We currently inhabit a time in where most guitarists are looking for quick and easy setups for their live rigs. Long gone are the days where you would take a full stack to a gig, and break your back (or your roadie’s back), trying to load it in and out. However, even touring guitar players are now taking a minimalistic approach (much to the relief of roadies everywhere) with their live setups. Guitarists who are searching for that “tone” or “big sound” to give them presence and flexibility need not look any further. Enter the Seymour Duncan PowerStage.
With the rise of minimized guitar setups, Seymour Duncan has created the perfect power amp to pair with your rig of choice. With its pedalboard-friendly size and weight, the PowerStage 170 is great for any type of rig. Not only does the pedal form of the PowerStage have a sleek look that is sure to attract the attention of gear lovers worldwide, but it’s easy to use controls, and functionality will truly make it stand the test of time. Let’s take a closer look at what the Seymour Duncan Powerstage 170 is made of.
The PowerStage 170 comes in at a whopping 2lbs! Right off the bat, it’ll take a literal load off your back. Its incredible, durable casing comes with easy to use controls in a small(5×5.24×2.84)enclosure that is sure to save you some real estate on your pedalboard. As an avid user of power amps, I really like what Duncan has done here. Not only does it save me time, but it saves me a ton of space in my personal rig. The enclosure comes in a brushed metallic finish, along with Seymour Duncan’s signature logo. You will likely also notice the large, hard to miss level control paired with a three-band EQ. Additionally, you have a super bright power level, temperature, and clipping indicators, that are visible even on the darkest of stages. The level knob is large enough to adjust with your foot if need be, which I really enjoy. Additionally, on the back of the pedal, you have your power switch, a loudspeaker output that covers 4-16ohms, and of course, your input. Now let’s talk about how it sounds.
The main feature I want to cover, that really sets this pedal apart, is its flexible EQ section. Has your tone been missing that nice low end that you just can’t happen to dial in with a specific cab? Is your overall tone not standing out in the mix, or are you having trouble hearing yourself at rehearsal? If so, the 170 is absolutely perfect for you. I love all the tonal possibilities you can get with the 3 band EQ. You can get a nice high-end presence without sounding too shrill, and a low end thump without mudding your tone. I for one, especially enjoy boosting the mid control for leads! At a $399.99 price point, the PowerStage 170 is definitely a hard to beat competitor that will make your tone stand out above the rest. I highly recommend it if your looking for something lightweight and easily portable.
However, if you are like me, and you are also craving just a bit more power, then have no fear, the 170 has a big brother in rack from as well. The PowerStage 700 takes things to a whole new level. At an incredible 700 Watts, it’s perfect for the rack gear enthusiast. Seymour Duncan takes things a bit further with more features than is included in the 170. For starters you get not one, but two speaker outputs on the rear panel, and Duncan has also included their True Cab Circuitry XLR outputs as well. Meaning, not only can you run your sound through your personal speaker on stage, but you can send your direct tone to the front of house. Both XLR outputs have the capability of switching the cab modeling on or off as well, making the 700 even more flexible. You will be truly unstoppable with all these options at the tips of your fingers.
Seymour Duncan has changed the game with these two monsters both small and large, and they have definitely changed my mind on what I want to be using in my personal rig. I really like being able to fine-tune my sound with the 3 band eq, and not having to go into my complicated rig and worry about time constraints. Straight and to the point. Plug in and go. That is the way I like it, and that’s just the way Duncan has crafted these two units. Long gone are the days of complicated rigs, long live the days of fast setup times, and no more sore backs.
To learn more about the Seymour Duncan PowerStage, click the links below:
Ernie Rodrigues is Associate Editor of Modern Musician Magazine and vocalist/guitarist for the American metal band SICOCIS.