Crate Powerblock - Don't laugh, just try it.

Profklamen

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
456
I know this crowd isn't that interested in $199 Solid State Crate amps, but I tried one today and I'm suprised to say it sounded damn good. Good enough that I bought one to take it home and compare it to my high-end and vintage amps.

It has a clean sound that is first rate - not first rate for a cheap amp - as good as many high-end amps. using a 4x12 cab, I compared it to my 68 Twin Reverb with JBL's, my 66 Super Reverb, vintage Marshalls, a Vetta, and others. It still sounded great in that company.

It has about as much gain available as a JCM-800, and it seems to take the pedals I tried it with quite well. I really like its sound with just a little bit of grit too.

However, when the gain is turned up really high, I think is starts to sound a bit harsh and crude. Its voicing is fenderish for the cleans and low gain sounds and morphs into Mesa Rectifier voicing for the medium gain sounds - huge amounts of bass and rather unrefined. My VHT PB 45 kicked it's butt in this category.

Nevertheless it is remarkable for how light, small and inexpensive it is. I think its a great back-up amp, and has alot of potential for clean and low-gain applications.
 

hasserl

Member
Messages
4,708
Well, I don't know if I'll try the Crate. But I have an old solid state Mitchell amp that sounds great too. I tried to unload it years ago but nobody wanted it. So I stuck it away back in the pile. I shuffled things around last weekend and when I pulled it out I plugged it in and fired it up and was pleasantly reminded of what a nice amp it is. It also has a very nice clean tone that compares favorably like your Crate does. And full gain is not very high, maybe a little more than the SF Super Reverb I just picked up. But thru the two 10" speakers it sounds very good. Push the front end with a Tube Screamer or similiar and it gets as much OD as I need.

It surely won't get any notice around a place like this. But these types of amps can be very cool. Good score.
 

big hair

Member
Messages
284
I was thinking about one of these to put in my gig bag, just incase my main amp goes down. Saves taking a full size spare along
 

aleclee

TGP Tech Wrangler
Staff member
Messages
13,327
Originally posted by big hair
I was thinking about one of these to put in my gig bag, just incase my main amp goes down. Saves taking a full size spare along
+1. At that price, it's even a decent "power amp" for my Pod XTL.
 

Sudsysul

Member
Messages
361
That's very interesting.. the backup in a bag is a pretty nifty idea, rather than schlepping another big amp head around.
 

Profklamen

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
456
It seems like a very smart back-up amp or pod power amp. However, what's most interesting to me about it is that it actually sounds good - I know this might cause me to lose some credibility around here. I hope a few others try it and report back what they think.
 

Marcello

Member
Messages
1,633
nothing laughable, a dude posted some VH riff played on a SS crate that sounded very good !

crate Palominos are damn good, tube amps sold by GC, a bit like V series
 

Scott Peterson

TGP Co-Founder and Administrator
Staff member
Messages
37,673
I am buying one of these for a backup. Checked it out at GC and was extremely impressed with the form factor, the weight and the cleans were very good. Nice pedals up front and you have a backup in a bag.

Outstanding.
 

Deaj

Member
Messages
4,674
I dropped by a local GC this evening to try one out. They happened to have a used Rivera R55-112 with the same Celestion G12T-85 in the enclosure as is in my Rivera Jake so I had an opportunity to hear the Powerblock through a very similar enclosure to mine. I was really impressed with the cleans! The tone wasn't what I would call inspiring but rather it produced a nice balanced clean with pleasant overtones. It sounds very musical - what's not to like!

I did not get a chance to throw a pedal in front of it so the jury is still out. If it responds well to a Mosferatu, Zendrive, or CJOD then it'll pass the audition and I'll have found my backup amp. :cool:
 

Tone_Terrific

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
33,743
Good tone is wherever you find it.

Some people have touble with that and pursue the last 2% endlessly. That can be fun, but there are lots of highly playable amps available for low bucks.
 

Colt

Member
Messages
1,301
powerblocks rock my world, we have them at work. Expecially on the gainy side pluged inthe the crate 1x12.....a few of the guys that I work with bought the first few we got in as back up, if nothing else, ot thier marshalls. killer, killer amp for 200 bucks.
 

Baba

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,345
I've been eyeing this thing up ever since I saw it for a backup-in-a-bag type application, maybe I'll go to GC to try it out. Thanks for bringing it up.


Originally posted by diminishedlogic
now THAT is funny!
Just a question, exactly WHAT is so funny? Sounds like you may have had some helpful experience with this amp, if so, tell us about it, please.
 

rickman769

Member
Messages
98
My younger cousin has an SS 1x12 crate, and I plugged into it and was very suprised with the tone and volume. They're definatly decent amps for the price.
 

drbob1

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
28,562
You know, this sounded like a great idea till I thought it thru. You can buy a used Stewart PB100 (5.5#, 1/2 rack, 90 wpc/180 bridged) for less than $200, and a Tech 21 GT pedal for less than $100-you get pristine audio quality, 3 amp sounds and it can double as a bass amp or PA in a pinch. Since I've got the Sansamp, I think I'll go looking for the Stewart...
 

gsf

Member
Messages
869
I'm opening some teaching studios and wanted really good teaching amps. Since I'm not gonna go heavy retail, I knew I would not get any dealerships - the small Korgs and Vox's are fantastic in that application. So I also went to GC to hear the Crates to see if they would be worth getting - VERY satisfying for that app. and I love the Palimino 16. Billy Gibbons was in on the voicing of these amps, from what I've heard.
 




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