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Power Amp Recommendations

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Jaycephas, Jan 27, 2005.


  1. Jaycephas

    Jaycephas Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2003
    Waxhaw, NC
    Hey all,

    Would love to get some feedback on power amps. I've always had a powered head (currently Eden WT-400 and a Hartke 3500), but am ready to get a nice pre-amp and build a system. My short list of pre-amps are: Demeter & Alembic, but am intrigued by the new Fender TBP-1.

    I've heard how Stewart World, Crest, Crown, etc., are so great, but they are expensive, too. What about Carvin?

    Thanks.
     
  2. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    my advice. stick to the top brands if you can swing it. i prefer the stewart 1.6/2.1 and the qsc plx series because they are powerful, very lightweight, and can handle 2 ohms per side.

    that said, carvin isn't horrible by any means
     
  3. Hmmm....of the two preamps I went with the Alembic; I moved up from an Eden VT .40 (with Demeter designed preamp). I found it more versatile and 'organic' than Demeter's own VTBP-201 when I A/B'd them years ago. It can also cop the Demeter's tone almost to a T.

    For a power amp, there are so many good sounding reliable amps out there,so do some research. I'd go Crest myself.
     
  4. Hey, Jaycephas..
    I just bought my first pre/power set-up after 12 years of playing through powered heads. Did a ton of research here on TB. Search back through old threads and you'll find a lot of information. It really helped me. I wound up getting a Sansamp RBI (already here) and a Stewart World 1.6 (arriving next week.)
     
  5. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    FWIW i had both a demeter and an alembic. hadda sell one due to financial issues very recently and kept the demeter by a VERY slight margin. i miss my alembic terribly. both are awesome.
     
  6. Dr. D

    Dr. D Loaded For Bear

    Jan 13, 2005
    New Orleans, Louisiana
    I am running a peavey pv-2600 with a pv-1500 sub. Works great. pv-2600 price was about $500 new. Preamp is a Vox toneworks.
     
  7. Matt Morgan

    Matt Morgan Fellow Conspirator Supporting Member

    Oct 21, 2001
    Plano, TX
    Hard to go wrong with a Demeter VTBP-201S and a good Crest power amp. That's what I've been using for a few years now and I've lost all desires for a different amp set up. Every time I try something different, it's just not quite as good a sound to my ears. Solid, clean and powerful!
    Everybody's got their own thing but I really like this set up.
     
  8. I also use a Demeter 201s and a Crest CA9. The CA9 is heavy and to me that is it's only downfall. I've adapted to not having speakon output connectors too. I would also stick with some of the 'bigger' name companies. I am preferring the heavier (transformer loaded) amps to some of the popular lightweight switching types. I'm still intrigued by the light weights though. I would love to try a Stewart 2.1 wouldn't go any smaller on that one... , and some of the Crests maybe a LT2000 or LT1500 but they are not really that light. 35 and 32 pounds. Keep in mind that the input sensitivity rating can make a big difference in the end result. Crest seems to set many of their amps for .775. To me anything less than 1v is appropriate to get to the amps full power "easier." I'm not a tech and truthfully only understand so much about the complete signal chain. Also to note: Some brands of quality amps can be ordered or adjusted to a lower input sensitivity so you're not limited to the factory settings. Again, I just prefer the "boat anchor" heavy amps. Lot's of good choices. Also, the type of cab you choose is an element too. Some are more efficient than others and that can be good thing in some cases with lower power capabilities. My particular choice of cabs (Bergantino) like/loves gobs of power to bloom out to what they can do. " There is no perfect Rig for every situation." Quoted from myself... :D I'm always on GQ = gear quest.
     
  9. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    hey, if ya don't mind the boat anchor the crest amps have a huge following. i also love crown machro techs. FWIW, i also love the sound and feel of the power section of the aggie db-750 head. i plugged my alembic into the effects return of that (thus bypassing the aggie preamp) and liked the tone and feel a bit better than my stewart.

    however, if you go with a boat anchor, get a good one. there are a lot of heavy amps out there that are cheap, heavy, and have poor wattage and subpar performance. :spit:
     
  10. This is very true.... thanks for getting me wet..... :bag:
     
  11. Matt Morgan

    Matt Morgan Fellow Conspirator Supporting Member

    Oct 21, 2001
    Plano, TX
    You could look for a used or new old stock Crest ST series power amp.
    I found one new and got it for a killer price.
    Crest reliability, sound quality, 2400W and only 25lbs!
    Love mine. I also owned one of the LT series. It was about 10-12 lbs heavier but it sure sounded great!
     
  12. I just put some money down on one of these today for a great price. An ST1500. And I just found out a dealer in my neck of the woods is carrying Schroeder Cabinets. How sweet is that?
     
