Alternative to PSA-1?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by rickeb1, Feb 3, 2006.


  1. rickeb1

    rickeb1 Member

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    Hello,

    I have a very basic rack set-up that features a Tech21 PSA-1 preamp that I am fairly happy with. It's pretty versatile and has some good sounds. I'm also using a 15-band EQ with it, which helps the tone immensely. But, I'm feeling like there's just something missing with it. It doesn't seem to quite have enough "oomph" to it, not quite enough guts, if that makes sense. It also doesn't seem to have quite the "rounded" tone that some tube amps have. I was in a music store the other day where someone was playing through a nice Marshall, and the sound just seemed stronger and fuller that what I've been able to get from the PSA-1.

    So, as I said I'm fairly happy with it, but I'm wondering if there are other rack preamps out there that might be recommended as being being better than, or at least an alternative to, the PSA-1. I play mostly classic-to-hard rock, not really any metal but would like the capability. Some nice clean tones as well as gutsy crunch. Maybe an actual tube preamp of some kind, though the PSA-1 is nice with no tubes to take care of. Also, I don't have a huge budget, maybe about the same level as a PSA-1, maybe a little more.

    Many thanks for your thoughts!

    ~ Rick
     
  2. Grim

    Grim Member

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    it depends on the budget but one way is tube preamp like ENGL 530 (just an example, I've just bought one and I'm plesently suprised by it, many more options here including VHT, Mesa etc). Its not as versatile as modelling units but definitelly has tube punch or omph, whatever you call it.

    other way would be to stick with modelling and go for something like pod XT (f.e. PRO versio), simpulations are really good in this unit.
     
  3. riverastoasters

    riverastoasters Member

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    PSA-1 is a fabulous object, for what it is. But to me, it's not a very wonderful guitar preamp.

    By far my favorite preamp for your requirements is Demeter TGP-3. I think you cat get them used for around $1500 though, so maybe that is out of your range.

    You really ought to think about whether the Stephenson Stage Hog fits in your picture. It's a lot less than a TGP-3. Technically it's not a preamp but you can use it in that capacity. But it also does a lot of other tricks.
     
  4. bluesdoc

    bluesdoc Gold Supporting Member Gold Supporting Member

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    I recently scored a Kasha Rock Mod 2 off evilbay and sent it to John Kasha to bring it up to spec. Should be quite the preamp. Stay tuned.......

    jon
     
  5. rickeb1

    rickeb1 Member

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    Thanks for the replies! The Engl E530 is one I'd look at. Would the ADA MP-1, maybe with some mods, be another possibility?
     
  6. tjs

    tjs Senior Member

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    Soldano SP-77. Sounds great for a wide variety of music and will run you about $200 used (they are no longer made).
     
  7. Grim

    Grim Member

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    ADA MP-1 is good but with mod's. Look for JFA or VoodooAmps mods in that area.
    If you need versality you have Engl 580 - full midi preamp with 256 programable settings, and newest randall MTS preamp system - up to 4 tube preamp modules in there, again with midi option. You should make it within 1500 usd for last two option.
     
  8. Riscchip

    Riscchip Member

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    I had a PSA-1 for years and thought it was nicer than a POD for straight drive sounds, but I can relate to your general impressions. It also sounds better and more authentic powered through proper guitar amp speakers.

    Anyway...since you are constrained budget-wise, I recommend a Boogie Quad preamp, maybe a Triaxis if you can find one cheap enough (mine was $500 used). Your quality of your tone with a tube preamp will often have a lot to do with your choice of power, however. A good tube poweramp adds a lot to the sound.

    Another wild suggestion is to just use a regular tube amp into a hotplate set to load, run the line out through effects and then power it back up with whatever poweramp you're already using. This, in my opinion, sounds very good.
     
  9. rickeb1

    rickeb1 Member

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    That's a great point! I have been trying a seemingly endless variety of speakers with the PSA-1, and have yet to find anything that really does it for me. I often here people say to use "full range speakers", but I don't know which specific speakers are "full range". I'd love to know if you found any particular speakers that you thought mated well with the PSA-1.

    Surpisingly, the thing that actually sounds the best of all I've tried is a 20-year old Peavey 2x12, ported across the bottom, with two Peavey Scorpion speakers! I also have an EarCandy 2x12 BuzzBomb that came with Eminence Wizards. I think the cab is great, but the Wizards are definitely not the right speaker for the PSA-1.

    As for some of the other suggestions, I'm afraid the Engl 580, the Demeter TGP-3, and the Randall MTS are way out of the range of what I can afford to put into a preamp. A modded MP-1 is looking more attractive to me. I've also seen a Rocktron VooduValve - would it be worth considering?

    Many thanks for all your help!

    ~ Rick
     
  10. riverastoasters

    riverastoasters Member

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    Full range means like a keyboard amp, or the PA. That sort of thing. If you want a guitar speaker that is full-ish range, ElectroVoice EVM-12L is sort of the answer.

    The Stephenson Stage Hog is around $500 so maybe that fits better?
     
  11. rickeb1

    rickeb1 Member

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    I picked up an ADA MP-1 cheap, so I'm going to try that. It's stock, so I'll give it a try that way, and if it's close but needs more, I'll get the Voodo mods done. The Stephenson Stage Hog actually looks very interesting, but I'm really trying to keep everything in the rack, and as little on the floor as possible. Still, if the MP-1 doesn't work out, I'd still consider it.

    Many thanks again for all your help!

    ~ Rick
     
  12. countandduke

    countandduke Member

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    In all honesty, my JMP-1 Marshall preamp has the best tone and cabinet emulation I have ever heard. Other runners up are the Rocktron Pirahna and mp-1. Trace at Voodoo amps mods the MP-1 and JMP-1 now so.......

    Good luck...

    Chris
     

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