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Do I need more power?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by JRB, Jan 15, 2004.

  1. JRB

    JRB Supporting Member

    Oct 21, 2003
    Oakland, CA
    Hi everyone. I recently sold my 410 cab for 2 aguilar GS 112's. They both sound great but I seem to be having trouble pushing them. I have a GK400Rb head, with I think is 280watts. Is the head just not powerful enough? It is not that it is destorting but I have to crank the head about 3/4 of the way up and it still is not really kicking the way I think the cabs can. Any advice? One last thing if it is the head, what kind of power do you think I would need at a minimum.
    Thanks and Peace,
  2. Mcrelly


    Jun 16, 2003
    Minnesota, USA
    hey Jonathan I have a SWR bass 350 head going into two gs112s with a passive G&L pbass. mine is 350w into 4ohms and for my situation its plenty loud, but not insanely loud. with yours you got 280w into 4ohms which I think might be on the shy side.

    try this...with the master volume down, crank your on board guitar volume to max, hit some hard notes and keep turning up your INPUT volume on your GK until the "clip" light starts blinking, then turn it back a little until you don't see it blink much. if you have a passive (no battery) bass make sure the -10db "pad" is OUT. if you have a active bass make sure the pad is IN. now SLOWLY turn up the master volume until you either reach a high usable volume or you get distortion (fuzzy notes) IT IS NOT SAFE to play with distortion for long at this point because if you hear distortion before you get a usable volume then YOU NEED A BIGGER AMP. SORRY.

    minimum power if 280 is not enough?? I'd say 350-400 into 4ohms minimum. remember also that two gs112s have the cone area of approximately three 10" speakers, so your a little short of a 410 in pure surface area, not necessarily a bad thing, just different situation.

    good luck!
  3. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    My philosophy: You can never have enough power. I run 1500 watts into a 4x10 cab, and never want for headroom. Sure, I don't usually use ALL the 1500 watts, but it sure is nice to have distortion-free headroom at my beck and call regardless of the situation.
  4. zoran


    May 10, 2002
    More power is ok if you intend to play with more than one cab. I have 400W bridged in my Hafler P3000 and it's enough for most gigs. For bigger venues (1-2 per year) I borrow one cab more and bigger poweramp (around 1000W)
  5. alexclaber

    alexclaber Commercial User

    Jun 19, 2001
    Brighton, UK
    Director - Barefaced Ltd
    350W vs 280W is a negligible difference. The EQing makes far more difference to how loud the rig sounds.

    Try bringing more midrange into your sound. If you don't want to do that, go for a lot of power - 1000W would be perfect. That may sound crazy but it'll only give you another 6dB which isn't a huge increase.

  6. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Yes, I agree with Alex. A thousand watts is just about right. For a solid state amp. Seriously. That's the smallest amp I ever use at a gig.

    Why is so much power needed? In a nutshell, it's because of the dynamics. The dynamic excursions on a good bass are pretty extreme, and also they can happen at very low frequencies (31 Hz on a low B string), which require more power in the first place (to get from point A to point B, all other things being equal).

    If you're looking for a "clean" sound, with plenty of headroom, then you might be averaging a couple of hundred watts, but a good strong slap on the B string can easily take you up to a thousand watts just to handle the low frequency transients. It doesn't happen for long, but your amp has to be able to handle it, if not it'll start distorting and clipping and it won't sound very good.

    A tube amp, on the other hand, is different. There the average power tends to be higher (so a 300 watt tube amp "sounds" louder and more powerful than a 300 watt solid state amp, even though it's really not), and the transients end up as the good sounding bass crunch and overdrive that we all know and love.

    The tradeoff is in the amount of clean headroom that the amp has.

    My usual gigging amp is 2100 watts. For small to medium venues I rarely go beyond halfway on the volume control. For outdoors though, that's not nearly enough. For outdoors, I use a pair of bridged Stewart 2.1's to drive the subs, and a 2kw Carvin for the mids and highs. That's cause my style involves a lot of slapping and other fairly extreme audio transients, and I like a clean dynamic sound (and I don't like distortion).
  7. JRB

    JRB Supporting Member

    Oct 21, 2003
    Oakland, CA
    Thanks for the info everyone, I appreciate the advice, it helps alot.

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