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Lozz196

Ampeg PF-500

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Ok, my review of the Ampeg PF-500. Link to full specs below, but in brief:
Class D, 500 watts at 4 ohms, 300 watts at 8 ohms. Bass, Mid, Treb, Ultra Hi/Low, 5-way Mid selector (220 hz, 450 hz, 800 hz, 1.6 khz, 3 khz). Gain, on board compressor, tuner out, fx loop. Dimensions (inches) 3 x 14 x 11, 11 lbs/5 kg.

[url="http://www.ampeg.com/products/portaflex/pf-500/index.html"]http://www.ampeg.com/products/portaflex/pf-500/index.html[/url]

I bought this on Sat, from Andertons, in Guildford. Took the trip there, to try it out, rather than just buy on-line, as over on Talkbass there was mention of the fan being very noisy. Well I tried it out, played about two notes, heard all of that Ampeggy sweetness, and decided there and then to buy it. No point in messing about with eqs etc, what I`d already heard was good enough for me.

Got it home, and set it up in my spare room, with my Eden Nemesis 410 cab. All controls set to flat it sounded good. Tweaked it for an 80s bass sound, by selecting the utra low and ultra high, setting the mid-selector to position 3, dropped that completely - with my Fender Precision set on the S1 switch, instant hair-metal.

But the true test of an amp is in a band setting. Well last night I used it in a practice with a band I`m depping for, that does 80s rock covers. Set it up, again, chose everything flat, tweeter off on the cab. Selected ultra low and ultra high, compression on 5, gain on 8, engaged the S1 on my Fender Precision and went from there. I`d read on Talkbass that these amps were a bit quiet, so I had the master volume on 4. Instant mistake, I was so loud I immediately had to drop it to 3. The band last night consisted of drums, and 1 guitar, through a Blackstar half-stack. The Ampeg had no trouble providing a typical rock bass sound, holding the low end together. Even though I`m not using an Ampeg cab, the sound is unmistakeably Ampeg, that slightly scooped round warm sound.

All in all, if you want the Ampeg sound, but don`t want to break your back carrying one of the full valve heads, or break your wallet buying one of them, this amp is worth getting. Yes I`m sure that the SVTs do sound better, but they are a hell of a lot more expensive. This amp cost me £346, weighs 5kgs, so can be carried about in a lap-top bag, and gives the sound that I covet - the Ampeg sound.

Definately a recommended product from me.

[b][u]OK, an update, used mine at a gig for the first time last week.[/u][/b]

With my "all on flat" settings, but ultra-deep and untra-high both engaged, gain on 7, compression on 5, volume on about 3.3. Going through my Eden Nemesis 410 (8 ohm) cab, so getting 300 watts from the amp.

Gig was with the rock band, drums, bass & 2 guitars. The venue was probably about 120 feet long, 30 feet wide. The drums and guitars were put through the pa for extra presence, though not volume. The sound guy heard my bass, and said that it didn`t need to go through the pa, saying it had plenty of presence on its own.

As always, I went out front for the soundcheck, to see if my tone needed adjusting to the venue. For starters, it didn`t, which was nice. Secondly, the sound guy knew what he was on about. Plenty of presence, but not over-powering, or over-boomy. Just nice solid presence on the low end.

These amps are great for the money. Ampeg performance in a £350 amp, that can be carried about in a lap-top bag. To anyone who loves Ampeg, but can`t either afford, or carry the SVT all-valve amps, check these out. Of course they won`t sound as good as the SVT all-valves, but they are great little amps. I love the Ampeg tone, and never feel like I`m playing sub-standard through this amp. I`m that happy with it.

[b][u]Another update - I`ve just spent a weekend recording with it.[/u][/b]

The recorded sound from it is great. All tone controls flat, ultra-low engaged, gain on 7, compression on 5, DI`d post-eq - just a great solid Ampeg sound. The engineer/producer asked me if I had a specific sound I wanted to use, I showed him the above settings, we tried it out and he said that it sounded great as it was, no tweaking needed.

