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

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by Profklamen, Jun 17, 2005.

  1. Profklamen

    Profklamen Supporting Member

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    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.
     
  2. hasserl

    hasserl Member

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    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.
     
  3. big hair

    big hair Member

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    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
     
  4. aleclee

    aleclee TGP Tech Wrangler Staff Member

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    +1. At that price, it's even a decent "power amp" for my Pod XTL.
     
  5. big hair

    big hair Member

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    exactly! :)
     
  6. Sudsysul

    Sudsysul Member

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

    Profklamen Supporting Member

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    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.
     
  8. Marcello

    Marcello Member

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    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
     
  9. Scott Peterson

    Scott Peterson Administrator ^/|\^ Co-Founder of TGP Staff Member

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    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.
     
  10. Deaj

    Deaj Silver Supporting Member

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    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:
     
  11. Tone_Terrific

    Tone_Terrific Supporting Member

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    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.
     
  12. Colt

    Colt Member

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    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.
     
  13. Baba

    Baba Supporting Member

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    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.


    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.
     
  14. rickman769

    rickman769 Member

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    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.
     
  15. Colt

    Colt Member

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    oh, and it can be used stereo.....for you XT live guys...
     
  16. HHB

    HHB Member

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    I'm very interested in this thing too, thanks for the reviews!
     
  17. drbob1

    drbob1 Silver Supporting Member

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    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...
     
  18. gsf

    gsf Member

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    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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