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Lightweight Amp Options for Ramsa WS-A500/550's

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I have a pair of Ramsa WS-A500k tops running with four A550k subs.  Currently powered with AB International President 600 (tops) and AB Professional 9220.  The system is used for PA and portable jam/recording session monitor system.  Electronic keys, Roland V-drums, guitar modeling pedal and multiple vocals are run through the system simultaneously.  Also use it for monitoring when recording/multitracking and I value truly good sound.  I really love the sound of the Ramsa's, but I'd really like to replace the back-breaking heavy amps, which are perhaps somewhat under powered for the speakers.  I'm considering QSC PLX, Crown XTi/XLS, even Behringer and Peaveys.  

Can anyone comment from experience on the comparative differences in these amps sound quality-wise?  I'm also not sure how much wattage I should get to properly power the system to it's full potential.  Should I get as close to the exact wattage or do I need to factor in some overage for headroom?  If so how much?  The speakers are older so not sure if there will be any issues I need to account for with these newer amp designs.  I only know enough to know wattage and specs don't tell all. Thanks in advance.

Mac Kerr:
GWA wrote on Thu, 10 February 2011 20:48
I have a pair of Ramsa WS-A500k tops

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Weogo Reed:
Hi Greg,

Those are some vintage boxes!

Rule of thumb is you can give boxes more than rated power IF you ONLY use that power for transient peaks.

With most modern, decent quality amps that are operating in their comfort zone, you are going to hear very little difference from one to another.

I would put one top per side on a Peavey IPR1600.
For the A550Ks, I would put two boxes per side on a Peavey IPR3000.

Actually, if it were me I would replace the four A550Ks with a couple Danley TH-Minis.
Bridge one IPR3000 per box and my guess is you will like the sound.
Except then you may want to replace your tops...

Are you using adequate gauge cables?

Good health,  Weogo

Grant Conklin:
Hello Greg,
I'm not familiar with your speakers.  What are their power ratings?

I recently bought a Peavey IPR3000 amp.  I can't complain about the sound or output.  It is a bare bones amp to be sure.  There are 2 things that stick out as possible turn offs to me:

1.  Aluminum housing/faceplate.  Sure it saves weight, but it's also easy to bend.  The rack ears could almost be bent by hand.

2.  Not only is it not bridgeable without homebuilt cabling (and discouraged at that) there is no provision for running both amp channels out of a single NL4 output jack.  

If those things don't bother you, I'd say go with IPR amps.  The Crown XLS drivecores and XTI's both appear to address the issues I have with IPR amps, and do so at a lower price than QSC.  

The WS-A500-K tops are rated at 200W(Continuous Program).  They have a 1.75" bessel horn and 12" mid-woofer.  These are similar to WS-A200's which have a smaller 1" horn and are rated at 250W.  The WS-A550 subs are rated at 400W and hold a single 12" driver.  These are functionally identical to Ramsa WS-A240 subs.  All are 8 ohms.  They were designed to run with a proprietary active crossover (forget the nomenclature), but I'm using a dbx 234 set at 90hz.

The speakers were made in the early 90's.  Vintage by some standards, but not nearly as old as the Altec A7's or Klipsch LaScala horns I recently got rid of.

The AB International amps weight in excess of 30lbs each, but sound pretty good to my ears.  The Precedent puts out about 185W/ch into 8ohms, and the 9220 about 590W/ch into 4 ohms.  I've been looking at all the threads I can find on comparisons between the newer Class D and H lightweight amps.  Right now I'm leaning towards a used QSC PLX 1804 for the subs and a Crown XLS1500 for the tops.  The flimsyness of the Peaveys is a little off-putting, but if they sound really good...  Reviews on all these amps seem mixed.  One person loves them, another says they suck.  I welcome any informed opinions though.  Thanks.


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