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Preamps, Poweramps, bass heads, oh my...

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by drd07, Dec 22, 2003.

  1. drd07


    Jan 19, 2003
    I've been playing out of a big 'ol tube head for about a year. However, as of late, the weight has been an issue (80 lbs). I'm just getting tired I guess. I started looking at my solid state options. I play mainly rock - just fingerstyle. I immediately checked out ampeg and the whole svt series. I looked at the svt-3, 4, and 5. I also checked out the ashdown series as well. I've done a bunch of searches here at TB, but I've also been noticing a lot of info on rack units as well (separate pre/power). Is there really a difference between "bass amp heads" and separate power and preamps?

    If not, for example: I've checked out the svt-3 pro amp. It's rated 450 watts @ 4 ohms. However, it costs, new, around 700! I've looked at power amps (crown, plx, etc.) that are rated wattage wise a lot higher. If you could get a preamp (svp-pro or rbi)and a separate power amp, wouldn't you have a better rig for about the same price, or possibly cheaper?

    Is this some bass marketing secret/scam? If I go SS, I can't see getting a "bass head". I would rather piece it. Thoughts?
  2. natrab


    Dec 9, 2003
    Bay Area, CA
    It's no scam.

    Let's use the SVT-3 Pro for example. It has basically the SVP-Pro preamp built in. It weighs 26 pounds. The SVP-Pro costs $500 new. Now I've seen the SVT-3 around from $700 - $900. That leaves $200-$400 for the power section.

    For that range, you would go with something like the QSC RMX 850 ($300 new). This will put out 850 watts bridged mono @ 4 ohms. Sounds pretty good huh?

    Now the you've got the SVP-PRO and the QSC RMX 850 for a total of $800. Still looking good. Now add a cheap rack for say $40.

    So yes, for $840 you could get something that greatly outpowers the SVT-3 Pro. However, you're looking to shed some weight.

    SVP-Pro = 9 lbs
    RMX 850 = 35 lbs
    Rack case = 15 lbs (guestimate)

    You're now looking at almost 60 lbs now. Now you can get extravagent and buy a really light amp (I paid $900 for my PLX 3402 which still weighs a bit) but then you're getting way out.

    I've done a lot of shopping around for a lightweight head for my dad (he's had back problems and wants something portable).

    A good head for this purpose may be the GK 1001RB-II. It does 750 watts @ 4 ohms and only weighs 18 pounds AND is has built in bi-amping. That's everything. 18 pounds vs 60 lbs for only 100 watts more. You can also pick one up for $750.

    You have to figure out what you want most. Light weight, or power. My rig cost me $1300 and I have 3400 watts of power at my disposal. However I had to spend more money on a lightweight rack and amp to keep the weight down, and it still weighs around 40 lbs.

    Overall, here are the options I described:

    850 watts: SVP-PRO + RMX 850 = $850 weight: 60 lbs

    450 watts: SVT-3 Pro = $700-$900 weight: 26 lbs

    750 watts: GK 1001RB-II = $750 weight: 18 lbs.

    Now I'm still shopping around but it looks like I'll be going with the GK. I'm sure there are other brands that would suit me, however I haven't had time to research them all. Maybe someone else can list some comparisons to other brands and help us both out.
  3. drd07


    Jan 19, 2003
    I hear ya. However, I was thinking something along the lines of a crown xls 602 (25lbs) and a sansamp rbi (5 lbs)or svp-pro (9lbs). It just seems like you can get so much more (wattage wise) for around the same price of the svt-3.

    I love my all tube tone, but does it really make that much of a difference? I never have played out of solid state at gigging/rehearsing levels. Decisions, decisions...warm tube tone or trasportability...
  4. natrab


    Dec 9, 2003
    Bay Area, CA
    You can get a warm tube tone out of a hybrid. They do have tubes. It may not be quite as classic as an all tube head (where the sound is amplified through tubes) but it's usually not that much of a difference. I think it makes more of a difference with the higher frequencies of guitar (I have a Fender Twin Reverb and Super Reverb and can't find that sound anywhere else).

    Check out the Stewart World amplifiers. The 1.2 is 1200 watts, passively colled and only weighs 11 pounds. It costs $585 new. I'm actually looking to pick one up for my practice rig.
  5. drd07


    Jan 19, 2003
    Wow! I checked out those stewart world amps and they look pretty cool. Have you tried them out in a live/gigging noise level situation?
  6. natrab


    Dec 9, 2003
    Bay Area, CA
    Nope. As I said I'm trying to find a good deal on one myself. I love my PLX 3402 for gigs where I won't hear the fan and I need the uber-watts. A stewart 1.2 is much quieter and I know a lot of people on TB swear by them.
  7. Have a GK!
    lots of power in a featherweight box!