Pre/Poweramp suggestions for Doubling Rig

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Chris Fitzgerald, Mar 22, 2002.

  1. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Sorry for bringing this topic up again, but believe me when I say I'VE DONE A SEARCH!!!!! DON'T SHOOT!!! :D

    I just ordered a Euphonics Audio CXL 112, and am looking at options to power it. What looks most interesting so far is the EA iamp 750 head, but of course it isn't due to be released for a few weeks, so I'm trying to do a little research in the meantime. The rig I'm putting together needs to function as my primary amp for "loud" (high volume) DB gigs and "normal" (average volume) BG gigs. (In fact, I'll be using both on the same gig quite often - I only made the distinction because what is considered VERY LOUD in DB circles is often considered AVERAGE in the BG world in my experience.)

    The iamp 750 goes for about $1270 new (street price), and I'm wondering if there would be another way to go to get that much power (or more :) ) by using a pre/power amp setup for about the same bread or less. My only restrictions on the type of gear that would be acceptable are:

    1) The preamp should be solid state (because tube tends to speak too slowly and color the sound too much for DB), clean, and offer a lot of EQ control; and

    2) The power amp should be no bigger than 2 rack spaces and also as clean as possible;

    I'm new to this kind of equipment, and I have no idea how the EA power ratings will compare to those of the power amps in terms of ACTUAL HEADROOM, so any advice or suggestions anyone may have to offer - no matter how basic - will be greatly appreciated.


  2. A Peavey Max Pre-Amp should go between $300-$400 new. Two channel (1 tube, 1 solid state). That way you can dial in some tube for the BG gigs.

    Carvin DCM1000 also under $400.
  3. EString


    Nov 20, 2000
    Los Altos, CA
    How about the new Gallien Krueger 2001RB preamp?
  4. Chris, I went through this last year. I checked out various heads and poweramp/pre combinations. I settled on the EA iamp 600. The iamp had plenty of power, was smaller than a Power/pre combo and was also less expensive. I think that the EA heads are the perfect doubling amp.( Most of the power amps I checked out were QSC. The PLX series sounds great and is light, but combined with a quality pre was more expensive than the EA.) I find my iAmp is extremely flexible and would trade it for anything (other than the new Iamp 750)
  5. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY

    Thanks, this is exactly the kind of input I'm looking for. I hear that the iamp 750 is really just an iamp 600 with a bit more power. What are the power ratings on the 600, and what kind of cabinets are you pushing with it?

    About the pre/power amp being more expensive, that was kind of what I was afraid of. The thing is, I keep seeing these poweramps that claim to produce 1200-2000 watts when bridged, and I wonder what that much power really sounds like. I'm sure that the 750 will be powerful, but certainly not THAT kind of powerful if these ratings on the poweramps are really accurate. What kind of gigs do you play, and have you ever come close to the ceiling of your headroom with the 600?
  6. Richard Lindsey

    Richard Lindsey

    Mar 25, 2000
    Metro NYC
    Chris, for pres I've heard good things about the Demeters. Though it's tubed, it's still supposed to speak very quickly (I know what you mean about slow response--that's what I personally don't like about the feel of a number of all-tube amps). I think they street for between $700 and $800.

    For amps, you can get a Carvin DCM1000 for 369.99 right now. It weighs 25 lb. all by itself, though. A Stewart World amp is the lightest I know of, but they cost more.

    I don't suppose a Walter Woods would be an option?
  7. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    Chris, I dunno if you'd be into this type setup or not, but after having great results with Raven Labs stuff myself and hearing that this setup has worked really well for other doublers....I'm about to buy a PHA-1 preamp/headphone amp to go with my MDB-1 mixer/buffer/di. That's two small boxes, about 1/2 rack space each, which will function as my preamp and mixer for gigs where I use both upright and EB or a passive and active EB, or all three. These fit right into a gig bag. Gonna carry a small power amp...probably a Mackie 800 or Crown Microtech 600 in a 2-space rack for power.

