Power Scaling review

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by 56_Special, Jul 20, 2006.

  1. 56_Special

    56_Special Member

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    I've just had a London Power power scaling box installed in my Ceriatone 18 watt trem Marshall clone. WOW! This thing really works.

    First a little background. My 18 watter is too loud for rehearsal. So far stage volume has been perfect, but I'm always scared of running into the uncooperative sound guy. In rehearsal I've been knocking a few db's off with a Weber Mini-Mass. I don't really like it. Even at minimum attenuation, it changes the tone. And at any significant level of attenuation, I loose high end and everything becomes super compressed. Someone compared playing through an attenuated amp to drinking through a straw, and that pretty well sums up my experience with the Mini-Mass. Some people say that different attenuators work with different amps, so perhaps the Mini-Mass just isn't a good match for my amp. No matter.

    I had my amp tech (who's quite an accomplished amp builder himself) install the power scaling box. He was pretty skeptical and give me that a-fool-and-his-money look. After he installed it, we were both amazed. Up until very extreme levels (sub loud TV levels) the amp sounds EXACTLY like my amp when its cranked only quiter. Did I say exactly? I meant exactly. Really, it's astonishing. There is really nothing more to say about it. No artifacts. No coloration. No tone suck. No compression. Just like my amp but quiter. Wow!

    I have yet to have a full band rehearsal with it. (Drummer is on vacation.) When I do and after I gig it, I'll do a follow up post. But damn, as of right now, I'm thinking that this is the holy grail of volume control. All of you bedroom players and studio-only types take note. This works! And all those amps that I love but only break up at too-high levels: Bassman, JTM-45, Hiwatt, Super Reverb --- all these are now realistic options. Install power scaling and you can actually use these beasts in a real world context (and still have all that power on tap if you need it).

    The only downside with this particular installation is that the box goes on the side of the inside of the cabinet (my amp is in a combo). You have to reach around back to change it. I am anticipating that this set up makes altering the level of power scaling a bit of a hassel on stage and in rehearsal. But I tend to just dime the thing and control my volume with the volume knob of my guitar. Still, it would be nice to have easier access.

    Executive summary: I love it!
     
  2. electronpirate

    electronpirate Member

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    Thanks for the review.

    How much is the kit?
     
  3. 56_Special

    56_Special Member

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    Edit: $200

    (I originally misquoted the price as $250.)
     
  4. electronpirate

    electronpirate Member

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    Sorry, I should have asked more.

    How intrusive is it to the amp? Or how easy/hard is it to install, and back out should you want to restore back to specs.

    And is this 'truly' the bedroom amp solution?
     
  5. afm409

    afm409 Member

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    a bit of work or investment but i think a way to get the knob on front is having a second cab. for a head its easier, a combo ...

    then the ps box can be mounted on the inner side of the cab with the pot through a hole in the front of the cab, hopefully looking good.

    glad to hear the power scale works. this quite possibly solves thee problem. the posts by Suhr and Reeves have been positive. is this the future? if so, in a few years, and others follow, just imagine...
     
  6. 56_Special

    56_Special Member

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    How intrusive is it? Should you want the drive compensation knob (and you probably do), you need to give up a spot on your front panel. My amp is cathode biased, so I gave up the standby switch. Alternatively you might try the presense knob or indicator light. Talk to Kevin at LP or your tech for more info.

    It is not that easy to install. If you're not totally comfortable working inside an amp, then you should get a competent tech to do it.

    It is totally reversable.

    Is this truly the bedroom amp solution? IMHO, yes. There are some things about a stupid loud amp that no low volume solution will be able to replicate. You will not get the thump in you chest that a truly loud amp delivers. You will not get the kind of interaction between your guitar and amp that only high volumes makes possible. Everything else will be there IMHO. People talk about transformer saturation and speaker break up. I know my amp's tone when dimed and this is it. So I guess those two factors aren't as important as some would have you believe.

    Now, how low do you want to go? Quite enough so you can play while a baby sleeps in the next room? It will go that quiet, but it doesn't sound that great. If you give it just a little more juice, you can get a GREAT tone (provided that your amp has a great tone) at volumes that won't have your neighbors complaining. Think loud TV. At this volume PS works fantastically well.
     
  7. Macaroni

    Macaroni Member

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    I had Simon Jarrett install the London Power Scaling in the new Kingsley D32C that he recently built for me. It's a head, and he built the PS right into the amp, so there's no external box. The PS Level control is on the back panel and I had him use a chicken head knob, so I can reach around and 'feel' where it's set, without having to look. It really works well, and much better than the Weber MASS attenuator I had previously used.
     
  8. changeling

    changeling Member

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    ...where the strings come in.
    i'm getting one installed in my kt-45.
    i'm really looking forward to hearing the amp...but i don't want to bug my tech too much.he's the genius type(john martin of martone amps) and i want to keep him..i have a scumback 55hz-65 watt coming for my bogner 1x12 to play it thru.
    i will post a review when thangs come together.
    r:RoCkIn
     
  9. yannis

    yannis Member

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    I concur, i tried a similar scaling solution, and there was simply NO tone loss at all, up until loud conversation/tv volumes. With a hotplate at -4db cascaded, you could get at stupidly low volumes (with a slight tone loss).
     
  10. 56_Special

    56_Special Member

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    I'm not sure I follow your suggestion. The box has to be housed in the same cab as the amp. There are high voltage wires coming out of it.
     
  11. Amptone

    Amptone Member

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    Just as master volume preamp distortion has become a standard, routinely expected feature in all amps, built-in power attenuation enabling volume-independent power-tube distortion ought to soon become universally standard.

