Getting MAX POWER ...or the amp suitable for me today?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by kegbass, Jul 10, 2021.

  1. kegbass


    Jun 2, 2011
    Is there any danger to an amp if one keeps the volume at very low levels 98% of the time (like 1-2)? (City apartment dweller.) Looking specifically at a GK Fusion head which has a tube-preamp and solid state power. I don't have immediate plans to gig, but am tired of playing only thru headphones after selling my SVT-7 a while ago (when I stopped gigging for a variety job reasons at the time).

    I'd rather buy once and get the big one in the event there's a reason to need the headroom, and I really like the tone of that GK head, but if the thing very rarely gets above low volume ... is that bad for the amp?

  2. joelns


    Mar 10, 2014
    Can't imagine so. The volume on my Mesa TT stays very low, bedroom levels for sure. When I've gone out to play with others, never any problem with turning it up. I even have it plugged into 2 cabs at the low volume.
    kegbass likes this.
  3. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    I like your thinking. Too many folks buy a tiny combo because that's all they need at the moment (e.g., for practicing in an apartment), but then as soon as circumstances change and they need more the little combo is useless and they have to start from scratch. And if you've been in gigging bands before, my bet is that sooner or later you will be again -- or at least in some kind of jam situation where a small combo won't do. That amp will be great to have when that happens. What kind of cab(s) do you have?

    And no, it won't hurt the amp or cab(s) to only use it at low volume until that time comes.
    kegbass and S-Bigbottom like this.
  4. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa Boogie, Development Engineer-Genzler (pedals), Product Support-Genz Benz
    No problem.
  5. My 800 watt 2x12 rig is my practice amp.
    Conversation level or quieter is easy and done often, when needing to fill a 300 person hall, just turn up the volume knob.
    kegbass and Lobster11 like this.
  6. SJan3


    Dec 8, 2010
    Actually, I'm happy to have a smallish combo amp for home practice. That's it's purpose and it certainly didn't break the bank at $134 that I paid NEW. It remains in my practice room. I see no harm in purchasing a $100 practice amp that serves the purpose without rattling the rafters and purchasing a gig rig down the road when the need presents itself. Otherwise, the OP runs the risk of over or under purchasing a gig rig that he may never use.
    Just my perspective.
    P.S. I've found that high powered rigs with lots of speaker sound underwhelming in the home. It's just not what they were designed for. A small combo speaks better to me at bedroom to living room volume. The big stuff just doesn't "open up" in such small quarters. Sort of like putting a muzzle over your mouth and asking you to sing. Squelched..
    Again, my perspective after using my Aguilar cabinets in the home. They sound terrible!
    But put them on stage and they sound great.
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2021
    kegbass and Lobster11 like this.
  7. beans-on-toast


    Aug 7, 2008
    No problem for the amp. Playing bass in an apartment is never easy, sound carries though walls even at low volume levels. It helps to raise the speaker cabinet as close to ear level as you can. This allows you to monitor better and at a lower level that you might usee with the amp on the floor. Also, take care with the EQ settings. Turning the bass EQ up produces more of those low frequencies that carry.

    I understand your comment about headphones. It's difficult to use headphones all the time. Some air between the speaker and your ears always seems better. I've found that the make of headphones matters. Having used many makes over the years, I find that Blue LOLA works well for me, I can use these for extended periods with no ill effects.
    kegbass likes this.
  8. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru..........

    Apr 11, 2006
    Out there!
    Amps aren't like NI-Cad batteries. ;)
    kegbass, Al Kraft and agedhorse like this.
  9. 95% of my playing is done in my basement or at church, and neither requires more than probably 75-150 watts. I use 500 and 800 watt amps anyways because I like these amps... and knowing I can nuke the drummer at any moment keeps him in line!

    You can also turn a powerful amp down, but you can't crank a weak amp up!
    kegbass likes this.
  10. kegbass


    Jun 2, 2011
    Thanks all for the thoughtful replies! Jury is still out ... since tube tone punch without necessarily having loads of volume is what I need ... that little 20W Ampeg all-tube head has surfaced as a contender. It seems like one of those buy-once cry-once legendary heads that has been around forever and could always find a use somewhere...

    Thanks again!
  11. lug

    lug Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2005
    League City, Tx
    Think of it like driving a car generally going 20 mph when the car is capable of going 154 mph.
    ctmullins likes this.
  12. jeff7bass

    jeff7bass Inactive

    Apr 9, 2009
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2021