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Power Amp Suggestions?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by camerondye, Jan 8, 2001.


  1. camerondye

    camerondye

    Nov 7, 2000
    I am new to using a separate pre-amp and power-amp but am really interested in it. How much does the power-amp color your tone? Are there any good suggestions of power amps with a good amount of power and reliability?
     
  2. lowfreqguy

    lowfreqguy

    Oct 18, 2000
    The idea is that the power amp should not color the tone much or at all. For reliable, inexpensive power amps try the FR series made by Mackie. A 1400 watt three space amp retails for around $525 new and $400 used. The model is the 1400i FR. Happy hunting.
     
  3. timorr74

    timorr74

    Jan 8, 2001
    I just bought a PV 1200 and it works great. It also has a great warranty and i bought it for about $480. I was goin to buy the mackie except the place kept runnin out of them. They also cost a little more. The cheapest ive seen them is $550 @ mars music.
     
  4. alembicbones

    alembicbones

    Nov 10, 2000
    Seattle, WA
    In concert with your preamp thread, I've run an Alembic F-1X preamp into a Stewart World 1.2 power amp then to an Eden D410T 8 ohm cab for about 3 years now and I love it. It's delivered solid service from recording, to small venue gigs to large venue gigs. Stewart also has the World 1.6 and the World 2.1 if you want more beef. The Eden WT-1000 also looks like another really nice power amp.

    Good luck,

    Bones
     
  5. I'm quite happy with my Crown K2 power amp. Very powerful, extremely quiet, and very good sounding.
     
  6. SuperDuck

    SuperDuck

    Sep 26, 2000
    Wisconsin
    Carvin has some power amps with some high ratings (I heard they were pretty inefficient, though). You can get a 600 watt amp for somewhere in the $300 range. I can't tell you about quality, but that's really cheap for the amount of wattage.
     
  7. trailertrash

    trailertrash

    Nov 13, 2000
    Hi there!,In reply to the power amp question,I have an Eden power amp (WT-1000)that I blew up after my first gig with it.But I was working it extra hard,(i.e. bridged into 4 ohms with lots of low end).But the factory fixed it for free,and it's been great ever since.This power amp is a little wierd in that it has volume and tone controls for both sides of the amp (when you run it in stero). So I think the comment about the amp having no effect on the tone is a valid one on most power amps,but the Eden's tone controls have helped me out before.Be careful as you look at power ratings,because they can be misleading.My power amp's name WT-1000 would lead me to think it's 1000 watts,right.It's a 1000 watts allright,bridged into a 2 ohm load,and not that many people run it like that.I had the techs at Eden suggest(so I didn't blow up their amp again) that I run it in stereo with one 8 ohm speaker on each side.So I probably get 200 to 300 watts per side (I think). And I think in most situations thats a good amount of power,but I belive if you have good speakers that can handle it that you should get as much power as you can! There is something nice and warm and round about a bass with tons of power behind it that can really make a gig. You don't have to kill peoples ears but it's fun to move thier butts with great tone,solid speakers,and lots of power.
     
  8. In a poweramp shootout in BP mag a coupla years ago, they stated that the SWR 800w poweramp was the best one for tone, that it was the only one tested that was voiced with the bass in mind, and that it was the most musical and transparent. They also gave good marks to Stewart, Mackie and Crown. One that was'nt tested, but that is excellent in my experience, is the Yamaha P4500, 1440watts in bridge mode. Very tight and punchy.
     
  9. Sammy

    Sammy

    Aug 31, 2000
    SoCal
    There also Crest amps. It's received good press from BP, LA Bass Exchange, and more.www.crestaudio.com
     
  10. >For reliable, inexpensive power amps try the FR series made by Mackie. A 1400 watt three space amp retails for around $525 new and $400 used. The model is the 1400i FR. Happy hunting.


    I agree with Adrian - I got a brand new one for $510 at Daddy's in Connecticut about 6 months ago and just love it.

    It's actually a 2 space rack mount.

    I'm a big fan of Peavey (see my profile) and looked at the PV1200. I decided on the Mackie as it has many more features.

    John
     
  11. VicDamone

    VicDamone

    Jun 25, 2000
    I don't trust reviews by any publication that accepts money from advertising by the industry its reviewing. While I enjoy reding the reviews it's better to lift, listen, and use the product yourself before deciding.

