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Backpack-Sized Tube Bass Heads by Ampeg

Ampeg's Portaflex series is a line of lightweight bass amplifiers, which has now been extended to include two new tube heads: the PF-20T and the PF-50T. To top it all off, the amplifier builder has also introduced a new cabinet, the PF-112HFL. All of these new additions stand out thanks to their power, affordable prices and exceptionally low weight. What more could you wish for?

A multifunctional amp head

Both the PF-20T and the PF-50T boast an eye-catching design with purple (!) tubes placed right in the middle of the head, protected by a cage. It's as if the manufacturer is warning us not to unleash these beasts! A little caution is definitely advised, when dealing with power such as this. The PF-20T (see image above), for instance, features a preamp with two 12AX7 tubes (back), a power amp with two 6V6 tubes, and twenty watts of rich sound with a well-defined, studio-grade low end. Decide for yourself whether you want to plug it into a cabinet, or straight into your DI. If you want to practise at home, you can even use it without an external speaker.

Play on!

The twenty-watt model is the most basic amp of the two new Ampeg heads. An input and five controls - gain, bass, mid range, treble and volume - are all you need to get cracking. The PF-50T (50 W, see image above) is slightly larger than its little brother, and comes with a slightly different power amp, which houses one 12AU7 and two 6V6 tubes. Additionally, this amplifier head is equipped with a -15dB input for active instruments, two controls to add a hi or low boost, and a frequency knob. The latter enables you to adjust your mids within a range of 200 Hz to 3 kHz.

An adjustable amplifier

One particularly practical feature of these Ampeg amps is the GND/LIFT control on the rear. Switch it on to activate the grounding, and any annoying humming noise is reduced to a minimum. Even more handy is the bias control, which allows you to customise the tubes' sound by controlling the level of power they receive. Turn it up, and your Ampeg produces a grand, full tone. Take note, however, that this will reduce the life of the tubes. Limit the power level, and the amplifier produces a thinner tone, which is great if you're going for a bass sound with loads of definition.

Finishing touch

Ampeg wouldn't be Ampeg if they didn't complement these two portable tube heads with a matching cabinet. The PF-112HLF (image below) is a 1x12", ceramic Eminence LF speaker with a frequency response of 41 Hz to 14 kHz. At eight ohms, it can handle a power of up to 200 watts. According to Ampeg themselves, combining either the PF-20T or the PF-50T amp head with the PF-112HFL cabinet is sure to blow you away. For such a low-weight setup, that is impressive indeed!

Can you picture yourself with one of these Ampegs? Keep an eye on the relevant product pages for up-to-date information on availability and prices.

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