Tried all the things, going back to a PA style power amp

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by J.Wolf, Sep 16, 2021.


  1. J.Wolf

    J.Wolf Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2003
    Asheville, NC
    Contributor- Bass Musician Magazine
    After a bunch of years of being lucky enough to play and or own a lot of the finest class D integrated head offerings (including some of the new batch of thousand plus watt class d heads) I think I’ve come to the conclusion that I was never happier with my sound then when I played through lead sleds like the crest CA9. Obviously lots of other variables, but the impact, feel and effortless depth of those amps is in my opinion undeniable.

    despite the size, I think I’m headed back in that direction, since my gig schleps are pretty easy these days, but I’m not quite sure I can strap it back into a 50 pound power amp.

    anyone have any suggestions for lightweight ultra high power PA style power amps that can hold a candle to the high watermark that was set by the CA9, Macrotech etc.??

    I was never big on the PLX stuff, but I’m open to suggestions, thanks in advance!

    Also, I know "a watt is a watt" to many, and I'm not here for that debate, but suffice to say I respectfully disagree.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2021
  2. pepj

    pepj

    Mar 25, 2021
    Can't help on direction but i do like hulking power stages. There is just something about them.

    Nowadays, i dont use one but am deciding if to buy back a DB751.
    My compromise is a tube pre with a class D power stage. Not the same but can live with it.

    Maybe...a DB pre amp and a p.a amp module that is not too heavy.
    If all my gigs had ramped access then no question but they dont so I'll be following this thread as i want a 1k stage rig option.
    I'd aim to keep each individual component to less than 50lbs max
     
  3. Redbrangus

    Redbrangus Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2018
    Under The X In Texas
    Pretty much all current rack-mount power amps are also Class-D -- the days of 50-pound power amps are in the history books. Pick a flavor -- QSC, Crown, etc. -- their Class-D offerings all perform about the same. Whether or not they're sonically equivalent to a conventional amp like a Crown MacroTech is subject to some debate, but it's how things are. Conversely, if you don't mind lugging around the load, amps with big iron are pretty cheap in the used market.
     
  4. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa Boogie, Development Engineer-Genzler (pedals), Product Support-Genz Benz
    I don’t know of any power amp introduced within the past 5+ years that’s not SMPS/class D.
     
    Gabbs, Mvilmany, roccobass and 26 others like this.
  5. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    Good luck. I agree, some of the rack preamp/amp setups I've used sounded really sweet. Follow up and let us know what you find.
    After a pretty long time trying to sell my old power amps I gave them to a high school band in the neighborhood. Glad they're being used.
     
  6. J.Wolf

    J.Wolf Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2003
    Asheville, NC
    Contributor- Bass Musician Magazine
    Thanks guys, not necessarily looking for something newish, in the Class D world, wondering about some of the older stuff like the Crest Pro amps that felt a lot lighter than the CA.

    But like I said, happy to have it be a newer SMPS/class D, but looking for performance and feel à la the lead sleds
     
    DJ Bebop and AlexanderB like this.
  7. J.Wolf

    J.Wolf Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2003
    Asheville, NC
    Contributor- Bass Musician Magazine
    So I guess specifically, I'm looking at things like the crest Pro series, Lab Gruppen's, and perhaps some QSC options, and whatever else I can find that will stack up to a CA9 sonically without sending me to the chiro. Thanks,
     
    AlexanderB likes this.
  8. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa Boogie, Development Engineer-Genzler (pedals), Product Support-Genz Benz
    Fortunately, you can buy old lead sled amps for pennies on the dollar. I found that many were worth less than what it cost to ship them. I couldn’t even give them away.
     
  9. BasturdBlaster

    BasturdBlaster

    Feb 19, 2012
    Crandon WI
    I am using a QSC GX5 and am very happy with it. Not class D and it weighs 26 or 28 lbs, 2 space and 10" deep.
    500 watts each into two 8 ohm cabs. :thumbsup:

    The GX7 has more power on tap and apparently weighs 17 lbs. but I have no experience with that model.
     
