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behringer A500 500W Reference-Class Studio Power Amplifier
Overall Rating
Submitted: September 19th, 2006
by StringsOfJoy06
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Sound Quality
The minimal coloration means that you're only limited by the tones and quality of your pre-amp, pedals, or whatever comes before it in the signal chain. The cleans do not distort until clipping, and, for the reasons discussed earlier regarding solid state power-amp clipping, that never happens, which means there is enormous headroom (with my cab and with a clean setting on a pre-amp, I can stay clean well into the 120 dB range in bridged mode). Distortion is determined by the quality of the modelling, pedals, or pre-amps. I use the amp with everything from Strats to PAF-style pickups on Les Pauls, to hot PAFs, to the 7-string DiMarzio Blazes on a baritone length guitar. It is very flexible. Noise-floors are largely dependent on your knowledge of gain structure, however. When it is fully cranked, you will hear hiss, but with a little tweaking and with sufficient knowledge of how to optimize gain in your signal chain, you'd be surprised at how brutally loud you can get while eliminating any discernible hiss.
Reliability/Durability
So far so good. With no tubes, I have to infer it's much more reliable without a backup than a tube power-amp. Never broken down, but it's only a few months old so far. Since it's so inexpensive, I wouldn't gig without a backup since the backup is so cheap to implement.
Price/Value
General Comments
Been playing for 3 years now. I own 5 guitars of different stripes as mentioned above. The guitars are customized to differing degrees. Have four other amps, from 1 to 120 watts, several boutique pedals, including boosts, overdrives, distortion, wah, EQ, and volume. I also use a DI. If it were stolen or lost, I'd buy a new one the next day, even though I might ultimately look for an upgraded power amp from Crown or Carvin to get more flexibility on ohm settings and power output. I love it's simplicity and ease with which I integrated it into my rig. The only thing I hate about it is the knowledge that I should give it it's proper place in a rack instead of on top of my cab, LOL... Seriously, if there is any downside it is that you will need to learn about gain structure to optimize headroom and minimize noise, but that's not a bad thing to understand and noise only happens because at 500 watts, this sucker puts out a lot of sound to begin with. I compared it to similar power amps by Crown, Nady, and Carvin. It was inexpensive and quiet: the Nady especially was fan-cooled and noisy (though I heard there was a tweak for that...but why take the trouble at a similar price point). It has more than enough power for my current purposes. I can run it simultaneous with my 120 watt head to blend the sounds of the modeller and the tube head, which gives me the ability to blend at least 3 different sounds (in stereo) for one big sound. It's a good deal and works very well for me.
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