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Replaced PLX-3402 with Crest CA9

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Horny Toad, Dec 23, 2005.


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  1. Horny Toad

    Horny Toad Guest

    Mar 4, 2005
    NJ
    I'm in the process of totally revamping my rig, and I'm doing it in two steps. Step one is replacing my PLX-2402 and 3402 with one Crest CA9. Step two is replacing my four cabs with one Schroeder 310212. I completed step one this evening and I have to say, I'm absolutely blown away by the difference between my PLX-3402 and the CA9.

    I ran my PLX-3402 bridged into two 8 Ohm Aguilar GS-212's. That's 1700 watts into each cabinet. Sounded really good, as it always had. Swapped out the PLX and popped the CA9 into the rack and bridged it into the same two cabs. All preamp settings untouched. The difference was eye-popping. My fellow band members couldn't believe the difference. I had so much more volume and headroom. It was simply amazing. I've read several threads here discussing how great these amps are, and trust me, they're true. I remember reading that thread where Jim Bergantino and Bob Lee from QSC went back and forth over matching gains and double-blind tests. I also remember Jim Bergantino basically saying you'd have to be practically deaf not to hear the difference. That's what I experienced tonight. The difference in power, tightness, in-your-face punch was undeniable.

    I know this can of worms has been opened too many times, and I'm not looking for a debate - I just wanted to report what I experienced. Nope, it wasn't scientific. Don't know if the comparison is fair or not, but my 2000 watt amp kicked the poop out of my 3400 watt amp, hands down. I CAN'T WAIT to take delivery of my 310212 and hear it powered by my CA9. :hyper: :bassist:



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  2. Piezoman

    Piezoman

    Nov 29, 2002
    Bronx, New York
    I'll take your word for it. I never really understood why anyone would want the 2000 watts of a CA-9 over the 3400 of a PLX. I guess they rate their watts very differently?

    I looked up new CA-9's, but im under the assumption that theyve been discontinued......? If not, where would one go about picking one up? Or is used the only way too go? Is there a new model that is a newer version under a different name?
     
  3. Horny Toad

    Horny Toad Guest

    Mar 4, 2005
    NJ
    If you do a Google search for "Crest CA9", you'll see lots of places to pick up a brand new one. If they've been discontinued, I haven't heard it.


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  4. Piezoman

    Piezoman

    Nov 29, 2002
    Bronx, New York
    im slightly tarted and looked up a crown ca9 which kinda doesnt exist.......
     
  5. Fretless5verfan

    Fretless5verfan Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2002
    Philadelphia
    This isn't that big of a shocker being that i hear this all the time. This is pure speculation, but i think that the two are not both going for the same audience with their amps. Isn't the CA9 way heavier? Diff transformers and such? I think the draw of the PLX is the light weight AND power, not raw power. The CA9, being heavier (read more weight to work with), has an unfair advantage if my facts are straight. But please correct me if i'm wrong.
     
  6. marc40a

    marc40a

    Mar 20, 2002
    Boston MA
    I don't know, man...

    There's a sensitivity difference between the two.

    There'd have to be some pre/power compensation to get truly equal volume between the two for an A/B test.
     
  7. Piezoman

    Piezoman

    Nov 29, 2002
    Bronx, New York
    The lightwieght of the plx is definitley a huge drawing point + the high wattage makes it very appealing. I want one. The CA9 at twice the wieght when most of us are just getting into headroom doesnt seem worth it for me.

    Not like im getting either of these soon, but working my way towards them
     
  8. Horny Toad

    Horny Toad Guest

    Mar 4, 2005
    NJ

    As I said in my original post, "Nope, it wasn't scientific. Don't know if the comparison is fair or not".

    All I know is my PLX-3402 would clip constantly, and the CA9 appeared to just coast along, yet produce WAY more volume with huge amounts of headroom. It's amazing though - you figure "Hey, I just bought a 3400 watt amp, it can do xyz". Then you get to try an amp with "less' power and the "lesser" amp just crushes the amp with more watts. I'm not a technician, I'm a bass player. I don't have the answer, but I trust my ears and those of my fellow bandmates.


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  9. Horny Toad

    Horny Toad Guest

    Mar 4, 2005
    NJ
    I am certainly not the person who would correct you. Yes, the PLX series is much lighter than the Crest. But to me, watts should be watts, regardless of weight. There's got to be more to it than watts.