This is my favourite amp that I have ever owned - I am just so impressed with it. In my opinion, if Ampeg had put the RRP at £500 it would still be easily worth the money, for the versatility, performance and portability.

Edited by Lozz196
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Well as Ampeg are my preferred bass sound, I`d always go for that, but looking at totally impartially, the Ampeg is so much more flexible. The Terror is a great amp, incredibly loud, and, although a lot of people say it`s too gainy, I found with gain & volume on 2, it was plenty clean and loud enough for pub gigs. That said, I found that the eq didn`t do too much, so if you want to experiment with different sounds, unless you have pedals, it won`t really be an option.

I`ve updated my review above, having now used the Ampeg for both a gig, and recording in the studio.

Edited by Lozz196

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Anyone got the Cabs? they look cool soundwise anygood, can't possibly be as good as people say they are too cheap.......................

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[quote name='Lozz196' post='1275005' date='Jun 19 2011, 05:38 PM']Well as Ampeg are my preferred bass sound, I`d always go for that, but looking at totally impartially, the Ampeg is so much more flexible. The Terror is a great amp, incredibly loud, and, although a lot of people say it`s too gainy, I found with gain & volume on 2, it was plenty clean and loud enough for pub gigs. That said, I found that the eq didn`t do too much, so if you want to experiment with different sounds, unless you have pedals, it won`t really be an option.

I`ve updated my review above, having now used the Ampeg for both a gig, and recording in the studio.[/quote]

Thanks for this review.

I am looking for a light weight rig once the Marshall has gone :)

I was sort of leaning towards the Orange........

I will have to try them both out.

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[quote name='Blademan_98' post='1308548' date='Jul 18 2011, 10:47 PM']I was sort of leaning towards the Orange........

I will have to try them both out.[/quote]


Same here.

Narrowed my options down to the Orange Terror bass and the Ampeg.

I'm more inclined to get the ampeg as it sounds more versatile.

Cheers for the review [b]lozz196[/b]

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My PF-500 arrived this afternoon, had a play at home with it and it sounded great!

Took it to rehearsal and it sounded amazing, right up to when it started to cut out.
:)

I guess I'll be ringing Digital Village in the morning about a replacement...

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Now my Marshall (and the AC15) have gone I was going to buy one of these.

What happened?

I would be interested in knowing the outcome!

Cheers

Blademan

[quote name='bartelby' post='1324992' date='Aug 2 2011, 10:39 PM']My PF-500 arrived this afternoon, had a play at home with it and it sounded great!

Took it to rehearsal and it sounded amazing, right up to when it started to cut out.
:)

I guess I'll be ringing Digital Village in the morning about a replacement...[/quote]

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Playing along normally gain on about 10 o'clock and volume on about 10 o'clock too and the sound just dropped out. It came right back but then dropped out again.
I switched to my old Peavey amp and played that for about 30 minutes then tried the Ampeg again. After about 6 minutes it started dropping out again.

Very disappointed really. I'll get a replacement PF-500 but if that suffers the same problem I won't get another...

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[quote name='bartelby' post='1325009' date='Aug 2 2011, 10:52 PM']Very disappointed really. I'll get a replacement PF-500 but if that suffers the same problem I won't get another...[/quote]

Very sad that such a major player in the amp market has stooped to cheap manufacturing for the sake of a few dollars. I love the Ampeg sound too, but won't buy new stuff for fear of this happening.

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That is bad news, and agree it`s a shame if such a well known brand are going to issue products with poor quality control, but I`ve had no problems with mine to date. I have the Gain on 7 (2 o`clock) Ultra-Low & Ultra-High selected, into whichever cab I`m using, all other eq set flat, and then adjust volume to suit. Never caused me any problems, in 3 hour long rehearsals.

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All mass produced electronics are going to have a failure rate (If you've ever read any Apple forums, you'd think they had a 90% failure rate). I'm not angry, just mildly irritated about having to organize a replacement.


