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Rating and Reviews: Ampeg Portaflex PF500 Amp

Get huge bass tone in a portable package. Built around Ampeg's MOSFET preamp, the solid-state PF500 bass head boasts onboard compression, 3-band EQ and more.

User Ratings
Overall
Sound
Features
Ease of Use
Quality
Value
Manufacturer Support
The Wow Factor
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"Value, tone, and WOW factor." submitted September 20, 2011

By a customer from gmail.com
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Sound
Features
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Value
The Wow Factor
Musical Background: Hobbyist, gigging band member
Music Style: Rock
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Sound: The famous Ampeg tone with unmatched portability. The only knock is volume. I went from a Fender Rumble 2x10 to the PF 500 and PF210 and there's a noticeable volume boost; just not as noticeable as I was expecting. I still have to push it to compete with the rest of the band, but I'm hoping another 2x10 cab will get me there. Feature: The PF500 will allow you to find your tone and coupled with a PF cab, it's unbelievable to gig with, the ease of transport and self contained storage are insanely awesome. Ease of Use: Not a lot of things to figure out here, plug in, adjust your levels and play away. Quality: The cab solid and looks ready for battle. Double checked screws and wire connections, all seem good to go. Casters, which I heard were in issue during release, seem fine. Value: PF 500 and PF210 ~$800, unmatched value. Manufacturer Support: NA The Wow Factor: Thing is gorgeous, many compliments from other musicians who have seen or borrowed it. Storing your wires, pedals, tuner, etc right in the cab and flip top for the head will make you smile for sure. Overall: I love this amp, my band loves this amp, and people that have borrowed it for shows love it. Again, my only knock is that the standard combo isn't pushing enough power or air at 8ohms and 2x10's.
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"AMPEG LISTENS TO AND CARES ABOUT PLAYERS" submitted August 3, 2011

By a customer from cox.net
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Sound
Features
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Value
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Musical Background: active musician
Music Style: county, soul. r&b. funk
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Sound: Wasn't sure what to expect and I was in a bind. I had a gig the same night I got the PF-500 so it was truly a trial by fire. Medium sized venue at a full 250 capacity playing through an Ashdown ABM Compact 1x15 I play A homemade Jazz Bass with Aero pickups and P-Bass with LaBella Flats. I do play mainly 60's and 70's R&B, Soul and Country music. This amp kills! Does a very good classic SVT type of sound with ease and with some tweaking of the EQ can get into B-15N territory as well. Probably not the most versatile in terms of covering the entire tone spectrum. Ultra HiFi modern tone seekers should look elsewhere, this amp has that very defining AMPEG tone all the way. This is the best product Ampeg has put out in a long time. Feature: DI out with a pad, Pre and Post EQ, Speakon connector and 1/4" jacks, tuner out, power amp in, pre amp out, 5 selectable mid Q, FX loop and a mute switch, and 500 watts!!! What else do you really need in a portable head??? BONUS -headphone jack with 1/8" stereo in so you can practice or jam along to you iPod Ease of Use: I give it a 9 for being in to get a very good approximation of most historic Ampeg sounds, it will take the right cab selection and some time spent tweaking. If you're looking for that crystal clear and clean HiFi sound you shouldn't be looking at Ampeg's anyways because you aren't ever going to get it. Quality: I'll give it an 8 only because I've only had it a week. Seems to be built like a tank and don;t anticipate any problems. Value: This is the best value going in bass amps right now. The power and features Ampeg packed into this thing at this price is AMAZING. I would have to say the consumer finally wins on this deal. Manufacturer Support: I haven't had to deal with this but I will give it a 10 beacuse i don;t expect I will have to. The Wow Factor: This thing is pretty much perfect. Overall: I am extremely happy with this amp. I would still most likely record with a tube amp but for live playing this is the real deal. That being said I will definitely give this a shot in the studio.
22 of 23 people (95.65%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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"Great Features, but a slight let-down" submitted May 15, 2011

