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1000-watt amp heads: what are the advantages?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Syl_Funky_bass, Feb 5, 2020.

  1. Syl_Funky_bass


    Jun 4, 2016
    Hi guys,

    Apart from the 'overkill' factor as far as loudness is concerned and the fact that that much power would never be necessary nowadays, could you guys name me advantages of having/running a 1000-watt head?

    The head I'm thinking of is a Little Mark Ninja. I would mainly run it into a 212 Ninja cab (8 Ohm) rated at 800W as occasionally into a 4 Ohm 410 HF Markbass cab.

    I currently own a LMIII (300 watts @ 8 Ohm) that I mainly used with my 212 cab.
    After trying the Ninja head in a shop I noticed a difference in tone between the two. The Ninja tone seemed cleaner to me. I really liked it more.

    Also I tend to like not having to set my master volume beyond 12 o'clock and since I've been using my LMIII with my new Ninja 212 cab (300 watts "only") l've noticed that I often have to set my master beyond 12 o'clock.
    So I was thinking that maybe with the 500 watts @ 8 Ohm from the Ninja head that would be less the case.

    What are your thoughts about it?

    Thanks and in advance.
  2. 10cc

    10cc Inactive

    Oct 28, 2013
    Many of these newer cabinets perform better with higher watts. I’ve seen an F212 by Greenboy sound much better with 1000 watts behind it than 800.
  3. Samatza


    Apr 15, 2019
    The advantage is headroom and a tone that stays clean at higher settings.
    Most gear doesn’t sound as good near it’s limit and if you play aggressively or thump and pop those transients can be massive, the higher power output helps with that situation.
    Gearhead17, AudioTaper, bbh and 4 others like this.
  4. mdlewis


    Jan 1, 2005
    Boston Metro
    I like them because they scare the bejesus out of my guitar players and keeps them from turning up.
  5. ctmullins

    ctmullins fueled by beer and coconut Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    In most modern designs, tone comes from the preamp, and the power section just makes it louder.

    Having a power section with more capacity does have the advantage of preserving transients at higher volumes, which can make things sound more lively. But your cabinets had better be able to handle it.
  6. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa, Product Support-Genz Benz
    Why do you care that you have to turn the master beyond 12:00? That additional rotation is there for a reason.

    The additional power is fine provided your cabinets can safely handle it. At low frequencies, power handling of a cabinet decreases so you will want to be aware of the limitations before damaging the cabinet.
  7. The lower the frequency the more power it takes to match the (perceived ?) volume of higher frequency instruments. This is why we bass players need to have amps/cabs with a higher power rating than the guitar player.

    Therefore, if you switch from a standard 4 string bass to a 5 string with a low "B" string (or even lower) then you may benefit by using a higher powered bass amp and cab setup to play the lower notes cleanly. Of course, this depends on what amp/cab you're currently using and volume needs.
    SJan3, Bassdirty and Syl_Funky_bass like this.
  8. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    In the best of all possible worlds, I'd own a Jule Monique M2,400, perhaps a Bassics Pre Amp and either a Bergantino H412, (or 2 Audiokinesis Thunderchild 212's (currently out of production). But realistically, for all the jobs I play, that system would be total overkill.

    I own several MAS powered cabinets, specifically a MAS 1/8 (ICE 1,200), a MAS powered 4x5.5, (ICE 700) and an older powered MAS 1/8 (ICE 700 Watt) Frankly, their all the power I'd ever need,
  9. Clarity and headroom.
  10. Omega Monkey

    Omega Monkey

    Mar 8, 2015
    I would believably expect a 2x12 rated at 800w to actually handle a real world 400 or so. So if you're trying to not shred the speakers, an amp putting out 500-600w at 8 ohms (estimating) is not really going to provide any additional benefits over one putting out 400w. I'd give the 4x10 a real world 500-800w maybe.

    So an 800w head is probably enough. I have a 900w head (the model that I wanted didn't come in a 600w version, even though the rest of the line did), and I haven't really noticed any advantages to that over my 600w other main head (completely different design, architecture, etc... so not a straight 1:1 comparison).

    Ultimately, the cleanness of your sound (if that's what you're after) is going to depend on your cabinets, your eq settings, and your gain staging, and somewhat less on amp power. Personally, I think a little bit of musical sounding "distortion" (of some description) tends to aid in making the bass sound good and sit in a mix. If it's TOO clean, it might not be suitable for a lot of kinds of music. So most people probably don't need as much headroom as they think. Once you get much past 300-500w with an appropriate amount of cab, you definitely hit a point of diminishing returns. I really laugh at the guys out here thinking they "need" 2500w or whatever. Maybe if you're playing stadiums or huge festivals on an 80 foot stage and/or need TONS of low end. But at some point you hit a point where you can't get enough speaker under the amp because of the minimum impedance. A 4 ohm cab that would handle 2500w in the real world would have to be an enormous custom job, so multiple smaller wattage amps makes more sense anyway.