  10. J.Wolf

    J.Wolf Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2003
    Asheville, NC
    Contributor- Bass Musician Magazine
    I know, it's insane how cheap they are now. Per above, I can't do the weight, but am looking for similar performance in terms of power, speed and articulation that I loved about my old CA9/CA6 amps.
     
  11. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2002
    Central Ohio
    FWIW, I’ve settled on the QSC GX7 for gigs where I want gobs of power, if that helps at all.

    Most of the time, however, I’ve been using a Class D Demeter Minnie 800D; because for various reasons, I’ve pretty much migrated to a Shift Line preamp on a pedal board. The Minnie into a 212 is way enough slam for the vast majority of my gigs.
     
    DJ Bebop, J.Wolf and BasturdBlaster like this.
  12. J.Wolf

    J.Wolf Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2003
    Asheville, NC
    Contributor- Bass Musician Magazine
    I have been pretty happy with some of the high power class D stuff, especially those amps utilizing the Pascal power module and the 1200 W ICE module, as they get somewhat close to the slam of the lead sleds, but in the end, not quite, and I really miss the effortlessness of those amps on stage.
     
    AlexanderB and Ukiah Bass like this.
  13. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2002
    Central Ohio
    Understood.

    FWIW, the GX7 actually has so much power that one has to be a bit careful with the drivers. Puts a bit of an edge on the effortless thing.

    Also, it is probably important to recognize that the CA9 was a bit of a special case; because there was a bit more going on in that particular amp design than the power alone. @agedhorse has discussed that in previous threads.
     
    DJ Bebop and BasturdBlaster like this.
  14. J.Wolf

    J.Wolf Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2003
    Asheville, NC
    Contributor- Bass Musician Magazine
    Yes, maybe Andy can correct me if I'm wrong but I believe it has to do with the damping factor.
     
    DJ Bebop likes this.
  15. J.Wolf

    J.Wolf Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2003
    Asheville, NC
    Contributor- Bass Musician Magazine
    if that indeed is a big part of its magic, it would seem the 200 series is a different beast, according to their specs.

    Screen Shot 2021-09-16 at 12.29.59 PM.png Screen Shot 2021-09-16 at 12.30.55 PM.png
     
  16. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa Boogie, Development Engineer-Genzler (pedals), Product Support-Genz Benz
    It's not the damping factor per-se, it has to do with some frequency dependency in the various feedback networks. It was a clever approach, but for some reason they didn't continue with it. I don't know if it was intentional or accidental in nature.
     
  17. J.Wolf

    J.Wolf Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2003
    Asheville, NC
    Contributor- Bass Musician Magazine
    Interesting. So I guess the million dollar question is, are there any other rack amps with similar sonic characteristics, but that dont weigh as much as a dump truck full of Peavey T-40's?
     
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  18. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa Boogie, Development Engineer-Genzler (pedals), Product Support-Genz Benz
    Not that I am aware of, not in the same way anyhow.

    I find that this level of detail often gets lost in the weeds when all the real world variables come into play.
     
  19. pepj

    pepj

    Mar 25, 2021
    Talking of 'Slam', I use a Demeter 800w amp, forget the exact model but a relatively recent offering with their old pre amp bundled.
    I run that into 2 ceramic 12's and it is close to what I want, considering Aguilar DB is my benchmark.
    I'm happy with minimal trade off considering the weight saved.
    Amp weighs nothing and the 1x12's are 10kgs each with ceramic drivers..!!! And the cab build seems very good and solid even if I don't ask what paper it is made from :lol:
     
    DJ Bebop, bucephylus and J.Wolf like this.
  20. J.Wolf

    J.Wolf Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2003
    Asheville, NC
    Contributor- Bass Musician Magazine
    Cool thanks for your insights man, I appreciate it.

    Yes I agree, it is pretty much diminishing returns for the additional weight, and you get 93% of the way there with lighter and newer gear. Unfortunately what I've learned about myself is that I really dig that last 7%, unlike the vast majority of players. It can still almost come out in the wash on a loud stage with a busy mix, but conversely I find that on a loud stage with a busy mix is where that last 7% can shine. Just trying to figure out if my back can handle it.
     
    MarkA, NoiseNinja, Jim C and 8 others like this.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
    Oct 28, 2021

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