#1
Hi!

I recently bought a POD HD500X. I'm currently running it through my Peavey Valveking power amp and i've been able to dial in some tones that i like. However, most patches sound pretty thin and harsh through that amp and i can remember thinking the same thing about the amp itself.

So, i'm in the market for a power amp. I stumpled upon the Crown XLS 1500. Misha mansoor for example uses a similar thing, splitting the sound between direct to front of house and cab. On the other hand, i ask myself if i will lose the nice tube thump.
Other options include the Matrix power amp or a real tube power amp.

Musiciansfriend currently has the Crown XLS for only 190! Which makes it extremely interesting and notably cheaper than the other options. Problem is that i can't test it anywhere. So do people have experience with this? What sounds best live? And will it sound natural? Cause i don't want kill any dynamics left in my sound.
Gear:
PRS custom 24 (2000)
PodHD500x (cause i'm poor, upgrade soon)
Custom power amp
Homemade 2x12 (celestion V30 + G12H creamback)

HORSES BLEW FIRE (My band)
#2
Quote by AEnesidem
Hi!

I recently bought a POD HD500X. I'm currently running it through my Peavey Valveking power amp and i've been able to dial in some tones that i like. However, most patches sound pretty thin and harsh through that amp and i can remember thinking the same thing about the amp itself.

So, i'm in the market for a power amp. I stumpled upon the Crown XLS 1500. Misha mansoor for example uses a similar thing, splitting the sound between direct to front of house and cab. On the other hand, i ask myself if i will lose the nice tube thump.
Other options include the Matrix power amp or a real tube power amp.


I've used it with the Carvin TS100 (all tube stereo 50/50W or 100W bridged mono), which is around $550, I believe. I've also run it with a 2:90 tube power amp. But I started using it with a 1500W DCM1540L Carvin, and currently with the 1500W HD1500 (only about $315, I believe).

I'm using that power amp with full range frequency response speakers: fEARful 15/6/1's and fEARless F115s. A single cabinet will handle almost any gig, and will handle up to 900W. No need to worry about bottom end; the fEARful 15/6/1 cabinet includes a 15" Eminence Kappalite 3015LF, an 18Sound 6.5" mids driver and a 1" JBL (I think) tweeter with wave guide. These cabinets can be ordered from authorized builders, or can be built from cut-sheet kits sold by SpeakerHardware.com. They're 8-ohm cabinets, and the HD1500 puts out (tada!) about 900W at 8 ohms, bridged/mono, and 1500W bridged mono at 4 ohms (two cabinets). You're not going to be insanely loud (though you can), but you will have some amazing reproduction throughout the audible range.

If the fEARful/fEARless cabinets are out of your budget, check out the Carvin LS1503, which has a similar configuration for much less money.

Another alternative is to run your HD500 through a powered PA-style speaker like a Carvin PM12A or PM15A (12" LF driver or 15" LF driver, respectively). Each of these comes with an internal 400W solid state amp and full range reproduction.

I'd forget about the Matrix, honestly. It's overpriced and it underdelivers.

Tube power amps weigh 25 lbs (the Carvin) to 40 lbs (the 2:90). The 1500W Carvin HD1500 weighs 9 lbs. There's no benefit to the tube amps (I've tried modelers with the Carvin, the 2:90 and a trio of Atomic Reactor EL84 and 6L6-based tube amp powered speakers), and you definitely do NOT lose bottom end thump by moving to a solid state power amp. Quite the opposite, assuming that you have a cabinet capable of reproducing lows.
#3
Tube power amps have less thump (low end transients) than tube power amps generally.
The crown is also a digital (class D) power amp.

I don't have any strong opinion about crown amps.
Nothing sounds "best" live, and if you're talking power amps the difference is negligible, especially in a live setting, unless you're using shit tire stuff.
Yes stuff other than tubes can sound "natural/organic/dynamic", don't worry about that.
If anything, a digital or SS power amp will sound more dynamic than a tube power amp.

If you're talking actual dynamics, that is.
If you're talking how the sound changes in relation to the dynamics of your playing, then if the power amp is good the difference will be close to none, be it tube or SS or digital.

I'd rather get a SS power amp, cheap digital ones I've not had any luck with, ever.
Something like a yamy P2500S.

Still, that amp will work good enough considering what you're going to do if ya ask me.
Name's Luca.