    The benefits I see here are that I can cut my rack down to a 2-spacer. The Raven Labs stuff is very high quality, and supposedly voiced well for upright. Very simple and built like a tank. I'll be able to send 1 DI to the house with all signals leveled. The PHA-1 will also provide a quality practice device.
  8. jock


    Jun 7, 2000
    Stockholm, Sweden
    If you want solidstate. Check out EBS´s preamps or even their new 350 W head.
  9. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY

    This stuff sounds interesting, but I'm such a non-techie that I'm not sure how it all works. In my addled brain, all I know is that with a power amp, you need this mystical voodoo device called a "preamp" which will deliver the necessary 1,903.8342 milliamp-volt-omatic thingies which allow the power amp to reach its potential. I've heard a lot of great things about the Raven Labs gear from Rufus and others, and someone here on the board even told me that the Blender would power my Trinity mic if need be. Plus, it's small enough to mount on my gig stool (where my Trinity pre is already mounted), which I use for both axes.

    But my understanding is that the blender doesn't have enough VOLT-O-VOODOO to effectively feed a power amp. If you have time sometime this week, could you try to explain your proposed signal chain in very basic terms to me the way you would if I were a small and not terribly bright child? I'm pretty sold on the tone shaping that is offered by the Euphonic stuff, and both (ALL HAIL) Bob G. and (as always, he could be wrong) Brad J. think it would work well for me and probably be plenty of power.

    But the thought of having 600-1000 watts of power @8ohms keeps nagging at me. To those of you who have pre/poweramp setups, how does this much power compare to what you find in dedicated bass gear? And what's the main difference? With my current setup, I reach this "point of no return" on every amp setup I own where the sound starts to get all hot and muddy....and even though it could still get louder at that point, you don't really want it to because it doesn't sound tight anymore.

    I've never been able to tell if this sound is coming from speaker fatigue or amp fatigue, and I still can't really nail it down. But I figure the EA speakers are about as clean as you can get, so if I hear fatigue with the new one, it'll more than likely be amp fatigue. I'm rambling incoherently now, but it seems like if you had lots of VOODOO WATT headroom, the sound would stay cleaner and tighter even when you reached levels that would fatigue a "normal" (i.e. - ca. 200-250 watt) bass head.

    * cricket *

    Wow. I think I need some more coffee.
  10. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY

    What's the 8ohm rating on that Carvin? If I keep the CXL 112, it would be nice to use whatever head/rack unit I end up with in combination with the single cab by itself - which is an 8 ohm cab. And it might be my imagination, but I seem to hear a sonic difference between an amp running at 8 ohms and an amp running at 4 ohms. To my ears, 8 sounds better...but that may mean nothing more than the fact that I like playing at lower volumes. :)

    Call me crazy, but I've never been wild about the Woods, I think the waiting list is up over a year at this point, isn't it?
  11. The 750 is similar to the 600. The 750 has the input for a cd player as well. I've also been told by a dealer that the 750 is even quieter than the 600 with regards to noise levels. I find my iAmp 600 to be dead quiet anyways. I am using my iAmp600 for everthing from jazz gigs on DB to salsa gigs on EUB/electric to funk gigs on electric. I have found on the really loud gigs I am running out of headroom. The amp isn't clipping yet, but if I turned it up any louder it would. This isn't the head's problem though, it is due to the power hungry cabs I am using. (a VL 110 and VL 208) That is why I ordered a new CXL112. When I used the iAmp with my Eden 210T there was tons of headroom to spare. I don't think headroom will be a problem with the 750 if you are using the new CXL112. Its a really effecient cab.
    Regarding the Raven Labs stuff, I plan on adding a mixer or blender to my rig so I can combine my pickups (realist/Underwood) or use a pickup and a mic.The mixer would also be useful for doubling gigs. It is so small it would fit in my DB bag. I don't know if it would have enough eq for me on its own. I don't really use that much eq but I like to know it is available if I need it.
  12. Brendan


    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
  13. Chris, regarding the Carvin gear: I own (actually it's on ebay) an R600 head. I found it to be great for doubling. Lots of power, lots of eq and a good price. It does not, however, sound as good as my iAmp. The iAmp, although rated the same in watts, has way more headroom. I've A/B'ed them with all my cabs and the carvin craps out sooner than the iamp. Don't get me wrong, the Carvin still has alot of juice, just not as much as the iAmp. The R600 uses the same power amp as the DCM600.
  14. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur

    Mar 22, 2000
    New Joisey Shore
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music
    The iAMP 750 is more akin to the iAMP 350, with the addition of the tuner on the right side. I saw a prototype at NAMM in January and spoke to the designer. His goal was to have it be capable of putting out as close to 1000 watts as possible. I have one on order for myself, and I'm the dealer who sold Chris his CXL-112.

