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Author Topic: "Ten of the Greatest PA Amps Ever"  (Read 3579 times)

Josh Millward

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Re: "Ten of the Greatest PA Amps Ever"
« Reply #20 on: September 28, 2017, 01:30:14 pm »

Really, we need to define what we mean by "Greatest" in this case.

Most historical significance? In other words, who used them for significant, large scale shows? Personally, I'm not so interested in this list.

Or perhaps most technically advanced for their time? Who pushed the technology furthest, regardless whether the product was a success or not? This is the list I'm interested in, here are my thoughts in no particular order:

  • Peavey CS800 - Brought excellent power versus price to the hands of a great many people.
  • Peavey DPC series amplifiers - 1 RU, relatively lightweight amplifiers from the early 1990's.
  • Carver PM 1.5 - another early generation lightweight, robust (as long as the fan runs) amplifier.
  • Crest Audio 8001 - One of the earliest amplifiers that would still be called "high power" by today's standards.
  • Crest Audio 10004 - One of the earliest high power four channel amplifiers.
  • Crest Audio Pro 9200 - Raised the bar again in the output versus size and weight capacity.
  • Crown Audio Macro Tech 10,000 - Requires a 3 phase power supply. Unheard of capacity at the time, also designed as a variable power supply.
  • Crown Audio DC-300 - One of the first truly robust audio amplifiers. Though I think it was originally designed to be a variable power supply, maybe?
  • BGW 750 - Another one of the first truly robust audio amplifiers.
  • Cyberlogic - lots of channels and lots of power in one chassis. Not that reliable, but the leading edge is also the bleeding edge.
  • Lab.gruppen PLM 10,000 - First amplifier with built in DSP and Dante connectivity.

All of these amplifiers represent significant steps forward in the development of audio amplifier technology in my opinion.

I'd be glad for anyone to point out any that they feel I missed.
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Josh Millward
Danley Sound Labs

Frank Koenig

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Re: "Ten of the Greatest PA Amps Ever"
« Reply #21 on: September 28, 2017, 02:52:58 pm »

Yamaha P2200 ( I still have mine from 1983 and it runs fine)

Dunno about "greatest" but I have two of the lower power version in the same series that still work. One blew out a bridge rectifier at one point but suffered no collateral damage. They were in my living room stereo from 1980 to 2010, and have really high hours. One now sits on my test bench for when I need a little more voltage out of a signal generator. They do have a nasty power on/off pop and unbalanced inputs. -F
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David Buckley

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Re: "Ten of the Greatest PA Amps Ever"
« Reply #22 on: September 28, 2017, 03:40:29 pm »

As Tim noted, the DC-300A, and arguably, the Phase Linear 700 were the amps that changed PA forever.  Certainly from a UK perspective, "slaves" came in 100W increments, the aforementioned WEM 100W slave being very popular in UK supplied markets. 

The only thing more powerful at the time were the 200W valve PA heads by Hiwatt, Orange, and a couple of others, and although one of these PA heads with a couple of 4x12 columns could keep up with a band back in the day, it wasn't exactly quality.

Josh wondered about the history of the DC-300A - it was intended to drive vibration motors for shake tables, which is why it could do full sustained output down to DC.  It used to be advertised in Wireless World magazine, which is when I first heard of them as a youth.

Glad to see the CS800 getting a shoutout; an amp that served me well over a number of years.
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Frank Koenig

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Re: "Ten of the Greatest PA Amps Ever"
« Reply #23 on: September 28, 2017, 04:16:56 pm »

Josh wondered about the history of the DC-300A - it was intended to drive vibration motors for shake tables, which is why it could do full sustained output down to DC.  It used to be advertised in Wireless World magazine, which is when I first heard of them as a youth.

I remember the shaker table story, too. Here's a link to the service manual for the DC-300a, from Harman, bless their hearts.

https://adn.harmanpro.com/site.../DC-300A-Service-Manual-dc300asm_original.pdf

This was the amplifier I lusted after in my youth but could never afford. It used a uA749 op amp as the input stage, for better or worse. I remember them touting the "slew rate protection" as a good thing. But credit is certainly due for making one of the first, if not the first, commercial, well protected, large, semiconductor audio power amplifiers. -F

The link is all boogered up. Sorry. But a Google search will reveal a pdf.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2017, 04:24:16 pm by Frank Koenig »
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Jeff Bankston

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Re: "Ten of the Greatest PA Amps Ever"
« Reply #24 on: September 28, 2017, 04:31:32 pm »

QSC Series 3
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John Sulek

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Re: "Ten of the Greatest PA Amps Ever"
« Reply #25 on: September 28, 2017, 05:19:21 pm »

I used a bunch of PM1.5s. 

I really liked them, but they had HORRIBLE pin 1 problems and could not drive my Servodrive SDL5s at all without overheating.

They needed a cap on pin 1 in any rack cabling.
And a hair dryer in the work box to get them out of protect on cold dewy mornings.

I'll add the HH V800 for my fellow canucks.
Lots of DC300's , BGW750's, and Bryston 4B's back in the day.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2017, 05:23:02 pm by John Sulek »
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Stu McDoniel

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Re: "Ten of the Greatest PA Amps Ever"
« Reply #26 on: September 28, 2017, 06:18:43 pm »


I have one of these in the basement.

Two softball sized transformers and weighs a ton.

Crown PSA-2
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Scott Holtzman

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Re: "Ten of the Greatest PA Amps Ever"
« Reply #27 on: September 28, 2017, 06:44:08 pm »

Yamaha P2200 ( I still have mine from 1983 and it runs fine)



No LED has ever recreated the information conveyed by a well designed meter movement.   
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Scott AKA "Skyking" Holtzman
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Stephen Kirby

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Re: "Ten of the Greatest PA Amps Ever"
« Reply #28 on: September 28, 2017, 07:13:09 pm »

I would include the first series of PowerLite's from QSC and maybe give the Crest Pro 9200 a runner up.  It was noted in a couple of "subwoofer shoot outs" that all the subs sounded better when used with the 9200.
Based on that shootout I bought one of the Crests.  Still use it.  Fantastic no frills sub amp.  When I replaced the PLX-3400 with the Crest several folks in the band noticed the difference, at the same levels in a club we played at every month.  They didn't know what I'd changed but at first break asked what was different.  That the system seemed deeper and more solid.

Back in the '70s the other amp I saw besides the DC300 and Macs was a large amp made by Vega Labs.  Shallow but maybe 10U high.  Silver faceplate.  And I think they may have been mono as they only had a switch, a light and maybe one other control if my memory serves.  I remember seeing racks of these back stage at the festivals we had in Diamond Head Crater.  Especially the year that Bob Coziar merged his system with one on it's way back to the mainland from some tour in asia.
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Ivan Beaver

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Re: "Ten of the Greatest PA Amps Ever"
« Reply #29 on: September 28, 2017, 07:32:36 pm »

For those who haven't seen it, here is a photo of my amp collection in my office, from a couple of years ago.

Most of the amps mentioned are in there-somewhere
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Ivan Beaver
Danley Sound Labs

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