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Comparing the Seymour Duncan PS170 & TC Electronics BAM200
Sept. 2, 2021

Can a $169 mini bass amp head give the revered Seymour Duncan PS170 a run for its money? Turns out the answer is yes.

The Seymour Duncan PowerStage 170 is a very popular pedalboard-friendly power amp, perfect for pairing with a modeler such as the HX Stomp for an extremely compact gigging solution (just add a guitar cab). It features a Class D 170 watt power amplifier and a 3 band EQ perfect for quick adjustments. A popular gigging use of the PS170 is to play through your guitar cab on stage while sending a cab-simulated tone direct to the PA/front of house sound system. The PS170 retails for $399 dollars.

The TC Electronics BAM200 is a different beast. It is sold as a 200 watt ultra-portable amp head for bass players. Like the PS170, it contains a Class D power amplifier, at a slightly higher 200 watts. It also contains a 3 band EQ, with an additional control for input gain. The BAM200 retails for $169, less than half the cost of the Seymour Duncan PS170.

At Fluid Solo, we've been rocking the PowerStage 170 paired with an HX Stomp for well over a year. It's an extremely effective (and loud!) solution for taking advantage of Helix modeling with an ultra compact setup. Paired with a Line 6 G10 wireless unit, this setup fits in a small pedalboard enclosure, a killer setup.

In summer of 2021 an interesting contender for the PS170's spot on the pedalboard emerged. The BAM200 is cheaper and features a tad more wattage. Guitar modeling enthusiasts on thegearpage.com raved about the BAM200's "warmer tone", while admitting that the EQ is not as neutral as the PS170's. The BAM200 is not as pedalboard friendly as the PS170, specifically created to sit on a pedalboard. However it is perfectly possible to mount the diminutive BAM200 on a pedalboard, and the eq differences can be tuned by ear rather easily.

How do they sound? Judge for yourself, but we found the BAM200 to be a perfectly awesome power amp for your modeler. Here at Fluid Solo HQ we tested the BAM200 on an HX Stomp and a Fractal FM3. It gave great guitar tones through our 1x12 Marshall cabinet loaded with a 12 inch Celestion Creamback speaker.

Using the HX Stomp's one-button looper, we recorded a guitar riff using the Plexi BRT model. We recorded the guitar cabinet powered by both power amps at an equal volume (yes decibel meter involved) using a Shure SM57 mic pointed at the center of the speaker cone. All EQ settings were left at noon for both devices, and the BAM200 gain knob was also left at noon.

Hit the Play button to hear the PS170, and hit Toggle to switch over to the BAM200.

You'll notice that the PS170 has more bass and mids - we believe this is more an effect of the EQ knobs in the "noon" position rather than lack of low and middle frequencies on the BAM200. It is easily possible to match the overall tone by cutting some treble and boosting the bass and mids.

We don't believe volume levels will be an issue with either device, there is plenty of volume available to play in pretty much situation including alongside a loud drummer. We highly recommend both units. If price is an important factor, get the BAM200. If pedalboard friendliness and a giant master volume is high on your list, it is hard to go wrong with the PowerStage 170.

In conclusion, we're happy to recommend both units, and we don't think you can go wrong with either. It would be fantastic for TC Electronic to take some notes regarding the popularity of the BAM200 and design a new device in a friendlier format for pedalboards. That would be icing on the cake.

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