A record-breaking rookie draft of no less than 90 new power-sluggers have made it to the “Show” since Winter NAMM 1998, the cutoff point for this mono and multichannel studio and live sound amplifier round-up. From low-level monitoring amps to 9,000-watt brutes, even a finicky fan has plenty of power to choose from this season. Grab a bag o’ peanuts, belly up to the snack bar and play ball!
THE LINEUPStepping up to the plate is the Precedent Series II and Multichannel Series from AB International (www.abamps. com), featuring Enhanced Rail Technology that’s said to offer clearer sound and consume 30% less AC power, while coming in at a 20% reduction in weight compared to amps using conventional power supplies and cooling. The 2/3/4/6-channel multichannel amps feature Soft Clip Limiting and internal crossovers.
Apogee Sound (www.apogeesound. com) added the computer-controllable MA and DA Series in the past year. The MA Series A ($4,214) is a 250-watt @ 4 ohms amp that includes built-in emergency page override, load monitoring and programmable gain control, and can be upgraded to support the team’s AmpNET networking system to remotely reset circuit breakers from any desktop. The MA Series B ($2,929) is a simplified version of the A with the same power rating, and Apogee’s new DA Series of 2-channel amps are offered in 600-watt ($2,179), 700-watt ($2,321) and 800-watt ($2,464) configurations into 4 ohms.
ARX (www.arx.com.au) offers a long roster of new amps from Down Under, including the ZR350, a 2-channel, 100-watt @ 4 ohms, all-MOSFET output stage amp with plug-in options for adding signal processing and active crossovers. Contact the company Stateside at 818/225-1809 for special orders and pricing for the ZR350, ZR550, ZR850, AmbiDrive, MicroDrive, PowerDrive, PowerDrive Lite, SX1500 and SX3000.
New to the BGW (www.bgw.com) team and appropriately named for next season are the Millennium 3 TMC-2 ($1,408) and Millennium 2 TMC-2 ($1,048). At 8 ohms stereo, the MIL 2 pumps a respectable 220 watts and the MIL 3 puts out 330 watts, the latter also rating a whopping 1,400 watts @ 4 ohms when mono-bridged. Both shave a little off the salary cap by including internally mounted crossover/processor cards so users can fine-tune crossover points, EQ, attenuation and delay lines to eliminate the cost of external crossovers and processors.
Bryston (www.bryston.ca) brought out no less than six units over the past 18 months. Topping the list is the bulging 65-pound Model 9B-ST Pro ($3,695)-200-watt @ 4 ohms with a modular chassis and separate power supplies for each of its five channels. The Model 8B-ST Pro ($3,100, 120W stereo @ 8 ohms) can operate in 2-, 3- or 4-channel modes and boasts a 0.007% THD. The XLR and RCA connectors of the Model 7B-ST Pro Mono Amplifier ($2,500, 500W stereo @ 4 ohms) look good in gold, and the 2-channel Model 4B-ST Pro’s ($2,350, 250W @ 8 ohms) tubes are powered by dual power supplies. Rounding out Bryston’s lineup is the 3B-ST Pro ($1,650, 120W stereo @ 8 ohms) and 2B-LP Pro ($995, 60W stereo @ 8 ohms), and all but the Model 2B are available in THX-approved versions.
Power amps from BST (www.bstsound.com) include the Liker 330 stereo power amp ($434, 180W stereo @ 4 ohms); the Liker 630 ($565, 360W stereo @ 4 ohms) and the Liker 930 ($665, 490W stereo @ 4 ohms). All feature a MOFSET design, quiet toroidal transformers, built-in active crossover, Speakon outputs and variable-speed, forced-air cooling.
C Audio (www.harman.com, distributed by BSS Audio in the U.S.) is an expansion team with three new players-all with switched-mode power supplies for reduced weight and heat, and microprocessor-controlled power-ups. The Pulse 4×300 ($1,650, 600W stereo @ 8 ohms) is a 4-channel amp that can also be run as a bridged-stereo amp, the Pulse 2×650 ($1,495, 1,700W mono @ 4 ohms) is a two-unit rackspace, 24-pound stereo amp, and the Pulse 2×1100 ($1,850) is rated at 1,100 watts stereo @ 4 ohms.
