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PS Systems - Power Tool. Reactive load, cab-sim filter, and solid-state final amp. $600 list.

The Power Tool is a 2-space rack device featuring a reactive speaker load, four band active EQ, line out with speaker emulations; an on-board 50-watt solid-state amplifier, and effects loop and headphone jack.

One newsgroup posting said that this incorporates the Palmer speaker simulation technology.

Mikey wrote:

>I have a Power Tool and it works pretty damn well. I got it for $50 bucks so I can't complain, but it allows a very fat distortion sound at minimal volume and also drives a separate cabinet.

Graham Duncan said he heard good things about this unit.

this altavista query reveals that www.broadway-music.com seems to have one for sale.

Reviewed in Best of Guitar Player (Guitar Gear issue; see my Books page). That detailed review appeared in the September 1992 Guitar Player issue. There seems to be nothing on the Web. "Instead of 12AX7 distortion, we were able to capture the sound of 6L6 meltdown [from the tube amp we used with this unit.]"

$599. 4 EQ bands (after your amp's power tubes) 18 dB cut/boost. fx loop. line input. headphone amp. balanced and unbalanced outs. LEDs for input level setting.

I read the following, which doesn't make sense. The "Instigator circuit" imitates the sound of a closed 4x12 or open-back cabinet -- this is available only on the high-level amp output, not the line outs. The "speaker emulator" circuit, on the other hand, works on the balanced and unbalanced line outs.

You can run the speaker output from your amp head up to 100 watts into Power Tool's input, and drive [guitar? full-range monitor? either?] speakers with the internal solid state amp. This eliminates need for a final monitor amp. [I mention this "extra" gear in my description of spearker isolation cabinets.]

You can insert Power Tool between the amp and the speaker in a combo amp, to simulate closed-back sounds. In that setup, you would be doing:

  1. Combo amp's preamp
  2. Combo amp's tube power amp
  3. Power Tool's dummy load
  4. Power Tool's cab-sim filter
  5. Power Tool's final amp
  6. Combo amp's speaker
Note that this runs through a cab-sim filter *and* an actual speaker, possibly muddying the tone.

You can use line input to include another preamp in parallel with your amp, add fx in the Power Tool 's loop (for post-amp FX placement), or use unbal line out to drive a larger amp and spk, while sending a direct feed to the mixer.

GP's conclusion: The output of this product doesn't sound identical to an amp running directly into speakers, but the unit's tone controls and Instigator circuit help. You definitely hear power tube saturation, rather than just preamp tube distortion; there are more dynamics and definition.

Ad for Power Tool. Guitar Player magazine. Aug 1993. Page 69.

Microprocessor, MIDI footswitch, real-time continuous control. 2 continuous pedals, and some footswitches (on the floor foot controller unit). It looks like a 4 rackspace system with lots of chiclet buttons arranged in colorful sections with LED indicators, nice and complex. 100 customizatble preamp and output tube settings at the tap of a toe. Continuously vary the 4-band MIDI controlled active EQ, or the single-band parametric EQ with whatever pedal pressure sounds best. Switch or sweep between two programmable stereo FX loops. Two LFOs to control fx. Can modify the EQ in a cerrtain range. Stereo line-outs with cabinet simulation. Built-in Power Tool makes for authentic speaker emulation.

The ad shows a power tube as well as preamp tube, but I think the power tube is only included in the EB100S amplifier (shown), which has all the above-mentioned technology. There, I think the power tube is used for loud amplification as well as tone generation; I'm against combining those two functions; I wish a little power tube were included in the middle of all this processing power, as just a tone generator, *not* for final amplification.

PS Systems - (800) 446 8404 (in 1993)

Jim Whitmer wrote:


I actually did not own the amp but I demo'd it for a week.

I currently do own a power tool.


Their amp (4 rack spaces) was HUGE and WAY heavy!. It had big, Red, 7

segment LEDs and up/down parameter buttons, was fan cooled and looked like

it was pulled out of the space shuttle.

It was essentially a Marshall 50 watt JCM 800(3 12ax7 and 2 EL34's)head

combined with a 100 watt stereo power tool with digital control

It also had the ability to add a extra 12ax7 to the preamp and 2 LFO's that

could be assigned to any parameter.

The tone controls (Bass,Mid,Treble and Presence) switched between affecting

the power tool section AND as they operate on a stock JCM 800 head.

