The MOST durable amp

Discussion in 'Amps/Cabs Tech Corner: Amplifier, Cab & Speakers' started by drbob1, Mar 23, 2015.

  1. drbob1

    drbob1 Silver Supporting Member

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    I'm not sure if this is a tech question or a general amp question...

    I went on a mission trip to Cameroun 2 years ago, took them an electric guitar and some effects. It turns out they don't really use effects much (this is in church, and they use a pretty clean, kind of funky rhythm thing). Right now the guitarist is plugging straight into the PA system, so one solution to sounding better would be to bring a direct box with some EQ, like a Tech21 pedal or the Palmer PDA.

    But if I were going to take an actual amp, what would be the most reliable? I'm thinking packing chassis and speaker, because they have cool wood and great carpenters who could build a cab for it. Weight and size are an issue, it'd be luggage. Power requirements would probably be in the 30-100w range, depending on speaker efficiency.

    Possibilities I've thought of:
    1. Peavey Bandit 65/75-the pre-Transtube Bandits were pretty tough, still a lot of them for sale in pawn shops. I haven't been inside one but I know my amp tech is perfectly happy fixing them vs modern PCB amps. I'm not sure if repair parts would be available in Cameroun (they get most technical stuff from China thru Nigeria).

    2. PTP or terminal strip wired tube amp-something like a modded Bogen, an older Fender or something basic and durable. Parts for this would be more likely available, but there is the issue of needing to replace tubes, which could be hard to find out in the middle of nowhere.

    3. Build an amp with terminal strip or turret board wiring, using modern SS components, or SS preamp with tube power amp like the Music Man or Peavey Mace.

    On another note, given the desire for light weight, high efficiency and durability, what would you suggest for a speaker?
     
  2. ModdersAnon

    ModdersAnon Member

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    Before reading your suggestions, I immediately thought "Peavey Bandit"
     
  3. wyatt

    wyatt Member

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    I had thought of similar amps, but the Peavey Bandits are getting up there in age as well. A Tech 21 Trademark 60 could be a new option, if you like the tones.

    I was trying to think of a good reliable, relatively lightweight Class D combo, but I'm too far out of current amp offerings.
     
  4. Kyle B

    Kyle B Supporting Member

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    Put new electrolytics in an old Peavey Bandit, and it'll probably still be running in the year 2100....

    Don't forget about line voltage & frequency. You gotta get 'em right. You can't run a US-designed 60Hz 120V transformer on 50Hz 120V and especially not on anything 200V+!!!
     
  5. ELmiguel

    ELmiguel Member

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    Roland cube amps have been around for a long time. They are very durable and sound good. Should be cheap used. No tube problems.
     
  6. omahaaudio

    omahaaudio Senior Member

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    NOT a tube amp.

    How about a Quilter Tone Pro 200? Great sound, light weight, 200 watts, 100-250V operation, $400 (sorry).
    Maybe if you spoke to Quilter and explained things they'd consider giving you a break on the price. Send them photos of the amp in use in West Africa? Nice PR for them...

    Add an Emminence Legend 1218
    (http://www.eminence.com/speakers/speaker-detail/?model=Legend_1218)
    Not too heavy, rated at 150 watts, $80.

    Bring some printed plans for a 1x12 speaker cabinet so the carpenter has something to start with.
     
  7. drbob1

    drbob1 Silver Supporting Member

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    I'm not sure about durability of the Quilter stuff. Day to day, sure, but being thrown in the back of a pickup truck and driven 50 miles down an unbelievably bad road? And not sure if it's user repairable? I hadn't though of the Roland Cubes, how thick are the PCBs on them?

    And yeah, I'd take a diagram for how to build a 112 cab...
     
  8. Silent Sound

    Silent Sound Member

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    I'd be a little weary of the Peavey Bandit. The one I had didn't have the best pots or jacks, though the circuit itself was really simple, and that's always a plus. I'd definitely be thinking solid state, but so many SS amps I've come across were budget models where they skimped on parts like pots, jacks, ribbon cables, etc. Roland might be worth a look.

    Though personally, I'd just do the DI pedal into the P.A.
     
  9. upright1

    upright1 Member

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    I've played a lot gigs with a Tech21 Blonde pedal. If he has no amp at all, there are some really cool battery-powered amps out there. It's like a little battery-powered PA that guitars sound good through. Bring rechargeable batteries.
     
