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Difference in volume between a 300watt head and 500 watt head using the same two cabs

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by basspunk2005, Aug 25, 2005.

  1. basspunk2005

    basspunk2005 Guest

    Jan 31, 2005
    I was thinking of possibly upgrading my trace ah3007(300watts) to the new trace 500watt head,i dont know what its called. Its only a 200watt jump so will that increase much noticable volume?What I have now is fine but I was just thinking ahead just so I have more space for volume if I need it. The two cabs I have are the trace 4x10 and they are both 8 ohm so Im talking about running the head at full power. Atm I have 150 watts going through both cabs so if I enhance my head to 500 ill get 250 through both. Is this possible upgrade worth it?
  2. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    There's quite a few posts on this issue if you do a search. It is confusing, because on one hand, the technical info states that you have to have a huge gain in wattage to get a significant increase in volume.... yet all the amp manufacturers offer models in 100 or 200 watt increments. Combine this with the fact that the wattage specifications are not that comparable across manufacturers, and it gets confusing.

    I think of it in terms of headroom and quality of sound. A 500 watt amp (all other things being equal) will not sound louder than a 300 watt amp if you are not pushing the amps to their limits.... however... if you are wumping on an E or B string at high volume, a couple of hundred watts extra will (IMO) result in more clean headroom that will provide a more open low end and more increase in perceived volume than the pure watt per DB formula would suggest. It will also protect your speakers, since the peaks will less likely be 'clipped', which is where most speaker trouble comes in.

    So, if you find your current head 'farts out' in the low end in a typical playing situation, then the extra watts will probably help a lot.
  3. basspunk2005

    basspunk2005 Guest

    Jan 31, 2005
    thanks, na my cabs easily handle the low end theres only 150 watts going through them and they are rated at 300watts each so no problems there. Thanks
  4. Yep, to double the "loudness", all other things being equal, you need to multiply by 10, so a 1000 watt amp is only twice as "loud" as a 100 watt amp. :meh: :meh:

    Having said that, 500 watts has to provide you with more headroom than a 300 watt amp. I guess it all depends on what it is costing you and what else you stand to gain or lose from changing. :)
  5. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    The result is less than +3 dB.
  6. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    Again, in my experience, the +3 DB spec is not key to the issue. The increase in clean headroom can make a significant difference in 'perceived' volume and punch in the lower range of the instrument at high volume and in general will open up the low end, all other things being equal.... more true watts are always worth the money to me.
  7. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    That's not quite the issue.... many 'techies' recommend a higher wattage amp versus the speaker maximum wattage. This is because additional clean watts have less of a chance of 'blowing' a speaker than a lower number of watts pushed to clip. So... an amp that puts 350 watts into each speaker running well below its clipping volume will sound much better, much louder, and be much 'safer' for your 300 watt speaker than 150 watts that you are really pushing to get up to volume. Again, if you are not really pushing the 150 watts to get the volume you want, this is all a moot point.
  8. billfitzmaurice

    billfitzmaurice Commercial User

    Sep 15, 2004
    New Hampshire
    Owner, Bill Fitzmaurice Loudspeaker Design
    Rule of thumb: If your rig is loud enough already don't change it. If it isn't less than a 6dB increase isn't worth doing. That's a wattage factor of x 4.
  9. N*Joy


    Nov 30, 2002
    Birmingham, UK
    Do you need to be 'louder' now? Why bother changing heads - chances are you'll barely notice more than a hole in you wallet.
  10. basspunk2005

    basspunk2005 Guest

    Jan 31, 2005
    well thats what I said, I didnt say I wanted to get it now or next week or even next month I was merely thinking about it. I dont have the money for it atm anyway. I just wanted to know how much the volume increase is and thanks to the person who said +3db thats the type of answer I was looking for. I dont push my cabs, the loudest I have had my head on was 4 and that was a good solid volume and I could easily hear myself. Thanks to all that have replied though........3db increase ending with a big hole in my wallet or stay with my current stack which is great,mmmmmm ill stay with my stack. the 3db increase isnt worth the £. 300watt head into two cabs giving out 150watts each is enough for me. Thanks
  11. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    Ok.... last comment and I'll drop it :) Just considering the extra 3db (in this case) volume increase due to an increase in wattage is like only looking at the increase in the top speed of a car with a horsepower increase and ignoring torque, 0-60 speed, etc (sorry about the auto example... couldn't think of anything else). If wattage didn't matter, we would all be playing 200 watt heads, and an Eden800 wouldn't sound any different (fuller, punchier and louder apparent volume) than an Eden550 (and let me tell you... they do.. all other things being equal... and thats only a 250 watt increase at 4ohms!). If you disagree with me, that's totally cool... but it sounds like you aren't understanding the relationship between headroom, clean sound, effect of increased power on low frequency 'quality' and wattage. Also, if I'm totally wrong about this, I'd love to hear from other TBers about their experience with additional watts, etc.

