Power amps and preamps

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by embellisher, Dec 28, 2002.

  1. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    To replace my stolen Eden combo, I am thinking of going with a rack setup and a cabinet.

    So, to start on the rack setup, I need a decent inexpensive preamp, and reliable, cheap power amp.

    You guys that are on a budget, help me out here. This setup will eventually be a backup, after I get a Demeter pre and Stewart World amp. But, for now, I would like to get a decent pre and at least 700 watts of power for under $800.

  2. ESP-LTD


    Sep 9, 2001
    I asked a similar question a month or so back. I ended up with a Yamaha BP-1 preamp and brand-x power strip off ebay for $140 delivered. Based on reviews here and the positive vibe about support for their products, I bought a QSC RMX-1450 from Life Effects (http://www.life-effects.com/).

    I've played with the preamp a bit, and I like it; very clean and quiet and well made. It's pretty subtle, so if you are looking for a colored sound it might not do much for you; if you like the sound of your bass and want it loud, it's a nice unit.

    The Carvin DCM-1000 was a close second for power (shallower and lighter) but I went for the 40# QSC, which I believe may be a bit heavier duty.

    I'll build a rack box and be into the whole rig under $600.
  3. HeavyDuty

    HeavyDuty Supporting Curmudgeon Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2000
    Suburban Chicago, IL
    A SansAmp RBI (should be under $300 to your door) and the poweramp of your choice. Somebody here is selling a DCM1000 for $300 - I just saw the thread.
  4. Nick man

    Nick man

    Apr 7, 2002
    Tampa Bay
    It might be a bit out of your range, but you could probably get an Eden WP-100 Navigator pre. I just got mine for about $650, and it totally kicks!

    That doenst leave you with much for the power amp, but if you look on Ebay you should be able to find a used Carvin or QSC RMX for relatively cheap.

    I got lucky enough to have found a DJ at school selling an old QSC USA 900 that he doesnt use for $100, so if you can find something like that you might be able to get it into your budget.

  5. ebozzz

    ebozzz Supporting Member

    May 17, 2001
    Denver, Colorado
    I'm sorry to hear about you loss Jeff. Hopefully you'll be happier with whatever you choose to replace it.

    Try a Peavey MAX if you can locate one in your area. I actually feel that it's much better than just a decent inexpensive preamp option and the new price is about $330.00. Used they have been going for less than $200.00 on eBay recently. The Sansamp RBI is also a pretty nice choice at about $250.00 new. I don't know much about the Yamaha PB-1 but from the information that I have gathered, it doesn't do as well with active basses which I think that you have at least a few of if I'm not mistaken, right?

    On the power amp side, I still feel that my E&W PS-1000 is one of the best gear purchases that I have made. The new direct price on one of those is about $475.00 for this 1000 watt amp. You can also get a 900 watt version but I don't have that price readily available. You can contact W. Mark Hellinger or visit their site at EWIUSA. Made in Korea but of excellent quality.

    The Carvin DCM1000 seems to be respected here but I've never tried one. $370.00 is the cost for one of those new so I don't know that I would pay $300.00 for a used one. The QSC RMX series is also a very nice power amp but H-E-A-V-Y! :) If the weight is less of a concern for you, the afore mentioned Life-Effects and Lord Valve seem to have the best prices that I've found on the QSC line. You'll have to contact both to get their best prices. The Yamaha CP series may be another option for you. I've gotten quite a bit of positive feedback about it from various users. I hope this helps a little and good luck with your hunt!
  6. Jeff -


    IMO a used SVP-PRO is a better preamp than a new RBI and about the same price. There's one on bassgear right now for $299.


    Power amp? I prefer QSC for maximum bang for the buck, but if you're looking for the most headroom for your dollar you might also look at the Yamaha CP2000. Full Compass has them cheap - give them a call. An RMX1450 will give you 900w bridged into 8 ohms, the CP2000 will give you 1300w into the same 8 ohm load.
  7. ebozzz

    ebozzz Supporting Member

    May 17, 2001
    Denver, Colorado
    I've never had the pleasure of trying both side by side or either for any extended period of time. You're probably more knowledgeable about that comparison than I Allan. Happy New Year! ;)
  8. K Dubbs

    K Dubbs Just graduated from OSU, Go Bucks!