    If your looking for a power amplifier that's reasonably uncolord and lightweight Mackie ain't it. Listen to Stewart, Crest, Crown, QSC to name a few. Most of these companies build amps that weigh under 25lbs. and still have quality output. Aside from your instrument the power amp is one of the better things to spend lots of money on to get the most power (@ 8 ohms).
     
  12. Vic -

    >If your looking for a power amplifier that's reasonably uncolord and lightweight Mackie ain't it.

    I beg to differ. Mackie produces an excellent amp. But again, personal preferences do vary and your opinion is noted.

    >Listen to Stewart, Crest, Crown, QSC to name a few. Most of these companies build amps that weigh under 25lbs. and still have quality output.

    The prices points for these amps are far different than the Mackie.

    >Aside from your instrument the power amp is one of the better things to spend lots of money on to get the most power (@ 8 ohms).

    Agreed on the importance of the power amp, like all other gear, but I disagree about spending tons of money on one unless you are a semi-pro / pro or a serious bass audiophile.

    I also think that 2 ohm capability is *very* important and allows for various cab configurations that 8 ohms cannot provide. In any event, most power amp manufacturers have amps that will handle these loads.

    YMMV

    John
     
  13. VicDamone

    VicDamone

    Jun 25, 2000
    John:

    We dissagre. While I've never owned a Mackie, I did have an opportunity to audition four power amplifiers including the:
    Mackie M 2600 500w/8ohms about 50lbs. $1199
    Crown K-2 457w/8ohms 38lbs. $?
    Sunfire (Bob Carver) 300w/8, 600w/4, 2400w/1ohms! $2495 about 30lbs.
    QSC 2402 425w/8ohms 21lbs! $1498.

    The amps I auditioned above are expected to reproduce the bandwidth between 20Hz-20kHz and some are rated beyond. All are rated to opperate down to 2ohms in stereo.

    I auditioned these amps in my stereo system which consists of power hungry electrostatic speaker systems, a dual mono tube preamp, and a quality DVD/CD player. Listening to music and a test CD this system reveals the character of these amplifiers quit easily. I also used them in my bass rig.

    The Crown sounded fairly smooth. I could use this as a Hi-Fi or a bass rig amp and be content. It did however lack speakon output connectors and was on the heavy side.

    The Sunfire was by far in a leauge of its own. While this amp is ment to be a Hi-Fi amp its unique design and output make it a natural for pro audio use. Its sonic character is at the doorstep of my Pass Labs. When an amp has the ability to double its output from 8-4-2ohms it's concidered high powered. The fact that it's stable down to 1ohm is icing on the cake. At 43lbs, no speakons, and $2400 it's a little over the top for a bass rig. It drove my Bag End subwoofer system better than everything except for a Krell monoblock.

    The Mackie sounded like a 70's transistor amp, you didn't know just how bad they where until you turned them off and you could finaly relax. With lots of sibilance and a harsh edgy sound it lacked the depth and the air of the others. The back pannel was the most flexible with crossovers, limiters etc. Weighing in at around 50lb it was the heaveiest of the bunch. In the bass rig it had the thinest bottom and an annoying top end which had to rolled off a tad.

    The QSC 2402 with its switching power supply makes for the featherweight of the bunch. Two of these weigh less than the Mackie. With a back pannel rivaling the Mackie and a sound quality as good as the Crown, but still nowhere near the Sunfire, made it a contender for me. The Crown sounded better in the mids and on top but the QSC put an almost Sunfire like grip on my subwoofer.

    Disappointingly left out of this comparison were amps from Stewart World and Crest Audio which builds another very lightweight amp.

    It is possible to get both the Mackie and the QSC heavly discounted.

    John the only way I could recomend the Mackie is if sonic quality and weight were not an issue. The Sunfire is an excelent amp the others are what they are, "pro audio."
    On the other hand the Mackie blowes away most of the integrated (bass head) amplifiers on the market today. This is where you and I agree, that seperats are worth the initial hassel of assembling them. Your happy with yours, I'm happy with mine. Now...do you want to sell me your Sadowsky outboard preamp? Buddy. Pal O'mine.

    Vic

     
  14. Vic -

    A brand new Mackie 1400i costs about $510, a far cry from the prices that you are quoting for the other amps. It also weighs a lot less than 50 pounds .... and, at 1400 watts bridged into 4 ohms, or 700 w a side into 2 ohms, it's plenty powerful. The Qsc seems to be the only comparable amp in terms of power but costs almost 3 times more than the Mackie... If a 10~15 lbs or so reduction in weight is worth nearly $1000, then that's fine.

    My experience with the Mackie has been very positive and that's where I'm coming from.

