750 Watt head... how "loud" or powerful is it?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by phayes1007, Dec 17, 2012.

  1. phayes1007


    Apr 19, 2011
    In the process of putting together my amp rig. I've been shopping for head-cab(s) configurations for a few months now, and I'm pretty close to deciding on the head I want to buy. Got it narrowed down to a few, but the one I'm leaning towards is the GK RB1001 ii - 700/50W biamp (700 woofer, 50 to the horn)

    It's $750 and just under my budget. Haven't decided on cabs yet, but I did get a chance to try out the head thru a few different ones. Most likely it'll be either a 2x12, 4x10, or 4x12* (if I can find a good deal on one, but a 4x12 would be the largest cab-size I'm considering).

    I also tried the GK RB700 ii - 480/50W, which is $600, but substantially smaller. Interestingly, I couldn't really tell the difference, tone/flexibility-wise, between the two heads. Both of them gave me an equally-great impression when I played them through 2 of my basses.

    Currently I'm not gigging, but I jam pretty regularly with a drummer/singer/2 guitarists and we're starting to think about moving in that direction... so even though 750W is definitely well above my power requirements, I'm wondering:

    -Is there any possible drawbacks to having a more powerful head [than I need]? I'm not too concerned with the fact that I'd save $150 if I went with the RB700ii.

    -How much "louder" is a 700/50W head compared to a 480/50W? (assuming both amps are running somewhat near maximum capability but with at least some headroom to spare). I'm not looking for an answer in decibels or anything numerical. More like a description of a venue-size or gigging situation* that would be appropriate/more-or-less ideal for those amp wattages (*not one involving going thru to a PA-system, just to keep things simple).

    I realize how subjective any answers to this question are going to be and that there are numerous other factors involved, so I won't take anything as gospel, but I'd like to hear your opinions on this. Thanks much
  2. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    1. There are two drawbacks...one is if you're a dope, you could easily blow a 410 with 750w, even if they tell you that you won't (easily preventable if you have a little common sense, though). The second is if you like distortion...GK has a "grind" feature and it's easier to get it out of the lower wattage heads.

    2. Make no mistake...in a decent sized cab, 480w will rip your head off and get you fired from most venues. In 35 years of playing professionally, including many arena and stadium gigs, I have never needed more than that, and have done quite well with much less most of the time. For all practical purposes, 700w will not be much louder, if at all. Consider that you need 10x your current wattage to be twice as loud using the same cab. 700w to 480w is less than .5x. That said, some folks really like a lot of headroom so they can play loud enough to get their band fired and never distort at all (go figure ;) ), so they go for the higher wattage.
  3. DieterVDW


    Sep 19, 2012
    Gent, Belgium
    I have a 350W Hartke head with a 410 cab and I rarely go above 3 on the volume on gigs.

    For small gigs in pubs or something 350W is way more than I need.
    And for anything bigger there is always a PA and the PA guys just use my DI-out.

    I've actually been thinking of just using my 120W Hartke Kickback as a personal monitor and relying completely on the PA for future gigs ...
    (Although I don't know if I trust PA guys enough for that, I like the thought that my amp is just loud enough so at least some people will actually hear some bass if the PA guys screw up...)
  4. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    The 1001RB-II is rated @ 700 watts @ 4 ohms - not 750 watts (reckon by the wattage of the main or woofer amp - not the combined wattage, including the integrated tweeter amp). Same deal with the 700RB-II: Its rating is 480 watts @ 4 ohms - not 530 watts.

    Either of those two RB amps, with either a single 8-ohm GK Neo 2x12 cab, or two of them, makes one fine rock rig - at one of the most competitive price points anywhere. If they haven't both become classics by now, they soon will be.

    The 700RB-II will allow you to drive the power stage harder, at any given volume point, in order to yield a little dirtier, snarlier, growlier tone - but won't offer as much headroom. The 1001RB-II stays cleaner - but offers more headroom. Both of 'em get LOUD. Really loud. :eek:

    If you envision wanting/needing a big rig, even just eventually, get a 1001RB-II, and start with just one (1) GK Neo 2x12 @ 8 ohms. That should hold you for just about any club gig - even a very large club. Probably any indoor venue - period.

    If/when you get to the point that you start playing outdoor venues, or very large rooms at high-intensity volume levels - or think that you will - you can always pick up a second identical GK cab...for a high-powered, great-sounding, yet relatively compact modular rig. You just can't beat it.

    Were I in your shoes, I think that's what I'd do... :meh:

  5. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    How exactly do you define "need"? If you're implying that "need" is only as much power as required to drive your cabs to a desired volume level, don't. That's the way guitarists generally think - which is easy for them, as they generally don't need anywhere near as much headroom as bassists do. :meh:

    A good rule of thumb regarding headroom ("excess" power in reserve), is to go for at least twice as much power as you need to actually drive your cab(s) to the desired volume. The remaining headroom isn't used to generate more quantity of sound. It's used to generate cleaner, better quality of sound. :meh:

  6. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG


    Cleaner? Yes. Better? Matter of opinion.