By a customer from ERIKERIKERIK.COM
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Value
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Musical Background: Active Musician
Music Style: Rock
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Sound: It's got ampeg traits, but not what I was anticipating based on the hype surrounding it. Sometimes, I think I found the tone (sans-effects), and next time, it's not... quite... right. I've had it a month and still tinkering. Admittedly, I ran a Hartke head for about 3 years after playing through a vintage Ampeg regularly. I liked it, but when I started playing more often decided I needed something with decent wattage and reminisced about the ampeg tone but didn't have a grand to drop on a tube head right now. I have plenty of room for being louder - I run it through a 8x10 and it's a force. I'm pretty sure that I'll have no issues in most places, and DI for the others. Feature: fantastic set of features - I love the tuner out, the effects loop and the fact that I can blend it with my dry signal - awesome. using the foot switch (got a 9 dollar ibanez and it works fine) is cool too. Ease of Use: I'm still not happy with my settings and how consistently I can dial them in, but everything else is great. Quality: Pretty rock-solid enclosure, however I can see how some may gripe about it not being rack-mountable. I like that it fits in an old 17" laptop backpack perfectly. The thing is loud as hell so far, but rumor has it that there's a few here and there that croak either at arrival or a bit after use based on my research. Time will tell. Value: Pretty good bang for the buck so far. Manufacturer Support: Haven't had to deal with it yet. The Wow Factor: I'm going to say that my eyes bulged and mouth watered when I heard "solid-state" (lightweight), "ampeg" (mmm, tone), and 500W (loud), but after playing on it some, I kind of shrug when I'm asked about it like "eh - it's alright). Overall: I'll be saving my pennies. Nothing beats the real deal. I'll probably replace this unit in the next two years, maybe sooner.
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"Awesome little amp!" submitted April 1, 2011

By a customer from clear.net
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Sound
Features
Ease of Use
Quality
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Manufacturer Support
The Wow Factor
Musical Background: Active Musician
Music Style: Rock
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Sound: I purchased this amp as a back up when my SVT CL was being repaired. Honestly, this is an awesome little amp! The tones are great and its loud! I use a Fender American Standard Jazz 5 string with an Ampeg Heritage Series SVT-410HLF. I tried the SVT 7 Pro and I prefer the tone of the Ampeg PF-500 Portaflex. Absolutely recommended! Feature: Compression and Ampeg tone! Ease of Use: Good layout - simple! Quality: Well built! Value: For $400 - WTF! Manufacturer Support: On the 2 occasions I have called them, they were very helpful The Wow Factor: Looks retro - I like it! Overall: I may buy another one as these will sell fast
14 of 15 people (93.33%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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"Ampeg sound/Great Value!" submitted January 8, 2012

By a customer from comcast.net
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Sound
Features
Ease of Use
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Value
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The Wow Factor
Musical Background: 25 years on bass
Music Style: Rock
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Sound: The PF series amps put out the that Ampeg sound! Many tonal possibilities too with the EQ selector Feature: 5 position mid- EQ selector, On-board Compressor, and sturdy construction Ease of Use: It's really easy to dial in your sound, not too complicated. There are some good examples of different tonal settings in the owners manual Quality: Solid construction Value: Great amp for this price! Plenty of power Manufacturer Support: I dealt with LOUD/Ampeg on a previous purchase. Communication was decent and while it took a little longer than i hoped, they came through and made things right. The Wow Factor: Love that Ampeg sound! Overall: I had one, wound up trading it (pF500/PF115)for a American Jazz bass. When I saved up enough money, I bought another one!
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"Ampeg Portaflex" submitted June 24, 2012

By David G in Cincinnati, OH
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Musical Background: I have been playing bass for over 30 years, sometimes professionally, but mostly because I love to play.
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Overall: Awesome Amp and Company! I only own Ampeg amps because I want the best! I have a SVT4Pro with the SVT810 cabinet. Best amp ever. I have a BA115 (100 watts) that is also an awesome sounding amp and is much more powerful than you would expect and can handle most small to medium gigs, but some of the gigs we play didn't warrant dragging the refridgerator in and the 100 watter was just not enough, so I can almost sell the other 2 because the PF500 paired with 2 15s can handle any of them AND serve as a practice amp...on wheels!! Love it!
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"i love ampeg amps....please make them in the U.S.A. from now on....." submitted June 15, 2011

