What is a Power Amplifier?
Power amplifiers are the most boring part of your setup. If you think spending money on a tuner pedal is no fun, then power amplifiers are, at least, 10x less fun than tuners.
What is a Stand Alone Power Amplifier?
It’s when you put the power amplifier in it’s own box so you now have your boring part in its own box.
So… What is this topic about?
I have this affinity for things being modular. The idea of being able to simply swap out only the parts and pieces you need (or want) to change at any given time is something that seems ultimately practical for many reasons.
Specifically, I am enamored with the idea of having a stand alone power amplifier. This would let you change out your pre-amplifier whenever you like with out having to invest in a new power amplifier. Theoretically, this would allow you to keep cost down and allow you to keep weight down by only bringing what you need to any given gig.
There are a lot of reasons I don’t expect this idea to become a standard. The main one being the practicality of a manufacturer giving up the potential profit in the existing model. And then there is this…
Everybody wants to sell you the amp/bass/pickup/whatever with the magic dust in it that only they know how to make.
Regardless of all this, I have done a lot of research on this topic and thought I would share here in case anyone else finds power amplification as interesting as I do.
Here is what exists in the wild right now.
Straight Ahead SA-500W
Made in the US
500 watts @ 4 ohms, 300 watts @ 8 ohms
GSS Baby Sumo 600
Made in France
600 watts @ 4 ohms, 300 watts @ 8 ohms
GSS Sumo 1000
Made in France
1000 watts @ 4 ohms, 500 watts @ 8 ohms
Bose PackLite A1
250 watts @ 4 ohms, 125 watts @ 8 ohms
Made in UK
850 watts @ 4 ohms, 500 watts @ 8 ohms
Jule Simone 500
Made in US (I think they’re in California)
500 watts @ 4 ohms
Demeter Minnie 800D
Made in US
800 watts @ 4 ohms, 500 watts @ 8 ohms
What should you learn from this?
When comparing the pricing and functionality of these units with what you get from buying either a traditional amp head or combo amp, you would be really hard pressed to get more for your money by going this way and with most of these solutions you end up paying a premium to have things modular.
Lastly, no one needs this.
You might want one, but no one need one.
Regardless, I still think they’re cool.