Replacing a Peavey amp - with what and where from?

Discussion in 'Non-Pyro chat' started by RocketRev, Jan 19, 2014.

  1. RocketRev

    RocketRev Moderator Supports UKFR

    My church's sound system amplifier died today, so I need to replace it. It's a Peavey PV 8.5C, 550watt per channel stereo power amp. I'd welcome suggestions about what to replace it with and where to go shopping.

    You can see the manner of the amp's demise in the photos below:-
    The transistor on the right has clearly disintegrated.

    The big capacitors in the middle are 7500microFarad 100v components. The top of the one on the top left is no longer flat like the others, but rather domed. So that's a blown capacitor, I reckon. I've got the necessary test gear to check that out, but I'd have to dismantle the amp a bit more to get at it to do that.

    Replacing the blown components is well within my capability. However, with those two components having failed quite dramatically, I'd expect to find a few others taken out by them and in need of replacement. Apart from that, if that set has gone, I'd wonder what the life expectancy of the others might be. I wouldn't want a failure mid-funeral when some quiet voiced relative was giving the eulogy or when the deceased's favourite piece of music was being played! So I think it's not worth bothering with a repair.

    The amp has been driving a pair of these:-
    700W RMS Peavey HiSys 4 - Not the sort of thing you'd expect to find at the front of a church! I'm told that the church has had them and the amp for around 20 years and bought them 2nd hand back then. I think the choice of kit had something to do with the contacts / involvement some church members of the day had with bands. It'd probably be better to replace them with a set of more discrete pillar mounted speakers - but that'd require between 4 and 6 speakers and an appropriate amp. Getting that sorted out - with all the necessary agreements and permissions - will take time. So I need to get something to keep the existing system going for a while longer.
  2. wilkins1kc

    wilkins1kc Pro Firer/Crew Supports UKFR

    There are some good second hand amps around. Older designs will be heavy but that does not matter for an install. A Studiomaster 1200D should be about £100......although I can only see overpriced ones on Ebay at the moment. often have secondhand stuff......looks like mostly low end amps today except for an Ecler that is a bit underpowered for your speakers, although maybe you are only using it for voice reinforcement now??

    If you want to go new then Crown have a good reputation, although whether the lower end of their range is much better than some of the cheaper brands I don't know. Avoid is attractively priced but reliability is questionable and I know a few people that have had their amps die.

    For many of these options the connectors are likely to be different than the Peavey amp.
  3. RocketRev

    RocketRev Moderator Supports UKFR

    Music & voice. It's fed by the output from a 12 channel mixer and, depending on the occasion, we'll have a mixture of voice mics, instrument mics, keyboard, and CD & computer sourced music. I've got to the stage where the 12 channels isn't enough!
  4. Quasar

    Quasar Pro Firer/Crew

    Check these guys out, they cater especially for churches. My dad is in charge of the sound at his church and has used them before. If you're after a larger mixer too i'm sure they'll have something that would accommodate more channels. :)
  5. Not sure on your budget, but if you could stretch it, a Crown XLS602 would be perfect 600Watts RMS 4ohm.

    I used to DJ weddings and had one for many years and never had a problem with it.
  6. Arthur

    Arthur Pro Firer/Crew

    Peavey at Corby may accept it for repair.
  7. wilkins1kc

    wilkins1kc Pro Firer/Crew Supports UKFR

    Rev.....We need an idea of your budget; do you want a low cost option to get going again, or an investment for the future.
    Also worth letting us know how soon you need it. No good me suggesting watching for an EBay bargain if you need to order ASAP.
  8. RocketRev

    RocketRev Moderator Supports UKFR

    @Arthur As I said above, doing the repair myself is within my capability. (Electronics is one of the things I have in my background, but I don't say much about that - folk have enough with me citing other aspects of my background in support of various discussions!) But I've determined that it's not worth proceeding with a repair.

    @wilkins1kc I'd rather replace the whole system with something more appropriate for a church setting, but as I mentioned, getting that sorted out (funding + more particularly the permissions from church authorities) will take some time. I had actually already prepared a plan for a whole system replacement and got quotes for it before the amp died. But the recent bad weather has left me with church paths and a vicarage drive in need of urgent repair, so that project has to go on the back burner! Consequently I need to keep the old system going for a while. I mentioned the kind of new set-up I'm thinking of and I'd like to be able to get an amp that'd form the heart of that. But I doubt one that could do that would work well with the existing speakers. I'd be happy to hear otherwise, though! So I'm thinking that I'm in a "get me going" rather than an "investment for the future" situation. I do have various bits of kit that can keep me going - for example, we've a fully integrated outdoor PA system (not very powerful, but adequate for what I need to do in the next few weeks) and I can feed from the mixing desk into that.
  9. sapphirepuddycat

    sapphirepuddycat Supports UKFR

    Hi Rev,
    For what it will cost you, I would replace all four big capacitors and the transistor along with the couple of crispy resistors and check the Zener diodes before you power back up. Check the output transistors as well. That's probably the only fault and you should get many more years out of it. Good luck!
    Andy_P likes this.
  10. Jon

    Jon Pro Firer/Crew

    I do like the old boards where the components are neatly laid out and hand solderable.

