Crown has created some real audio workhorses and mainstays in the pro audio realm. The company’s Macro-Tech and Micro-Tech power amps have been standards in the industry for years. Crown’s latest model is the CE4000 power amp ($2,237).
Product PointsApplications: Live Sound, installations
Key Features: Two channel power amp; 1,400 watts/channel at 2 ohms, 1,200 watts at 4 ohms, 600 watts at 8 ohms, 2,400 watts at 4 ohms bridged mono; three-position low-pass (high-cut), 24 dB/octave filter.
Price: $2,237.00 US retail
Contact: Crown International at 800-342-6939 219-294-8200; Web Site
The Crown CE4000 is a three-rack-space power amplifier, weighing in at 33 pounds. It is 16 inches deep with rear rack ears and boasts some hefty output levels. Crown rates the amp at 1,400 watts/channel at 2 ohms (120V AC), 1,200 watts at 4 ohms, 600 watts at 8 ohms, 2,800 watts at 4 ohms bridged mono and 2,400 watts at 8 ohms bridged mono.
To provide these large amounts of output power, Crown employs its patented Balanced Current Amplifier output stage combined with a Crown designed switch mode power supply. In general, switching power supplies eliminate need for a bulky, heavy power transformer and provide rock-steady voltage to the amplifier sections. They draw current from the power line only as needed, which keeps the power supply small and relatively light in weight.
The CE4000 is well laid out and has some nice features/controls along the bottom of the back panel. A three-position input sensitivity switch allows for easy matching with the signal level from the preamp. That control is followed by the power amp stereo/mono/bridged mode switch.
Just above the mode controls are the input and output connectors. The inputs are Neutrik combination 1/4-inch/XLR type and barrier strip, while the outputs are Neutrik binding post (banana) and NL4 (Speakon), with a handy silk-screened legend denoting pin assignments for both inputs and outputs. Accompanying all of this is a three-speed cooling fan.
The front panel is simple and to the point. On the other side are the amplifier input level controls, each preceded by three LEDs which indicate signal present, output clipping and fault to indicate there is a problem and the power amp is in a protective state.
I like to test a power amp’s performance in a variety of applications. The first test for an amp of this size is to subject it to the sub-bass frequencies using it to drive two double 18-inch sub cabinets, creating a 2-ohm load.
I connected the CE4000 to two Yorkville TX9S subs (B&C 18-inch woofers) and put it to the kick drum and bass test. I supplied signal to the amp via a post fader aux send from our Soundcraft Series FIVE, through a Yorkville sub processor at an outdoor show where we were supplying all production (sound, lights and stage) for Kenny Loggins. I found the smoothness of the bass guitar sound to be quite nice, and the transient nature of the kick drum showed off the very tight and quick response of the CE4000. I next used the Crown power amp at one of our Phoenix Symphony concerts with Doc Severinsen, where the CE4000 was employed in the three-way speaker range with our Yorkville TX8s, and here again, the amp showed great clarity and range with orchestral frequencies. Incidentally, we subjected the CE4000 to extreme conditions at that same show by exposing it to 105 degree outdoor temperatures, and it never flinched.
Although not an overly severe application, I believe monitors are a good test for amps. Many artists hear different monitors every night, so there is quite a bit of equipment out there with which to compare. We placed the CE4000 in a rack with a Yorkville TX2P monitor biamping processor, and used channel A for lows and channel B for highs. After calibrating the processor to a new power amp, we put the Crown amp through some grueling situations. This included drummers from Hell who want miles of kick drum in the monitor, the CE4000 responded very well.
There was no clipping that I could audibly or visually detect, and all of the artists agreed that the particular monitor mix sounded really good.
When shopping for power amps, there is an overwhelming selection available. If you compare dollars per watt, the Crown CE4000 is a good choice. Construction is solid – sturdy and well laid out – making this power amp a definite contender in the market for bands, clubs, churches, rentals, or anywhere that budget coupled with quality is a requirement.