Why are Poweramps not the standard?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by snikroc, Nov 19, 2015.

  1. Seems many are constantly on a quest for the perfect tone. I constantly see people flipping amps each year when the new ones hit the market. I made the mistake of not researching before I bought and wanted a nice sounding boutique amp. I went with the Aguilar TH350.

    Overall I am happy with the purchase. However, I wish the amp had some of the features the new Mesa has. In addition, I wish I would have purchased the TH500. Then I came across someone that used a TH Pedal and a Crown Power amp. That got me thinking about a few questions.

    1. Why are rigs with a power amp and preamp pedal not that popular?

    2. Why haven't we seen more micro class D power amps like the SWR amplite?

    Seems like if a small high quality Class D Power amp existed, one could just buy a few preamp pedals and have a wealth of tonal opportunities. Maybe I'm thinking about it wrong.

    Am I missing something here?
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2015
  2. RoadRanger

    RoadRanger Supporting Member

    Feb 18, 2004
    NE CT
    Many amps can have their preamp bypassed by using the FX return to drive the power amp. I did that yesterday at a custom cab builder so's we could listen to what the cabs sound like flat.
    FlatwoundFunk and B-string like this.
  3. el murdoque

    el murdoque

    Mar 10, 2013
    And most Class D amps have identical B&O Modules anyway.
  4. NWF Bassist

    NWF Bassist

    Aug 1, 2004
    Most people, myself included, use a preamp pedal and use it as a switchable channel by plugging direct to the power amp using the effects return. Same premise
  5. Unfortunately, my TH does not have a FX send and return.
  6. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2005
    Syracuse NY
    Endorsing artist: Dingwall Guitars
    Why would people want their amp to be multiple parts rather than one?

    Why would people want their amp to be a pedal?

    With the price of amps and the price of preamps costing more than a integrated unit, why would people want to pay more?

    Why would most people want the complexity of trying to match the preamp to the power amp and deal with the extra gain staging and input sensitivity matching instead of a one piece unit that's matched from the start?
    JakobT, Zermelo, tfer and 22 others like this.
  7. Tim Craig

    Tim Craig Supporting Member

    Feb 5, 2004
    Nashville area
    Uh...hmmm...why should they be?
    Sartori, hover and BurningSkies like this.
  8. BigBobbyBass


    Jan 23, 2015
    Aguilar TH 350 is boutique? ?
  9. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2005
    Syracuse NY
    Endorsing artist: Dingwall Guitars
    Why wouldn't I want half my amp setup on the floor for people to kick, trip on, spill into or trample...that I have to bend over to mess with and that someone might step on and turn off my preamp mistakenly.

    Or maybe perched on top of my rack where it can be pulled off or tumble down and where I can't see the miniature controls rather than my racked preamp with full sized controls at eye-height. ;)
  10. I guess what I'm asking Mark Bass tried with the Momark.
    FlatwoundFunk and Leo Smith like this.
  11. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2005
    Syracuse NY
    Endorsing artist: Dingwall Guitars
    People love choices until there are more than a couple, then they don't like them. The Mo'Mark concept seemed great on paper, but people didn't really take to the 'build your own' approach. I prefer a power/pre setup, but I'm not most people and what I want out of an amp setup isn't most people. You should see faces fall when I share my amp as backline...I've gotten comments from touring pros about how they'd rather just see an 'amp head'...One guy took an Eden Nemesis combo over my setup because it was easy and familiar.
  12. RoadRanger

    RoadRanger Supporting Member

    Feb 18, 2004
    NE CT
    Yep, I have a TH-350 myself - awesome amp but no FX return. No prob here as I have a Shuttle 3.0 that does - plus it's ruler flat with everything set at noon anyways :) .
  13. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    I once posed the same question to one of the "micro head" makers. He told me that the preamp guts aren't all that expensive, and a power-amp-only version would end up costing more due to being sold in smaller quantities.

    For all of my DIY preamp experimentations, I just plug into the FX return of a regular bass head.
  14. cfsporn


    Aug 20, 2011
    New York City
    It is made in Manhattan, possibly one of the most expensive places to manufacture in the world.
    seedokebass and Seth Miller like this.
  15. Not that Mark Bass would ever do it. But what if they had sold the liscense for that concept for other amp companies to use? I could picture owning modules from Aguilar, Mesa, and Ampeg.
    superheavyfunk likes this.
  16. elgecko


    Apr 30, 2007
    Anasleim, CA
    Some people prefer simplicity. Some people aren't gearheads.
    kjones, hintz and bassfran like this.
  17. BigBobbyBass


    Jan 23, 2015
    Doesn't mean that the TH350 is boutique. Jule Monique, JGR's amp, Shaw etc. not a TH, IMO.
  18. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    A "Head" is a pre-amp plus a power-amp
    The Power amp part are simply a commodity these days. All the tone is in the pre-amp.
    Oh, yeah you'll see a lot of comments about how one amp will sound different than another, you'll see it, but you won't hear it. :)

    With a head you're essentially buying a pre-amp, with all it's signature sound, and by they way it comes with a power-amp for convenience.

    There'd be more small power amps if there was a standard form factor and rack case they could fit in. This would mean makers would have to agree on a form factor which will never happen.

    Soon all power amps will come with a DSP. It's like all TVs now come with smart apps. It cost nothing really to include them but it makes them so much more useful.
  19. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru..........

    Apr 11, 2006
    Out there!
    Yeah, if I want to BYO I'll go the 500 Series approach, instead. :)
  20. RoadRanger

    RoadRanger Supporting Member

    Feb 18, 2004
    NE CT
    TH-350 is as Boutique as I will ever have/want :D
    Double E likes this.
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