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Confused about low wattage with boutique amps

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by jdelemus, Jan 23, 2013.

  1. jdelemus


    Jun 27, 2012
    So how many do I really need? I feel my mesa Walkabout at 300 watts is a little under powered for my needs.

    Yet the boutique amps like Divided by 13 or Morgan are 200 watts. I understand the all tube amps are louder argument that works for an over driven guitar amp but for bass watts are watts since most of us are not pushing an amp to overdrive.

    So are these boutique amps only for recording and small gigs, is it assumed that you will be rocking massive sets of (low wattage speakers), or is PA support a must?

    Someone pleas explain how these low powered amps compete with the big boys.
  2. CL400Peavey

    CL400Peavey Supporting Member

    Nov 7, 2011
    Grand Rapids Michigan
    Its more about cabs. What cabs are you using your WA with? Is 2 Ohm stable, so maybe its tome to double up on cabs.
  3. hdracer


    Feb 15, 2009
    Elk River, MN.
    Myself and a lot of other people use our Fender 100T heads in a full band setting.
  4. jdelemus


    Jun 27, 2012
    Doubling up on cabs was exactly what I was thinking. I notice there is a Divided by 13 4x12 for a screaming deal locally. At 300 watts it is perfect for my walkabout, but not ok if I get a bigger head. This started me thinking about how all these boutique heads are like 100 or 200 watts.
  5. CL400Peavey

    CL400Peavey Supporting Member

    Nov 7, 2011
    Grand Rapids Michigan
    What cab are you using now? Two of those would be your best bet.
  6. jdelemus


    Jun 27, 2012
    Depending on who I am playing with I either use the mesa scout 1x12 for rock and I have been using an ampeg 1x15 for reggae.
  7. Mr. Foxen

    Mr. Foxen Commercial User

    Jul 24, 2009
    Bristol, UK
    Amp tinkerer at Ampstack
    It isn't just the harmonic distortion that makes valve amps much more apparently loud, its the compression and bandwidth limiting. So it will still sound 'clean' but you get much more perceived volume from your watts. Watts are pretty much meaningless for most purposes.
  8. RickenBoogie


    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    The 4x12 mentioned, is that a bass cab? I would guess it's a guitar cab, and not a good choice. The Walkabout is plenty of power for alot of us, me included, but we use them with larger bass cabs, like a good 2x12 or 4x10. What impedance is your 1x15. If it's the same as your Scout 12, (4 ohms), try connecting them both. May sound good, may not, as generally, a matched set will work better, but worth a try, if you haven't yet.
  9. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Yep. There's a lot more to it than watts. My 100W Ampeg V4 (all tube) will blow my Walkabout out of the water on the same cab. I don't really get it, but I hear it. That being said, my Walkabout is plenty loud with the right cabs. I either run the Scout 15" combo and a matching extension cab, or a nice 4-10 or fridge with it. I haven't had a problem with volume with either head yet. So, if you just want a really nice boutique amp, go for it. There's never a bad reason to buy another head (unless of course you go into debt to do it). But, if volume is your only concern, go to a store and try your Walkabout with multiple cabs. I think you will be really surprised. More speaker surface area wakes that amp up a lot. Mine with the two scout 15" cabs is simply amazing.

    Either choice should be fun though. More speaker or more heads! WIN WIN!
  10. Bassmec


    May 9, 2008
    Ipswich UK
    Proprietor Springvale Studios
    Here are vintage boutique? heads at 100 and 200 watts respectively running together into the right speaker efficiency and area, so if driven with your amp, would easily compete equally on loudness terms with a modern 4x10 driven with a thousand watt power amp.
    That's the whole trick, Right there!.:bassist:
    PS Of course driven with the 300 watts of tube amps, just about running cleanish, they will totally crush and ridicule a thousand watts and a 4 x10.
    PPS Your walkabout being 2 ohms compatible will run fine and strip wallpaper when you have got round to collecting the other three 8 ohm Ampeg 115's it is obviously designed for.
  11. jdelemus


    Jun 27, 2012
    It's a bass cab not a guitar cabinet. I'm curious why a 4x12 would not be a good choice when 4x10's are recommended all over the place on TB often with the "there is no replacement for displacement" line. 40" compared to 48" isn't all that much different but it is almost a full speaker larger.
  12. JHAz


    Jun 29, 2011
    The speaker area would be determined by a different formula than simply comparing the diameters of the drivers. That's why two tens are pretty close to the same area as one 15, at least until you subtract out half the surround, etc.

    I think that overall the reason 412s aren't common in bass is that they aren't popular. while there are manufacturers out there who do great engineering and all, they build what people will buy, or they go out of business. PLus they'd be big and bulky . . .
  13. RickenBoogie


    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    If it's a 412 bass cab, that's totally another thing. I was assuming it was a guitar cab, which would not be a good choice.
  14. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    A Divided by 13 bass 412 with the Walkabout should be glorious.
  15. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    Sensitivity of the cabinet to the power driving it says how loud you'll be. Simple to find out, home theater is regulated by FTC, a 1000w in a home theater is 1000w FTC. It's not that loud because most home theater speakers are terrible insensitive (inefficient) compared to MI and FOH speakers.

    Start with good efficient/sensitive speakers that can produce the sound you're after.

    Perceived loudness doesn't matter if the sound is masked by a louder sound. i.e. a harsh grunting voice may sound louder by itself, but not if you can't hear it above other sounds going on.

    These days, FOH has progressed that it easily handles bass. Everyband needs a FOH for the voices and it doesn't take much to beef it up to handle bass, keyboard, and drum support. You get better controlled sound out front and on stage.

    There is a camp that feels you should hurt your audience with loud bass. Loud sounds release endorphins. That's why they have loud scenes in movies. But for maximum effect you should use dynamics, constant pounding looses the effect. Compression is good as an effect, crank it up for some songs or parts of songs, but any more that subtly on all the time is tiring.
  16. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    I have never used the Walkabout, but 300W is enough to make your ears bleed if it's going into an efficient cab. Get a separate cab that is compatible with the head impedance (READ the owner's manual) and you'll need earplugs.

    My Genz-Benz Suttle 6.0 is 375W peak into a single 12" speaker and it's loud enough that I can scare the band with it.