Like I said, it sounded bloody fantastic.

Oh, the fan noise was a bit of a surprise, having had a Markbass head, but once the volume is up, of course, you can't hear it.


EDIT: Return sorted. , should have a replacement on Friday. Hopefully this one will work as I have a gig on Saturday.

Edited by bartelby

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Replacement was delivered about 45 minutes ago.
Now trying to think of ways to test it at a decent level without annoying the crap out of the neighbours...

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[quote name='Monckyman' post='1328730' date='Aug 5 2011, 02:05 PM']Annoy the neighbours, it`s for art![/quote]


I played it for about 2 hours, at a low volume though. Left the amp on for an hour then played for another hour with no problem.
Now, do I trust it for the gig?

I suppose I could see what happens during soundcheck, got a DI backup...

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I say go for it. The statistical chances of you getting two dodgy ones are infinitesimal.
Plus, you have to start trusting it or you may as well send it back.
Or, sell it to me for a couple of hundred :)

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[quote name='Monckyman' post='1328995' date='Aug 5 2011, 05:32 PM']I say go for it. The statistical chances of you getting two dodgy ones are infinitesimal.
Plus, you have to start trusting it or you may as well send it back.
Or, sell it to me for a couple of hundred :)[/quote]


You're right. (the trusting bit, not the selling it to you bit)

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It lasted and sounded great, mix of headlining bands cabs.
Hartke 1 x 15 transported and a GK GLX 4 x 10.

:lol: :) :)

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It lasted and sounded great, mix of headlining bands cabs.
Hartke 1 x 15 transported and a GK GLX 4 x 10.

:lol: :) :)

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Guest bassman7755

If only it a had a built in tuner it sounds like it would be an RH450 killer.

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Hi

I'm looking for a small portable amp - to replace my Ashdown Superfly (which was itself a small and powerful thing when it came out).

I have been looking at the TC Electronic stuff - but how would you rate the PF500 versus the TC Classic or TC RH450?

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I`ve no experience with the RH450. I had the TC Classic 450 prior to the PF500. For me, as an Ampeg tone lover, the PF was obviously better. But the Classic is a great amp, and can do a very conving Ampeg-like tone, plus many others too. The Spectracomp and Tubetone enable it to be incredibly versatile, ranging from slap-happy cleans, to Ampeg style grind, to full-on tube filth. For versatilty, the Classic would get my vote, but for that lovely Ampeg tone, PF all the way.

In addition, there`s been a lot of stuff on here about lack of TC power. I never noticed it, and I play in both a punk band, and an 8 piece "odd" band, and depped for a heavy rock band - plenty of power available. I never had the volume on more than 4 in any of these bands.

I`d suggest visit a music shop and try them both. I`d recommend putting them through a cab that doesn`t colour the sound too much either. That way, you`ll get the best idea of which you prefer.

Whichever you choose, you`ll be getting a great amp.

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I have had a PF500 for a few months now and rate it very highly, I have had no cutting out issues either .
At the moment I run it through a pair of TC BC212s, it sounds very good but the cabs start to get a bit muddy when the volume goes up to just above normal band levels (3 piece rock band), I have ordered a BareFaced Super Twelve so will report back when have tried it out .
Before the PF500 I was using a TC BH500 with the BCs and while I really liked that rig I have to say it does not sound as warm as the PF, the BH has the edge on features by a long way but the PF just does the job with a minimum of fuss, as has been said, its easy to find the tone on the Ampeg, very user friendly, I do miss the presets and tuner on the BH though .
One thing I am not entirely convinced with on the PF is the mid 5 way switch, I cannot really tell much difference between settings, of course it may be my cabs (or my hearing) that do not do the amp justice and allow the mids to come through, I would prefer to have a low and high mids EQ and forsake the 5 way switch, maybe the Barefaced will show off the mid switch to its full potential :) .

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