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Why are power amps so expensive?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by KingRazor, May 17, 2011.

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  1. I'm really curious, why do some power amps cost as much or more than the speakers they're powering?
  2. Selta


    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    :eyebrow: I think poweramps are a great buy personally. What are you qualifying as "expensive"?
  3. I'm sorry but i can't agree with your statement. IMO stereo power amp have never been cheaper. It's the integrated heads that cost a fortune. That's why a lot of players have gone the pre/power route.
  4. A QSC GX3 (or Crown XLS1000) costs $300. So does a Gallien-Krueger 2x10 cab. Why is the device used to power the speaker as expensive as the speaker itself???
  5. Selta


    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    It is what it is. $300 is a steal for that amp. You'll have a full pre/power setup for $600 (even less if you go used)! Show me a head that can compete with that, go ahead and even exclude the added benefit of the flexibility of a pre/power setup.
    Also, IMO, you're looking at a good power amp, and a crap cab. Regardless, unless you look at high end cabs, your amplifier section is almost always going to cost more than the cab you're powering.
  6. babebambi


    Jan 7, 2008
    you must be playing some exceptionally cheap speakers ...
    :bag: :p
  7. I could get a fEARful for roughly $600, from what I hear on TB that's just about the best cab you can get, and it's only twice what that power amp would cost.

    What is so special about a power amp that it would cost $300? It doesn't seem to function much differently than the power supply in a computer, and that's one of the cheapest components in a computer.
  8. Selta


    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    :eyebrow: I'm having a hard time telling if you're being serious or really just don't know.
  9. I truely don't understand.

    Is there something I'm missing here?

    Edit: If am wrong here, please let me know as I am genuinely curious:

    So far, it seems to me that buying a speaker cab and a power amp is like going to the store, buying a $50 printer and then being told that the power cable is not included and will cost an additional $40.
  10. transformers to provide the power to your power amp are not cheap.

    +1 to previous comments on power amps being a relative bargain these days in the bass world, esp w/the big neo speaker price jump :eek:
  11. will33


    May 22, 2006
    There's a heckuva lot more to a power amp than just the power supply. That's like asking why your car is worth more than it's value in scrap metal. Years ago we used to figure about a buck a watt was a pretty good deal, they're much less than that now.
  12. ...I should more correctly say: ...provide the proper voltage for your power amp, but you know what I mean :bag:.
  13. john m

    john m Supporting Member

    Jan 15, 2006
    Power amps are a bargain these days.

    Back in the olden days (70's and 80's), power amps cost about $1 per watt.

  14. this is so, but having built a few amps myself the transformer for the power supply tends to be the priciest component, esp. toroidal transformers.
  15. What else is there to it?
  16. Selta


    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    Not at all....
    So the power supply in your computer is apples to zebras comparison of a musical amplifier.
    The power amp in this case, simply takes the signal from your bass and well, amplifies it, a lot. This power (wattage) is then transferred to the speakers to drive them. That makes noise, generally.
    The speakers are what can move the air, but they need something pushing them to do it. The power amp (coupled with a pre, either in a pre/power setup or a "head") is the driving force. Sure, you can plug your bass straight into a cab, but you're not going to get anything, you bass isn't putting out near enough power.
    If you're truly interested in the nitty gritty, you're going to need some base level of electric theory under your belt.
    You need both, regardless, unless you have a gig where you don't need on stage volume and just DI/monitor yourself. A pre/power setup is almost always going to be cheaper than a head, often sound better, and be easier to change things as you need (need stereo instead of mono? Change it. Need a different pre? Change it.).
  17. I wish they just sold bass cabs powered. I hate that if I went out and bought a nice bass cab I wouldn't be able to do anything with it until I go drop $300 on a power amp. :meh:
  18. 3506string


    Nov 18, 2004
    Lawton, OK
    The price of a power amplifier and the cost of a bass cabinet have next to nothing to do with each other.
  19. Selta


    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    Bergantino I believe used to make a powered speaker cab. You still need at least a preamp, though. You also need a bass, strings, and cables, too :D.
    You don't HAVE to get a poweramp/preamp setup. You can just get a "head" too, which is essentially a pre/power in one box.
    Also, buying used will, as always, save you a ton of cash.
  20. I would think so...you need a power amp in order to do anything with the speaker, and you need the speaker to give the power amp something to power. Why wouldn't their prices affect each other?

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