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Crate PowerBlock
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Eroachguitar Eroachguitar

« Best backup head of them all! »

Published on 10/01/12 at 15:25
Crate has been more or less synonymous (for good or bad) with solid state guitar amplification for over two decades. It would make sense then, that they know a thing or two about making them sound good. In some cases yes, and in some cases not so much.

The PowerBlock is very much a case of the yes. It's a small unit, with a heat-sink style top, pushing 150 solid-state watts mono or 75 watts per-side stereo, and it also features XLR line out w/ level control and stereo cd inputs. It works with any standard rated guitar cabinet, operating easily on 4 to 16 ohms, and can drive multiple cabinets with no problems.

Oh, and there's even a headphone jack on the front for you bedroom players.

UTILIZATION

The PowerBlock is very simple to operate, and features Gain, Bass, Treble, Mid, and volume controls. It's very well built, and comes with a soft travel case with a side pocket for storing cables, pics, and whatever frilly undergarments fly up onto the stage during the course of a show.

SOUNDS

Many people are surprised by the quality of the tone available in the Crate PowerBlock, and indeed it doesn't respond or sound much like a solid-state amp, thanks to Crate's tube response-replicating technology. It actually sounds very akin to a big, loud Fender Twin Reverb. The touch sensitivity, compression, and soundstage are impressive. The EQ controls are very responsive, since this is still a solid-state amp, and volume and EQ behave more linearly with the power transistors.

OVERALL OPINION

The Crate PowerBlock gets a huge, clean sound, up into a not-unpleasant mild overdrive. It takes pedals very well, and fellow players will be shocked at the tone you're able to evoke from this little monster. At 150 watts peak power, it can keep up with and even overpower the rest of the band in some cases, all in a package that's smaller than a loaf of bread and weighs merely 5lbs. It's small enough to easily fit in the overhead compartment of a plane if you're gigging overseas, plus it operates on 100v-240VAC, so there is no need for a voltage converter.

The PowerBlock is currently discontinued, but rumors abound of a new model emerging in the next year, so be sure to check it out when they do hit stores. The Crate PowerBlock makes a fine backup or travel amp head for those who need great tone, horsepower, and durability in a small format.
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