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Favorite amplifiers for bass


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#1 Infrasonic

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 07:04 PM

Hey there fellow Data-Basser's. :P

How about we talk about our favorite amplifiers for reproducing enormous amounts of bass? I'd like to know what everyone else likes as I'm not super experienced with different amplifiers but I know several of you are. Especially you, Josh. ;)

Sooo... on the cheap end: Behringer Ep2500/4000

Great overall power output, distortion, low end extension and at ~$300-350 a pop, a damn steal, imo. Can be modified very easily to be quiet too.

I also think the higher powered Marathon's look good but I've never used one. The Lab clones seem to be the real deal as long as one doesn't get a bad one. ;) I will own both a FP+14k and a FP+10kQ soon.
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#2 DS-21

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 11:09 PM

While I've made a few digressions into pro amps (Crown XTI2000, Peavey iPR-3000), I keep coming back to the Engne Tang designed class G rack amp that's sold mostly as the Dayton SA1000 but is or has also been sold as the Snell SPA-750, Leon Speakers L3-1K, etc. I'm currently using two of them, along with an O-Audio 500W BASH plate amp (another amp I like quite a bit), for my 3-sub system. The reasons are as follows:

-It has enough power for my needs
-Doesn't require more voltage for full output than an unbalanced miniDSP can provide
-Looks "high end"
-Standard RCA I/O
-Is quiet in operation with no fans (and no transformer hum, so long as you get a good one)
-Has a continuous phase control and rudimentary parametric EQ for systems that aren't using an external processor
-Useful convenience features such as 12V triggers.

My only negative about it is that it has old-fashioned binding post speaker outputs, instead of a modern SpeakOn connector.

True, I'd be using a fan-modded IPR-3000 right now instead of two of these amps, but my IPR-3000 interacted strangely with my signal-sensing power strip, creating hum when plugged in there but not when plugged in anywhere else.. Given that I'm neither going to waste energy by leaving it idle, nor will I manually turn it on/off (my "equipment rack" is the space underneath a daybed, because I like my audio kit heard and not seen), I had to replace it with something more suitable.

I've never used any of the really top-tier Class D amps (Lab, Powersoft, Camco, Ashly, etc) though. I'd never buy a "clone" amp, on principle. (I would consider a "Sanway," if they had good technology, good reliability, and weren't trying to make everyone think they're Labs.)

#3 lilmike

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 04:38 AM

Any ideas about how to test amp bandwidth? Was thinking I could use water heater elements wired up to create a high-capacity resistive load, then use REW to sweep things. Just need enough attenuation in my test leads so that I don't fry my sound card....

Am I nuts?? Will this approach be valid?

#4 maxmercy

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 01:01 PM

I like the Oaudio 500 as well......

JSS

#5 Kyle

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Posted 18 March 2012 - 12:03 AM

+1 For the Sanway.

#6 Ricci

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 06:44 PM

I've used a bunch of amps for bass over the years...Let's see.

Mackie M1400i (Bought this guy in 96 I believe. My first pro amp and it just had a channel blow. Get this, it was being used on a JBL compression driver at the time. Figures .) I think the HF may have actually killed it. Can't really complain after getting 15+ years out of it. Need to pick up something to replace it but I'm not decided on what yet.
Behringer EP4000's (Still have 2)
Crown CE4000's (Sold)
Crest 8002's (Still have 4 of these.)
QSC PL9.0's (Sold)
AETechron 7560's (Sold)
Powersoft K10's (Sennheiser KPA2400's)

I've used a bunch of stuff off and on over the years that I didn't own as well. Tons of Crest, Crown, QSC, Samson, Mackie, Ashly, plate amps, etc...I don't have a lot of experience with consumer amps other than some Adcoms, Emotiva's and NAD's and I never tried them seriously on bass duties.


Some were good some not so good. The PL9.0's were really powerful but they were prone to blowing up randomly plus they were loud as hell with 4 fans in each. Bang for the buck it is still difficult to top the EP's. The 8002's are great, just a little better than the CE4000's were but they are big and heavy. The ridiculous award goes to the 7560's they were beasts. They weren't the most powerful but you could strap them together and literally weld with them and they wouldn't complain. They got really hot though and at basically 100lbs each they really just weren't practical.They were also amazingly well engineered and perfectly operating after 30 years of use. Not many products are built like that anymore. They were obviously an industrial tool not a mass produced commodity item. My favorite amp is the rebadged Powersoft K10's. At first I was skeptical about all of the claims but I'm firmly a believer now. Plugs into anything between 95-265v, PFC, 95% efficient, 1 rack space, 200v peak output per channel, password protected user control interface, less than 30lbs, relatively quiet squirrel cage fans and protected from just about every sort of load or ac supply issue. Unfortunately they are just bloody awful expensive. I never would have bought them if I didn't get such an insane deal at the right time. I can't seem to find anything comparable for cheaper either. I need a couple of the newer lightweight DSP amps but every one of the cost effective ones has something about it that bothers me. I should probably just buy a couple of the 4 channel clones but the blatant rip off aspect bugs me truthfully.

