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60 watt tube amp - how loud?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Paul A, Jun 9, 2003.

  1. Paul A

    Paul A

    Dec 13, 1999
    Hertfordshire U.K!
    How loud do you guys reckon a 60 watt all tube bass head will go?
    I reckon It'll go as loud as a 200 watt Solid State...... Comments?
  2. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    You mean without blowing up, getting too hot to touch, smouldering then dying, etc. ? ;)
  3. Middy and trebly watts are louder than floor shaking bassy watts. Watts with efficient speakers are louder than watts with inefficient speakers. Many variables.

    While guitar tube amps, watt for watt, generally seem louder than SS amps, I have not noticed the same thing for bass.
  4. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    I used to use 50-60 watt tube heads with 1-12 or 1-15 bottoms for club gigs at moderate volumes. With something like a 2-15 or 8-10 you could get louder but it's still not going to be as loud as a 200 watt head which can put out another 6dB of volume.

    If you can use a dirty sound you'll get a bit more mileage out of it.
  5. My vintage Laney 50 Watt runs about 50 Watts DC in (it's rated value) and delivers about 35 watts RMS out. OK, that's viweing the output signal on a scope so there's clearly margin for error.

    That depends on the biasing of the output valves and 60% TO 65% efficiency can be expected running the valves at close to max DC input: assuming your 60 Watts is DC in, not the actual RMS figure. So, for example, a pair of EL34s running at 25watts each = 50 watts, about 35 watts out RMS is possible.

    The reason valve amps seem / are louder than SS is to do with the way the harmonic structure of the output signal varies between the two types of amp. A valve amp rounds the corners of the signal at clipping whilst a SS amp squares the corners. The former sounds nice; the latter horrible. So the valve amp appears louder because you can drive it harder because the result of driving it harder sounds nice.

    Tube amps need big transformers to reproduce bass @ E and even more so @ B. Big transformers are really expensive so, I guess, amp designers compromise between low frequency response and £££ on the output transformer.

    It is a fact, though, that (say) 50 watts of unclipped signal through a valve amp is identical to 50 watts of unclipped signal through a SS amp.

    Hope that helps.

  6. John,

    I think he means 60 Watts rms output, not tube dissipation.

    Anyway, 60 Watts through some efficient speakers can get pretty loud. It's loud enough to match up to unamplified drums and maybe a 30 Watt guitar amp. It's good jam or practice volume, but may not cut it for really loud gigs unless you can use the PA to back you up.

  7. Paul A

    Paul A

    Dec 13, 1999
    Hertfordshire U.K!
    Yeah it's 60 watt RMS (Tubes are JJ ECl34's - kt 77's in an el34 envelope) which are biased really hot.
    The cab its going into is rated at 105 dbm.
    Will only be used for small venues - anything larger and it gets miked up to the P.A.
    It can run almost flat out before it starts to distort.
    To me it sounds as loud as my Ashdown 150 watt combo.
    Or do my ears need looking at?

  8. That's probably about right. The Ashdown is probably a little cleaner sounding at that equivalent volume level, but it's the dirty sound of tubes that makes them fit into the mix so well.

  9. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I think it's a question of personal preference - I want as clean as sound as possible, so amps like this are useless to me.
  10. Paul A

    Paul A

    Dec 13, 1999
    Hertfordshire U.K!
    Depends on your type of music I guess, for rock and bluesy stuff "ultra clean" would probably sound........weird. :meh:
  11. Yeah, that's cool, to each his own and all that.

    If you've never tried a tube amp, you ought to, just to see what it's about. I'm not talking about crunching distortion or anything nuts like that, just the natural fat roundness and slight natural compression that an all-tube signal chain can add even when running clean. It's kind of neat. What's most excellent about that type of sound is how well it mixes with a full band. It can fatten up the bass and define it a tad more, without stepping all over any of the other instruments.

  12. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I've tried loads of all-Tube amps and seen many blow up at gigs or rehearsals - I hate em!! ;)

    I hate distortion and compression on bass!!

    It always really annoyed me when guitarists used to go on endlessly about - oh you must have all-tubes to get the 'right' sound - but when they actually played it was horrible - too bassy, too distorted, too full and in the way of anything you played!! :mad:
  13. Paul A

    Paul A

    Dec 13, 1999
    Hertfordshire U.K!
    I saw a Trace Elliot explode last week .... in fact the only thing that was still working was the pre amp tube......:spit:
  14. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I hate Trace Elliot amps as well - probably even more than some all-tube amps!! ;)

    I supect in the end, to be serious for a moment; that high-quality components in a well-constructed unit will always sound the best regardless of the method employd - you get what you pay for!!
  15. OK. Nevermind then.