Stand Alone Power Amplifiers

You are not helping Eric :wink:

1 Like

That is the question each of us has to find an answer to.

The TC Electronic BQ500 is the same price as the SA-500W.

There are so many different ways to put your setup together and they all end up doing basically the same thing.

In my mind I have my bass and pedalboard (including preamp) where I build my sound and this would be used all the time. For practice, recording, and gigs that didn’t require an amp.

Also, in my mind, sitting in the corner, would be the equipment for practicing with others and gigs that required an amp. This would include a power amp and two 1x15 cabinets and two 2x10 cabinets

1 Like

great topic @eric.kiser ! thank you for all this informations

1 Like

Why not one 15" and one 2x10".
Deep bottom end and punch to get thru the mix.
Best of both.
this is in a sense what I get with my SWR WorkingMan 15 with the Add on 4x10 speaker cabinet. Only I get 2 extra 10" and 300w less overall power.
Still pretty powerful in its own right, but not the full 500 of power.

Still, it is something for my consideration, probably a little more investigation on my part will be needed.
Thanks for this great topic and the supplied info.

1 Like

Is this combo amp actually 500w full power output within the combo amp?
Or is it actually 250W and would be 500W with an added speaker cabinet of the right ohms?
When I heard some Rumbles, they did not seem as loud as I would have thought, the 200 and 100, and some that heard my amp thought it, at 160w was much louder then a Fender 200, this is why I was thinking the 200 was only 100 unless you added a cabinet and then the 500 might be the same.
But IDK, that is why I am asking.

1 Like

I have the same wish list for a quality straight ahead amp. The tone knobs on the amp heads never do quite what I want. I’d rather put my own choice in front of it.

It’s about as easy a DIY project as possible to get the same power stage that Darkglass and Aguilar and others use. If you can drill holes and learn to solder, it’s less than an afternoon project.

Drill holes in case for input jack, output connector, power cord and standoffs.

  1. board mounts to bottom of case using standoffs.
  2. solder 1/4” input jack and run to amp board
  3. run amp output to speak-on connector
  4. attach AC cord to amp board

The project cost is amp, case, AC tail, 1/4” jack, speakon connector.

I’d probably pay $300 to not have to do it myself and have it look nice out of the box.

I thought about buying the least expensive TC amp and trying to figure out if I could bypass the tone section.


Good point. It’s 350 watts unless you add an extension cabinet.

I use the 500 watt target as an example for what would give the vast majority of players more power than they would ever possibly need.

This is based on two things. Having 250 watts plus 250 watts of head room and the idea that most equipment performs best at half power.

@DaveT has vastly more experience in this area. Maybe he can weigh in on how valid those ideas are.

1 Like

Because these cabinets live in the fantasy world of my mind where I can mix and match them at will.

If we start talking reality, I’m a fucking mess.
I would get a 115 extension cab.
Not be sure it was what I wanted.
Stress over spending so much money over something that I wasn’t sure about.
Take it back.
Get some number of 10’s based on cost.
Try that out.
Stress over spending the money.
Second guess my decision.
Decide I need the money for other things.
Take it back also.
Decide I’m fine with what I have.
Imagine I will one day be able to have a savings account again and how I’ll put money aside for my dream set up.
Whatever that might turn out to be.
Realize I won’t be able to figure that out unless I’m okay with buying and returning as much equipment as possible.
Think about how taking advantage of a return policy is different than setting out to abuse a return policy.
Talk myself out of feeling guilty about such things because life is tough when money is short.
Then I get tired because reality is fucking hard and what I really need to do is practice more.


@DaveT I thought there was more to it when building something for instrument amplification. That there were certain protections that had to be implemented to keep from burning anything up. Is that really all there is to it?

1 Like

I’ve been reading through all the comments on this thread and am as confused as I was when I read the original post.
Are these amps something that fills the shoes of a head that you connect to a cabinet?


I didn’t include these in the original list since they are being marketed toward people who just want something to amplify what they get from their pedals but they all have some bit of extra stuff. They’re all supposed to work with either bass or guitar. I haven’t found any testimonials for using it with bass though.

$399 Power Stage 170
$699 Power Stage 700

This one just came out. It adds an amp sim, more eq control, aux in, headphone out, and a DI. I think this is pretty cool but I can’t pay $500 for it.

$499 Power Stage 200


Hey @PamPurrs!

Your Rumble 100 is made up of three part.

  • Preamp - where you can adjust your sound
  • Power Amp - ups the power so it can drive the speaker
  • Speaker - makes the boom

All of the devices in this thread would be substitutes for just the power amplifier.

For instance…
If you still had your Zoom, you could use it as your preamp.
Add one of these devices for the power amp.
Add a speaker cabinet of your choosing.

It’s about looking at building your rig from a different perspective.

Combo Amps are one big box with everything in it. Simple and effective but static. What if you’re picky and want a different speaker or you like the speaker but want a different preamp.

Head and Cabinet setups gives you the flexibility to switch out different heads or different cabinets without having to replace everything at once.

Let’s say you’re even more picky and tired of paying manufacturers for power amps included in every head when you don’t need to change the power amp. Then you can get a separate preamp, power amp, and cabinet.

Once again, let me stress. No one needs this. :rofl:

For instance, If you decided you didn’t like the Fender sound you could buy an Ampeg preamp pedal, plug into it, and plug it into the FX return completely skipping the Fender preamp portion of your Rumble 100.

Does that help?


Yes thank you. Does the Mooer Radar count as a pre- amp?

Or the Tube Screamer?

1 Like

Remember, it’s not an instrument amp. It’s just a power stage. It adds gain. You still need a preamp to take care of the instrument signal. Otherwise, the power stage takes line level in and drives down to a 4 Ohm load. The only thing I left out is that the two heads I have also have a little fan. I think you can drive it off the power supply on the amp board.

As far as protection, you could input limit so it doesn’t clip, but digital distortion clipping goes to crap really fast and you can detect that with your ears. I didn’t dig that deep into it yet to see what it’s input stage already has. It’s a fairly complete module. There may be a couple components to add to the input. @terb can likely have some insight.


I know you are using it as an example, and I only brought it up because I have mentioned to people that say, oh, my Fender 200 is not as loud as your 160w amp, and I have more watts.
I tell them it is my understanding that that 200w is max when used between two cabinets, so you have to add the right add on speaker to get the full 200w.

the reason I asked you, is I assumed you had a confirmed answer for me, because I was going off a hunch, or even an educated guess at best.
thanks for clarifying, I just wanted to speak with confidence when talking to others about their equipment.

I know that 500 (350 really) is plenty, and the extra headroom gives most of those that would GET a combo and not go up higher out of need (not want), so they, when using their Amp, alone, not comparing to others, is plenty.
I just think that Fender, and others should do a better job with transparency about this fact, because there are those that will argue to the death that their Fender is now, and always will be, standing alone, without a speaker add on, 500 watts of power.
This is clever marketing for sure.


Please refer to @Gorch How Can I Be Heard Through The Mix.

He talks about practical power levels. I talk about math.

I’ll only say here that an 8 Ohm cabinet will take twice the power amp size of a 4 Ohm cabinet. A cabinet with a 96dB sensitivity will take twice as much power as one with 99dB sensitivity. If you have a 96dB sensitive cabinet at 8 Ohm and you are driving it with a 400 Watt amplifier, I can match your level with my 99dB cabinet at 4 Ohms using only a 100 Watt amplifier.

In audio it’s never possible to evaluate one piece of gear in isolation. It’s a system. If you need more than 350 Watts, it’s no longer an amateur topic. If you buy 800 Watts, they just sit in the amp taking a coffee break, no biggie. If you overpower and drive a cabinet too hard, it will start farting before it breaks. Back off.


I just checked. The Rumble 200 runs at 140 watts without an expansion cabinet.

They don’t put that information front and center but it isn’t buried like with some manufacturers. If you click on the specs link it spells it out clearly.

Yeah, I never get it when people decide they want to fight about the details when they haven’t taken the time to do the research. If I’m wrong, call me out, I’ll be better for it.


That was a fantastic thread. I need to re-read it.

@DaveT The more I learn about all this the more ignorant I feel. I’ve been trying to take it in small pieces but so much of it is part of the intertwined system that I’m not making much headway.

Thanks for this. I’ll keep looking into it.

1 Like

Nope. Neither one. Most, if not all, bass multi effects pedals have one built in. Otherwise, it will be something that is being sold specifically as a bass preamp.

We have this thread… 2020 Bass PreAmp Shootout
And I’ll point you here… Sweetwater Bass Preamps
Some of the stuff that comes up are full amplifier heads. Just ignore those.

1 Like

For the most part, no. If you were to imagine your rumble with only one knob on it, volume, you get the idea of a power amp (and power amps generally don’t even have volume, so you would have to use your bass’s volume knob). A preamp generally let’s you control the input gain, output volume, bass mid and treble settings. So when I have my preamp pedal with all the tone controls on it, I generally don’t need a bunch of duplicate tone controls on my amp, which is why we would like to see a bare naked power amp as it would be cleaner and cheaper.