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Does anybody really need more than 500 watts?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Joe Nerve, Oct 27, 2020.


  1. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    Not sayin ya don't, but wondering.

    I currently have a 700 watt Carvin that I love, but no longer trust. I'm considering replacing it with one of these 500 watters...

    51dca2-LX5500.png

    ...but wondering if I'll ever need more wattage.

    In my experience all that's ever necessary in any band/gig situation is enough volume to get a comfortable mix on stage. Anything louder than that is going through the house anyhow.

    SO... does anyone here feel they really need more than 500 watts, and if so, please convince me. I am open to dropping $150 more for the higher watt version. I just think right now its might very well just be a waste.
     
  2. Old Blastard

    Old Blastard

    Aug 18, 2013
    Virginia
    I play through a 250watt Hartke or 300 Genz Benz at bigger venues, but it's all running through the system as well so I just stick to what I've got
     
  3. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa, Product Support-Genz Benz
    Different players have different needs.
     
  4. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    When you say "need" do you mean "want"?
     
  5. 4stringfarley

    4stringfarley Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2015
    Cajun Country
    Always better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it.
     
  6. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    But do any of you think you'd ever NEED it? Or can you think of an instance where one MIGHT even need it?
     
  7. Reedt2000

    Reedt2000 Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2017
    Central New Jersey
    I've got 300 watts in my little Markbass combo, and I've never turned up past half way (and that is for small/medium sized gigs where I'm not run into FOH). Anything big enough to need more than that I'm DI'd into FOH and the amp is a stage monitor. So I don't need that kinda power. I do very much enjoy the size and weight compared to my rigs of the past ;)
     
    SJan3, G Aichele, retslock and 3 others like this.
  8. bordinco90

    bordinco90

    Dec 7, 2011
    SW Louisiana
    My 500 watt Markbass keeps up in my loud rock band. I don't think I will ever need more than 500 watts.
     
    SJan3, Mr Cheese, Root 5 and 3 others like this.
  9. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa, Product Support-Genz Benz
    Certainly. Many outdoor gigs, especially for low end heavier music.
     
  10. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    I never turned my 700 watt Carvin past 3. And when I had a 500 watt Carvin, I think I may have turned it up to 4, once. I'm pretty sure I'm going to go with the 500 but I'm not going to pull the trigger till I air this one out a bit :) . And what better place to do that. I love Talkbass.
     
    SJan3, JMacBass65, TinIndian and 10 others like this.
  11. PWRL

    PWRL

    Sep 15, 2006
    Coolsville
    The only time I had to crank a 500 watt amp was once, at a really large outdoor venue, and even then it was dwarfed by the PA.
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2020
    Joe Nerve likes this.
  12. sears

    sears Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2005
    ec, md
    You don't need more than 500 watts then, unless your speaker is inefficient. I haven't had a sound person in years. The headroom (even though I'm not playing at a louder volume than I was with my 500 watt head) helps me hear myself better.
     
  13. micguy

    micguy

    May 17, 2011
    Most of my gigs, the power in my rig is milliwatts - my rig is a pedalboard. The subs on the PA, though - 10 to 20 kilowatts.

    One gig I play is an acoustic-ish thing. A 10 watt amp would be plenty, but as they're cheap, I use a 250 watt head. I also carry a 200 watt backup. I have no use whatever for anything with more power.
     
    kodiakblair, retslock and Joe Nerve like this.
  14. Yes and no. It depends.

    Many 800+ watt amps selling like hotcakes currently.

    Do not need 800 watts but I have one. It can run loud, and it is also used as just a DI box sometimes.
     
  15. Nah. I play in a dance/party cover band, plus an original band and have never turned my TC Electronic head above noon and it's only 250 watts. I use a bass fly rig that I send to the FOH. If needed on bigger gigs I ask for a little bass in the monitor I use, but that would be with a full blow killer PA. 99% of the time, I have plenty of volume and head room. Oh, and my rig is under 40lbs!
     
  16. 31HZ

    31HZ Supporting Member

    I find that amps that have far more power than I will use seem to provide heft and slam that lesser amps don't seem to have. I'm not sure if it's *actually* the power in reserve, or if it is actually more corresponding to the slew rate/other characteristics of topology/design/etc. that bigger amps also have, but this is my experience.
     
  17. dab12ax7ef

    dab12ax7ef

    Sep 25, 2011
    Pittsburgh
    It can depend greatly on the speakers you are planning on using.

    Are you still carrying around 4 or 8 tens, or would you rather get the job done with 2 twelves?

    It’s watts in combination with speakers that gets you decibels.
     
  18. Peteyboy

    Peteyboy

    Apr 2, 2018
    Los Angeles
    Technology is a funny thing. Often when a new development comes along it makes itself seem necessary in short order, like "what in the world did we DO before this?" I played many outdoor gigs in the 80's with no PA support using a 75 watt Traynor head into two 15s. I'm guessing the highest wattage head in existence at that time was probably 300 watts.
     
    SJan3, AstroSonic, Ortus and 6 others like this.
  19. And I

    And I Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2009
    Witchtown, MA
    depends on the gig. also depends on the cabs. i built a couple of fEARful 12/6s. i love 'em, but they're not terribly efficient. my TH-500 could keep up with my rather loud 8-piece band, but just barely. it was on the raggedy edge without much if any clean headroom. my mesa d800, with an extra 150w to each speaker, keeps up quite nicely.
     
  20. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    I'm remembering an old rig which I toured with back in the '90's. A 4X12 on top of a center port 2X15 with a 400W, 2 ch. power amp and some Yamaha or BBE preamp depending. Sometimes I just used the 4X12. But I don't remember ever really pushing that rig even outdoors, it was always enough headroom. By the time you get into a room that justifies that level the FoH is usually pretty decent and the sound guy is having you run lower level anyway. Guitarists had Marshall stacks usually and I more than kept up. Would not qualify that as "need". It was cool at the time and stupid loud and solid and clean but now an 800W amp fits in a backpack. Now a 2X12 or 4X10 is really loud. And I think kids today don't buy into the health benefits of sticking your head in front of giant speaker walls. What's with that?
     
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
    Dec 3, 2020

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