    I will say though that having a 900w amp has almost tricked me into thinking I need it (or more). But that's just being power hungry and having grandiose visions of running 1200+ watts into 4 good sized cabs for the sheer physical experience. REALISTICALLY, there's basically nowhere to actually play in this area where I could even use all of half that. I did use that 900w head into a 1200w cab (GK NEO 412) for a metal gig about a year ago, and that was fun. But I did the same gig (same band/venue) a few months later with the 600w head and my pair of Uber Quads and that was a lot of fun too. If anything, both amp/cab combinations had more than enough volume because even with a loud band in a venue with a giant 80s style club PA (loaded horn EVERYTHING and very loud), I was pushing the respectable boundaries of stage volume with either setup. Note, that while I WAS getting some grind from the tube pres on the 2 amps, the power sections and speakers were clean as a whistle.

    So yeah, I think you would probably be just as happy with an amp in the 500-800w range as the 1k and up range unless you are truly playing a lot of really loud gigs. And your 2x12 will last a whole lot longer.
    GMC likes this.
  11. bherman

    bherman Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2009
    Grand Junction, CO
    Per all of the above comments, no advantage. Unless you are driving 2-3 cabs, not sure you’d notice any difference between a 1K head and a 500 watt head. I have a 900 way Streamliner from which I have stepped down to 350 watt genzler. Only difference with a single cab is that I turn the Genzler up to 11 or 12 vs 2 or 3 on the master volume. Plenty of reserve power either way.
    DJ Bebop and SJan3 like this.
  12. chadds


    Mar 18, 2000
    1500w outside and two guitarists one using a Fuchs the other a Hayseed plus drummer.

    All three pairs of eyebrows touch the sky. Drummer staring. Priceless.

    I’m not about just playing loud. As I said in another thread 450w on a 4x10 cranked was more fun for me than two 4x10s were I had to be removed from the mains because it was too loud and to me too clean.
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2020
    mikewalker likes this.
  13. I'm using a MB 410HLF 4 ohm with either an Ashdown RM800 or a Peavey MegaMini 1000 and really wouldn't want less. We are admittedly loud but the MB410 likes the juice and so do I and I push it. I don't think it's overkill. YMMV.
    Helix and DJ Bebop like this.
  14. Sparkl


    Apr 23, 2011

    You would need way more than 1000w to double the loudness of a 500w amp so basically the difference in loudness between these two is pretty marginal.

    Where the difference shows though is in the headroom that the stronger amp can provide which is something that can be very obvious when listening to the low end especially at higher volumes.

    All that aside, it really doesn't matter much if you are pumping all that power into a 112 or a 212 cab. Where the difference shows is if you have multiple cabs so the cabs alone can provide you with a lot of headroom and coupled with a strong amp, this WILL make a big difference.

    If you are after a loud clean tone your best bet is to not only rank up the amp power but rank up the speaker numbers as well.
    DJ Bebop likes this.
  15. Bassamatic

    Bassamatic keepin' the beat since the 60's

    Firstly - there is not a significant volume difference until there is a 10:1 power difference. At that point it sounds twice as loud to your ear. You can easily prove that if you have access to an amp with a power meter, and an SPL app on your phone.

    However, if you double the cone area of your speakers, you double your SPL. The advantage of the high power amp is the ability to run multiple speakers.
    DJ Bebop likes this.
  16. Omega Monkey

    Omega Monkey

    Mar 8, 2015
    You might want to check your math there. If you double the speakers, you will probably get up to about 6 db. If you mean doubling perceived volume, that's not quite there either.

    BUT, having said that, yes, adding more speakers will get you more louder more faster than adding watts.
    imabuddha likes this.
  17. TheReceder


    Jul 12, 2010
    It's 1 louda.
  18. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    1000 watts is about 650 more than I need
    TinIndian and DJ Bebop like this.
  19. dbase

    dbase Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2008
    South Jersey, USA..
    1000 is a nice round number ... ;)
    DJ Bebop likes this.
  20. drumvsbass


    Aug 20, 2011
    The more 'watts' you use early in life, the more 'whats' you use later in life.
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