Generally I look for the following...

1.) PFC it really helps boost the efficiency and drag the current out of even a weak circuit.
2.) Universal Voltage supply. This is a major plus for me. Combined with PFC it means you can get the maximum out of whatever circuit is available and you are virtually guaranteed to have a compatible circuit.
3.) High efficiency topology, again relates to less heat, weight and more power
4.) extended response (No 10-15Hz filters please. I can add them myself if I need them.)
5.) Warranty & Cost
6.) Internal DSP (If needed, I don't yet consider this a must)

From there I start looking at things that I consider of less concern. Weight, size, cosmetics, fan noise, connectors, input sensitivity,etc.

Obviously looking at my priorities versus DS-21's for example, there are some differences. I don't think that I have a single RCA cable involved in my main HT. Everything is xlr or hdmi. Everyone's priorities are different. I do pro audio type things often so those are these types of amps that I gravitate towards. I am starting to become interested in some of the plate amps on the market. Speakerpower and Pascal in particular. I wish that there were a little more user control and functionality in some of the cheaper plate amps. Hopefully DSP will start to be included more.

It'd be nice if there was a 1000w plate that has user configurable DSP with boost and configurable / defeatable high pass filter for $500 ish...

#7 DS-21

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Posted 29 April 2012 - 09:34 PM

FWIW, I recently picked up an interesting amp that's driving my whole multisub system right now:

ElectroVoice CPS-8.5

Class D, German-made, and rated 1kWx4/2 or 4Ω/all channels driven. EV claims it has no highpass filter down low, I don't know about that but it puts out plenty of power above 16Hz, and I don't care about stuff below that.

It also will turn on with a consumer audio 12V trigger, and go into standby with same. That (and the space savings, compared to multiple mono amps) was the draw to me.

Only downside of note is that all I/O are by Phoenix terminals, so one needs to slice of the ends of her/his signal cables if they're pre-terminated. And cost, though I don't know anything else that offers that much power and a 12V remote trigger input for less.

Fan noise is much much much lower than a Peavey IPR 3000 modded with a Noctua fan. With the amp under my daybed, I can't hear it unless I put my ear to the ground.

#8 LINEARX

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 04:38 AM

Fan noise is much much much lower than a Peavey IPR 3000 modded with a Noctua fan. With the amp under my daybed, I can't hear it unless I put my ear to the ground.


How do you rate the sound quality and power of the Peavey? I've got one and I modded the fan also.
I like the sound on subs. I think it plays down to about 10Hz without a curve. The pwer is more than I need.
The bright lights drive me nuts. I'm going to put some finger nail polish on em.

#9 DS-21

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 11:00 PM

How do you rate the sound quality and power of the Peavey? I've got one and I modded the fan also.
I like the sound on subs. I think it plays down to about 10Hz without a curve. The pwer is more than I need.
The bright lights drive me nuts. I'm going to put some finger nail polish on em.


In my use, it was horrid.

There was some interaction between it and the signal-sensing power strip I was using that led to awful noises. I cannot explain why, but no other gear has done that.

When I plugged it into any other outlet, or indeed anywhere but in that strip, it was fine. But then I'd have to either leave it on or manually turn it off, and both options were unacceptable to me.

Also, even with the Noctua fan it was borderline too loud for me. So I ended up reinstalling the factory fan and selling it locally. (I still have the Noctua fan.)

But when I tried it in a different outlet, it sounded like nothing at all. Just power. The way an amp should. I don't know if it would interact the same way with other switching power strips; mine was a six-outlet unit by Monster that my fiancee had. Perhaps the IPR 3000 just didn't want to be associated with such a disgusting brand, and howled in protest. :)

I wish it had worked out for me, because I like the technology and I loved the price.

The one thing I don't like about the ElectroVoice amp is the price. True, it's 8 channels vs. 2 and more aggregate power, but the cost differential between the IPR 3000 (Black Friday sale) and the CPS 8.5 was roughly 10x...

