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SS power amps- flat and clean?


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#1 Jus Lukin

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 11:35 AM

OK, it's got to be done! I know the perils of this kind of thread, but hopefully we can just share technical knowledge and experiences to get a measure of the situation. I'm also starting this so not as to hijack any other threads.

I have had a long term plan to run a rack power amp. There are many considerations, including suitable pre-amps, output power, input sensitivity, connectivity, physical weight and mounting depth, impedance options, extras such as limiting, HPF, DSP- not once did I consider the average sound-reinforcement power amp to have any sort of voicing or 'tone'.

There have been a couple of mentions of perceptible differences between power amps here, so much so as to be an unintentional 'voicing', which threw me for a bit of a loop. Of course, quality is a constantly variable... variable, and will have some bearing on the sound output, but I would think that any power amp in the running as a sound-reinforcement amp would be describable as flat and full-range. If it can't do that then surely it can't do the one thing it is there for.

Hopefully I misunderstood, as that is a whole other pain in the bum variable to consider!

I don't have an opinion, as I have not had the opportunity to try a range of power amps in an otherwise like-for-like rig. However, my thinking at this point is that they should all basically sound the same, unless they are just plain crap at doing their job!

Valve amps are another matter entirely, so let's not worry about those, but what do you all think? What factors may (or may not!) be causing a perceived difference from one amp to the next when run at the same volume and within expected working tolerances? Is this known, but not considered worthy of mention in the industry, or it is just plain poor design/manufacture?

To keep it a tiny bit simpler, let's not worry about subsonics like cinema SFX, this is ultimately about music, and primarily bass guitar ranges.

I know the question is fairly vague, but if you have any firm knowledge or just an opinion from experience, I'd be keen to learn.

Thanks, Andy

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#2 alexclaber

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 01:53 PM

As long as you avoid the cheap rubbish they basically all sound the same on good European power! Any differences you hear will only be once the amp runs out of headroom and that'll come down to power amp specifics, limited designs, soft clipping implementation, etc.

There's definitely a bigger issue in North America because they only have half as much voltage coming out of the wall. Yay for proper 220V+ power (we have the most here in the UK).

#3 Bill Fitzmaurice

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 03:42 PM

View Postalexclaber, on 13 September 2017 - 01:53 PM, said:

There's definitely a bigger issue in North America because they only have half as much voltage coming out of the wall. Yay for proper 220V+ power (we have the most here in the UK).
It's not an issue where bass amps or club size PA is concerned, nor for that matter with pro-touring sound, where the power amps typically run on 220v.
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#4 dood

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 04:07 PM

View PostBill Fitzmaurice, on 13 September 2017 - 03:42 PM, said:

It's not an issue where bass amps or club size PA is concerned, nor for that matter with pro-touring sound, where the power amps typically run on 220v.

Hey Bill, Wasn't that what Alex said? Power amplifiers running at 110v is "a bigger issue" than those running at 220v. I guess it'd apply anywhere in the world - or have I missed another point being made?

#5 Jus Lukin

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 05:29 PM

Interesting about the voltage step-up used in the US. i didn't know that was done!

Sounds like I needn't worry about the frequency response of the average power amp too. Good to know, thanks!

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#6 bassman7755

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Posted 15 September 2017 - 10:07 PM

http://www.ebay.co.u...KsAAOSwtZJY8obJ

Simply unbeatable £ for £, just buy it and spend your energy worrying about something else.

#7 obbm

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Posted 15 September 2017 - 10:17 PM

View PostJus Lukin, on 14 September 2017 - 05:29 PM, said:

Interesting about the voltage step-up used in the US. i didn't know that was done!

Sounds like I needn't worry about the frequency response of the average power amp too. Good to know, thanks!

I used to be involved setting up an annual exhibition in the USA and the local electricians would give us a 220-ish volt supply derived from between 2-phases of their 3-phase supply.
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#8 Passinwind

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Posted 16 September 2017 - 05:57 AM

View PostJus Lukin, on 14 September 2017 - 05:29 PM, said:

Interesting about the voltage step-up used in the US. i didn't know that was done!

It's quite common for household appliances like water heaters, and as Bill mentioned, for touring grade pro sound applications.
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#9 bazztard

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Posted 17 September 2017 - 05:20 AM

View Postalexclaber, on 13 September 2017 - 01:53 PM, said:

Yay for proper 220V+ power (we have the most here in the UK).

sorry to burst your bubble of smugness, but we have had 240V down under, though it's been pegged back to 230V now. :)

Edited by bazztard, 17 September 2017 - 05:20 AM.

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#10 Jack

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Posted 17 September 2017 - 09:27 AM

View Postbassman7755, on 15 September 2017 - 10:07 PM, said:

http://www.ebay.co.u...KsAAOSwtZJY8obJ

Simply unbeatable £ for £, just buy it and spend your energy worrying about something else.

Completely agree, I just sold mine as I don't have any passive cabs any more but mine gave me years of trouble-free, great-sounding, service. I'd buy another straight away if I ever had any 'real' cabs again.





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