    Again, as others have also said... if you aren't having any volume or sound problems... I agree, save your money :bassist:
  12. basspunk2005

    basspunk2005 Guest

    Jan 31, 2005
    yup i understand fully about the extra headroom etc I understand that fine :D but I have no problems with volume or the sound of my bass so im gonna stay put :) if you want to see my stack its in the Amps forum under 'My Trace Stack' think its on around page 3-4. thanks again
  13. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    Very cool. I like that stack!
  14. N*Joy


    Nov 30, 2002
    Birmingham, UK
    Wicked. It's always good to know that you don't actually need to upgrade/spend/succumb to GAS.

    I really must read screen names properly too - I read 'bass spunk' :D
  15. basspunk2005

    basspunk2005 Guest

    Jan 31, 2005
    cheers it cost me about £750-£800!! which is v cheap as the trace 4x10 apparently you get them new at around £600 and I got one for £175 and the other for £250 and the head was about £375, lol I cant remember right now but still its a cool stack - lol and about the screen name I always get that as my email address is similar and people think it says bass spunk im like er no bass punk lol and finally my stack is on page 7 'My Trace Stack' if anyone is interested
  16. Volume and headroom are not unrelated concepts here. All "headroom" is is simply the ability to reproduce transients louder without distortion.

    If you can't really hear the difference in volume with a 3dB power increase, how are you going to hear the difference between a short transient that is 3dB louder becaue of the increased "headroom"?

    3dB or merely doubling the watts isn't going to make a significant difference. Adding 200 watts to a 300 watt amp is even a little LESS than that.

    That's the reason some of us have such ridiculouly powerful power amps. Because they're really not that much more powerful if you look at the change in percieved volume instead of #of watts.

    2000W amp sounds twice as loud as the 200W amp. So 2000W isn't really so ridiculous anymore, it only sounds twice as loud. The ear percieves volume logarithmically. Similar to how the Richtor scale measures earthquakes. The power required skyrockets as the percieved volume increases linearly.

  17. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    It's hard to argue against that.... however, isn't there a 'quality of sound' thing going on... I just notice so much difference between an Eden550 and 800 and an SWR550 and 750 regarding the tone of the low end, etc. Maybe I'm just letting 'marketing' fool my ears... but my god, when I went from the Eden400 to playing out of an 800 (same cab... actually a 4ohmXLT for the 400 an an 8ohmXLT for the 800), same bass, etc.)... it was like a revelation... massive, massive difference in tone and perceived volume at higher volumes... same thing when I compare the AI Clarus running at 200 watts into 4ohms vs. the Focus running at 600 watts.... from about the G on the E string down... just a huge, massive, noticable difference in the 'volume' and quality of the low notes.

    Again, not trying to be argumentative at all... just trying to understand what's going on with my experience, etc... :), expecially since I'm one of those guys that does seem to upgrade and who actually does hear a big difference between the iAmp500 and 800 :confused:
  18. I think there may be a little confusion about what the +3 dB actually means (and it wouldn't be quite 3 dB anyway, as Randy points out). It doesn't mean that when you plug the larger amp in, you're automatically 3 dB louder, it means that the maximum sound level you can produce under rated conditions has *theoretically* increased by a little less than 3 dB. In other words, your ceiling has been raised slightly.

    Imagine you're driving two cars on the freeway at 55 mph. One has a top speed of 90 mph, the other a top speed of 120 mph (and has better acceleration to boot). Is the second one driving faster at the moment? No, they're both doing 55. But the second car has a greater ability to reach higher speeds.
  19. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    Of course, if you aren't pushing the amp, the 'maximum' doesn't matter... I guess my question is that, when pushed and playing loudly, using your example, my ear 'hears' the Eden800 going 300 miles per hour and the Eden400 (same cab, etc) going 100 miles an hour. What the numbers are telling me is that I should 'hear' the 800 going 120 miles an hour and the 400 going 100 miles an hour. I hope that makes sense, since I'm mixing your metaphore! So... what am I hearing or what do I think I'm hearing?
  20. One possibility, of course, is that you're going crazy.;)

    Or that you're still asleep and dreaming all this (WAKE UP!).

    Another is that your ears may be more sensitive to volume differences than most persons' are.

    Another is that you may simply be hearing the differences between pairs of amps that are also different in ways *other* than the power rating (e.g, power supply, preamp design).

    Another is that it's a Festivus miracle.