    I expect to use the 750 with my EA VL-208 and/or pair of VL-210 cabs; the 210 are the series II, which are much more efficient. As you say, the VL 110 and VL 208 are much less efficient than the current CXL series. Depending on how my gig situations develop this year, I may end up going to a pair of CXL-112 cabs myself.
  15. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    At this point I'm getting the feeling that my AMP BH-420 must be extremely conservatively rated. My VL-110's got louder with it at half volume than they did with my Ashdown MAG 400, which is rated at either 400 or 500w and 1000w peak. I've had no problem getting too loud with this rig without pushing very hard. Go figure.
  16. Chuck M

    Chuck M Supporting Member

    May 2, 2000
    San Antonio, Texas
    I'm not sure what you meant about tube preamps responding slowly. I've tried about every tube preamp made and they all seemed very punchy and responsive to me.

    I have one rack that I use for most gigs. I use a Demeter VTBP-201 for electric bass. It always sounds great. The same rack has an older SWR Grand Prix and a Stewart PA-1000 power amp. I favor the GP for upright bass. It seems to sound a bit more lively with upright bass than the Demeter.

    I'm using a set of Telefunken smooth plate ECC83's in the Demeter and an RCA 7025 in the SWR. These tubes seem to bring out the best in those preamps IMO. The GP is almost unusable with the OEM tube in it. Way too harsh and edgy sounding.

    My experience is that it takes over 600 watts for a bass amp to really have the headroom necessary for good dynamics.

    I use an Eden 210MBX with upright and either a 210XLT or 410XLT with electric bass.

  17. abaguer


    Nov 27, 2001
    Milford, NJ
    Before I got my Woods ultra high I printed out an iamp 750 manual and was ready to buy it. I ended up spending the extra money on the Woods 1) because I got lucky and he had one ready to ship the day I called, 2) One of my old teachers had the same amp and I had played through it and heard it a lot.
    If I had to wait for the Woods I probably would have bought the iamp 750. I believe it gets a more versatile sound on electric than the Woods. Don't get me wrong, I love the Woods and everyone has told me they love the sound; it's just that the wait + the price + the versatility of the iamp probably would have swung the decision in its favor. Good Luck.
  18. Andrew Jones

    Andrew Jones Banned

    Feb 28, 2001
    Northampton Mass
    I was wondering if folks do what chuck has done 2 different pre's into a power amp I didnt know how you'd hook them up?

    The yammaha pre that was made in the eighties is fairly neutral their cheap too ( avery sharpe uses one) one of those and a kern for the electric HMMMMM?

    I was thinkin about the Iamp also Im shure it will kill .Is there truth to the Rumor of a 600 watt acoustic image?

    Like abaguer I went with the woods ultra high (1200 watts!)But I agree with him and you I dont think It sounds ideal but I think it sound really good and combined with the pair of bergantino 112 I got it makes a tiny yet realy killin lil rig. I also like the 2 chanel thing alot!


    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    You can't go wrong with the Euphonic Audio equipment. The iAMP 600 is a great sounding amp, giving you the exact tone of any instrument you play through it. If you can wait, I would definitely go for the iAMP 750. It is supposed to be capable of pushing up to 1000 watts, peaking at around 2000!! It would have more than enough headroom for the Upright. The EA epuipment matches up perfectly when paired. If you have ordered the CXL112, you should go for an iAMP. I don't think you can go wrong with these amps.:)
  20. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    My $0.02 as a doubler is I finally went for a Walter Woods head because I wanted two independent preamp channels.

    There is NO rack mount bass preamp on the market today with two independent channels. So while there are great preamps out there, you still need an A/B box or some sort of small mixer (Fishman Blender, Raven Master Blender) which to me is a real PITA.

    I did the A/B box thing for a long time and got sick of the EQ compromises (basically I'd EQ for the URB since it's fussier, and BG had to live with that). I also got tired of having a rig that looked like Gyro Gearloose had wired it up with all these little boxes cabled together.

    I should also say that I find the Woods EQ more "musical" than other pres I've used. I have no idea how he voiced the EQ but I found the midrange in particular to be much more useful, especially with URB. I think he may be using a wider pass band than on most other amps (especially those with sweep EQs); anyway I don't get that honky nasal midrnage thing happening with the Woods the way I did with every other amp I've ever used .

    I have not heard Acoustic Image or Euphonic Audio to compare, but I have used stuff like SWR, Eden, AMP. I would definitely NOT recommend Alembic or any other preamp based on the Fender EQ circuits which I think really sound bad for URB.