Originally Posted by dbase
Since no drums were involved I usually bring only one Hartke 2x10 cab but I was lazy since we were to play for only an hour, what the hell, I bought my Ibanez M35 1x10 practice amp.. 35 watts mind you, not the Hartke LH500.
Now my question is why did this little amp with only one 10in speaker sound so good in such a large area? Is bigger not necessarily better? Sorry for such a long winded story.
Long winded story is OK, so here is a long winded answer. Good answers have been given so far. My group doesn't have a drummer. We have a percussionist instead, that way we keep our levels down.
Most people think linearly. As long as you think linearly, you will never get it. When you start thinking logarithmicly, things become clear. In RF and acoustics, you need to think in terms of logarithms. I am an RF engineer, so it's natural for me.
Firstly, most people don't understand how loud 1 Watt is. Do some 1 Watt/meter testing. Start with one Watt at 1 kHz sine wave. That's 2.83 Volts into an 8 Ohm speaker. [V^^2/R] [Rant: W, H and O are capitalized because they are peoples last names. Sorry pet peeve. ] Stand right in front of the speaker. Pretty darn loud, isn't it? Don't do it for long, or you will damage your hearing. That's only one Watt.
Now, before we move on, just as a thought exercise, think about if there were 35 people there, and you gave each one 1 Watt @1m @ 1kHz.
The ear is not so sensitive to lower frequencies, and lower frequencies are dispersed, not beamed. And this is bass guitar that we are talking about, so you will need more power at lower frequencies. Low E is 41 Hz, and low B is 31 Hz [H is capitalized]. More and more power for the low frequencies, that's the whole point for bass speakers. And more Watts is a selling point to show that your product is better than the competition. But not everything is in the fundamentals. There is energy in the harmonics, and as we approach the higher frequencies, we get back to ear splitting potential.
Now, back to logarithms. If you have an efficient speaker, then you don't need as many Watts. Here is where efficiency and sound pressure level [SPL] come in. I am thinking that your speaker is pretty efficient. You generally need 3 decibels [ 3 dB] to notice a change in sound level. 3 dB is twice the power. 10 dB is 10 times the power.
Often, it is said that you need 100 Watts to keep up with a drummer. But if your speaker is 3 dB more efficient, you will only need 50 Watts to make the same sound level.
All things equal, going from 2x10 to 1x10, you are only down half power, 3 dB [decibels] in SPL [sound pressure level].