Why no power scaling in mass-produced amps?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by JimEff, Jan 30, 2012.

  1. JimEff

    JimEff Member

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    Suhr, Reinhardt, Tone King...etc all get favorable reviews on their power scaling (or whatever you want to call it) implementations. Problem is, their amp prices are out of range for the common man. Why don't the mass production companies put power scaling in their amps? I'm talking about giggable amps, not low wattage practice amps.
     
  2. pacomc79

    pacomc79 Member

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    Probably has something to do with not wanting to pay London Power for it.
     
  3. Frank Speak

    Frank Speak Member

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    Marshall has it (or something similar) on the AFD and the YJM. My friend has the YJM and it had some kind of gizmo like that on it.
     
  4. psyandy

    psyandy Member

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    Those amps are almost 2K each on the mass market!!!!

    I think that the mass market is really focused on their own niche and cost/profit does not support those technologies. There are really good and bad master volume amps mass produced to suit what you describe, but it's all about what tones you want.
     
  5. JimEff

    JimEff Member

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    I don't think London is the only game in town. I believe Tone King, for example, has their own proprietary method of essentially accomplishing the same thing.
     
  6. zenitB

    zenitB Supporting Member

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    Doesn't the AC4 have power scaling?
     
  7. JimEff

    JimEff Member

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    Note "giggable" in OP
     
  8. zenitB

    zenitB Supporting Member

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    whoops, gotta wear my glasses when I read these things!
     
  9. blam

    blam Member

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    some egnaters have it
     
  10. Dave_C

    Dave_C Supporting Member

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    But, why would TK share their trade secrets with the mass-produced entities? I know you're not necessarily implying that they should but my implication is that I think it takes a certain amount of creativity and thinking outside the box to develop these types of technologies and many of the mass-producers simply lack that capability.

    Also, I don't know what your cost breakpoint is but another reason PS technologies don't show up as much in the super cheapo amps (yet, anyways) is because the corporate entities producing that stuff have to nickel-and-dime their way down into those price ranges by cutting as many corners as possible and using the fewest and cheapest components possible. Power scaling can be expensive, in a relative sense. It's the same reason you typically don't find upscale features on downscale cars...or anything else for that matter.

    I also think there's an enormous lack of knowledge regarding what goes into building these products. We have been lulled into thinking that we can purchase just about anything we want for $19.99 at the nearest Wal-Mart or Amazon.com and that we can get it NOW without saving up for it. You mentioned "giggable" gear, so that implies a certain level of quality and reliability which is rarely present in the cheapo mass-produced amps. So, I guess my opinion is that if you want hardy, full-featured, gig-worthy gear, then you're gonna' have to buck-up for it, which may require an extended period of saving up for it, depending upon your financial situation.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2012
  11. JimEff

    JimEff Member

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    Tone King was just an example.

    From an engineering standpoint I doubt it's rocket science. No offense to the boutique builders. I'm sure Fender Marshall Mesa etc etc etc have just as talented design engineers as the boutique builders. They might be mass-producers but they're no dummies.

    On price, an amp with the features of a TK Metro (once again, an example), would be right up my alley but I'll be danged if I'm going to pay $3,000 for a guitar amp. $1K - $1.5K is about my threshold of pain.
     
  12. JimEff

    JimEff Member

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    I'm no Mesa expert but I think you're referring to their switchable power settings i.e. the 7/15/30 switch on the Lonestar, 5/50 on the Express and so forth. I was referring to adjustable (dialable) power scaling like on the Suhr, Reinhardts, TK, and other boutiques.
     
  13. ronmail65

    ronmail65 Supporting Member

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    My theory on the market... I would say the average "mass market" amp consumer probably doesn't know what "power-scaling" is, and/or may not even see the need or benefit to such a feature. My guess is that the mass market is largely satisfied with master volume functionality on existing amps or is more comfortable with a pedal solution.

    So if I'm a mass market amp producer and this is the representative market research, then I'm not going to sink money into product features that are of little interest and drive few incremental sales.

    I think it's a feature with limited appeal.
     
  14. Dave_C

    Dave_C Supporting Member

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    Jim, note that I updated my post that you quoted with some more thoughts. That said, if you're looking at the $1000-$1500 range, I think that opens up many possibilities, like used high end gear (the Suhr Badger was $1750 NEW when I bought one) and/or adding a good attenuator to any amp you may already own...which leads me to another point. I've compared power scaling to several good attenuators and find the attenuator solution to be more more transparent than power scaling. A couple TGP'ers have also posted the same findings when comparing Marshall's PS technology on the YJM to a couple different latest generation attenuators.

    Another big advantage of attenuation is that it's portable! You're not stuck with having on just one amp but can xfer it to any amp as you see fit and/or as your needs/tastes change.

    As for the rocket science comment, I think the proof is in the pudding. Actual history shows that it was the small independent, boutique outfits that invented it, evolved it and popularized it - not the big guys. Marshall has it now, many years after the fact, but I'm not sure there's any proof that they just didn't license some version of London Power Scaling or something else that one of the small, independent inventors created.
     
  15. Rena Rune

    Rena Rune Member

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    I don't know. To me, it makes more sense to be for poorer musicians as people who can afford true power scaling are probably going to have large, sound proofed houses or apartments.

    I hate it because while i like modelers, I'd like to have one cool unique amp. I don't mind Solid State, but there aren't many cool, unique SS amps with modern features(like speaker sim out, etc.) that are easy to find and replace components of if they break down. High quality SS amps are a niche market and cost a lot. It isn't the case that you can pay $50-100 more than a crappy SS amp to get a decent one like you often can with other gear. In terms of quality of sound, you're nearly better off buying a 4/5 Watter and micing it.

    I think the best solution might be something like the Vox Valvetronix - a low power tube circuit then a SS poweramp. Though I'd do it more like whatever those 1 Watt Marshalls are doing, then feed that into a 50 watt SS power amp and efficient speaker. That'd make it gig worthy, and 1 Watt is low enough to get some tube saturation at bedroom volume(you would have a 1/10th watt switch too if necessary).

    The thing is a Pedal is just a solid state preamp. You could easily design a Tube amp to have a Klon-like circuit in it for about $30 worth of parts and labour at most.
     
  16. Dave_C

    Dave_C Supporting Member

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    Exactly - another good point which dovetails in to what I said above. Out of several dozen local guitar playing buds (many of whom are pro or semi-pro), I'm only aware of one who's even aware of power scaling and only a couple who are aware of attenuators. And, even they don't really see the need for either. They use MV amps and/or pedals into clean amps. In fact, almost all of them use pedals into clean amps.
     
  17. teemuk

    teemuk Member

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    "Power Scaling" is just a fancy name for a user adjustable high voltage regulator. And plenty of commercial amps have such feature. They don't even have to pay any licenses since the design is so basic textbook knowledge that there's nothing to license.
     
  18. Rena Rune

    Rena Rune Member

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    if that's the case then they may not even need Tube amps in the first place. A clean tube amp is mostly just EQ.
     
  19. Dave_C

    Dave_C Supporting Member

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    There's more to it than just that. And, which "commercial" amps have it?
     
  20. JimEff

    JimEff Member

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    It would help if you could name a few?
     

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