Beefing up Carver’s (www.carverpro.com) lineup the past two seasons are the PXm900 ($795, 300W stereo @ 8 ohms), PXm450 ($665, 150W stereo @ 8 ohms) and PXm250 ($535, 200W stereo @ 8 ohms). Each offers selectable highpass filters, clip limiters and input sensitivity controls, as well as over-current, thermal and DC protection. The light-hitting Pxm250 weighs in at 24 pounds, while the three-rackspace m900 offers mono-bridged power.
Carvin (www.carvin.com) has six new units on its stage and studio team, including the HT 150 ($229, 150W mono-bridged @ 4 ohms), HT760M ($469, 175W stereo @ 8 ohms), DCM600 ($359, 150W stereo @ 8 ohms), DCM1000 ($419, 1,000W mono-bridged @ 4 ohms), DCM1500 ($519, 1,000W mono-bridged @ 8 ohms), and their leading hitter, the DCM2000 ($619). The latter is a three-rackspace, 2-channel unit with XLR and 11/44-inch inputs, toroid transformer, five protection circuits and 2,000 watts of mono-bridged, fence-clearing power @ 8 ohms.
Chevin’s (www.sennheiserusa.com) remodeled lineup includes no less than 11 new players. The A3000 ($2,649) is a 2-channel unit sporting 3,000-watt @ 4 ohms mono-bridged, automatic mute on power-up, twin fans and no external magnetic field. Also new are the A500 ($999, 600W mono-bridged @ 8 ohms), A700v ($999, 600W stereo @ 8 ohms), A750 ($1,349, 250W stereo @ 8 ohms), A1000 ($1,595, 1,200W mono @ 8 ohms), A2000 ($2,149, 375W stereo @ 8 ohms), A2500 ($2,849, 1,500W mono @ 4 ohms), A3000 ($2,649, 3,000W mono @ 4 ohms), A5000 ($4,500, 900W stereo @ 8 ohms), A6000 ($4,700, 1,200W stereo @ 8 ohms), Q6 ($2,849, 350W stereo @ 8 ohms), and the Q900 ($5,500, 3,000W mono @ 4 ohms).
Crate Pro Audio (www.crateamps.com), an expansion division of St. Louis Music created this past January, introduced the SPA1400 ($599, 260W stereo @ 8 ohms) and SPA400 ($499, 125W stereo @ 8 ohms) to protect its new $699 SPA1400C home-run hitter. The latter offers a crisp 1,320 mono-bridged watts @ 4 ohms and sports two-way active electronic crossover, variable low-cut filters per channel and balanced XLR connectors. Both the 1400 and 400 feature balanced XLR and 11/44-inch inputs and five-way binding post outputs.
Crest’s (www.crestaudio.com) prodigious lineup just got stronger with the introduction of its 8002 Pro II ($3,560). Sporting twin-tunnel cooling, XLR inputs and an 800-watt @ 8 ohms stereo average, the Pro also managed to get down to a fit and trim 47 pounds with lots of off-season work in the design department.
Crown (www.crownintl.com) has brought up two rookies: The CE2000TX ($1,025, 400W stereo @ 8 ohms) offers a proportional-speed fan, switchable input sensitivity and is approved for THX work, and the new MA 2402 ($2,299) packs 2,070 watts of mono-bridged power @ 4 ohms and includes balanced 3-pin XLR and 11/44-inch phone jacks per channel.
Demeter (www.demeteramps.com) is showing a couple of classy new tube amps, each with user-adjustable tube bias settings, selectable triode/pentode operation and eight matched Ruby 6550 output tubes. The VTHF-300m Tube Mono Block ($2,649) strokes 300-watt homers, while the 65-watt stereo per channel VT275HF ($2,299) offers a front-panel LED and the glowing Ruby tubes as power indicators.
Electro-Voice’s (www.electrovoice. com) has two new stars in the making, the Q66 ($1,390, 380W stereo @ 8 ohms) and Q44 ($1,110, 280W stereo @ 8 ohms). Both are stereo amps that feature high-current Neutrik Speakon output and active-balanced XLR input connectors, rear-mounted detented level controls and input/output comparator-driven limiters.
Designed for P.A. and DJ applications, Gemini’s (www.geminidj.com) three-rackspace XP-1200 has two-speed fan cooling, mono-bridge switch, XLR and 11/44-inch inputs, five-way binding posts and three Speakon outputs. Retail is $950; rated power is 600-watt stereo @ 4 ohms.
