How reliable is the Crate Powerblock?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by doc, Jul 22, 2006.


  1. doc

    doc Member

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    How reliable is the Crate Powerblock? I think for me overall it appears to be the best choice for most of the gigs I'll be doing, but I'm concerned about using it as my sole amp. I have small class D stereo amp that sounds good but intermittently cuts out (some digital weirdness), and I suspect to meet the price point the pots and connections in the PB are not exactly top of the line. That said, it wouldn't be knocked around much, so as long as its not TOO cheesy in interior build quality it might be okay. Assuming the tone quality stays fairly consistent when you turn it up (I played one at moderate volume and like the way it sounds, but haven't used one at band volumes) I think I'm cool with the tone. Anybody out there with lots of road miles on their Crate PB?
     
  2. BBQLS1

    BBQLS1 Member

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    No, but solid state holds up most of the time. Still, you always need a backup plan.
     
  3. sundaypunch

    sundaypunch Member

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    For most people the Powerblock is the back up plan (for their normal amp). If I were using one to gig I would buy two of them since they are so cheap.
     
  4. asdf

    asdf Member

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    I've had mine for about a year and it's held up well. Hasn't ever had a problem, sounds great, takes pedals well- it gets the job done. My only complaint is that it really doesn't have much sparkle- it needs to have a nice buffer on in front of it all the time if you want nice high end sparkle. The gain it has isn't great either, but buy something like the Tim (PaulC) and you're set for not too much money. Overall a nice amp- good stuff for the money.
     
  5. bluesdoc

    bluesdoc Gold Supporting Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Mine lost it's volume pot after ~6 months. It got repaired under warranty and has been fine since. I've heard of others losing some pots. They're tiny plastic thingys - not the standard metal housed sort that we're used to. If I were going to use a PB as a primary gig amp, I'd have another to back it up. Always, always have a back up for everything if you're gonna gig. Just asking for it if you don't........

    jon
     
  6. Chicago Slim

    Chicago Slim Member

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    Has anyone tried running two 8 ohm speakers, or a 16 ohm cabinet, with the Power Block? I know that they recommend 8 ohms mono, or two 4 ohm cabinets. Would this just give you less volume, or would it cause a class D amp to run hot?
     
  7. doc

    doc Member

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    Thanks for all the replies. I checked out your webpage bluesdoc; I may be following in your footsteps. This med gig is killing me, but I like having a reasonable income. Slim, I don't know for sure if the answer is particularly different for the Class D amps, but usually the problem is with trying to run too low an impedance which causes the amp to run too hot. I think too high an impedence would simply significantly decrease your sonic output (kind of a "current constipation"). I wouldn't recommend it in any case.
     
  8. Scott Peterson

    Scott Peterson Staff Member

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    I'd buy another as a backup; I have used mine as the backup more than a few times and never had any issues to report.
     
  9. bluesdoc

    bluesdoc Gold Supporting Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Yeah, being a doc these days is often far better for our patients than for us. Sad state of affairs. But then, there's lots of that wherever you look these days... strange and difficult times, except where you can create what you want for yourself.... just keep it simple.....

    jon
     
  10. shooto

    shooto Supporting Member

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    I have one as a practice/backup as well- Bad Monkey in front and a BBE 264 in the loop make it very formitable monster-
     
  11. jeffhef

    jeffhef Member

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    I started out using mine as a backup. In pretty short order it became my primary and then my only amp. I used it on the average - 8 hours per week. Never had a problem...not one. Held up well. I recently got back into a tube amp and sold it. I'd buy another for a backup if I had the money. Just can't afford to hold anything I'm not using these days.

    For the money...hard to beat.

    jeffhef
     
  12. Stormin

    Stormin Supporting Member

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    Mine is used as my backup rig with a GT-8, and this also serves as my regular practice rig. Saves unnecessary wear and tear on my Boogie. No problems in the 5 months I've owned it.

    Stormin!
     
  13. myles111

    myles111 Member

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    These are generally very reliable.

    If you are not a dynamic player that needs a touch sensitive output section that is found in tube amps than these are a great option.
     
  14. rockindillo

    rockindillo Member

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    Like just about everyone here, I bought my Powerblock as a spare amp - cheap, light, compact and pretty good-sounding, all things considered. It actually lives under the driver's seat in my car, where it would most likely stay, barring disasters and the odd outbreak of curiosity.

    I bought it because I liked its compactness and light weight and the fact that its 150w output meant that at a pinch it could double up as a bass amp or drive a monitor,if I ever needed it.

    In practice, I've never gigged it as a guitar amp - though it did sound pretty good at home, with my Peavey Valverb running in the loop - but the bass players with both my bands have used it a few times. We used it a few times in rehearsal, running into a 4-ohm Trace 8x10 cab (a real fly-on-the-elephant's-arse scenario!!!) and once for a gig, using a 4x10 cab (again 4ohm).

    By and large, it performed very well - the tone controls actually work just fine on the bass frequencies and with the master right up and the gain control on about half, it just about had enough "grunt".

    Then last weekend, we had a rehearsal and the amp kept cutting out - the power light kept flicking on and off and each time the sound vanished for a few seconds, too. However, it was a very very hot night, in a totally airless practice room, so I'm wondering if this was some kind of thermal cutout, perhaps?

    Anybody know if the amp has one, or have any thoughts about what the problem might be?

    A warranty claim is out of the question, I'm afraid, since this was a "like new but used" eBay purchase and I'd love to know what the problem was, if only so I can regain some confidence in the amp...
     
  15. orangekick

    orangekick Member

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    A buddy of mine bought one because he was low on funds and just needed an amp to get by. It's been about 6 months of heavy gigging with that as his only amp and it's fine. The tone isn't that bad either.
     
  16. drbob1

    drbob1 Silver Supporting Member

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    I bought one used and this is exactly what happened. If the dealer is a Crate dealer, he may still be able to send it in for warranty work, even though you bought it used (mine did-however I just got my money back and moved on). While the PB seems a good solution, you can buy used stereo power amps all day long for ~100, plug your Sansamp pedal in and you've got the same functionality with more flexibility...
     
  17. doc

    doc Member

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    You may have the same functionality but not the same form factor and portability. It sounds like these class D deals are overall pretty good but some have an "intermittent cutout" problem, possibly something that eventually develops in all of them but hopefully something that only some (maybe more likely if you get it on Ebay) are prone to. I wonder if that problem is more with the high tech chips or with the associated inexpensive components? I'm hoping its the latter because then it might be modded with better grade components and be a long term workhorse.
     
  18. WaltC

    WaltC Member

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    The flashing power light is a known problem with some of the units. the crate fix is to solder a 1meg 1/4 watt resistor across the front two legs of IC 101.

    It's worked on the two units I've had in for repair.
     
  19. aortizjr

    aortizjr Member

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    Bought mine as a backup.

    Lately has become more and more of a primary amp. I use it for gigs where I just need a small amp with my MFX. It has also been great for gigs that I have had to fly out to and can't bring my ENGL rig.

    Take this and my pedalboard, borrow a cab out there and it has worked extremely well.

    I haven't worked it really hard. But it has travelled to all 30+ gigs since I have had it and it still works very well. I travel with it in its case and don't abuse it.

    If it were my main amp, I would probably just get another as a backup. They are definitely cheap enough and the price has dropped since I bought mine.
     
  20. doc

    doc Member

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    Well, I'm finally about ready to go trade in some excess gear and a few hard earned greenbacks for a Powerblock. Anybody else with opinions of whether this will be a solid and useful aquisition?
     

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