Kurt Cobain’s Crown Power Base 2 Amplifier

This was Kurt’s main guitar amp prior to Nevermind studio sessions and during the album tour. For most of the tour, the amp was seen sitting in a rackmount case, underneath a Mesa Boogie Studio .22 Preamp. This same exact setup was allegedly used during the studio sessions, plus some other amps provided by Butch Vig.

Kurt had a Mesa/Boogie, but we also used a Fender Bassman a lot and a Vox AC30 on Nevermind.

The Definitive Kurt Cobain Gear Guide

On Tour

Crown Power Base 2 was used from around late 1990, to around January 1991. At that point, and for a brief period of time, Kurt’s rackmount case held the Mesa Boogie Studio .22 Preamp, a Carver PM-1200 dual-channel Magnetic Field power amplifier, and one more unit that is unknown at this time. If you happen to recognize it (see photo below, it’s the unit at the very bottom), make sure to leave a comment.

Kurt’s amp setup during the Saturday Night Live gig, in January 1992.

By the start of the Oceanic tour in late January 1992, Kurt began using two Crest 4801 power amps. Most sources online seem to indicate that the Crest directly replaced the old Crown, but based on photos, there seemed to have been a brief period of time in January when he used neither of those two.

For photos of the amp, see Crown Power Base 2 Pinterest board.


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3 years ago

underneath the mesa boogie pre-amp he has a Carver PM-1200 power amp… not sure what’s underneath the carver.


2 years ago

Kurt’s amp setup during the Saturday Night Live gig, January 1992.

Was a Mesa Boogie Studio Preamp, Carver PM-1200 Power Amp, Crest Audio 4801 Power Amp.

The Carver Power Amps which are made in the northwest and are very unique, Earnie tells me. Kurt only used it really just for SNL 01/11/92 and mainly used his Crest Audio Poweramp as his main Power-Amp.
Kurt gave the Craver PM-1200 Power Amp to Krist which you can see in Krist’s Rack during the Pacific Rim Tour of Australia/Japan (1 show in New Zealand, and 2 shows in Hawaii) January 24, 1992 – February 22, 1992.

2 years ago

The Mesa Boogie Studio Pre-Amp & Crown Power Base 2 Power Amp was Kurts Main Preamp/Power-Amp from May 2, 1990 until January 1992… When the Crown Power Base 2 Power Amp was switched to the Crest Audio 4801 Power-Amp.

The Reason the Crown Power Base 2 Power Amp was replaced was because The output on the Boogie Studio preamp was so hot, the Crown power amp would blow up a lot and have to be repaired. Which was a particular source of frustration for “Nevermind” tour tech, Nick Close. The Crown was replaced with:
Two Crest 4801 power amps.

But before the Crest Audio 4801 Power Amps were used on January 11, 1992 SNL Kurt used his Mesa Boogie Studio Pre-Amp with a Carver PM-1200 Power Amp which are made in the Northwest and are quite unique, Earnie says, but when Nirvana started their Pacific Rim Tour of Australia/Japan on January 24, 1992 Kurt is seen using the Crest 4801 Power Amps.

And the Carver PM-1200 Power Amp was given to Krist as it was seen inside his Rack during the Pacific Rim Tour..

The Crown Power Base 2 Power Amp did make a return for one show (as a back up I suppose) on January 16, 1993 Estádio Cícero Pompeu de Toledo (Hollywood Rock Festival), São Paulo, Brazil.

You can see on Kurts Rack he has the Mesa Boogie Studio Preamp, Crest Audio 4801 Power-Amp, and at the bottom was the Crown Power Base 2 Power Amp.

1 year ago

Kurt’s amp setup during the Saturday Night Live gig, January 1992.

Rackmounted wireless system.
Mesa Boogie Studio Preamp.
Carver PM-600 / PM-900 Poweramp.
Black Rackmounted Drawer.