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Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by John K., Jan 17, 2002.
This may sound dumb, but what is the purpose of a power amp? Thanks in advance.
An amp head can be broken into two separate parts. The part that takes the signal from the bass - typically on the order of millivolts - and brings it up to "line level" of 1-2 volts is the pre-amplifier, or preamp for short.
The part that turns that line-level signal into something that can drive a speaker and rattle walls is the power amplifier, or power amp for short.
Power amps are very useful. They are a basic building block of sound systems of all types. They are available in sizes from a few watts to several thousand watts.
Many amp heads, and even some combo amps, have a Preamp Out jack. This allows you to send your signal to another power amp besides the one that's built into your current amp. This is useful if you're playing a gig that's bigger than your current amp can handle.
The biggest bass amp head I know of is 1500 W - the Laney B-1. If you need more power than that, it's probably best to add a slave power amp, or switch to a rack system.
Rack systems are so-called because the preamp and power amp are in separate boxes that bolt into a standard 19" equipment rack. Effects boxes frequently come in rack mount versions. You can change preamps, effects, and power amps at will to suit your sound needs, or add more power by simply screwing in a 2nd power amp.
Does that make sense?