Using tube amp heads as power amps?

Discussion in 'Gear & Equipment' started by i_like_shred, Jun 10, 2010.

  1. i_like_shred

    i_like_shred wannabe-widdler

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    Hey guys
    I was looking around at a few different guitar pre-amps (Engl E530 in particular) and noticed that getting a dedicated rack-mount power amp was usually pretty expensive. Then I remembered that Dark Tranquillity use Behringer V-Amps with 6505's for poweramps, was just wondering how this would work?
    a 6505 is cheaper than an ENGL, Mesa, or Marshall power amp of the same power, AND you get a built in preamp with it basicly.
    Would you run the preamp through the front of the head, through a clean channel? or insert at the FX loop return to completely bypass the amps head, if thats even possible?
     
  2. suffo20

    suffo20 SS.org Regular

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    First off you can do it both ways... going through the fx loop or running it straight in the front end of your amp. I would prefer going straight into your amp and running your head on the clean channel or if the amp doesnt have a clean channel running the head as clean as you can. This way you get to fine tune your preamp with the eq of the head as well.
     
  3. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    While that is a tried and true method, you can still get a high quality Tube Power Amp from Carvin (the TS100) for less than most amp heads, and if you go used you can get one from Peavey for even less (Classic Series). You can even pick up a used Mesa or Marshall unit for less than the cost of most full tube amp heads. Just look on eBay and Craig's List. If you're willing to go SS, then there's even more super affordable, yet great sounding options to choose from. A used Carvin DCM, MosValve, Peavey, Crown, Rocktron, etc. can all be had for $400 or under.

    If you do decide to use an amp, I'd recommend bypassing the preamp and going right for the power amp, via using the FX return. While having the physical controls of the pre-amp can be convenient at times, the amp's pre-amp will color your signal, and can protentially clip at certain levels, which will quickly suck your tone.
     
  4. Spondus

    Spondus SS.org Regular

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    That's pretty bad advice if I'm honest. Two preamps in a row is not the best idea and having two parametric EQs would be hellish to dial in. I'd look into the 4 cable method, allows you access to the amps preamp as well as any preamps in the loop.
     
  5. i_like_shred

    i_like_shred wannabe-widdler

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    Well the thing is, if I was going to go a used power amp, I could go a used 6505 and save even MORE money.
    Whats the difference between the power amps in a head, and a stand-alone poweramp?
     
  6. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    Just about nothing, they all function about the same, especially tube ones.

    Considering I've seen Peavey Classic 60/60's going for as little as $150 I don't see how a used 6505 could be significantly cheaper, but if you can get one in your budget, I don't see why not. Though, I see it being a little cumbersome.
     
  7. troyguitar

    troyguitar SS.org Regular

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    I haven't seen something like a 60/60 under $300 in awhile now. Racks are coming back and so are the prices on rack gear.

    If you want something cheap grab a Peavey Windsor head or something for $200 used
     
  8. vlover

    vlover SS.org Regular

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    Nothing really. Stereo inputs and outputs on a standalone power amp. Plus you have to lug around a head as opposed to a small rack for everything. Save money and use the Head as a power amp. Maybe get an AB box and use both the head preamp as well.
     
  9. i_like_shred

    i_like_shred wannabe-widdler

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    So i'd be better off finding the cheapest decent tube rackmount power-amp i can? ie The 6505 would just be a waste of money?
     
  10. Andromalia

    Andromalia Pardon my french

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    Alternatively, you can check the Laney GH100TI, it has a dedicated pwoer amp input as Iommy uses his head in series and only has to dial one this way. I actually have one for sale but shipping to Australia is not worth it. I have among others used a e530 this way and the result was pretty good.
     
  11. InTheRavensName

    InTheRavensName Dog says yes ^.^ Yes

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    Essentially, a rack mounted power amp is generally designed to run in stereo, from a stereo source, whereas most heads are designed to run mono. That is probably the most significant functional difference between the two. Some rack power amps offer more tone shaping options as well (I can't remember what, but I remember my old ENGL had a few switchable options on it). If you only need something to amplify your sound, then a head will work fine, but you'll have to carry that and a rack for your preamp/FX etc, which is one of the advantages of having everything in a single rack (although this can be indescribably heavy depending on the power amp you choose!)
     
  12. pirateparty

    pirateparty SS.org Regular

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    I have a 5150II and I'm planning on getting an Axe FX and using the 5150 as a poweramp as well. I'm just not sure on how to wire everything to bypass the 5150's preamp and take the FX's signal straight from its output into the 5150's poweramp.
     
  13. JPhoenix19

    JPhoenix19 Playing life by ear

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    Not necessarily. As previously stated you could set the rig up so you can switch between preamps, giving you some really nice versatility- if you're willing to tote it all around. For simplicity, a Carvin TS100 (or T100) is not a bad idea for a tube preamp.

    4-cable method. That way you can use the 5150II's preamp as well. :yesway: I wanted to do this with my 5150 combo, when my Axe-Fx GAS was real bad.

    Guitar -> Axe-Fx input
    Axe-Fx loop send -> 5150II input
    5150II fx loop send -> Axe-Fx loop return
    Axe-Fx output -> 5150II fx loop return
     
  14. i_like_shred

    i_like_shred wannabe-widdler

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    Guitar -> Axe-Fx input
    Axe-Fx loop send -> 5150II input
    5150II fx loop send -> Axe-Fx loop return
    Axe-Fx output -> 5150II fx loop return

    So would this mean that the head preamp, and the standalone preamp, would be switchable just by one footswitch?
    Ie, would turning axe-fx loop on cancel out any tone from the axe-fx, and make it so the sound is coming solely from the 5150II?
     
  15. Leuchty

    Leuchty Previously CYBERSYN

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    Sounds pretty right. I think thats what In Flames did with a POD.
     
  16. Customisbetter

    Customisbetter WhiskeyTangoFoxtrot Contributor

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    I used to use a Mark III as a power amp and it was fine.

    Javier from AAL used a dual rec for a power amp for a few tours.
     
  17. cow 7 sig

    cow 7 sig AU director / RHLC ©

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    i use my jcm900 as a power amp for my X3L sometimes.
     
  18. Sang-Drax

    Sang-Drax God is dad

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    IIRC, Dark Tranquillity only uses the v-amp for cleans and fx, precisely via the aforementioned 4-cable method:

    [​IMG]

    This you can freely switch between the head preamp and the dedicated preamp, like Spondus said above; but you can also use the unit for fx only in the amp loop (right?). It's a very common way among 5150's/6505's users to offset that amp's lack of cleans.
     
  19. eyebanez333

    eyebanez333 SS.org Regular

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    I know somebody who bought a Peavey Windsor just to use as a power amp...cheap EL34 power :cool:
     
  20. JPhoenix19

    JPhoenix19 Playing life by ear

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    In essence, yes. Really what you're doing is putting the preamp of the 5150II in the FX loop of the Axe-Fx. BY doing this, you can put the 5150II's preamp anywhere in the Axe-Fx's chain (say, OD -> Noise gate -> 5150II preamp -> chorus -> delay, ec.), or bypass it completely by not including the Axe-Fx's loop in the chain and using, say, an amp model on the Axe-Fx (with power amp disabled, most likley).
     

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