what is with the power amps and pre amps?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by steve-o, Apr 22, 2002.

  1. steve-o

    steve-o Guest

    Apr 17, 2002
    why are people using power amps and preamps
    as amps. do they sound any better than a certain amp. how much would a decent rig cost?
    500 watts max
    can handle 2 ohms
  2. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    Some people like rack systems. Some like the flexibility of having seperates. You can upgrade or downgrade as you see fit. Some people like flashing lights. Some people like carrying a bunch of stuff around;)

    Me, I use an old integrated amp. Works for me.
  3. Turock

    Turock Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2000
    I use a rack, because I like to carry a bunch of stuff around.
  4. VicDamone


    Jun 25, 2000
    Me too! And my Navigator preamp has as many silly lights, switches, and knobs as a NASA controll pannel. Tripy.
  5. Turock

    Turock Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2000
    I've got the plain ole, one light Demeter.
  6. I like blinky lights. My preamp only has a few but my compressor has a total of four little led meter thingies, output (or input) level and compression level, one for each channel. It also has a bunch of other random lights.

    The reason I switched to a rack system though is because I am a whore for power and its hard to find a 1200 watt integrated head for $500.
  7. steve-o

    steve-o Guest

    Apr 17, 2002
    how good does this sound?
    is it worth the money?
    what stuff do you all prefer?
    i need something that will go down to two ohms
    and of course i want power!!!!
  8. incubus2432


    Mar 21, 2002
    Grafton, Ohio
    I like the power/preamp because it lets me be a flake. I can change things around that bother me and not have to change everything. It's a "little" cheaper than buying new integrated heads. Also I have lots of freakin' lights....the poweramp has LED meters, a few tiny lights on the preamp, the tuner has lots of flickering LED's and everything is shrouded by the warm glow of the mini flourescent in my Samson power conditioner........."Houston, we have a problem!":D
    Tone is too subjective to answer "How good does this sound?"....mine sounds fantastic to me....to you it may sound like crap.
    It is absolutely worth the money FOR ME...for you it may not be.
    My setup cost me about $1500 and I have.......
    SKB six space rack
    Samson power conditioner/light
    Sabine ST-1600 tuner
    Ampeg SVP-Pro preamp (mmmmmmmm tubes:cool: )
    Ashly FET-2000M power amp (500x2 at 4 ohms)...the manual says it can run at 2 ohms but I've never tried it.
    I've had compressors, eq's and effects units in my rack (when I had an eight space) and found them to be of little use....now I just have the minimum and couldn't be happier.
    This is the best sound I have been able to get for my budget and my style of playing. The only thing I would change is that I would get a lighter poweramp (I hear the QSC PLX series is quite light and powerful)....well that AND find a cabinet that I like but that is another nightmare.
    Run a search on this site for "poweramps" and "preamps" and you should find all of the info you'll need.
  9. ZuluFunk

    ZuluFunk Supporting Member

    Apr 14, 2001
    I had too much trouble with my low end breaking up on me through a 350watt head. Especially by the third set. The set up I have now was the cheapest and surest way to ensure I don't have those problems.

    My pre/power amp rack cost $1,100 or so. PLus $55 for the SKB RACK4 Roto rack.

    I have an Ampeg SVP-Pro into a QSC-RMX2450.
    I could not get the available 2400 watts from any integrated system at any price. That's pure clean power. I usually run stereo at 500 watts per side 8 ohms. It's more than enough. I'm pushing a good clean signal into 200watt 8ohm BagEnd cabs.

    The SVP-Pro was a low cost option ($475). It had more tonal variety than other pre's I tried out for way more money. It has as much or more control than any integrated pre. I tried a TE V-type and a Warwick Quadruplet pre amp. Both were great too. I can upgrade to either of those and get a wilder tonal spectrum. I know I can alwys move on to a different pre at a relatively low cost compared to getting a whole new head.

    With the power amp, I know I won't have to sacrifice headroom to get the tone I want. I could also upgrade to two 4ohm cabs if I finds some I like. Those I could run at 750 watts each stereo.
    Holy smokes, I could put a 2 ohm load on each side and power each at 1200watts a side!!!

