Crate PowerBlock - What the H#@$? Sounds Pretty (Gulp) Decent?!?!

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by dewman, Mar 10, 2006.

  1. dewman

    dewman Gold Supporting Member

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    Man- I couldnt believe all the hype. I have wanted a backup amp and finally broke down and bought a Crate powerblock since I hate dragging multiple tube heads around, or even worse combos. I brought it home and played it through a Marshall 1936 cab loaded with 2x12 Celestion Greenbacks wired for 4 ohms. Man it actually sounded pretty decent, all for 169$ and tax. Anybody actually use these for gigging?? Any bad expereinces or good ones? Mine is for backing up, but it actually has a nice lead tone with Greenbacks when cranked up a bit, but not too gainy. Takes some pedals quite well. Still getting used to it. Any cab or speaker combinations it sounds good with? I have an unused Weber 16 ohm Blue Dog that I might get a cab for running it, just for practicing around. Might give it some clarity. Who would have thought that 169$ bought me a little peace of mind....
     
  2. dougb415

    dougb415 Member

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    Hee hee! First I posted about the Epi Triggerman 60w combo ($225), and now the Crate Power Block ($169).

    MAJOR CHEAPNESS! :dude

    The reviews I've read about the Crate unit all sound like this: "Bought one of these for a backup, tried it out, holy crap, the raw sound is usable!"

    Weird looking little box, but hey....
     
  3. nik

    nik Member

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    who's selling them for $169? I've been thinking about picking one up...
     
  4. dewman

    dewman Gold Supporting Member

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    Guitar center...march madness I guess...List was 250$ and they were on sale for 199. I asked if there was any wiggle room on the price...Hey- it has a lot of features, doesn't sound bad at all w/my ES335 and costs as much as a Fulltone pedal...so why not??
     
  5. bigroy

    bigroy Member

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    I bought mine to use as a backup, decided to try it out one night. Played it a total of 2 full gigs with a 1-12 Tonespotter-loaded cab. Very nice, and took my pedals well. A winner as far as I'm concerned. Didn't replace my Germino Masonette, but it tags along on every gig "just in case".

    One of the other area bands got thru two nights using it as a bass head. They said it did a decent job in that application as well.
     
  6. VaughnC

    VaughnC Supporting Member

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    Yup, I've been saying that for months.The Crate Power Block may not blow your favorite tube amp out of the water, but to my ears it sounds very decent. And, for less than $200, it's crazy to not at least have one in the gigging trunk, just in case.....:eek:.
     
  7. inscho

    inscho Senior Member

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    I agree I played one the day it arrived at guitar center (I was working there at the time) I was amazed at the sound that came out of it. Very impressive for the money and size
     
  8. Tone_Terrific

    Tone_Terrific Member

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    Decent SS amps have been around for decades.
    It's just that the indecent ones have tainted the reputation of all for those seeking that last 5% of tonal greatness.

    There are indecent tube amps, too, but they just get reputations for having character.
     
  9. SgtThump

    SgtThump Member

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    My buddy has one. I heard it through his Marshall 1960A cabinet and was shocked at how good it sounded for hard rock tones! VERY IMPRESSIVE!!!
     
  10. Scott Peterson

    Scott Peterson Staff Member

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    It indeed sounds good - I have used it at rehearsals now for a long time; and as a backup on every gig. Never had to use it on tha gig yet, but would easy get through it if I had to.
     
  11. big mike

    big mike Moderator - EL34 Emeritas Staff Member

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    When I'm being a lazy ass, I take it and an EV Loaded boogie cab for jams, etc. That's it. Not even a pedal. I get a medium gain going, and work the volume knob on my guitar.

    Scary good peice of gear, and loads of fun. Dude damn near tried to buy it off me the other day when selling my Marshall Cab. (I hide the tube stuff when strangers come over, ya know?)
     