  10. drbob1

    drbob1 Silver Supporting Member

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    Interesting thought. I've got one of the Fender Amp Can rechargeable amps, was never too impressed with the tone and the volume at 10w sucks. The only other one I've seen was the Crate Taxi which seemed similar size and the Pignose, of course. All of which sound good in a lo-fi way but won't really cut it with a 200 person church singing loudly.

    The pedal into PA may be the best option after all...
     
  11. filtersweep

    filtersweep Member

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    I would never want to drag an amp around just for the sake of.... --- especially SS. There is nothing special about a Bandit that makes it worth dragging half way around the world, other than you need some form of amplification. Either get a packable lunchbox head, or go direct. An HD 500 fits in standard luggage, and you can certainly go much smaller than that. Unless you plan on keeping the amp there..... The HD works as a decent 'headphone' amp as well, and you can plug in an mp3 player, and it actually serves as a decent toy....
     
  12. drbob1

    drbob1 Silver Supporting Member

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    The amp would absolutely be staying there! They need it far more than I do.
     
  13. davemccarthy707

    davemccarthy707 Member

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    Fender Bassman head. Preferably a fully serviced silverface.
     
  14. Kyle B

    Kyle B Supporting Member

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    There were several models of the BANDIT. And of course, they're not all made the same.

    I'm talking about a late 70's version, which I did indeed own. My dad bought it new for me when I was like 10. It used CTS pots (good). The cab is about 3/4" thick. The tolex is like elephant hide - mine never even scratched. I know of people who dropped one of these out the back of a truck and it was unscathed. I beat mine, left it in the garage over the winter (I live in Buffalo) several times, got rained on, etc.. The PCB used ridiculously wide traces and they were 100% backed up with solder (i.e the entire PCB was "silver" in color, no copper to be seen). The power transistors are mounted in a heatsink that's like 20" wide - they barely get warm even when the amp is cooking.
    I finally gave it away to my nephew a couple years ago.
    Now, I'm only an electronics engineer who's brought somewhere around 200 products to market ... But what do I know about electronics manufacturing??? (Quite a lot actually)
    Yes the tone wasn't great, and I never opened a 90's or later model, but I'm telling ya man - If your goal is "amp you can't kill", then a '78 Bandit (or almost any solid-state 70's Peavey for that matter) absolutely fits the bill 100%.
    Though I would definitely have the caps replaced if it's meant for the long haul. Maybe a new (Switchcraft) input jack if the original has seen alot of action. But really, it'll work until players who aren't even born yet get close to retirement.
     
  15. Tone_Terrific

    Tone_Terrific Member

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    PV Bandit, but get 2 working chassis to have spare parts immediately available.
    Otherwise, the Bassman head, serviced and with spare tubes.
    No digi stuff.
     
  16. wilto

    wilto Member

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    The old musicman range. Ridiculous solid build.
     
  17. Robal

    Robal Supporting Member

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    You might consider one of the new Ethos pedals that have the built in solid state amp option (30 watt RMS at 8 ohms, so it's about as loud as a Deluxe Reverb). The included AC power adaptor operates at 100 - 240 volts and 47-63 hz; so foreign use is fine and you will only need to get the appropriate plug end adaptor for the country you are in. I doubt you can find a lighter, smaller option for an amp that has so much flexibility. You still need a speaker cab, but you have a lot of options for that. You can drive the speaker cab and/or run the pedal as a preamp through a PA system if you want more volume. The Clean pedal version may be all you need. I wouldn't recommend this pedal if it didn't also sound good, and you can see many reviews online of how good the Ethos pedals sound. (I prefer the Clean to the OD channel myself.) Hope this helps.
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2015
  18. Reverb Kick

    Reverb Kick Member

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    Durable, lightweight, travel friendly.

    ZT Lunchbox with ext cab. Plenty loud enough and toneful enough for most any gig. Both units will fit in a backpack as carry on luggage. This would be my first choice. Also has DI so it can go straight to FOH.

    EHX 44 magnum.
    Crate toneblock.... These are groovy, but of course require a cab of some sort that'll add to the shipping and logistics.
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2015
  19. DanSimon

    DanSimon Member

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    what about those crate "power block" or "core block" or whatever they are, those tiny ones?
     
  20. drbob1

    drbob1 Silver Supporting Member

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    The Crate Power Block wasn't very reliable unfortunately. Pretty good sound, though.
     

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