    I have to confess I know little about church sound systems but I would have thought investing in a number of smaller speakers that you run down the aisle/side of the church at various intervals would be better for sermons than having two huge speakers at the front. I have used a lot of the D&B audio speakers for small shows and they have always been good, however, i should think they may be out of your price range.....
  11. swazzle

    swazzle UKFR Legend

    Mipro are very good
  12. Arthur

    Arthur Pro Firer/Crew

    Walk into your local disco shop, see what they have. Ok Crown is a nice name of good stuff but a moderate disco amp for £150 ish should last long enough and maybe be saleable when you get the new full system. If the speakers are not broken then don't fix them!

    Avoid the multi speakers down the nave route. Each pair of speakers will need an amp and somewhere you will have to have a delay network to match the audio delay to the distance from the person speaking. Lots of cost, lots of setup, and never a really good result.
  13. Andy_P

    Andy_P Pro Firer/Crew

    I have to disagree. Multiple small speakers are often a better solution than a large single pair in ambient spaces like churches especially for speech and quiet music. Their bad reputation may have come from bad installations, done by people who don't know the pitfalls.

    I'd advise Julian to get some advice before spending any money on a new system, I have some contacts who do this sort of project all the time.

    As for the immediate "quick fix", I've mended a lot of amps in the past where only the main power trannys died and simply replacing them (and re-checking bias voltages etc.) have been all it has needed.

    If the main Power supply reservoir Caps are bulging, that doesn't neccessarily mean they have "gone" but they are definitely on their way out, and the stresses of repair may be enough to finish them off, so it's worth just replacing them at the same time, plus the other components that puddycat mentioned are certainly worth checking.

    Even if you are thinking of a replacement, it's stil worth a go, I'd say. Think of the feeling of achievement!
  14. DannyB

    DannyB Moderator

    I'm with Andy, having done quite a few church PA installs, the column speaker and delay line method is the solution you want. Just get it done properly, again like Andy I've got people I can recommend.

    As for your current dilemma, not sure if it helps but I have a Citronix PPX 1200 (600 RMS/Channel) that I'm not currently using. More than welcome to borrow it short/medium term (just need to get it to you). Only condition is that it's working now and needs to be working when I get it back.

    Let me know

  15. Skydazzle Pyrotechnics

    Skydazzle Pyrotechnics Pro Firer/Crew

  16. RocketRev

    RocketRev Moderator Supports UKFR

    Thanks for the posts and PMs, folks.:)

    I'd quite like to repair the old amp myself, but getting the components and finding the time to do the work will take a while. My plan B, using existing equipment worked OK today, but does have limitations. So my folk are keen to get a new amp sooner rather than later. There are some low cost options and brands than I'm cautious about. I could also spend a lot! On balance, I've settled on a shortlist of:-
    Peavey PV1500 (500W into 4 ohm and available for £379)
    Crown XLS1500 (525W into 4 ohm and available for £379)
    QSC GX3 (425W into 4 ohm and available for £295)
    QSC GX5 (700W into 4 ohm and available for £390)

    The GX3 is the nearest to my old Peavey PV8.5C (same power and has the same input and output options) and the price is appealing. The old Peavey has provided enough sound and can drive music a whole lot louder than I need. Hence it seems to have enough headroom for my purposes. So, even though it's underpowered for the speakers (425W amp powering 700W RMS speakers), it could be argued that I don't need anything much more powerful. Later on, I'd probably downsize the speakers - something more discrete than the HiSys 4's would be welcome and I don't need anything with that much power. So the GX3 should be fine and shouldn't be pushed to the limit. But I'm seriously considering the GX5 as being a better match for the speakers. My old amp doesn't have speakon output connectors, so we're using 1/4" jacks. The Peavey and Crown on the shortlist have speakons and binding posts, so a rework of my leads would be needed - a trivial matter and an easy job. That's about the only mark against them compared to the QSC's. There is a school of thought that says I should get a more than 700W amp. But since the old lower power one has worked well for many years, I'm not convinced that I need to spend the money on doing that! (I'd agree if I had a big church and needed to drive the HiSys 4's hard - but my place isn't big. It's a reverse Tardis - it looks bigger on the outside! That's because the inside was re-ordered to create a lounge with kitchen and toilet facilities, leaving a smaller church service area.)

    As for the sort of setup I should have / want to get eventually.... In the Church of England the big front of house speaker installation is not favoured. The multiple smaller pillar mounted speaker setup is preferred - and to say that never gives a good result would be very wrong! True, there are some awful installations, but thankfully I've heard a lot of very good installations - and indeed commissioned one of them in my last church. I know several of the companies that do church sound installations - a couple are only a few miles away from me - and I brought one of them in to quote for a new full system a couple of years ago. (That was to include video facilities, too, but I can't get my church dark enough to achieve what I want without spending far too much money! So the project was shelved for the time being. New technology and reducing prices might come to my rescue in a while, though.) However, I've checked out a range of these companies this week and they tend not to deal with what I'm looking for at the moment.
  17. gareth71

    gareth71 Pro Firer/Crew

    If you're going down the route of shopping for a new amp to get your system back up and running again, I can recommend Thomann as a retailer - - they're a German company, and while I believe there was some talk a while ago of them setting up a presence in the UK I don't know whether that actually happened. Anyway, they do a lot of business in the UK and are very happy to ship goods here, and their prices are extremely competitive (we use them quite a lot at work).
  18. RocketRev

    RocketRev Moderator Supports UKFR

    Thanks @gareth71 . The prices on the QSC amps look good (I wonder if it's to compete with Germany's Behringer QSC "look-a-like"?). The Crown works out almost the same in the UK and the Peavey costs less in the UK.