    OK, obviously I'm playing contrarian this morning, but my wife woke me up at 3 to complain about my snoring, and I haven't been able to go back to sleep. So now it's your fault ;)
  7. Denny Coon

    Denny Coon

    Jan 10, 2010
    +1 to MysticMicheal...In my experience the extra power has paid off on nites of playing 3 or 4 hour gigs the head with more wattage dosent get as hot as its not being pushed as hard. Alot of amps are really loud seemingly but many of your eq settings can be "swallowed" up in the context of stage volumes, so sometimes just that small amount of extra headroom makes a difference... Good Luck!
  8. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    Geez no kidding, Jimmy! Ya woke me up too! I could hear you all the way from New York! Over the noise of traffic even!

    Put a sock in it already! I need my "beauty" sleep! :eyebrow: ;)

  9. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    I totally agree. That's why I always use at least 25w, whether I need it or not:


  10. Awesome. Listen to this guy, except when he tells you 8x10 are good cabs.

    GK guys can tell you a lot more about those amps. Wattage is far less important than getting tone at the power level you need.

    For instance, Jimmy often goes to a VT pedal and Ampeg micro VR with one or two 210AV to get distorted tone at lower volume than SVT can provide. He plays on quiet stages with other pros and has the big sound rig pumping the theatres.

    Your band's situation is probably more like my own usual. Vocal PA and no support for drums and bass?
  11. Fliptrique


    Jul 22, 2002
    Szczecin, Poland
    Endorsing Artist: Mayones Guitars&Basses
    I use a 750watt head and a single 4x10 cab. Taurus TH-Cross into an eden 4x10.

    In a rehersal space It`s impossible to go past 9oclock on the master volume - it becomes way to loud. On a big stage I have personally never went above 11 o clock - and that was REALLY, REALLY loud.

    With an efficient cab and good cab placement (on my side rather than behind, not placed directly to a wall) it`s more than enough to do both dirty and really clean tones with lotsa headroom.
  12. Jack


    Sep 6, 2003
    Northumberland, UK
    I used and loved my 1001-II into a Neo 2x12, 1x12 or both. I had that rig for about 5 years and hundreds of gigs. In none of them did I have a hard time getting the 1001 to grind the way it should, but I don't imagine I ever needed the extra power over the 700 either.

    Go for whichever one you can find for the cheapest, for some reason there seem to be more 1001s floating around second hand and they can be had for roughly the same price where I live.
  13. Session1969

    Session1969 Supporting Member

    Dec 2, 2010
    Buy a used one (either) and you'll save close to half. I had a 1001 and loved it. I used it for reggae which shows it's versatility in contrast to it's rep. A friend has a 700 and he said he never goes past 3. They are very loud amps and either one is fine. A little more headroom doesn't hurt.
  14. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Retired Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Less than 2 dB, which translates to a barely audible difference. You'd just lose a little headroom with the 480.
  15. Its not really how loud the amp is... it boils down to how loud your cab can get, and with how much power. As an example:

    Consider two different 210's of some different ubiquitous stats. Now you have a 300 watt am, and a 10,000 watt amp. Regardless of which amp you pair with which cab your total volume is going to be pretty much the same. Either amp will drive the average 210 to its limits, and seeing as there is only so much displacement to be had the net volumes will be in the same ball park.

    So do you gain any SPL with the bigger amp? In this case you do not.

    Compare that to one speaker cabinet that is more capable, or a few speaker cabinets. Your 300 watt amp may be louder in this case depending on the sensitivity of the speaker cabs. The 10,000 watt amp will be able to get a lot louder. From the increase insensitivity, but also in power handling as well.

    So is a 750 watt head louder than a 400 watt head? Depends on the speaker cabs you are using.
  16. mpdd

    mpdd neoconceptualist

    Mar 24, 2010
    recently used a 600 watt, 450 watt, and a 200 watt, the lowest watt head was the loudest, but i was using way better cabs with that head
  17. IPYF


    Mar 31, 2011
    The RB line are extremely powerful amps. the 1001 is insanely loud if you need. Plug it into a powerful, sensitive 810 and you will never need a louder amp. The 2001 is pretty much reserved for Flea and people who want to ruin the foundations of their house and piss off people 2 towns away.

    You will note however that here on TB most of the compliments directed at the 700 and the 1001 don't usually pertain to the loudness. Most people who love and own these amps, myself included, are all about the tone.

    Try both the 700 and the 1001 and see how you feel. Once again it's more about the cabs. I run my 1001 at 8ohm in the rehearsal studio and it's plenty loud enough against 2 100w Mesa Stacks. I think I'd struggle to fight a band with the 700 and an 8ohm cab unit because you would probably pull <300w. If you go with that option you will want a couple of smaller separates or 4ohms of cab. I reckon a 412 would be the ultimate for a GK RB rig. I'd love one of those.

    Another key thing to remember is that GK include their biamp watts in their full rating so without a GK cab and a 4pt speakon you would only be looking at 400 and 700w respectively.
  18. mouthmw


    Jul 19, 2009
    Correction, 480W. 50W are for tweeters only anyways. I use the biamp feature with my 700RB and 412 GK neo but I turn the tweeter down as I don't like tweeters. Both of those heads are great, I'd recommend 700RB if you want to obtain GK growl at lower volumes (still gets damn loud though).
  19. chadds


    Mar 18, 2000
    So, not enough headroom in your snoring? ;)
  20. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    Well it did feel like my brain was full ;)

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