what to get and what combinations will sound the best. I have looked at some Ampeg Pre-Amps and well as the BBE and the Sans Amp RBI. Also looked at some QSC power amps, but I'm really clueless with this one. I have always used regualr amp heads. I will be running this through a Mesa PH 212 cab with 600w handling. Any help would be great. Thanks!
  2. I would first focus on finding a preamp that you really like. From my experiences, a good power amp will not color sound at all or very little.
    badstonebass likes this.
  3. jmac


    May 23, 2007
    Horsham, Pa
    There's so many good pre amps and power amps out there.

    I use an Alembic preamp with a QSC PLX1804 power amp.

    If I were ever to change preamps, I would go with the Mike Pope mpp-1 or mpp-2. Check them out: http://www.michaelpopedesign.com/
  4. Unprofessional


    Mar 5, 2012
    This. First, find a preamp that can produce "your sound", whatever that is.
    I'm using an Ampeg SVP-CL preamp and a Carvin DCM 1000 power amp. It sounds like bass to me. However, your ears may say something totally different to you.
  5. CL400Peavey

    CL400Peavey Supporting Member

    Nov 7, 2011
    Grand Rapids Michigan
    Depending on your budget I would look at the ART Pro Channel II for a tube pre (New at $250). For a power amp I would recommend the Peavey IPR 1600. I put together this combo and spent less than $600 for everything new.

    Best part about it? The pre amp would be a deal if it cost four times as much. It is seriously a sweet piece of equipment. The power amp may not have some of the bells and whistles other ones do, but for the price you can not beat it.

  6. dukeorock

    dukeorock Owner BNA Audio Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2011
    Nashville, TN
    Authorized greenboy designs builder/Owner of BNA Audio
    I often feel like I'm in the minority here, but I went through a phase where I tried half a dozen power amps and no two sounded anywhere near the same to me. The Peavey IPR was my favorite sounding of the affordable power amps I tried. I returned mine for reasons too long and boring to get into here. I play mostly loud slap style upright bass with a piezo pickup...works better with some amps than others.

    In the end, I went with a QSC GX7, which is...ok. It sounds pretty good and has been reliable and has a fair amount of power :)
  7. CL400Peavey

    CL400Peavey Supporting Member

    Nov 7, 2011
    Grand Rapids Michigan
    The IPR really is a nice amp. Mark, I really think you would dig it if you could work the kinks out.

    To the OP, there are a ton of really nice power amps out there. One spec that is kind of a mis-label but very important is "sensitivity". This is the voltage that is needed to fully drive the amp. So lower sensitivity is better in the case of power amps. Make sure what ever pre amp you choose has enough guts to drive what ever power amp you choose. If not you may end up feeling a bit under powered regardless of your amp's rating.
  8. I started doing this years ago. I prefer it.

    I recomend Crown over QSC. Look up an amp function called "Dampening Factor". Basically it's how the amp controls the speaker at lower freqs. Crown's cornered the market on this with extremly high ratings. Their also vertually indestructable. Worth the extra money and if you want to sell later on, bring more.

    The guy above is 100% correct. Power amps are deisgned to NOT add color. So you're looking for clean power alone. Expect it to sound differnt than every "bass" amp you've tried with the exception of Mark Bass. MB designs amps to be color free.

    I use a EBS Micro Bass 2, but I've also used a Demeter, Alembic, Presonus channel strip.

    The BBE's a great for not a lot of money. Basically an Alembic clone.

    The Sans amp is cool also.

    The only down side to doing a pre/amp setup is you'll start to hear problems in you set up and technique that was getting covered up becasue the start getting a clearer picture of everything.

    Fun expereiment: Plug you bass directly in. You'll get to hear what it really sounds like.
  9. dukeorock

    dukeorock Owner BNA Audio Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2011
    Nashville, TN
    Authorized greenboy designs builder/Owner of BNA Audio
    I have no doubt, and again I say, it was my favorite sounding amp of the bunch. I was just gearing up for a tour and didn't have the time, so I ran back to GC and traded it on the QSC. The problem I had was while slapping upright, on certain parts of the neck, the amp would go into protect mode and shut down for a few seconds...a buddy came over with a different bass, different pre and different pickup and the same thing happened in the same place...I'm sure I could've figured out something, but I need to be sure before hitting the road :)

    Hopefully, I'll figure it out and get another IPR 3000 because the sound was awesome...clear and open...very musical sounding, to my ears.
  10. jphovercraft


    Oct 21, 2012
    I'm using an IPR and a SansAmp VT Bass as a preamp. I'm as happy with my live sound as I've ever been. Tech 21 has even added a bass head to their product lineup that is essentially 2 VT Bass pedals (2 channels) and a power section. Guess I'm ahead of the curve for a change ... 8^)
  11. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    It surely can be done, and I did it for years.
    I had everything from a Peavey Bassist 1000 (I think that's what it was called) to Aguilar DB680 (good grief that was nice!), various Alembics, and I think the last one I had was an Eden Navigator.
    I used various Crown, Crest and QSC power amps.