Quote by OliOsbourne
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Quote by Cajundaddy
Clue: amplifiers amplify so don't turn it on if you need quiet.
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#4
Quote by Spambot_2
Tube power amps have less thump (low end transients) than tube power amps generally.


Interesting...
“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”
Charles Darwin
#5
Thanks for the answers.

I am currently building a replica of the Zilla Fatboy with a V30 and a G12H. I will be using that as cab.

And what i mean with thump isn't really that low end, but the "pushing" feel of tubes. My HD500x sounds pretty good, but i feel like it sounds less organic and it loses quite a bit of the tube feel. As if it sounds flatter. I'm sorry, it's hard to describe.

The "best" sound was directed more at the ability to go front of house directly. I have heard people say that it makes sound engineers love you and sounds a ton better for the audience. But i guess that is also subjective, even though i'd just like to read opinions about this.

Interesting though, as both your opinions seem to differ from what i usually hear.
Gear:
PRS custom 24 (2000)
PodHD500x (cause i'm poor, upgrade soon)
Custom power amp
Homemade 2x12 (celestion V30 + G12H creamback)

HORSES BLEW FIRE (My band)
#6
Quote by Arby911
Interesting...
Well that was simplistic enough
My point is that since you don't see tube power amps bigger than 100-120w usually, the majority of solid state power amps, which produce more power, can produce more low end, which would be the case with the amp TS was looking at.
Quote by AEnesidem
And what i mean with thump isn't really that low end, but the "pushing" feel of tubes. My HD500x sounds pretty good, but i feel like it sounds less organic and it loses quite a bit of the tube feel. As if it sounds flatter.
Don't get me wrong here, but it seems to me that you like tubes better just because they're tubes, and considering you can't even describe the difference I'd say you should try some blind tests.

I had once read a nice answer to a question about whether mogami gold cables would have been a significant improvement over mogami silvers: "you'll here a consistent and significant improvement, which would promptly disappear in a blind test".

Food for thought.
the amp TS was looking at.
Quote by AEnesidem
The "best" sound was directed more at the ability to go front of house directly.
For this you don't need any power amp tho, you can go from one of the pod's outputs to the FOH mixer directly.
Quote by AEnesidem
I have heard people say that it makes sound engineers love you
This is true in all cases.
Quote by AEnesidem
and sounds a ton better for the audience.
This is true in some cases.
Quote by AEnesidem
But i guess that is also subjective, even though i'd just like to read opinions about this.
Not really.

If the sound engineer is good then it's the same, if the sound engineer's bad then this way is better.

It's also a lot more easy, convenient, lightweight and quick to set up.
Name's Luca.

Quote by OliOsbourne
I don't know anything about this topic, but I just clicked on this thread because of your username :O
Quote by Cajundaddy
Clue: amplifiers amplify so don't turn it on if you need quiet.
Quote by chrismendiola
I guess spambots are now capable of reading minds.
#7
I thought the best sounds I got from my HD500X came from running into a Carvin HTM760 (two channel with adjustable graphic EQ) and then to my 212 with speakers of my choice. You lose a little bit of the flexibility of the setup Dspellman describes by running it through a guitar cab, BUT I think it sounds more typical and "natural" for lack of a better word.
I'm just a kickin' and a gougin' in the mud and the blood and the beer.
#8
If I really need to supply my own noise, I run my HD500 through an old Peavey Transtube Supreme 100w head into a Peavey 4x12 cab. Just plug the HD500 output into the heads power input section on the back, completely bypassing the pre-amp section. Works for me.

But if there is an actual board I prefer to go direct to that and skip the whole amp thing.
#9
Honestly i don't think it's placebo. It's a very distinct "pushing" sound of the tubes that is mostly recognisable in clean tones. It's a warm sound that seems to be way less pronounced through (low end) digital gear like the pod and maybe also power amps.
Fago Sepia is a good example, i love them because of that distinct sound. I mostly find it difficult to describe because englihs isn't my native language.

I always try to be as objective as i can. Ofcourse there's still a chance i'm wrong.

And i know i don't need a power amp for that but to split the signal to send it to FOH and Cab at the same time i do, right? Cause i'd like to keep having the feel on stage and having good sound for people on the front.
Gear:
PRS custom 24 (2000)
PodHD500x (cause i'm poor, upgrade soon)
Custom power amp
Homemade 2x12 (celestion V30 + G12H creamback)

HORSES BLEW FIRE (My band)
#10
Quote by AEnesidem


And i know i don't need a power amp for that but to split the signal to send it to FOH and Cab at the same time i do, right? Cause i'd like to keep having the feel on stage and having good sound for people on the front.