Migrating from the guitar leagues is Hoffmann Amplification ([email protected]) with two mono tube amplifiers. The Hoffmann 2T ($895) is rated at 70 watts @ 8 ohms, with the Hoffmann 4T ($1,495) at 140 watts @ 8 ohms. Each is a four-unit ultralinear amp with 11/44-inch and XLR inputs.
Hot House Professional Audio (www.hothousepro.com) has introduced two new amps since opening day 1998: the Four Hundred ($1,699, 125W stereo @ 8 ohms) and Two Thousand ($4,999, 390W stereo @ 8 ohms). A studio amp designed to power nearfield speakers, with split/dual secondaries, the 2-channel Four Hundred’s toroidal transformer provides galvanic isolation of DC power. The Two Thousand is a discrete dual-mono, five-rackspace amp that provides zero feedback and is capable of reproducing transients up to three times the rated power without side effects.
LAX Sonic Solution (www.laxaudio.com) has been busy with the debut of four 2-channel units. First is the 780-watt mono-bridged @ 4 ohms MA 2400 MK11 ($899), a 40-pound unit that features balanced XLR inputs and five-way binding post and Speakon output connectors. The MA 3200 MK11 ($1,099) offers 1,100 mono-bridged watts @ 4 ohms, and the MA 5200 MK11 ($1,299) produces 780 watts of stereo power @ 4 ohms. The massive MA 7200 MK11 ($1,899) is listed at 1,950 mono-bridged watts @ 4 ohms and a whopping 54 pounds.
Mackie Designs’ (www.mackie.com) roster now includes four new power drivers, each with a five-year warranty. The M800 ($599, 140W stereo @ 8 ohms) features Bessel low-cut filters, variable from off to 170 Hz, and the M1400 ($649, 300W stereo @ 8 ohms) comes to bat with a second-order, 18dB/octave Linkwitz-Riley electronic selectable subwoofer crossover. Also new to Team Mackie are the M1400i ($649, 300W stereo @ 8 ohms) and M2600 ($1,199, 500W stereo @ 8 ohms).
Miles Technology (www.milestech.com) has put out the MPR-1KX ($2,099) and MPR-500X ($1,499), two modular multichannel units available in various channel configurations and sporting selectable crossover filters. The 1KX is a 6-channel device that pumps 115 watts @ 8 ohms per channel, and the 500X is a 3-channel, 140-watt per channel @ 8 ohm unit that fits into a single rackspace.
Nagra’s (www.canorus.com) $12,000 MPA (MOSFET Power Amplifier) is a 250-watt (stereo @ 8 ohm) unit that uses five PFC power supplies for improved performance and corruption-free AC; a $14,500 integrated version of the MPA with RCMI option comes with four pairs of XLRs.
Peavey (www.peavey.com) has introduced a couple of 2-channel models over the past two seasons. The CS500A ($699, 125W stereo @ 8 ohms) offers full support of the CS800S family of input and output modules. The company’s new 15-pound single-rack DPC1400X ($1,399, 375W stereo @ 8 ohms) includes 11/44-inch through connectors and boasts an unbelievable 1,400 mono-bridged watts of power.
The PowerLight 9.0PFC ($6,998) and PowerLight 6.0PFC ($5,948) are leading this year’s team of new power-strokers at QSC (www.qscaudio.com), which also now boasts the PLX1202 ($858, 200W stereo @ 8 ohms), PLX1602 ($1,198, 300W stereo @ 8 ohms), PLX2402 ($1,498, 425W stereo @ 8 ohms), PLX3002 ($1,798, 550W stereo @ 8 ohms) and PLX3402 ($2,098, 700W stereo @ 8 ohms). The team might want to consider removing the “Light” from these names thanks to the 6.0’s massive 6,300 mono-bridged watts @ 4 ohms and the 9.0’s prodigious 9,000 mono-bridged watts @ 4 ohms. Both take up three rackspaces, weigh 59 pounds, and feature Team QSC’s PowerWave PFC (Power Factor Correction) technology for dropping AC current and peak level requirements by as much as 40% and 80%, respectively.