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  10. Fretless5verfan

    Fretless5verfan Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2002
    Philadelphia

    I would have to agree. It does seem quite odd that the Crest would be louder. The tone (punchyness etc.) could be explained outside of the watt realm (i think) but the volume issue is really weird. I'm gonna have to bet it's either the sensitivity or the way they gauge thier settings i.e. maybe 9 o'clock on the PLX isn't the same as 9 o'clock as it is on a CA9? :confused:

    If i'm out and out wrong, pay me no mind...i know very little of the inner voodoo of poweramps :bag: :D
     
  11. Horny Toad

    Horny Toad Guest

    Mar 4, 2005
    NJ

    I assure you, I know NOTHING about the inner voodoo of power amps. Nada. Zip. Makes no sense to me either. :D



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  12. el_Kabong

    el_Kabong

    Jul 11, 2005
    If the PLX was clipping and the ca9 is louder and doesn't clip, that sure sounds like its puting out more power to me. I've never used a PLX so I'm not running it down, but I have a ca9 (from my pa rig) and it truely is awesome in terms of power. I prefer the tone of my svt-cl but when it comes to sheer grunt the ca9 is one impressive amp. I'll have to try using the preamp of the ampeg into the ca9 sometime to see what that sounds like. Maybe an ampeg pre into a ca9 would push my buttons.
     
  13. bugbass

    bugbass

    Apr 8, 2004
    Norway
    Most of the new lightwight switcmode amps does not have as much headroom as the old conventional amps. And they are quicker, these two points make them sound thinner in the bottom. I hear some say that the LAB amps(from Sweden) is very good though, I`ve never tested them.
     
  14. I used to subscribe to the idea that, all things being equal, power amps should not sound radically different. In the '70s I was able to participate in several of Dr. Floyd Toole's double blind tests at the National Research Coucil here on various types of equipment; amps, speakers, etc. You would be very surprised (as I was) at the results of those tests, and it taught me a lot.

    Nonetheless I recently swapped out my "other power amp" for a Crest CA9 and braved the weight of the "lead sled" on a gig where I know the room and acoustics well. My jaw hit the floor! The CA9 was slammin'.

    I have retired my other power amps. End of story.
     
  15. It seems that the CA9 is the ultimate bass power amp. I don't think I've ever seen a post about them that isn't totally positive. I wish they weren't so big and heavy, but that's part of why they sound so good (just like a 70's style J Bass!).
     
  16. I guess the lesson is that there's something to be said for those heavy Plitron power tranformers. When it comes to tight articulate punch and the massive transients a bass requires they deliver in spades.

    The DB750 power section uses these transformers and yields similar jaw-dropping results, but with a bit less power than a single CA9 channel.

    CA9 bridged? I wouldn't dare it with a single El Whappo.
     
  17. Horny Toad

    Horny Toad Guest

    Mar 4, 2005
    NJ
    Make no mistake, by starting this thread I'm not suggesting there is something "wrong" with the PLX series of amps. I'm not at all clear why there is such an enormous difference, but the difference is obvious. My PLX's never gave me one moment of trouble. They have lots of nice filtering options, are very lightweight, and they sound fine. It's just once you compare them to a "traditional" power amp, it's almost hard to believe your ears.

    Of course, there's something to be said for light weight. If I was gigging every week and had to drag my rack case around constantly, I might get sick of the CA9's weight pretty darn quickly. For my purposes though, there is only one choice.


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  18. * Nods total agreement *
     
  19. Arthur U. Poon

    Arthur U. Poon

    Jan 30, 2004
    SLC, Utah -USA-
    Endorsing Artist: Mike Lull Custom Basses
    Horny Toad, you certainly won't get a debate from me. I'm on your side of the fence 100%. My experience was the same as yours when I switched from a PLX2402 to a CA9. :cool:

    Congrats on your new CA9, your new rig sounds like it will knock down walls! :bassist:

    -Art
     

  20. You're not looking hard enough..... ;)

    I don't like them. Never did. I had serious reliability issues with them a few years ago, which probably soured me a bit. I honestly don't think they perform all that well either especially near their limits. Every time I hear glowing reviews on the CA9 I wonder if people are talking about the same amp that I'm familiar with....

    The Crown MA series or the EV P-series leave the CAs for dead. I had to sub a CA9 for a P-2000 in an EV X-Array amp rack halfway through a multinight gig last year. With input gains matched, driving the same speakers at about the same levels, the CA just couldn't keep up with the EVs. It even thermalled out a couple of times.

    :bag:

    I say meh, but that's just one jerk's opinion :D ... If you guys dig them, and they're reliable for you, that's totally cool.
     



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