    I can't find an integrated head that can do that. Maybe some day. For now though...bottom line...clean massive availble power and the ability to adjust my tone as needed much more cheaply than with an integrated head.

    And, by the way, it ain't really that big, or heavy for that matter.

  10. Stu L.

    Stu L. Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2001
    Corsicana, Texas
    It's all about POWER and CONTROLL. What if you like an Ampeg's pre-amp, and Peavey's power amp? Why not combine them? And, it's ALOT more power.
  11. crud19


    Sep 26, 2001
    You do know that if you mix Ampeg and Peavey gear it will self-destruct, don't you? Sort of like mixing matter and anti-matter. Or Coke and Pepsi.
  12. Stu L.

    Stu L. Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2001
    Corsicana, Texas
    OK, it was just the only 2 brands that came into my head. Any other suggestions? :rolleyes:
  13. If you're on a budget, you can buy a new amp one piece at a time, and work off your current combo amp! (I'm getting a poweramp soon for that reason :))
  14. zoran


    May 10, 2002
    i have trace elliot 300w combo and i m completely unsatisfied with amp section and very satisfied with cabinet. What now? Of course: rack system.
  15. coolhanddan


    May 16, 2002
    Central NJ
    ZuluFunk, good post and nice rig! You should be able to vibrate a reading on the Richter Scale. Wo.

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    As said above, versatility plays a big roll in owning a multi-component system. I bought my setup becuase I needed more headroom. My low end was muddy, and I was pushing my amp too hard. Now I have all the power I need, and a tight low-end. It is not about how much volume I have...the difference in volume isn't significant. The increased clarity I have is what I wanted to acheive.:)
  17. jerry

    jerry Doesn't know BDO Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 1999
    For me......I like headroom and I like to change preamps a bit! The QSC's are so lightweight these days, that combined witha pre it's not heavier than a all in one unit........I still do use all in one heads once in awhile!
  18. I'm considering moving up once I complete my current standing rig(Hartke HA3500 and a 1x18", soon to be added a 2x10w/horn) and grabbing a power amp(about 1000W bridged @ 4 ohms) and a Madison 8x10(3 horns, It'll be freaky) and some sort of pre amp, It is alot more flexible, and you can move up or down with power amps, pre-amps and rack gear as you please...Generally I've heard that Power Amps are colorless(unless tubed) and you can move the power amp out and put a less powerful one in and keep the power without changing the sound much.....I like it as it sounds in my head, let's see how it sounds in your ears...
  19. Brendan


    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    Power and headroom for less money. A 1000 watt head can run you upwards of that same amount in $. So, for >$400 you can get a whole lotta power, and whatever sound you want. Personall, I'm not too hip on carrying all the stuff around, but hey, I like the sound.

    Plus there are some killer Pre's out there for not a lot of Deniro, Raven Labs, SansAmp, and given Max's review of that Fishman Bass Platinum...

    Killer rig for about $650, plus it's modular and upgradable. That, and you can have a bunch of different preamps in the same rack for a lot of completely different sound in seconds.

    For me, only downside is bulk.
  20. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Supporting Member

    Every gig, I bring a six-space roto rack containing an Alembic F2B tube preamp, a TC Electronics parametric EQ preamp, a compressor, and a Stewart 2.1 poweramp.

    A few months ago, after 15+ years of perfect service, the Alembic developed problems at a gig. It was a simple matter to bypass the Alembic and use the TC parametric. If the TC had then failed, I could use the compressor as a preamp! Note that I also bring a SansAmp Bass Driver stompbox to gigs, and that could also be used alone as a preamp.

    As for the power amp: the Stewart 2.1 is actually dual-monaural, which means that it's possible for one side to function even if the other side fails.

    So the bottom line is that I think I have an incredible amount of redundancy and flexibility in a reasonably small (and light) rack.

    P.S. No, I don't use all preamps at once! I choose the one that feels right. FYI it's either the SABDDI or the F2B; the TC parametric is only used if room acoustics are a problem.