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Owners of CPS XL - please advise

Postby saxmaneagle » 12 Jul 2019, 00:10

I'd like to hear from those who actually own and use, a CPS Spacestation XL. I am on the verge of purchasing one, but would like to know first if after having made your purchase, you would do it again...no regrets.

Any and all input would be appreciated. Again, just owners of these amps. I have read ad nauseum the pros and cons. Everyone has their own beliefs on amplification. I have a Stage 3 88 and believe this is what I wish to get for my baby. But I'd like to hear from other "Owners" and users of them.

Thanks !
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Owners of CPS XL - please advise


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Re: Owners of CPS XL - please advise

Postby cphollis » 12 Jul 2019, 01:42

It might help to share what you're looking to achieve, the types of gigs you play, etc. It might be the case that the CPS XL is a great amp, but just not for you.
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Re: Owners of CPS XL - please advise

Postby saxmaneagle » 13 Jul 2019, 19:42

Well, several things actually. Stereo. Tired of being stuck in mono mixes, through the FOH with a monitor.
My gigs vary, but my goal is to hear stereo from my baby. B3 sim, synth patches, gorgeous piano pans. Tired of living musical life at the hands of the dude on the board. Trusting his ears. I figured if the CPS is what it is cracked up to be, I've found my solution. Stereo, but, from a single source. Sweet spot "everywhere". Drawback with a pair of say PA speakers, is that not the whole audience, band nor myself, is going to be in the sweet stereo bliss "happy spot". From what I've read, the CPS with it's magical design gives that sweet spot joy everywhere. No one I know of in the Twin Cities area, is using one of these so sadly I have been unable to hear one live. The good news is, I have been in contact with Aspen and he let me know a local dealer is getting in some samples this week. Thank God ! I plan on hauling my Stage 3 over, bringing a few buddies and putting one through it's paces so I can tell in person, if this is that solution I am seeking.
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Re: Owners of CPS XL - please advise

Postby cphollis » 13 Jul 2019, 21:09

Thanks, that helps a lot. We would agree on a lot, e.g. (1) stereo rocks, (2) sweet spots can be problematic, and (3) trust the FOH person at your own peril. Also great that you've got a plan to actually try one out in the flesh.

First, the obvious. It is a big, heavy and expensive piece of gear. If I had one, I'd consider mounting wheelie casters so I could tilt and roll it, if possible. Aspen didn't appear to scrimp on the components nor the design, so I would expect it to do what my CPS V3 does, only much more so. You will have to place it some reasonable distance from you to hear what it's doing -- which can be hard to do on tight stages.

The CPS V3 does maybe 80% of what I want. The best results are when you use an amp stand, and lay it sideways with the side-firing speaker facing downward to bounce off the floor. APs never sound quite right on it, but acceptable. One of the reasons is that many AP samples on the Nord have minimal stereo content, so most everything comes out the front speaker, which is not the best speaker for APs. I would expect a similar issue (but to a much lesser degree) on the XL.

Playing devil's advocate, that sort of coin gets you a very nice pair of self-powered PA speakers. A pair of QSC K8.2s, for example on short poles behind your shoulders. The wide dispersion angle (135 degrees) means much more sweet spot with less effort, although it's not the "magic stereo everywhere" effect. I would expect a pair to be louder and cleaner than the XL, if that's important to you.

Aspen doesn't use a DSP in his design, and (for me) that's not a positive factor, as a DSP can correct for lack of flat response in a way that's difficult to do externally. He does have a circuit that puts a bit of delay in the front speaker so it can phase align with the side ones, which creates the magic.

Then again, the proof will be in the playing. I'd be interested in your comments (especially around raw APs) after you've had a chance to try it out.
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Re: Owners of CPS XL - please advise

Postby saxmaneagle » 13 Jul 2019, 22:36

I sincerely thank you for the feed back. IF...I do purchase one of these, I will likely use a small mixer between the Nord and XL even though I've heard it not necessary. I think that would give me some added additional eq, even though the Nord itself has options there. (Compression, amp sim, filters, etc..). I grew up playing a Yamaha 6'3" Grand so my ear is very tuned for APs. I am hyper critical of them and man O man, when I first played a Nord Stage 3 Royal 3D, I was sold. I also hauled around a chopped B3 for a decade, along with it's Leslie, until the band said "....It's either you, or that beast !". (We dropped it once on the drummers big toe while setting up for a wedding gig). Anyway, sold it, got a DX7 (sometime in the 80s) and have been playing electronic keyboards ever since. The Stage 3 B3 sound is killer, as are APs. I'm relatively new to the synth programming world and am flabbergasted at what I now can do just spinning a few knobs and playing around. ( YouTube has been insanely helpful there.)
Having so much wonderfulness at my fingertips, with the Stage 3 - I simply MUST do her justice sonically. I am also a sax and guitar player. My happiest at home, is running one channel into a Mesa Boogie single rectoverb clean channe and other into a Behringer KXD15 Ultratone. The Ultratone is a nice little amp. Those can be linked for stereo, so another option is getting a second one of those. Sigh, too many choices. It just so happens I do have the cake to spring on an XL (If I love love love it), or, some powered PA speakers (QSC K8.2 ?), or, another Ultratone.

I may even bring my tenor sax to try through the XL. I have a Line 6 digital delay stereo stomp box, I use to add a teensy wet sound on my bone when I play. Although I rarely play with much effect on my horn, it might be a good experiment to see what crazy sounds I can make.

Thanks again for the feed back !!
"Inside us all are such wonders. Search yourself. Find them, Share them and Dream...of a better tomorrow" -me
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