  12. danel59

    danel59 Member

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    Had one for a while now too. Hard to admit that it does sound so good. I mainly use it as a power amp for my Koch Pedaltone and it has blown a few people away. In fact my good bud Eric who was just posting about the Supersonic, I think that's all he needs as well and doesn't know it, he has a Pedaltone too(knudge, knudge wink wink):



    :RoCkIn
     
  13. bluesdoc

    bluesdoc Gold Supporting Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Yeah, count me in. I haven't gigged with it, but I use it a lot at home for quick and easy, save the tubes, playing. Mine did develop the dreaded bad pot syndrome, but I got it repaired on warranty, no prob. Btw, I looked under the hood to see if it was something simple (vol cuts out) and was amazed to see that the pots are these tiny little cubes! Really insubstantial.......:(. Hopefully the replaced one will hold up. It IS my gig backup.

    jon
     
  14. Leonc

    Leonc Wild Gear Hearder Gold Supporting Member

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    Why is there not one fecking clip of this thing available? Someone proove me wrong please...but I can't find a single demo of what you can do with the Powerblock and a guitar...:(
     
  15. Troubleman

    Troubleman Silver Supporting Member

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    I needed a mid to hi-power backup for larger venues where I typically use a Marshall Jubilee 2555. I didn't feel like dragging my Mesa MkIV combo in its roadcase - big and heavy as depleted uranium, so I picked on up. I think I started a thread about gigging without a backup amp, which somehow worries me. I tried the thing out in Guitar Center through a Marshall 1960 4x12 cab. Okay, Budda and Fuchs shouldn't be quakin' in their boots over it, but dang - that little puppy doesn't sound bad at all. At less that $200 and being the size of a lunchbox, it's a really good thing to have. It goes on every gig, and it may make my Pro Jr practice amp unnecessary. It takes pedals surprisingly well, works well as either a stand alone amp head or a power amp, and its footprint is reaeeellllyyyy leeeetle. I recommend them to my guitar buddies all the time now. Kudos and high praise to Crate.

    peace,

    jb
    :BluesBros
     
  16. Buckeyedog

    Buckeyedog Supporting Member

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    Me too. I love mine! I rarely buy anything new any more, but when I played this a few months ago, I had to buy it on the spot. Sounds great by itself and takes pedals well. Peace of mind too for the backup rig. I need to get a nice 112 to go along with it though for max portability.
     
  17. DavidE

    DavidE Member

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    I haven't tried it at practice, but keep mine in the SUV as a backup.
     
  18. dewman

    dewman Gold Supporting Member

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    compared it to my Ghia, both running through the same 2x12 cab loaded with celestion greenback reissues (made in england versions) - cab is a closed back marshall 1936 - particle board but what the hey..

    ANyway, I am very impressed because with the Ghia set a 9 on vol and 2-3oclock on tone and the powerblock set at noon for gain, high 11-12, mid 2-3, bass 2-3 and level 9-12 both amps are in early breakup but have a largely clean sound. The nice tone control on the ghia around 2-3 gets dark enough to match the slightly darker powerblock. Tested alone, the tones at these settings are similar, clearly the Ghia is more dynamic, cleans up better and is all around tops, but they are highly similar around these settings. Volume levels are similar as well. Above 12 on the powerblock gain settings the hard rock and metal sounds emerge, but earlier settings blended with the level control can match the output volume of the 18 watt Ghia and also can cop 80% of the tone and dynamics. Tried both with a bluesbreaker I pedal and that was all that was needed for a nice gain boost to give a singing sustain to the 335 I was playing with. All pup selsctions on the Ghia were great, but the powerblock bridge setting was particularly nice with the OD pedal. Got varying responses with different OD pedals like an OCD (which sounded pretty good with both amps, a Butler tube driver which sounded better with the powerblock b/c the ghia was compressed, and a hughes and kettner tube factor, whcih sounded good with both). The tube preamp pedals like the H and K and the Real tube had more dynamics and made the SS amp sound WAY more dynamic and quasi-tube like. What I was particularly impressed with is that with a little tweaking, the powerbloc could cop a lot of the Ghia tones, which is exactly what you would want in a SS backup amp. Both amps go totally different directions when cranked, but at modest settings they are coincidentally voiced similarly to allow for a really nice insurance policy should the Ghia take a tube nose dive in a gig. Great deal for 169$ and am trying it out to see what other tones might be copped with my other amps and guitars...
     
  19. bscepter

    bscepter Member

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    I think it sounds ideal for a backup. I'm just afraid of blowing my spendy Celestion Blues (30w handling, total) with a SS amp putting out that much wattage. I wish there were a 30w version.
     
  20. guitarplayaman

    guitarplayaman Member

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    i been using one of these on some low paying gigs using a single 15 cab...sounds great...actually for doing some of the jazzier stuff you can get a pretty killer jazz tone with that set up...
     

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