    What can I do further as owner of the popular Amptone.com site to help make this revolution happen as quickly as possible, carrying forward in unison the guitarists/customers, designers, marketers, columnists, magazine gear reviewers, and book authors?


    -- Michael Hoffman, BSEE
    http://amptone.com -- Guitar Amp Tone, Effects Placement, and Cranked-Amp Tone at Any Volume
     
  12. Speed_Racer71

    Speed_Racer71 Member

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    the same price a weber mass 100

    can any amp tech install one of these?
    other that new pickups and wiring ..thats about as techinical as i get
     
  13. Speed_Racer71

    Speed_Racer71 Member

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    think we can gets some pics of it?? :D
     
  14. 56_Special

    56_Special Member

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    I don't think installation is triavial. But if your tech knows what he's doing, he should be able to figure it out. I'm seeing my tech tomorrow. I'll ask him your question.

    Martin
     
  15. 56_Special

    56_Special Member

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    What there is to see is inside the box which is no firmly fastened to my cabinet. Also, I think Kevin O'Connor might not appreciate it if I flash picutres of the circut all over the net.

    Martin
     
  16. smilefan

    smilefan Member

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    I've had one of the first Power Scale-equipped amps ever built,
    since 1999 (London Power Studio), and have been singing its
    praises loudly for the past seven years.

    I'm AMAZED it took the amp public this long to catch on.
    This is one of the two best power reduction systems I've heard.
    I also like Maven Peal's "Wattage" control. I think it is even
    more pure in its tone-sparing effect as the power is dialed down,
    but it doesn't get down to true bedroom levels like the
    Power Scaling system.

    I like Power Scaling so much even my gain pedal has PS
    (Stage Hog)!
     
  17. TheAmpNerd

    TheAmpNerd Member

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    After all Martin,

    Kevin is probably your amp tech, eh?

    Both being north of the boarder and all.
    Not too far away from each other.

    HOWEVER

    Something just seems rotten in Denmark and I can't quite
    put my finger on it. If all these things are kits, then
    how can an amp manufacture, keep adding $100 - $500
    on their direct costs and still remain in business?

    THEN
    Multiply those costs ($100 - $500) by at least three, and that is probably
    the minimum you'll see the product marked up at the retail level.
    Yep, that is right,
    $300 - $1500, added onto the retaill price of that amp!


    I also didn't see anything about KOCs patents, pending or licensing
    his ideas, arrangements, etc, unless they can't be done.

    Looking at Kevin's site and reading about his kits
    and various add ons leaves me hesitant, sorry.

    I own most of Kevin's books too,
    six or seven at last count,
    they are very good.

    HOWEVER

    Look at Kevin's own website where I found
    the following:


    PSK (power supply kit 1, 1w/board, 2) $132, $142, $90.
    and the BMK (bias mod kit) $23 - $71.
    PSB (power supply boost) $128.
    There is also the PS-B (power scaling box) $200.
    TUT2 (switching [the ultimate tone vol 2]) $46.
    TBS (tracking bias supply) $42.
    CCK (circuit card kit [includes free Sharpie : ]) $47.
    THS (tracking hi-voltage supply is coming soon).
    PMS (?????) $10.



    Read all about them here:
    http://www.londonpower.com/kits/psbox.htm

    and here:

    http://www.londonpower.com/books.htm

    and here:

    http://www.londonpower.com/kits/psk.htm


    Martin,

    You never said which kit you purchased and how you came to your
    decision. You just bought it and took it to your tech? You sorted all that stuff out yourself from Kevin's site?

    So at least there is $325.00 more invested in your amp
    which I would have to say is the price/quality leader...
    much better amps out there, for more $$$$.

    It would be okay if you mentioned that you called Kevin and asked
    him which kit would be best for your application. I'm fairly technical,
    not totally...and I get a headache from wading though all the options
    that he is offering.

    In summary, I guess I just don't believe.

    Someone correct the err of my thinking.

    Am I that illogical?

    Am I that jaded?

    I am not here to just rag on Kevin either, sorry if it appears that way.

    Then again, my granddad who grew up in Ohio, used to tell me
    that no one could figure out what those nutty bike folks were doing.

    They had trains, why would anyone want to fly?
     
  18. Scottone

    Scottone Supporting Member

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    If you check out the prices of the various Power Scaled offerings (i.e. Stephenson, Reeves, Soultone, etc..) I think you will find that this isn't the case.

    Kevin never patented this technology, but just asks that London Power be credited when it is used by another manufacturer. I assume that he would be offering discounted prices to other manufacturers using the system.

    Like Smilefan, I've been using this technology for a few years and can't imagine owing an amp without the feature (currently using a Stephenson LJ-15)
     
  19. 56_Special

    56_Special Member

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    Nope. My amp tech is here in Toronto (Kevin is in London). My tech too was skeptical, but hearing the results completely changed his mind. He's an amp builder himself and is now planning to install Power Scaling in his next build.




    I made a mistake earlier. The kit was $200 and installation was $75. $275 all told. I love my amp and for an extra $275 I can get any tone the amp is capable at almost any volume. Pretty good deal, I'd say.


    I respect your skepticism. My only advice is to either risk the $275 on installing it on an amp or find an amp with it already installed and check it out. Hearing is believing. You strike me as the kind of guy who has to experience it for yourself. Well, give it a try.
     
  20. drbob1

    drbob1 Silver Supporting Member

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    Since Kevin didn't patent anything, I don't believe there's a charge to use his circuits-the amp manufacturer just has to add the cost of components which are probably 1/2 what the kits are...
     

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