The best thing for providing "good sound for people on the front" is not to feed them stage volume but to make sure that the FOH system also has front fills for them. Those will be time-synched correctly, for starters, and it will give them a complete band sound (vocals, etc.). Most systems beam (4x12s are the worst, but 2x12s beam as well), and the people standing directly in front of your amp will hear you, not a balance of the whole band. That's not ""good sound for people on the front."
#11
sorry, what i meant is not good sound, what i meant is just sound. Most venues we play at will have crappy PA systems and poor placement of speakers. Even bigger venues here tend to have this problem.
Gear:
PRS custom 24 (2000)
PodHD500x (cause i'm poor, upgrade soon)
Custom power amp
Homemade 2x12 (celestion V30 + G12H creamback)

HORSES BLEW FIRE (My band)
#12
Quote by Spambot_2
The crown is also a digital (class D) power amp.


While the amp in question is indeed both Class D and a digital/analog hybrid, I hope you don't think that Class D means digital. After saying that tube amps generally have less thump than tube amps, I'm not sure.
There's no such thing; there never was. Where I am going you cannot follow me now.
#13
Quote by AEnesidem
Honestly i don't think it's placebo.
That's why I suggested to try some blind tests.
Quote by AEnesidem
It's a very distinct "pushing" sound of the tubes that is mostly recognisable in clean tones.
Fago Sepia is a good example, i love them because of that distinct sound.
I've listened to a couple song.
Might it be the case that you're referring to power tube distortion?
'cause if that's the case, know that it's inadvisable to turn a power amp so high in volume considering the PA system would be addressing the audience, as dspellman described.
Quote by AEnesidem
sorry, what i meant is not good sound, what i meant is just sound. Most venues we play at will have crappy PA systems and poor placement of speakers. Even bigger venues here tend to have this problem.
I'd say if you're good enough to discern when a PA system is nicely set up or not then you need your own sound guy and possibly your own PA system, else you're not gonna get a good, clear and balanced sound to the audience, end of the story.
Quote by theogonia777
While the amp in question is indeed both Class D and a digital/analog hybrid, I hope you don't think that Class D means digital.
Class D means a switching amp, I have never known amp classes letters to be the shorts for something.

Anyway one of the steps needed for class D amplification is converting the sound to digital with a delta ADC, hence me calling these "digital amps".
Quote by theogonia777
After saying that tube amps generally have less thump than tube amps, I'm not sure.
I elaborated on that.
Also you probably meant to say that "tube amps generally have less thump than SS amps".

You wanna present me any proof that I'm objectively wrong, or some reason for your critic, or is it just that you don't like me?
Name's Luca.

Quote by OliOsbourne
I don't know anything about this topic, but I just clicked on this thread because of your username :O
Quote by Cajundaddy
Clue: amplifiers amplify so don't turn it on if you need quiet.
Quote by chrismendiola
I guess spambots are now capable of reading minds.
Last edited by Spambot_2 at Sep 29, 2015,
#14
^ no man look at your original post you actually did say tube amps have less thump than tube amps

I knew what you meant but I imagine he's just poking fun at you with that.
I'm just a kickin' and a gougin' in the mud and the blood and the beer.
#15
Quote by Spambot_2
Anyway one of the steps needed for class D amplification is converting the sound to digital with a delta DAC, hence me calling these "digital amps".


Maybe you should read up a bit more on Class D amplification.
There's no such thing; there never was. Where I am going you cannot follow me now.
#16
Quote by theogonia777
Maybe you should read up a bit more on Class D amplification.


I can kind of see what he's getting at a little bit but yeah, there isn't really anything that I'd consider digital about the function of the amp. I guess maybe he's referring to the modulation? But there is no real "digital" shit going on. After the modulation stage the amplification is done by whats more or less a buck converter, and then it goes through an LPF, so I'm not sure where the "digital" comes into play there.
I'm just a kickin' and a gougin' in the mud and the blood and the beer.
#17
Quote by AEnesidem
sorry, what i meant is not good sound, what i meant is just sound. Most venues we play at will have crappy PA systems and poor placement of speakers. Even bigger venues here tend to have this problem.


Yeah, we've run into that as well. There's a place alongside the freeway down in San Juan Capistrano that's essentially a big roadhouse with what amount to picnic tables radiating from the stage. There are big arrays on either side of a largish (wide) relatively shallow stage, some subs (don't remember where those are located). There are some speakers in the ceiling about halfway back (I have no idea what they actually do).