By a customer from gmail.com
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Musical Background: active musican/ ring leader
Music Style: rockabilly, blues, old school rock and roll
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Sound: i've been using ampeg bass amps for 30 years.....had the B-15 porta-flex, had the V4 with the V4 refridgerator bottom, the SVT with the 4 10" cab and the 1 15" cab...every sound man had made a comment on how nice a it sounded, and i toured the us with that rig.....next was the B200R 220 watts into 15" tube pre-amp sound awesome motown baby rockabilly......had 2 of these babys...had to fix the problem with the gasket of speaker on wrong side..causing bass cabinet rattling..easy fix tho.....and now i got the new pori-flex PF-500, with the PF-210 bottom, and the PF-115 bottom, unbelivable sound, it is full, round, punchy....this is the amp i'll take to the grave.........i only hope i can take it with me to rock and roll heaven so i can jam with Keith Moon... Quality: it is beautiful....i was surprised at how nice it looks... Overall: this is all i'll need for the rest of my life...
13 of 14 people (92.86%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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"Fat and Punchy" submitted April 19, 2014

By Gordon L in Kansas City, MO
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Musical Background: bassist since 1965. I work a day job to support my music habit.
Music Style: classic rock, blues, southern rock, Motown, classic R&B, funk
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Overall: Well after subjecting my new PF 500 to three rehearsals at four hours each and its first club gig last night I think I’m finally ready to write a review. I admit I was somewhat hesitant to buy a Class-D amp at first having read a few negative reviews about fragile input jacks and reliability. But those were in the minority, the PF-500 specs and features were just what I needed, and Ampeg quality and tone are legendary. Also, Ampeg authorized service is close by so I went for it. ZZounds made the purchase easy. I used the” pay as you play” option. I submitted the purchase with the first payment about 8pm one evening and got an email with the approval confirmation, payment schedule, and shipment information the next day. It arrived on the day predicted in perfect condition being packed in a box in a box like a set of Russian dolls. Quality and finish were first rate as I would expect from Ampeg. I’m playing a 5-string P-Bass with flat wounds through my PF-500 connected to an SWR Triad cab (15x10xhorn). Now sound quality is subjective to some degree but this amp sounded GREAT to me with Bass, Mid, and Treble set flat. That legendary Ampeg tone is there in spades! So starting there, tweaking these controls has been merely a curiosity so far, but I think you could find a sound for any style of music. I play mostly classic rock, blues, and Motown. By the second set last night I had settled on the following: Compressor at 12 o’clock, input gain at 1 o’clock, Ultra Lo and Hi both disengaged, Bass at 1 o’clock, Mid flat at 12 o’clock, and Treble at 1 o’clock. It was the most sonically satisfying gig I’ve ever played. I had thundering lows, clear punchy mids, and transparent highs all at the same time. The venue was not huge but I was loud with the output volume set at 1 o’clock. This amp should have plenty of power for any venue size unless it’s so large the whole band is mixed through the PA. Now I need a Ampeg logo’d T-shirt that says “FAT and PUNCHY”
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"light and powerful and great tone" submitted November 22, 2012

By a customer from yahoo.com
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Musical Background: professional, 3-4 nights a week, playing professionally for 30+ years
Music Style: rock, funk, country, pop music or any other style that pays me
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Overall: my old head blew up and I ordered this through zzounds and it arrived before my next gig the following week. this head has a lot of tonal possibility and is very universal as I play all genres of music. It gets a good spank as well as a good motown sound. typical ampeg tone. I used it with an 8 x 10 as well as a 4 x 10 and a 15 and it sounded great especially when driving it into 4 ohms. i pushed it all night and it doesn't even get warm (temperature). Its worth every penny and at 400 bucks it cant be beat.
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"Great amp, great value" submitted April 18, 2012

By chris cook in ottawa, ON
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Musical Background: regular gigging
Music Style: rock, punk, pop
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Overall: I picked this amp up for my wife (although I also play it) and so far it's been great. We were replacing her old Ampeg BA115 which was lacking a little bit in power (at 100 watts) and also we wanted a head/cab setup for convenience purposes. Paired with a lightweight 2x10 cab it's super loud and really portable for her (she couldn't really lift the old amp for more than a couple feet) and still has that great ampeg thump. Also worth noting that we bought a blemished model (because who cares with amps) at 284$ and have no idea where the blemish is! This is the second time I've bought something repackaged from zzounds with great results. If you want to save a couple bucks just check the site each day for a week or so and you're sure to come across a resealed or blemish model for an easy discount.
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"Great product for the money and nice and light." submitted December 10, 2011

