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Amp Wattage help

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by CarmenWilliams, Oct 26, 2018.


  1. CarmenWilliams

    CarmenWilliams

    May 18, 2018
    I'm in a 3 piece hard rock band and I'm wondering what wattage would be best to get my sound through. Why is there such a wide range (250w - 1000w) when it comes to bass? When guitar is alot lower. I'm originally a guitar player so I'm new to bass. I'm wondering what is a decent wattage amount.
     
  2. voided3

    voided3

    Nov 11, 2008
    It depends. Your cabinets largely limit how loud you can get while the amp determines how much headroom you have to work with.

    Knowing nothing else about your needs or ideal sound, I would blindly suggest an amp in the 500 to 800 watt range through either a pair of vertical 2x10 cabs, a pair of 1x15 cabs, or if you like to really get loud, a pair of 4x10 or 2x12 cabs or an 8x10.

    I realize that's a vague reply, but there are a ton of variables that go into what amp will work for you.
     
  3. CarmenWilliams

    CarmenWilliams

    May 18, 2018
    Thanks for the reply! I just purchased this 2x15 cab (for only $60!) and it sounds massive. I love it. It's allowed my sound to really stand out. I was running a 250w 2x10 Fender Bassman combo amp before and it wasn't enough.
     

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  4. voided3

    voided3

    Nov 11, 2008
    Hmm, I'll let someone more familiar with older Peavey's chime in to confirm, but I'm guessing that cabinet would be safe with about 300 watts realistically, given the era it's from.
     
  5. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Bass requires much more power to amplify at a comparable volume to guitar.
     
    Al Kraft, G-Dog and Old Garage-Bander like this.
  6. Bass needs a lot more power because we don’t hear lower frequencies as well as guitar. (Given the same general compliment of speakers.)

    There are lower power guitar amps just like bass, but power ranges for bass get a lot higher just because guitars don’t need as much to be heard.

    Usually with a bass amp, if you do larger speakers or more speakers or both, that is a much more efficient way of getting louder. Doing it with mostly just power isn’t gonna cut it very well.

    I say, also as a blind guess, the bare minimum is going to be 300 watts and a couple of fifteens. But there is so much variation in equipment that we can only give generic recommendations.

    What ever combination of amp and head, or combo, you get, be sure you can add a second matching cabinet.
    That way you can get a lot louder by adding the cab instead of having to buy more of everything again.

    All of this assumes you have no P.A. support for instruments. If you do, that can change the whole formula.
     
    Al Kraft likes this.
  7. filmtex

    filmtex Commercial User

    May 29, 2011
    Annsman Pro Audio Dealer
    I used one of those 2x15 Peavey cabs for years. First with an old Mark IV from Peavey and then years later with my GK 400 RB. Mark IV= 130w @ 8 ohms/225w @ 4. GK 400RB= 240w @ 4 ohms ( around 150w @ 8 ohms I think). I liked the sound and didn’t have much trouble keeping up with any up to a Fender Twin. Played with a couple Marshals for a while and pretty much held my own, but this was years before I had enough pa for FOH support. Ymmv.
     
  8. Kro

    Kro Supporting Member

    May 7, 2003
    New Jersey
    Odds are the speaker/cab side was a bigger limiting factor than the watts. Just food for thought.

    250w into a 2x15 is a completely different story. I've found that my personal wattage sweet-spot is between 350 and 500w for my personal gear and any number of backline cabs, but there are a ton of variables involved including max SPL, cab sensitivity, tonal goals, and amp behavior when pushed just to name a few.
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2018
    Old Garage-Bander and Al Kraft like this.
  9. dannylectro

    dannylectro Supporting Member

    Aug 2, 2010
    Atlanta, GA
    Easy. You need all of the watts.
     
  10. CarmenWilliams

    CarmenWilliams

    May 18, 2018
    I plugged the Fender 250/210 into the Peavey 215 (I didnt use the fender speakers) and what a difference!!!! The 215 made the amp sound almost completely different.

    Someone nearby is selling a Peavey 400 Bass amp but does anybody know what the wattage on that is? Because I'm not sure it's 400.

    Also, would an Ampeg SVT7 Pro (1000 watt) amp be too much for my 215? I dont really want to haul a bunch of bass cabs around
     
  11. Kro

    Kro Supporting Member

    May 7, 2003
    New Jersey
    Looks like it's rated "200 watts RMS @ 1% THD into 2 ohms"
     
  12. CarmenWilliams

    CarmenWilliams

    May 18, 2018
    The 215 cab is 4ohms. So I'm thinking it'll actually be a little over 100 watts?
     
  13. Kro

    Kro Supporting Member

    May 7, 2003
    New Jersey
    Without knowing more about the amp, I'd say that's likely. Others might know in better detail.
     
  14. 707GK

    707GK

    Jun 13, 2013
    Northern California
    Depends if you’re talking about SVT watts or not. Those are in a class of their own.

    I use a 100W amp into two 1x15 cabs and it is plenty loud. Each cab is rated at 99db per watt per meter so they are pretty efficient and when stacked, they get loud. I barely push my 100W amp and I don’t need PA support, although I don’t play in front of huge crowds.
     
  15. I think a good rule of thumb is that the bass requires 10X the power of the lead guitar and at least the same amount of speaker area...

    So, if the guitar player is running a 50 watt half stack, you want at least 500 watts into 4 12's or 2 15's.

    Obviously it is more complicated than that and you need to think about speaker efficiency, what kind of headroom you want/need, frequency response, and then add weight, schlepability, footprint... but I think that is a good place to begin. Watts are cheap so more is always a good idea. The current super cabs are pretty amazing at low weight, size, and putting out a lot of sound while going very low in frequency... at a premium price.
     

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