Designed for sports bars and other commercial sound applications, the MA3 from Rane (www.rane.com) is a 3-channel amp delivering 60 watts into a 4-ohm load. Retail is $699, and features include an internally selectable 80Hz highpass filter, sealed heat-tunnel forced air cooling, load-sensitive servo limiter, headroom meters and optional 70.7 or 100-volt transformers.
Renkus-Heinz (www.renkus-heinz.com) has been active, introducing four new units. The 2-channel P2700 ($1,275, 350W stereo @ 8 ohms) and P2400 ($975, 250W stereo @ 8 ohms) offer a host of crossover, EQ and phase-compensation processor modules, and the P2850 ($2,250, 500W stereo @ 8 ohms) weighs in at 63 pounds. But it’s the hulking P2950 ($2,475) that’s attracting attention with its 2,800 mono-bridged watts @ 4 ohms.
The SRA-200E ($795) from Roland (www.rolandus.com) is a dual-channel unit that offers 100-watt stereo performance @ 8 ohms and balanced TRS 11/44-inch and XLR connectors, all in a single rackspace and weighing a wispy 10 pounds. The 200E comes with speaker binding posts, a limiter circuit and the team’s proprietary Efficiency Controlled Operating System (ECOS) technology.
Samson (www.samsontech.com) brought out the S1000 ($649, 340W stereo @ 8 ohms) and S700 ($549, 230W stereo @ 8 ohms) this past season. Both are dual-temperature sensitive and feature speed-controlled fans, relay-controlled outputs, and input level controls with 41 precise detents.
Sony’s (www.sony.com/professional) SRP-P50 ($500, 150W stereo @ 8 ohms) is a sound reinforcement model that features anti-vibration and anti-flux construction, a high-end toroidal transformer and high supply voltage rejection ratios. Input levels are switchable between 0 dB and -10 dBu on this single-rackspace unit.
New from Stage Accompany (www. stageaccompany.com) is the ES (Efficiency Series) amplifier range, built with a high-speed/high-current Class G design for increased efficiency. All units feature SA’s Dynamic Damping Control (DDC[superscript]tm)) system, which realizes a high damping factor (10,000 @ 10-20k Hz.), along with optional EFN[superscript]tm) circuit modules, such as crossovers, EQs, HP/LP filters and limiters. The top-of-the-line ES 40 ($3,147, 1,900W stereo), the ES 20 ($2,277, 960W stereo) and ES 10 ($1,707, 480W stereo) come with all power ratings RMS into a 2-ohm load.
The PA-50b ($299) from Stewart Electronics (209/588-8111) is the company’s new 25-watt (stereo @ 8 ohms) model, weighing in at 3.5 pounds. The PA-100B ($399) puts out 100 watts of stereo power @ 4 ohms and sports a new active power supply, while the PA-200B ($429, 50W stereo @ 8 ohms) features IEQ equalization. All three of Stewart’s new players fit snugly into any half rackspace.
In the past year-and-a-half, StudioMaster (www.studiomaster.com) has introduced the 1600 D ($1,195), 1200 D ($995, 700W stereo @ 8 ohms) and 700 D ($749, 420W stereo @ 8 ohms). Each brings separate mono and bridge switching, defeatable 20:1 signal limiters, crow bar electronic speaker protection, and thermal- and load-sensing variable-speed cooling fans. The powerful 1600 D puts out 800 watts (stereo @ 8 ohms) or 2,000 watts in bridged-mono mode @ 4 ohms.
Yamaha’s (www.yamaha.com) two new live sound models are the XS250 ($599) and the XS350 ($699). Both bring built-in variable subwoofer and low-cut filters, rear-mounted, dB-calibrated attenuators, variable speed cooling fans and XLR inputs. The XS250 outputs 700 watts of mono-bridged power @ 8 ohms, while the XS350 produces 350 watts stereo @ 4 ohms.
Yorkville (www.yorkville.com) has added the CR5 ($549, 180W stereo @ 8 ohms) and AP6040 ($1,799) to its lineup. The CR5 offers barrier-strip inputs, touchproof binding-post outs and efficient silent passive cooling for hot August nights. The AP6040 brings stereo and mono switches, highpass filter and advanced protection circuitry, but the press booth pays more attention to its 4,000 watts of mono-bridged power @ 4 ohms. Can you say “power” alley?