By a customer from yahoo.com
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Musical Background: 30 yrs. Play professionally, bass guitar
Music Style: Country and rock
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Sound: This amp for the money has a great sound to it. With modest settings and the selectable mids this is a classic sounding Ampeg head. I run a 410 cab on it and has plenty of headroom. The tone is great and needs little adjustments to achieve. Feature: Most useful is the selectable mid frequency to cut or boost and also the compression adjustment to get incredible sustain out of unit. Ease of Use: No problem getting tone out of this champ. This is classic Ampeg tone. Quality: Looks great with the retro style knobs and chrome plate on front. Value: Well worth the price compared to similar products. Manufacturer Support: No need. Overall: I would just get another one if lost or stolen or just fatigued.
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"Ampeg hit this one outta the park!" submitted March 21, 2011

By a customer from gmail.com
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Musical Background: part-time pro, 40 years
Music Style: pick one - i play and enjoy most everything
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Sound: Just got mine today and it has the pure Ampeg tone! I dialed in the compression at about 10 o'clock and it evened it out nicely and I really didn't hear a tone change at all. I boosted the gain until it started to break up, then backed off a hair and found that sweet spot. I also found that I didn't need to crank the bass knob at all - it has plenty of low end with the bass knob at 12 o'clock. I was using my stage rig (Avatar 2x10 NEO) but set up in the living room so things might be different on stage, but I doubt I will be disappointed. Feature: The 5 way mid frequency switch makes it super flexible, and all of the other controls typically found on the SVTs (bass boost, high boost, etc) are very nice and useful. Ampeg doesn't waste time on fancy features that do nothing - this amp has stuff you can use. Ease of Use: Piece of cake. It's truly plug and play. Quality: Seems to be very solid and well made. Value: I paid $399. Unreal, it sounds like a $1000 amp. Manufacturer Support: NA so far The Wow Factor: Gotta have one if you like light weight and Ampeg tone. Overall: I was using my stage rig (Avatar 2x10 NEO) but set up in the living room so things might be different on stage, but I doubt I will be dissapointed. I should report back after a gig or two but I doubt I will change anything.
10 of 11 people (90.91%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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"Ampeg portaflex PF500 bass amp" submitted June 10, 2014

By Turk H in indpls, IN
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Musical Background: Playing bass for 30 yrs..play professional
Music Style: Rock , blues , motown
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Ease of Use: plug in set some sounds and go Quality: built solid,, no cosmetic flaws anywhere Value: worth every dollar Manufacturer Support: I haven't had to call support Overall: WOW,what a head! got the demo model for $269.00 had in 2 days, no cosmetic damage at all,plugged it up to my cab.what a sound..you can get all the bottom you want,and get the high end out too.planning on buying 1X15 & 4x10 Peavey cabs from ZZounds.bought my 5 string P bass from them also..Great to deal with
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"Fantastic amp at a great price!" submitted July 13, 2014

By Dan H in Pembroke, MA
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Musical Background: I've been playing for 6 years, and I play the bass, guitar, mandolin and hammer dulcimer. I mostly jam at home.
Music Style: I play bluegrass at music fests, classic rock with friends, grunge and indie at home.
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Overall: I bought a "B" stock PF500, and it is an absolutely amazing amp at a fantastic price! It sounds great, it's easy to use, and it has a wide range of tones. This is my new "go-to" amp. I've been using it more than my B15-N. It's that good!
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"Great Amp Head" submitted April 4, 2012

By Carl Henson in Royse City , TX
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Musical Background: I've been playing bass for 40 years.
Music Style: R&B, Funk and Jazz
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Overall: This Ampeg Rocks. I had a Genz Benz Shuttle 6.0 and was never satisfied with the sound. I play funk and r and b and I could never get that sound I was looking for. I went to the music store and tried the Ampeg. For 30 years, I've finally found the sound I've been searching for. Wow. It's got that warm, funk tone that I've searched for a life time. Ampeg is the only amp I will ever use again.
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"Excellet Amp" submitted August 19, 2013

By Rod G in Phoenix, AZ
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Musical Background: 28 years of playing professionally on and off.
Music Style: Mostly traditional country.
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Overall: I bought this little guy to plug into my Fender Rumble 4x10. I've been playing for almost 25 years and I think this my be the best setup I've had. Nothing too fancy, just a solid, fantastic sounding amp with enough versatility to cover indoor, outdoor, big theater to small club with just a few tweaks. My only complaint is that it's not rackable.
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"WOW !!!!! AWESOME !!!" submitted June 25, 2011

