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PROS: Great tones, excellent for passive basses, perfect for recording.
Back in the day, Ampeg’s Portaflex was the ultimate combo; the amp head was hidden in the speaker cabinet, inverted for transport. When it came time to gig, a couple of latches get undone, flip the lid, and the amp sat on top. Ampeg’s new PF-50T all-tube head follows that same concept, but with a modern amp.
Like we said, it’s all tube, with (2) 12AX7’s , (1) 12AU7 & (2) 6L6’s, and at 50 watts @ 8 or 4 Ohms, it has plenty of volume (don’t be fooled, it can hang at a club gig). The front panel is quite simple, inputs for Passive or Active basses, a Gain Control, 3 Band EQ, and Volume. There are some unique features, though: an Ultra Lo switch that boosts the lows, and an Ultra Hi, that boots the upper frequencies. The Midrange control is also tied to a frequency selector switch, with five presets that alter the center frequencies from 200Hz to 3kHz.
The back panel has the speaker outs, as well as a preamp output, and a transformer balanced output both via XLR connections. The preamp output can be selected to be either direct output or a direct output that utilizes the amp’s tone controls. The transformer balanced output is great for connecting to an external power amp, as well as mixers, PA system or to a recording device. This amp can also be run as a DI/preamp to a mixer or interface without speakers connected, making this an excellent tube-driven DI. No load required – nice!
With active basses it sounds good; there’s plenty of warmth in every setting and variation. However with passive basses, it really comes alive. That classic, well-defined Ampeg tone is all over the place. It’s hard to get a bad sound out of it, to be honest. For a classic rock/bluesy/Americana sound, this really can’t be beat. The Ultra Lo and Ultra Hi switches can really make a difference, without sounding like they’re getting in the way of the other frequencies. The Midrange frequency selector works in the same manner. It really dials in the mids to keep them from getting lost in the mix (great for punchier players). Although its 50 watts, there’s plenty of headroom for most smallish venues (for a louder FOH mix, use the DI output to the PA) or practice rooms.
With this head tucked into one of Ampeg’s compatible cabinets, it would be great sounding rig in a neat, small package that’s easy to transport. Forget modeling and software, this is the vintage bass tube tone!
– RMS power output: 50W @ 4 or 8 ohms
– Preamp: All-tube 2 x 12AX7
– Power amp: All-tube 1 x 12AU7, 2 x 6L6
– 0db and -15db inputs
– Preamp balanced line out
– Pre/Post EQ
– Ground lift
– Transformer balanced line out
– User-adjustable bias control