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350w vs. 450w - what's the diffrence?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Johnny5, Apr 15, 2006.

  1. Johnny5


    Mar 5, 2006
    Calgary, Canada
    i've currently got my eye on a small/medium sized rig, which includes either:

    • a 350w SVT350
    • a 450w B2RE or SVT450

    the dude at the music store says i won't hear much of a difference in terms of "air moved" with 100w. i already love the sounds of each head, i just need to choose the power now. is there a difference here?
  2. Flag2Flag


    Dec 30, 2005
    Austin, TX
    well the 450w would have more headroom, meaning that you could play at higher volumes without damaging the amplifier. for example having the 350w cranked at "10" all the time will have a greater effect on the amplifier than having the 450w on "8"
  3. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    All things equal, I usually apply the law of diminising returns to amp ratings. You will probaly notice a somewhat significant difference in headroom between a 350 watt amp and a 450 watt, but you probaly wouldn't even blink at the difference between a 1000 watt amp and a 1100 watt amp.
  4. Johnny5


    Mar 5, 2006
    Calgary, Canada
    i see. i've always wondered what someone meant when they'd say "headroom" but never asked for fear of looking foolish. this totally makes sense now-

    more power = more better :bassist:

    ...for venues with little or no PA support anyways.
  5. dave_bass5


    May 28, 2004
    London, UK.
    I have just gone from a 325watt ABM to a 500watt Mark Bass SA450 and i can tell ive got more head room so i can go louder but doubt its much.
    the SA450 sounds cleaner at the same loudnes i had my ABM running at
  6. Headroom in ampspeak is the difference between how much power you need to get as loud as you need and how much you have available.

    Doubling the power from 350 to 700 would only produce a difference in level of ~3db which is considerd "slightly noticeable."

    So, the 450 watt amp will probably not sound louder - but it will probably sound better since you may not have to "max it out."

    Your mileage may vary.
  7. If you can afford the 450. Go for it.

    The more headroom the better.
  8. paulraphael


    Apr 13, 2006
    If you heard me play, you'd stop reading what I write.
    There are sometimes differences besides maximum power output that are important. Sometimes a 450 watt amp will sound more controlled than a 350 watt amp ... but it's not likely the result of those 100 watts, which are pretty insignificant. Powerful amps often have higher damping factors, and are better able to control the speakers--helping to give a tight, defined sound. There may be qualities that we don't have a number for that play into this, too.

    When I first talked to Nick Epifani about what kind of amp to use with his speakers, he told me to not even consider using my amp that I already had--a 350 watt tubeworks head. He said it would work, and that it would play loud, but that it wouldn't sound good. Specifically, it wouldn't give the tight sound that he knew I was looking for. He also said that with the underpowered amp, I'd be able to see a lot of speaker excursion, but with a high powered amp it would look like the speaker's barely moving.

    He was completely right. Comparing the 350 watt head to a 1200 watt stewart amp was like night and day, even at the same volume level (they both played plenty loud). The big power amp was punchy, tight and defined, and Nick was right: you could barely see speaker motion. The little head was boomy and muddy, and the speakers were jumping all over the place.

    In my experience, you'll sometimes hear differences between comparable amps that have slightly different power ratings. Just don't expect loudness to be a significant difference.
  9. dave_bass5


    May 28, 2004
    London, UK.
  10. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    The music store dude is correct: the difference between 350 and 450 watts is almost meaningless. So, my advice to you is to put power rating very low on your list of selection criteria. If you weigh the other factors and are still not sure which amp to get, then go for the 450 watter.
  11. thats seem to be what it comes down to.
    like some else said before, the 350 on 10 will blow alot fast than the 450 on 8, which should give you about the same volume
  12. scottbass

    scottbass Bass lines like a big, funky giant

    Jul 13, 2004
    Southern MN
    ScottBass16??? :eyebrow:

    Listen, fella, you haven't been paying me your franchise fee for using the moniker "scottbass" with you own twisted capitalization. C'mon, you're the 16th officially licensed purveyor ("OLP") of the revered "scottbass" name, so you'd better start paying me or face the consequences!

    The last so-called "scottbass" who thought he could skip out on his franchise fee ended up with the bass solo from "Get Together" by the Youngbloods programmed into his subconscious. It ruined his career, cuz from then on every solo he played sounded just like that!

    So wise up, ScottBass16, and start paying me that franchise fee right now!!! I accept Visa, Mastercard and PayPal. You can also pay me in used bass strings (.045 - .100, please), but only if you boil them first so the tone is completely restored to like-new condition.

    ;) ;) ;) ;) ;) ;) ;) ;)
  13. jz0h4d


    Apr 26, 2005
    Almost no sonic difference.
  14. dave_bass5


    May 28, 2004
    London, UK.
    But almost might just be enough.
    I have found that through 4 months of giging with the ABM 325watt i was pushing the amp 3/4 for our larger gigs. now with my 500watt amp im not pushing it quite so hard but also im getting a cleaner sound so there is a slight sonic difference and its enough for me. im not saying im a great deal louder but i can be heard much better.
    IMHO of course
  15. Jerrold Tiers

    Jerrold Tiers

    Nov 14, 2003
    St Louis
    Those all share very similar preamps, so that would be why you like all of them.

    As far as the power, more is usually better. But it might not be very significant. The numbers work out to about 1 dB difference, which means you will strain to hear it, if you can hear it at all. There might be a little more difference in peaks, which *might* be noticeable.

    There is more difference in case style, traditional head vs rack, among those than there is likely to be in noticeable power......

    That all said, there is a power level that seems to generally be "definitely not enough". It is somewhere in the below 250W area for most folks.

    Once you cross that line, there isn't nearly as much difference. Somewhere there is a fuzzy line over which youget a response of "holy **** that's a ton of power!", but I can guarantee you won't say that for 450 vs 350.....

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