    But we can certainly agree to disagree - that's what makes a market.

    >Now...do you want to sell me your Sadowsky outboard preamp?

    No, but thanks for asking.

    John
     
  15. I recall paying around $1000-1100 or so for my Crown K2. It's incredibly quiet and lacks a fan so no fan noise or moving parts to break; it's convection cooled. Just leave a space between it and everything else in your rack.

    My rack is 6 spaces:

    1 Furman tuner/surge protector
    2 Kern 777
    3 space
    4 space
    5&6 K2 power amp

    ...Hey, I can add!!!!!!
     
  16. VicDamone

    VicDamone

    Jun 25, 2000
    John:

    Just to be fair and clear, the cost of the Mackie M 2600 and the QSC 2402 retail is a $300 difference. I belive QSC droped the retail price of the PLX line last October which brings the price of both brands to within a few dollars of each other.

    For whatever reason, Mackie dose not advertise the weights of there amplifiers. And while I didn't weigh the one I auditioned, it weighed more than the 47lb Cerwin Vega A-1800 I moved to use the Mackie.

    I compared amplifiers of similar output and cost, with the exception of the Sunfire. I'm not sure why you are comparing the Mackie 1400 to these amps? I understand that it has less power and cost less and not everyone needs 400watts into 8ohms as I do. But?

    Jim S:

    I liked the K-2 alot, very smooth. I even compared it to an old Crown DC 300 I dug out of the basement. The K-2 comes with colored faceplates. I didn't know that. Very shiek.
     
  17. Chuck M

    Chuck M Supporting Member

    May 2, 2000
    San Antonio, Texas
    I owned a Mackie 1200 when they first came out. I did not care for the way it sounded. Highs were kind of brittle sounding and the lows did not have much punch. It also sounded like it had a compressor on all the time no matter how the controls were set.

    I've been pleased with Carver power amps but recently got a Stewart PA-1000 and it is the best sounding power amp that I've owned. My sound really came alive when I got that amp.

    By the way, I use Demeter, Alembic and Trace Elliot V-Type preamps. The Demeter gets the most use. I also use Eden 410 XLT's.

    John and I have exprressed our differing opinions on this subject several times. I believe that he has a valid opinion and that one must take into consideration the fact that my "killer tone" is not the same as John's "killer tone". Who is right? We both are. Now you must try the amps and make up your mind what suits your style and taste.

    Keep in mind the huge difference that individual players can get out of the same equipment. One of the monster players in may area, who is also my teacher, can play my bass and he gets better tone from my rig than I do. Jaco was right "it is in the hands".

    Good Luck!!

    Chuck
     
  18. >John and I have exprressed our differing opinions on this subject several times. I believe that he has a valid opinion and that one must take into consideration the fact that my "killer tone" is not the same as John's "killer tone". Who is right? We both are. Now you must try the amps and make up your mind what suits your style and taste.

    Well said, Chuck !

    >Keep in mind the huge difference that individual players can get out of the same equipment. One of the monster players in may area, who is also my teacher, can play my bass and he gets better tone from my rig than I do. Jaco was right "it is in the hands".

    You're on a roll ! Well said again.

    John
     
  19. Hi Camereon, I had a Crown Powerbase 2 and it was good. I traded it for an SVT II pro. Traded that for an SVT IV pro. Blew that, Traded for the Eden WT800, Traded that for an Eden Navigator Preamp/ QSC 2402 power amp. The 2402 had lots of power but I hated the switching power supply(Mush sounding), and the tone wasn't great. I traded it in for an Eden WT1000. Now that's an amp! I don't listen to the "A power amp should be transparent---What goes in should come out louder" reasoning. You are talking about YOUR tone. A power amp should sound great to you. Yes, the Eden amp has tone balance controls. I keep them fairly flat, but they can help greatly for tweaking a room, especially if you use two different cabs and a mono output preamp signal. Try this amp before you buy one. You might save more because you may not be trading like crazy, like me, to get the right one.
     
  20. cnltb

    cnltb

    May 28, 2005
    Hi!
    I love my chord electronics spa 2232.
    It is the most detailed sounding amp I have tried.
    It is rated at 480W at 8 Ohm per side but runs down to 1 Ohm.
    It is rack mountable( 3U) and not too heavy at 18kg.
    I used to have the chord spa 1232 which was very nice also, just had less power.
    Before the chord amps,I used Qsc and crown which were good too ( a totally different bag though). Good value for the money anyways.