    It can work really well.

    However, I have to ask "why do you want to do this?"
    Especially since you don't have a preamp in mind, which, to me, is the lone reason to do this, more or less.
    The ability to pair a specific preamp with ~2000 watts of power is really the only reason -I- would do this.

    There are so many really good, very small "all in one" micro amplifiers out now, I just see no personal need to do this anymore.
    YMMV, of course.
  12. I have a Crown XTI amp which I use for PA, soon i think to couple it with a Joemeek SixQ preamplifier to use as pre+amp combo for my basses. What do you think of that pre? Anyone uses it?
  13. CL400Peavey

    CL400Peavey Supporting Member

    Nov 7, 2011
    Grand Rapids Michigan
    Never heard of it, a quick search suggests it has been discontinued. I would be hesitant to order one, as you may not be able to return it if you dont like it. If you can find one and try it before you buy it then your ears will tell you if its any good.
  14. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
  15. fernandobicho2


    Aug 30, 2011
    Long time ago I've bought my Alembic F1-X and my Powertech Crown poweramp.

    I've tried many preamps, but still prefer the Alembic.
    I've done a test to Mike Pope MPP-2 here:

    After trying several bass amp heads, an several new digital ones, I've returned to Alembic F1X + Crown . It's plug and play :) wonderful sound!
    Cheers. Happy Xmas
  16. ThatLowEnd

    ThatLowEnd Dirt, Trucks, BBQ, Whiskey Supporting Member

    Apr 14, 2012
    Down In The Delta
    Has been/Never was
    For a while i was using a Sansamp RBI into a QSCPLX1802. I recently purchased an EDEN WP100 preamp and it sounds amazing.

    I like a pre/post rather than a traditional amp because with the amount of power I am able to push, I can power any back line cab I may come in contact with. Also, when using my cabs, 4x12 and 2x12, I can power each cab independently and not have any over/under powering issues.

    I used to run a Mesa 400+ amp, SVT-PRO 3, and the like, but having a ton of power on hand in a rack that weighs 20lbs total; Can't beat it IMHO
  17. rpsands


    Jul 6, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    I actually recommend starting with a power amp. Preamp output gain is so inconsistent that many power amps don't work well for varieties of preamps.

    The two on the top of my list for most bass friendly are:
    Carvin DCM-L series
    Peavey IPRs
  18. scottbass

    scottbass Bass lines like a big, funky giant

    Jul 13, 2004
    Southern MN
    I used to run an Ampeg SVP-PRO through a Crown Drivecore XLS1500. It sounded great, but I decided I didn't really need all that power, so I recently replaced it with an Ampeg SVT-7Pro just to downsize. Still the same Ampeg sound, just lighter and smaller.

    I still have the SVP-PRO if you're interested (MODS: It's OK, I'm a supporting member). PM me for an "I get all generous at Christmas time" price!
  19. chucko58


    Jan 17, 2002
    Silicon Valley, CA, USA
    I paid for all my gear myself. Well, me and MasterCard.
    High damping factor is overrated IMHO. A few feet of 14 gauge speaker cable will quickly reduce it, especially with a 4 or 2 ohm load.

    Any damping factor over 50 or so is plenty adequate for a solid state amp, again IMHO.

    If you feel damping factor is truly critical, be sure to use the shortest, thickest (lowest gauge number) speaker cable you can, and get your cabinet rewired with more of that same wire. Most cabs use lighter gauge wire internally - Greenboy recommends 16 gauge for fEARful builders, to quote one example.

    Back on topic: Finding the right preamp for your tastes is likely to be a life-long challenge. I've cycled through 5 or 6 already.

    Power amps are easier for me. I have used QSC RMX 1850HD and PLX 2402 and 3402 (both now discontinued) amps, and currently have a Peavey IPR 3000. All have served me well.
  20. Oh I forgot about Mike Pope's pre. It's great and over engineered, but SUPER expensive.

    The price is was the hang up for me. I can get just as good a pre for less money other places.

    Sorry Mike.