By a customer from yahoo.com
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Musical Background: active musician
Music Style: blues & southern rock
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Sound: This is my 1st ampeg..This is an awesome little amp..Sounds great,and plenty loud,rattled everything in the house on half volume(scared the crap out of my dog)Now he runs for the hills everytime I pick up my Bass. Ease of Use: Very easy to use...If you cant figure it out...well... Quality: Seems to be very well made..small..aesy to transport Value: You wont find anything better at this price Manufacturer Support: So far no support needed
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"Great Ampeg tone, even though its not Ampeg anymore" submitted August 15, 2013

By Louis Oronoz in Chicago, IL
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Musical Background: Guitar and Bass
Music Style: Hard Rock
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Overall: Great amp for the price. I wish I could afford a more expensive but American made amp. Since I cant this one is a great option. Love the extra big and low, the mute button is essential..
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"11 Pounds of JOY!" submitted May 13, 2011

By a customer from rocketmail.com
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Musical Background: Its my living..
Music Style: Country - Rock
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Sound: 500 watts of Ampeg tone in an 11 lb. package.. what else needs to be said.. i use this head with an Eden 4x10XLT 4ohm 700wt cab. It pushes it plenty hard and the tone i get through my yamaha bass and this set up is simply awesome.. no other pedals of any kind needed Feature: it has everything you need in a head. Value: worth every penny.. purchased it mothers day weekend at local guitar center for 349.. extatic!!!
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"Good at Beginning, then not so much" submitted June 30, 2013

By Anthony Martinez in Hammond , IN
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Overall: Initially, it was great. Sound, tone, power etc. Then it would start to cut out at times. I had to turn the compression all the way off to alleviate the problem. Then, in the middle of show, it was gone completely. The fault light came on and that was it. Read the manual on what to do and that did not help. Ampeg's website directed me to their local authorized service center which is a garage and basement in the middle of a residential subdivision in the suburbs of Chicago. Not very impressive . After about 10 days, when originally I was told 5-7 days I was told Ampeg would just replace it and it was on its way. Another week, nothing. Called service center, I was told Ampeg was out of stock and would send Bstock. Waited. No Bstock. Then I was told Astock was available. Received the Astock and dead on arrival. Extremely disappointed. .
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"Ampeg PF500" submitted September 20, 2012

By Carr lll Cicero in Auburndale, FL
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Musical Background: 38 year playing, bass is my main instrument, I play professionally
Music Style: I play all styles
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Overall: Awesome piece. Make sure you place it in a rack. The functionality of the P F 500 are great, but like most class D product the jacks are suspect to loosen inside, even the speakon jack
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"Great little unit!" submitted February 28, 2013

By David Bennett in Memphis, TN
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Musical Background: 45+ plus years; Professional bass player
Music Style: Blues, soul & classic R&B......
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Overall: Depending on the venue, I use the PF500 with a variety of cabinets.....Ampeg 4-10, twin Mojo Sonic single 10"s, Carvin 4-10, Peavey 1-15....and thanks to the tonal flexibility offered by the PF500....they all sound good! Sufficient power and great features wrapped up in one nice compact unit!
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"Tone monster in a small, sexy package." submitted September 2, 2011

By a customer from fcgeil.com
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Musical Background: Active Musician
Music Style: Motown, Classic Rock, Blues
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Sound: While it isn't quite as "tube-y" as I had hoped, this thing is a tone monster, and sounds amazing for an all-state head. You can get amazingly B-15 tones from it, and still get SVT sizzle with just the twist of a knob. Don't be afraid to spin knobs on this, either, you really can't get a bad sound from it. Feature: I'd like to see a variable line-out control, rather than a simple full/-40 pad, and I would prefer that you could play the line in through the speaker cab instead of just through headphones. Other than that, it really has everything I need. Ease of Use: There are only a few knobs, so it's pretty simple to use, the owner's manual is complete and clear. Quality: It's an Ampeg. Need I say more? Value: Somewhere between a good value and downright inexpensive. Manufacturer Support: I haven't had to use it, but I hear from friends that there customer service is excellent. The Wow Factor: It's much better in person than in photos. Overall: There is a good chance I'll never need another amp.
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"Pure Ampeg thump at a discount price." submitted September 21, 2011