    Mar 16, 2002
    Toledo, Ohio
    for that kinda cash, I'd recommend a peavey max or sansamp rbi, but leaning a bit more on the max for its great feature list. (2 channels, fx loop, good eq options, crossover) Keep in mind, if you don't like the sound of chinese 12ax7a's its quite easy to swap them out for something darker or more demeter sounding. As for poweramp, I'v been very happy with my DCM1000 from Carvin, but before I bought that, I was teetering on the RMX 1450. I decided on the DCM due to its 20 lb advantage. If you went the slightly used route, you probably could even throw in a BBE 882. (musiciansfriend has them for 200 bucks)
  9. Same to ya, ebozzz :)

    I had the pleasure last weekend at the Columbus HC bash. We set up my Ampeg/QSC rig up next to an RBI/CP2000 and everyone played through them side by side for about four hours.

    I had a 210XLT under my rack and the guy with the RBI had an Avatar B410 under his. Here's what I learned -

    The RBI is no slouch but I prefer the Ampeg. YMMV :)

    Avatar cabs are an outstanding value. They're not the most efficient cabs in the world but if they'll take 1400w they don't need to be.

    I'm in love with The Metroman's Surine. Best of show as far as I could tell - for me it even whupped the '73 Ric.
  10. ebozzz

    ebozzz Supporting Member

    May 17, 2001
    Denver, Colorado
    Scott Surine actually came to one of our hangouts and brought about 5 of his basses. He almost got jacked when he decided that it was time to leave! :D ;) Good stuff!

    What did you think about that CP2000? Was it pretty clean sounding?
  11. I liked it but we didn't crank it. We were playing at pretty low volume and it seemed transparent. I almost bought one instead of my RMX2450 but decided the QSC was probably a little more robust.
  12. LJW


    Feb 8, 2002
    northeastern pa.
    Another vote for Peavey MAX.
  13. the yamaha preamp isn't the BP-1 but the PB-1. I have one and love it. I have it hooked up to a Yamaha CP2000 power amp and a Nemesis 4*10. Works for me.

    Cheers ROdy
  14. ESP-LTD


    Sep 9, 2001
    Sorry about that; you're right! PB1 says the label. I must say I think they did a very nice job on it; mines probably 20 years old and after cleaning the pots it sounds very smooth.
  15. Mario Lewis

    Mario Lewis

    Jul 6, 2001
    Clinton, MD
    As good as they are, they go for pocket change on the used market. The Alembic F1X is tops. If you get one that doesn't float your boat, simply change the tube. And for power, the Carvin amps aren't BAD, but I'd opt for a Mackie 1400i. You can get them both on the used market for no more than $700.00 You won't be disappointed.
  16. fivestringdan

    fivestringdan Supporting Member

    Dec 4, 2001
    Little Rock, AR
    I'd go for a used SWR pre and a Samson S700. They are really good amps and about $300. You could pick up a SWR pre for about the same price and have some money left over.
  17. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mario, does the Mackie sound OK for bass? I have heard bad things about their switching design not working well with bass.
  18. boogiebass


    Aug 16, 2000
    You heard wrong, my friend. I regularly use a Mackie 1400i with Aguilar DB659 and it sounds great.
  19. Mario Lewis

    Mario Lewis

    Jul 6, 2001
    Clinton, MD
    I agree with the guy above. I had a Mackie 1400i for over two years. The only reason I got rid of it was because I got a good deal on a lighter Stewart. Which I also no longer have because I got an even lighter QSC. But I digress. The Mackie was a power house. 1400 W at 4 ohms in Bridge and I was feedin' it all to a Peavey 412. There was nothin' but thumpalicious chest cavin' solid tone coming out of it. It weighed a good bit, but what really good power amp doesn't that doesn't also employ switching technology. For the money and the amount of thump and raw power, the Mackie was it for me. Like I said, the only reason I got rid of it was because I got a lighter power amp. It wasn't an issue of tone.
  20. Gabu


    Jan 2, 2001
    Woodland Hills, CA
    Here you go! Under $800!! :)

    Ampeg SVP - goes on ebay for ~ $300 all the time.

    QSC RMX 850 - Brand new at musiciansfriend.com for $300. (buy it new, the used ones go for the same pracice as new on ebay!!!) URL:

    Avatar B210 - New on ebay for $188 starting bid. The URL: