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Is anyone here doing modular (or just separate) preamp and power amps?

Posted: Wed 09/22/21 9:08 pm
by cstenger5
I don't think I really want to pursue building any standalone preamps or power amps at this point, but I'm curious if any of you are doing that. I had an Egnater IE4 back in the day paired up with a stereo tube power amp. I loved feeling of modularity and versatility. I know the world has moved on from the rack mount thing, but I often think in discrete blocks, so envisioning this type of project is interesting to me. I'm sure there are somewhat expensive inefficiencies, considering the need for two PTs, separate chassis', etc. Anyway, just curious, so if you're doing it, I'd love to hear about it.

Re: Is anyone here doing modular (or just separate) preamp and power amps?

Posted: Thu 09/23/21 6:51 am
by Bieworm
Not me... too lazy for multiple devices. I'm a combo man 🙂

Re: Is anyone here doing modular (or just separate) preamp and power amps?

Posted: Sat 09/25/21 1:16 pm
by zaphod_phil
I think that building preamps and power amps as separate modules is a recipe for noise and hum issues :cry:

Re: Is anyone here doing modular (or just separate) preamp and power amps?

Posted: Thu 09/30/21 12:52 am
by TriodeLuvr
I considered that approach before building my amp, but then someone gave me a gutted 12" Peavey combo case. That made the decision. :D I've thought about building a few separates since then, but I don't think there's any benefit. If a combo or head has a good FX loop, it can serve as a separate in an emergency.

Jack

Re: Is anyone here doing modular (or just separate) preamp and power amps?

Posted: Thu 09/30/21 10:47 am
by colossal
I can see the utility of rack-mounted and modular components, especially if you need lots of sounds, run a studio, or just like variety and flexibility, etc. Rack gear was the rage back in the 80s and I had friends with great sounding, half refrigerator-sized stereo rack setups. I dabbled myself. I had a buddy with a Boogie Triaxis preamp, an Alesis preamp, ADA preamp, Boogie 2:90 stereo power amp, TC 2290 (!), Alesis Quadraverb, Rocktron this and that, all Bradshaw MIDI footswitchable, ad infinitum. Huge, huge sounds in the soaring Steve Lukather vein. Great fun when you are a kid standing in the stereo wash with your hair and pant legs blowing, but in hindsight, way too processed for me now :lol:

These days, my personal interest is about as little as possible between the guitar and the speaker, so I really enjoy the minimalist approach and a very honest, open, and revealing sound.

Re: Is anyone here doing modular (or just separate) preamp and power amps?

Posted: Thu 09/30/21 12:09 pm
by cstenger5
colossal wrote:
Thu 09/30/21 10:47 am

These days, my personal interest is about as little as possible between the guitar and the speaker, so I really enjoy the minimalist approach and a very honest, open, and revealing sound.
same! I even had the Quadroverb :)

I want simplicity, but I also want to hear how this preamp sounds with this power amp, ad infinitum. Again, I don't think I actually want to go down that road, and if I did I could always do it cloesly enough through effects loops.

Still though, all that flexibility I once had was fun.

Re: Is anyone here doing modular (or just separate) preamp and power amps?

Posted: Fri 10/01/21 2:56 am
by Bieworm
the way I remember the late 80's and early 90's and the popularity of those rack units that costed $$$... the more equipment some had, the worse / kitschier they sounded.
Back then I had a Hiwatt custom 100 and an early 70s London City 4x12 G12M loaded cab. That and some Boss FX pedals made me sound 1000x better. Ofcourse transporting that stuff was hell.. but I sounded fat and juicy and noisy.
as a big + I could hang my wet coat over the hiwatt top and dry it while rehearshing ;)
thank god I never got electrocuted doing so.. I was 16 years old..what did I know? hahahaha
those 4x 6550's heated up the practice room.. and the smell I can still imagine! wonderful!

Re: Is anyone here doing modular (or just separate) preamp and power amps?

Posted: Fri 10/01/21 1:12 pm
by geoff 1965
Those rack mount Marshall el84’s amps are ridiculous now in price! like Jack mentioned if you had a good effects loop you could plug into the return with a separate preamp I suppose but a dedicated 18W power amp with the touch sensitivity and power tube breakup is a nice concept.

Re: Is anyone here doing modular (or just separate) preamp and power amps?

Posted: Sat 10/02/21 1:20 pm
by zaphod_phil
A customer once brought me an EL84-based Marshall 20/20 stereo rack amp, for repair. It had 420V on the screen grids with only a 100 ohm resistor to protect them. 8O Little wonder it had blown up! I replaced them with 1k resistors, put in new tubes and got the amp working nicely. Not having a rack preamp, I drove the inputs from a boost pedal. The amp had a pleasant warm, clean tone, with no breakup that I could hear. The 20/20 uses negative feedback, in addition to the high voltages, so it was to be expected. Nice, but not a very Marshall sound. :)