By a customer from fcgeil.com
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Musical Background: Active Musician
Music Style: Classic Rock, Blues
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Sound: The sound is pure Ampeg. Which one? It depends on how you set it. I've been able to get a really excellent B-15 emulation and an outstanding SVT emulation from it with a simple tweak of the EQ settings (and gain). It isn't as "tubey" as the 7-Pro or other models with tubes, obviously, but it is an exceptional resemblance. The DI is pretty hot, but run the -40dB pad, post EQ, and set the mixer for microphone, and it works fine. This thing is LOUD, too (pun intended). Feature: I'd like to see an attenuator control on the DI. Wish it had a tube pre-amp, but for the money, I can't complain. Ease of Use: Great sound is almost guaranteed, as long as you like Ampeg's sound. It really does sound like an Ampeg. Quality: Seems really well made, feels sturdy enough. I've gigged this a few times in the last month that I've had it, and taken it out to rehearsals twice a week. It is light and easy to transport (hint - get an inexpensive laptop bag, it fits perfectly, and most have pockets for the cables). It has held up well so far, and I have no doubt it will continue to do so. Value: Great bang for the buck. Manufacturer Support: Haven't had any support issues with this one, but whenever I've dealt with Ampeg, they've been phenomenal. The Wow Factor: It isn't an SVT or B-15, so it is certainly lacking that sex appeal. However, other than other bass players, who notices what amp you're using? Nobody. They look at your speaker cab, but not the amp.
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"So much amp for so little money" submitted May 23, 2012

By Juan Martinez in Bronx, NY
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Musical Background: I have been playing piano and singing all my life. I started playing bass about a year ago.
Music Style: I like all types of music as that is how I was trained. However, I lean towards jazz, blues, rock from the 60s and 70s and even
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Overall: This is a great little amp. Great low end and crisp mids and highs. I originally purchased the Line 6 HD400 but there was just too much modeling which is good if you like that kind of variety in an amp head. The PF500 is simple in design and function and cuts through all the clutter to deliver fantastic sounds through my GK 410MBX. If you are on a budget, and even if you are not, I would recommend the Ampeg PF500.
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"disappointing, troublesome" submitted June 26, 2014

By Jim D in Clinton Township, MI
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Musical Background: Bass player with 30 plus years of experience
Music Style: Rock
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Overall: Heard great things about ampeg, so I was excited to get one. I am very disappointed with the output of this amp. My 2 guitar players blow me away. Every show we play people tell me they can't hear me. It craps out on me quite often for no reason that I, or anyone else can determine. I've tried every setting on it and it still does it. The people where I bought it are at a loss. I've tried contacting ampeg for assistance, but they keep telling me I must be doing something wrong. I've been playing bass for over 30 years and have owned several different heads. I've never had this problem before and based on this, I will never buy another ampeg product.
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"Weak" submitted July 28, 2012

By Jeremy L in Kingman, AZ
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Musical Background: Professional musician for 20 years
Music Style: Rock
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Overall: This amp feels solid and has great tone but there is no way this thing pushes the 500 watts it says it does. Prior to owning this amp I used a Hartke LH500 with an ampeg 410hlf and I never turned the volume past 2-3 at shows, at practice, in a 4 piece it did fine. Now with this Ampeg Pf-500 (same cab) and in a 3 piece I find myself at 10 and turning the gain up to be heard through the drums. Very disappointed, I wish they lived up to there reputation.
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"PRETTY AWESOME AMPEG!!!" submitted June 5, 2012

By Juan M in Bronx, NY
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Value
Manufacturer Support
The Wow Factor
Musical Background: I have been singing and playing the piano for over 35 years. I have been playing the bass for about a year.
Music Style: I am in to many different styles and I do not particularly have a favorite. I basically play what I like.
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Overall: For the price you definitely cannot beat the value. There are no extraneous knobs or buttons that clutter other amps. If you like the Ampeg sound, then you are in for a treat. I have not been playing bass for too long but I have been a musician for the better part of my life and I know music. I have tried other amps to include a modeling amp and they were just too cumbersome to operate. Clean lines, crisp tones and excellent pricing make this amp a value you should not pass up! I cannot rate manufacturer support as I have not needed them to date.
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