There was (all digitally controlled) a master volume, gain and a cascading

gain control (for the extra 12ax7 if it was added) to control the head plus

a overall volume for the SS amp

I don't remember all of the parameters for the LFO's but I do know that you

had the choice of all the wave shapes that are avaible(Square,Rising Saw

Tooth,Falling Saw Tooth, Sine etc...)and of course Speed.


I got rid of it because it was HUGE and WAY heavy! (did I mention that


seriously, it was too long(deep) to fit in a standard SKB case.

but it did sound very good (could not get a good metal tone though)


The power tool on the other hand is awesome!


The power tool layout is as follows

2 rack spaces

reactive load > active tone controls (Bass,Mid,Treble and Presence +/-18db)>

speaker/cab sim > Effects loop > 50 watt SS Amp


The rear panel of the power tool is as follows:

Amp input - this will take the speaker output of a tube amp up-to 100 watts

into a reactive load.

Line input - I don't know if this passes or bypasses the load.

Effects send and receive

Line Level output

Built in 50 watt solid state power amp out (2)


The from panel from left to right is as follows:

LED input level

Amp level control

Line in level control

Tone controls (Bass,Mid,Treble and Presence +/-18db)

Line out level control

Line out speaker/cab sim switch (dry, open back combo or 4/12) "Instigator


Built in SS power amp volume

Built in SS power amp speaker/cab sim switch (dry or 4/12) "Instigator

Circuit" apparently you can make a combo sound like a 4/12 cab but not vice


Head phone output and volume control (the Line out speaker/cab sim switch

affects this)

Power switch


I currently run a Fender Prosonic thru one and love it.


my set up is :

Guitar > Teese Wah > Prosonic speaker out into Power Tool (load) > Lexicon

Vortex (Power Tool Effects Loop) > Power Tool SS Amp driving the Prosonic's

Speakers (Instigator Circuit ON)

This sounds almost exactly the same as the amp thru a 2/12 closed back

Celestion V30 cab I tried.


Feel free to ask any questions that you may have.


[No manufacturer's page found via AltaVista and Yahoo.]

[to do: search Harmony Central for user comments.]

DejaNews query: "power tool" or "PS Systems"

[need a search for EB100S amp as well.]

Messages 1-20 of exactly 20 matches for search "ps systems" "power tool":

        Date   Scr        Subject                     Newsgroup           Author

   1. 97/03/05 074 Re: PS Systems Power Tool    alt.guitar.amps       Graham Duncan  
   2. 97/02/27 069 Re: PS Systems Power Tool    alt.guitar.amps       Mark Garvin    
   3. 97/03/04 048 Re: PS Systems Power Tool    alt.guitar.amps       Mikey          
   4. 97/02/27 045 PS Systems Power Tool        alt.guitar.amps       Steve          
   5. 98/09/15 044 Re: B.C. Rich question.      alt.guitar            Stn Monkey     
   6. 98/10/09 041 Re: shocked playing live >>  alt.guitar.amps       Ned Carlson    
   7. 98/09/18 041 Re: B.C. Rich question.      alt.guitar            NoOne          
   8. 98/04/04 041 Re: thd hot plate...    #1/4 alt.guitar.amps       Steve          
   9. 97/08/02 040 Re: HOTRAILS ON A STRAT??    alt.guitar            Darren         
  10. 97/07/30 040 Re: HOTRAILS ON A STRAT??    alt.guitar            Jeff Vineburg  
  11. 98/03/06 039 Re: Electrocuted             alt.guitar.amps       Jay Ts         
  12. 97/11/06 039 Re: Making a Les Paul Jr.    rec.music.makers.guit Paul Buerk     
  13. 97/08/06 037 Re: HOTRAILS ON A STRAT??    alt.guitar            Chris Hogan    
  14. 97/11/11 036 Re: Making a Les Paul Jr.    rec.music.makers.guit TKO            
  15. 96/10/04 034 Re: Where to Find Univox Par alt.guitar            James P. H. Ful
  16. 98/06/05 033 Re: PREAMP SWITCHERS?   #2/4 alt.guitar.amps       Gary Watts     
  17. 97/12/06 033 Re: Battery operated tube am alt.guitar.amps       Andy Moss      
  18. 96/10/16 025 Information on Switchers#2/4 alt.guitar            gary watts     
  19. 96/08/12 025 Re: best midi foot contr#2/4 alt.guitar            gary watts     
  20. 96/05/14 025 Rev 2: Guide to Switcher#2/4 alt.guitar            gary watts     

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