Do I really need a big honkin' amp to run a stack?

Discussion in 'Amps [BG]' started by LostInSauce, Apr 4, 2014.


  1. LostInSauce

    LostInSauce

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2012
    Location:
    Hampton Roads, VA
    I'm playing rock and metal and have two Hartke Hydrive 4x10 cabs getting fed by a Carvin BX1200. The Carvin is plenty powerfull but I have no backup. Can a GK MB500/Fusion 500, Carvin BX500, or any of the little Mark Bass and the like run a stack for a couple of day if necessary?
  2. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2005
    Location:
    Apopka, FL
    Disclosures:
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Let me tell you something, bro...there was a time when 300w was considered extremely high power, and amps and cabs would have warning labels on them about volume and your ears. And guess what? It still is darn loud.
  3. bassgod0dmw

    bassgod0dmw Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2007
    Location:
    White Plains
    There is no reason why they wouldn't. Some (like me) prefer lower wattage amps due to the sound you can get from pushing them harder than an amp with a ton of wattage.
  4. Jim Campbell

    Jim Campbell Banned

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2008
    Location:
    Winnipeg,Soviet Canuckistan
    i used to use traynor yba1's and 3's with an 810 or 2x15, vs 2 guitars and drums with no pa support.... 200 watt ss kustom/2x15 were common and no one ever was drowned out........but when you start moving out of a mid range type sound the lows take way more power and i think that's why a lot of guys experience problems....imho,all those earlier amps were voiced for a more mid type sound and needed less power to do it....
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  6. the yeti

    the yeti

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2007
    Location:
    raleigh, nc
    i catch myself all the time saying stuff like "only 300 watts" or whatever. and i laugh and say "wow, remember when 300 watts was a stadium rig or something?".
  7. BawanaRik

    BawanaRik Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey
    Not to be the mommie but there are already lot of deaf musicians walking around.

    300 watts is a heck of lot of power. Just because it's the size of a sandwich doesn't mean it isn't loud.
  8. the yeti

    the yeti

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2007
    Location:
    raleigh, nc
    plus the 8-10s will have a lot to do with the total volume i think.
  9. morgansterne

    morgansterne

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2011
    Location:
    Cleveland Ohio
    I used to have a an Ampeg b3 combo. Just for fun sometimes I would plug in the amp head to our PA speaker, a 2x15 EV eliminator. Sounded great and was plenty loud. The combo was only 150 watts!
  10. alexclaber

    alexclaber

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2001
    Location:
    Brighton, UK
    Disclosures:
    Director - Barefaced Ltd
    The bigger the stack, the less power you need to run it. Counter-intuitive maybe, but absolutely true!

    Same reason that the bigger the sail you have on your boat, the less wind you need to get moving.
  11. sharkbait130

    sharkbait130

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2013
    Location:
    hagerstown md
    One of my current bands is two guitars and a pretty loud drummer all mic'd through 800 watt subs and 400 watt mains. My rig is 300 watts and an 8 10 and I usually don't go through the board and I have never had a problem being heard. My backup is 250 watts and I have used it a couple times when there were several bands playing and I didn't want to be jacking my tube head around in a hurry. Both have always been plenty loud.
  12. BassikLee

    BassikLee

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2004
    Location:
    Deltona, FL
    Disclosures:
    Owner: Brevard Sound Systems
    Those amps you mention are hardly weak amps. The GK micro stuff is downright SCARY for the size. My experience with the BX500 has left me amazed with that little box, time and time again.
  13. eriky4003

    eriky4003

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2011
    Location:
    Ottawa, ON, Canada
    Assuming those cabinets are 8 ohms, the micro amps will push their full 500 watts into those cabinets. The heads you mention get a lot of love partially for their reliability and should get you through in a pinch.
  14. Downunderwonder

    Downunderwonder

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2009
    Location:
    New Zealand
    The first 300w you throw at the stack gets most of the loudness out of it. There's a little bit of headroom above that if you double the power.
  15. Bmorefoozler

    Bmorefoozler

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    Oct 9, 2009
    Location:
    Baltimore, MD
    That is a really good analogy!
  16. Linnin

    Linnin

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    Jul 19, 2012
    Location:
    Waynesboro, Virginia
    Dis Be De Zombie Troof ;)
  17. Jim C

    Jim C Supporting Member

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    Nov 29, 2008
    Well said with few words and a good example!
    FWIW, I like to have 500 watts at 4ohms for a smaller gig with an inefficient cab.
    OTOH, my 2x12 has covered 100 seat + rooms with headroom and no FoH support.
  18. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2002
    Location:
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Easy answer: if something goes south on you, call me and I'll lend you a power amp and pre if you need it.

    Hey, you gotta pick it up...I'm no *%^$&# Domino's!

    Riis
  19. MikeyThrottler

    MikeyThrottler

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2010
    Location:
    Kansas City, MO
    With 8 tens I would think 500 watts would be MORE than sufficient. I frequently power my Ampeg fridge with 100 watts (granted it's a tube amp) and easily keep up with two half stack-wielding guitarists.
  20. joel406

    joel406

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2013
    My Hartke is 350 watts. Running just 1 of my 410 cabs is very loud. I had no trouble keeping up with a loud drummer, 2 guitarist, 1 keyboard and 2 singers. Using both 410s just made for twice the punch. 500, 800, 1000 watt amps are cool. But unless you really are playing a stadium you'll never need it. Especially with 810s at your disposal.
  21. LostInSauce

    LostInSauce

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2012
    Location:
    Hampton Roads, VA
    Cool. Thanks everyone. I think I'm so worried about pushing it too hard and burning up the poor little guy. I was considering getting an LH 500 or the equivalent for a back up; but, I'd really like something that's highly portable and light...maybe it can live in the empty slot in my SKB rack.

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