#10 Infrasonic

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 01:02 AM

Anyone have an option of both the Cerwin Vega CV-5000 versus the Marathon MA-5050?

I've seen pics of the internals and they seem nearly identical though I think the Marathon had more output transistors. They are both rated the same. Over the past few weeks I've seen the CV as low as $780 on ebay with the Marathon usually between $800-900.

Thoughts?

Also... what is everyone think of the Sanway LG clones? Not much talk about them over here.

#11 MrSmithers29

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 01:56 AM

Over the past few weeks I've seen the CV as low as $780 on ebay with the Marathon usually between $800-900.


FYI, when Guitar Center or Musicians Friends runs a 15% off (which seems to be regularly) you can use it on a CV 5000...it'll tell you that you can't but then you get the option to chat with a representative and they'll give you an alternate code. Amp will be here next week, but I've never owned a Marathon to be able to make any comparisons. I'll eventually try a clone I imagine, but it wasn't the right choice for me right now.

#12 Robocam

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 08:39 AM

What about the Crown XLS series? They seem like great deals. 1100 watts for $299

http://www.amazon.co...words=crown xls

#13 Infrasonic

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 09:03 AM

Decent if you need the DSP. If not, I'd go with the Behringer ep4000 which outputs 450w at 8ohms, 600w at 4ohms an 800w 2ohms. Bridged to 1,600w at 4ohm.

#14 Robocam

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 07:25 AM

Wow, that's an impressive amp. I looked at the manual, and it says 1250wpc@2ohms and 2400w@4ohms bridged. That is some serious value. That'd be great for a permanent install. The Crown weighs 1/3 though (16 vs 47 lbs), so it would be easier to transport. Thanks for the tip.

http://www.behringer..._P0A38_M_EN.pdf

Decent if you need the DSP. If not, I'd go with the Behringer ep4000 which outputs 450w at 8ohms, 600w at 4ohms an 800w 2ohms. Bridged to 1,600w at 4ohm.



#15 Infrasonic

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 07:39 AM

Wow, that's an impressive amp. I looked at the manual, and it says 1250wpc@2ohms and 2400w@4ohms bridged. That is some serious value. That'd be great for a permanent install. The Crown weighs 1/3 though (16 vs 47 lbs), so it would be easier to transport. Thanks for the tip.

http://www.behringer..._P0A38_M_EN.pdf


Those numbers from Behringer are inaccurate and false. The numbers I posted are the TRUE power output numbers.

But yeah, the Crown weighs a whole lot less.

#16 maxmercy

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 11:04 PM

And the EP4000 is on sale (wish I could get one, or four):

http://www.walmart.c...uct_id=17656014

JSS

#17 Infrasonic

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 11:12 PM

And the EP4000 is on sale (wish I could get one, or four):

http://www.walmart.c...uct_id=17656014

JSS


Also on sale on Amazon for $275! A pure steal for Amazon Prime members.... like me. :P

#18 Ricci

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 04:54 PM

Actually didn't Chuck get 800w out of it at 4ohms per channel and roughly 900 out of it at 2 ohms? I thought it was about 1800-1900W bridged into 4 ohm.

I am thinking about trying a Crest CC5500. It is rated at 1800w a channel at 4 ohms and 2750w a channel at 2 ohms. It's a lighter and more efficient than the CA-18 knock offs.

#19 Robocam

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Posted 16 December 2012 - 07:04 AM

Thanks for the warning. That makes the Crown even more attractive since I sometimes have to transport it. Is there a website that gives the actual ratings of the Behringer amps?

Those numbers from Behringer are inaccurate and false. The numbers I posted are the TRUE power output numbers.

But yeah, the Crown weighs a whole lot less.



#20 TimVG

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Posted 16 December 2012 - 10:20 PM

Is it plausible that power cycling in a LG 14k clone can be caused by clipping the input signal?

I just fired up two of my DIY subs on one channel of a 14k which, with heavy material would cause the amp to power cycle, swapping the channels didn't make a difference. The funny thing is it never does this with my captivators, the levels on my minidsp are much lower with them as they're more sensitive and place in a corner as opposed to the DIY subs which are against the front wall for the time being. I tried upping the sub gain on the receiver and cutting back on my minidsp which did seem to make a difference. Tomorrow I'll try setting the jumper in the minidsp to 0,9v instead of the 2v it's on now.

I don't think anything is wrong with the amp as it works just fine for the rest of the time.

Thoughts?




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