  13. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA

    Carvins are actually really nice amps IMO. They're probably a little under-rated, power-wise, but they're clean as hell and very reliable. The only downside is that they're pretty heavy, compared to a Stewart or something, but they're also a lot cheaper. You can find a used 2 kilowatt DCM-2000 on eBay for only two or three hundred bucks. I was running an old FET-1000 for years, it was my primary club-gigging amp for maybe four or five years.

    My personal favorite these days though, is the Stewart 2.1. Heck of a lot of power, and light as hell. You can practically lift one of those things with your pinky finger. Well, not exactly, I think they're 12 pounds or something. But very easy to carry in a shoulder sling if you need portability - kind of like a Walter Woods that way.

    Two kilowatts at 12 pounds is a pretty good deal, even though they tend to cost about twice as much as Carvin's (ie on the secondary market, like eBay). QSC and others offer amps that are in a similar weight and price class. QSC I heard makes some really nice amps that way, although I've never owned one myself. Maybe that'll be the next thing on the radar screen, if and when the Stewart ever dies.

    But I still have two Carvin amps, my DCM-2000 and the old FET-1000, the former is now serving as my home-studio PA, and the latter as a backup and spare. Both are working flawlessly and have always done so, and the FET is at least fifteen years old - no problems, no issues. :)
     
  14. As always Nonsqtr make very good suggestions and sense. He is far, and I mean far, more knowledgeble than I. What I've read and experienced so far in stand alone power amps is that for me it's depended on the use. You may have flawless use out of one type and works exactly as you need, but for a BASS rig I found quite a bit of difference. You wouldn't think so really but that is what I've noticed. As far as class/type, reserver power, dynamic headroom, input sensitivitey just to mention a few tech/spec ditties, I'm really just repeating what I've read/opinions/real life testing has offered to me. And.....what cab you're using and what bass, style, strings all play a factor. Some gear just sounds great and works well with everything, so some say, but I haven't found it yet.
     
  15. Matt Morgan

    Matt Morgan Fellow Conspirator Supporting Member

    Oct 21, 2001
    Plano, TX
    Just for info, there are a couple of Crest ST2000 power amps on Ebay right now. Pretty good prices too.
    Just thought you may be interested.
    Thanks.
     
  16. PB+J

    PB+J

    Mar 9, 2000
    arlington va
    I've been using a qsc plx 1202 oor quite a while now and i'm very happy with it. It's rugged, has never failed, and has convenient well organized features, like the indicator lights on the front that tell you what mode you're in. The only downside is maybe that it's heavier than say the Stewart equivalent, and it doesn't have a 1/4 speaker out. Once or twice I;ve found that slightly annoying. But overall I'm very impressed and will buy another QSC PLX if this one ever fails
     
  17. CamMcIntyre

    CamMcIntyre

    Jun 6, 2000
    USA
    I've got the above mentioned Carvin DCM2000, i bought it new. The thing is heavy-but to me, is worth it. I'm a high school senior and in every band. This summer-for marching band, i was glad i had the power amp that i do. We ran the following off of it: on one side: 2 8 ohm Bose speaker units, 1 8 ohm hot spot monitor, on the other: my Avatar B115H, Avatar B210 [both 8 ohm]. So i was pushing one channel to 2.6 ohms, and one side to an even 4 ohms. The power amp never flinched. Now? I have ran all of my cabs-the 2 above plus a 4 ohm B212 off of it and even though it ran a bit warmer, it still performed greatly.

    If you're willing to carry it as i believe they are around 40 pounds. It was worth it to me since cost was an issue for me and my parents wouldn't let me buy a power amp used. That's all
     
  18. rockindoc

    rockindoc Daily Lama

    Jan 26, 2002
    Bonham, Tx
    I've had good experience with Carvin amps, bridging a DCM 1000 into a pair of 8ohm cabs. It's enough amp for me, and only 25 lbs. The newer DCM 1500s are also two rack spaces, but 34 lbs lbs. If I needed more than a kilowatt, my aching back would demand a Stewart World or QSC PLX.
     
  19. bikeplate

    bikeplate Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2001
    Upstate NY
    Hi!

    I gig a ton and have used a QSC 2402 along with a Demeter for about 2 years straight. I'm in Upstate NY, freezing in the winter, humid in the summer. I leave my gear in my Blazer all the time. I've had zero issues with either piece. Loud, clear, awesome setup(my Sadowsky's and Epifani cabs help too!!!)

    Our band used QSC's for our PA, also. 3402's. Very reliable no issues. We had a Carvin endorsement for a while. We had their monster power amp in use. It was nice but way too heavy along with an issue or two.

    The QSC's are great and only weight about 19lbs. Nice if you are setting up and breaking down 160 nights a year

    Rob