Vocals run ONLY through the house system, of course, so if you're sitting close to the stage (they serve dinner and drinks at those tables), you won't hear them. If you're sitting close to the stage (and these are extra cost premium seats for some tickets), you'll be lucky to hear drums and ONE guitar, and if the idiot playing guitar decides to crank things up (he'll never be invited to play there again, BTW), you'll have your skull split, still only hear one guitar and still no vocals. Worse, loud stage volume goes into the vocal mikes, makes it impossible to get good sound out of the vocals, and the sound coming from the amps into the vocal mikes is out of time with the sound coming from the amps into the amp mikes, and the whole thing sounds bad.

So their upfront patrons complain if there's too much stage volume and complain constantly about the vocals. Fact is, that's the LAST place you want to be if you're there to hear the band.

The solution is to provide front fills for the down front folks, keep stage volume VERY low, and run the front fills at a different output level from the mains on the side. We've sketched it up for them, but I haven't been there in a while, dunno if they've bothered.

The old school sock-hop method was to let the amps provide guitar/bass sounds and then have nothing but vocals coming out of a couple of PA speakers on the side. This usually sounds more or less okay if you're sound checking in a school gym with no one around (if you ignore the fact that you've got bounce off the gym walls). When humans arrive, the whole thing changes lots. What you may think sounds good actually sounds nasty from almost every location in the room.
#18
Quote by dementiacaptain
^ no man look at your original post you actually did say tube amps have less thump than tube amps

I knew what you meant but I imagine he's just poking fun at you with that.
Aww damn, sorry about that, now a couple posts are clearer
Quote by theogonia777
Maybe I should read up a bit more on Class D amplification.
FTFY

According to "Digital Signal Processing", a university text book by John G. Proakis and Dimitris G. Manolakis, a digital signal is "a type of signal that can take on a set of discrete values (a quantized signal)."
Exact quote is from wikipedia, which cites that and another book as a source.

Now, if you feed an everyday, fairly common class D amp an analog signal, the following happens:

1. the signal passed through a 1bit analog to digital converter, or delta analog to digital converter.
This means the continuous analog signal is being converted into a set of bits (either 0 or 1, so a set of discrete values), which represent the behavior of the signal in any given portion of time.
For more on this, look up PDM, or pulse density modulation.

2. this set of values, which are effectively variations in the output voltage of the converter, pass through an amplifying device that is basically turned on when there's a 1 and turned off when there's a 0.
This way, the resulting output is a smoothed waveform that, considering the switching speed, is pretty similar to a continuous waveform, but it still has a problem that has to be fixed by stage 3.

3. the amplified output signal is fed to a low pass filter so that the very swift changes in amplitude caused by the fact that you're working with 1bit signals at veeery high switching frequency (or, more simply, since you have to move at very high speeds you need something to smooth out the "spikes" caused by the bits) don't result in extremely high frequency content, which would not be reproducible by speakers.

Now, wikipedia's article about class D amps has a section arguing that class D amps aren't digital because the part that actually amplifies the signal is analog, tho a class D amplifier need a signal to be converted to 1bit to be able to amplify it, and that's why if you ask me these are digital amps.

You too may argue that a class D amp isn't a "digital amp" using the same argument as wikipedia, but then again you don't call "digital to analog converters" only analog converters just because they have output sections that output analog audio, nor you call digital cameras analog cameras because they only have one element that converts light into digital signals while all the rest is done by optic elements.
Quote by dspellman
Yeah, we've run into that as well. There's a place alongside the freeway down in San Juan Capistrano that's essentially a big roadhouse with what amount to picnic tables radiating from the stage. There are big arrays on either side of a largish (wide) relatively shallow stage, some subs (don't remember where those are located). There are some speakers in the ceiling about halfway back (I have no idea what they actually do).
The easiest solution to this is to use monitor speakers placed to the foremost part of the stage and pointed towards the band and run the guitar through them as well if ya ask me.

The result is often so much better it might be wort it to get a couple of active speakers or more just for that purpose.
Name's Luca.

Quote by OliOsbourne
I don't know anything about this topic, but I just clicked on this thread because of your username :O
Quote by Cajundaddy
Clue: amplifiers amplify so don't turn it on if you need quiet.
Quote by chrismendiola
I guess spambots are now capable of reading minds.