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High pwr amp vs low pwr amp at same volume

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by JRBrown, Sep 19, 2003.


  1. JRBrown

    JRBrown

    Jun 21, 2000
    North Carolina
    Which should sound better...

    - A 1000 watt amp running at 50 watts

    - A 200 watt amp running at 50 watts

    :meh:

    JB
     
  2. Bob Lee (QSC)

    Bob Lee (QSC) In case you missed it, I work for QSC Audio! Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 3, 2001
    Costa Mesa, Calif.
    Technical Communications Developer, QSC Audio
    There's not enough information.

    The higher-power amp will have more headroom, which will make clipping much less likely. But below clipping, it depends on the amps.
     
  3. JRBrown

    JRBrown

    Jun 21, 2000
    North Carolina
    More info:

    Every hear, "Sounds best at higher volumes"
    or "Really shines when you turn it up"?

    I've heard both in reference to amps and speakers. I'm looking for the best low-volume
    tone that I can get. I can get a 1kw amp or a 200w amp.
     
  4. Bob Lee (QSC)

    Bob Lee (QSC) In case you missed it, I work for QSC Audio! Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 3, 2001
    Costa Mesa, Calif.
    Technical Communications Developer, QSC Audio
    Despite the aphorisms, it still depends on the amps. A good, solid 200-watt amp is better in most ways than a crappy 1000-watt amp, but it's not useful if what you really need is, say, 400 watts.

    First thing, find out what models the amps are. Don't buy just on the seller's calling one 200 watts and the other a thousand.
     
  5. JRBrown

    JRBrown

    Jun 21, 2000
    North Carolina
    Pwer required: 100w x 2 @8 ohms

    Choices:

    PLX 1202
    PLX 1602
     
  6. As long as both amps are good quality, there won't be any difference in the sound produced by your 200 watt vs 1000 watt example.. 50 watts is 50 watts. Whether or not the cab sounds good at that level is a function of cab and speaker.

    The real difference (as pertains to the amps) will occur when you approach the power limit of the smaller amp. I'm not sure of the science, but I can tell you what happens to the sound. You lose bass and the sound developes a "nasal" quality. It's like the fundamentals (which require more power) are being starved. This is where the headroom of a more powerful amp helps out.

    Dunno, this may apply to very stiff speakers in or maybe older transmission line design cabs. Again, thats a function of the cab and not the amp. The exception to this rule maybe all tube power amps if someone is looking for that slightly distorted sound.
     
  7. Mcrelly

    Mcrelly

    Jun 16, 2003
    Minnesota, USA
    o.k. let me be stupid for a moment and see if this analogy works.

    you live 5 miles from work (avg watt demand).
    do you want a nice ride (low watts great tone)?
    do you want a dependable vehicle (quality build)?
    do you want to have a vehicle that you think everyone else would like (ampeg SVT) hahaha
    do you want to get there really fast (high watts at any tone cost)??
    are you willing to ride a bike (cheapest amp I can find)?

    I don't know that was crazy and I just woke up.

    I'd say buy a quality brand, highest watts, within reason, that you can afford and use what you need. I'd say the "average" bass player(plays at home and with some friends at friends house and maybe a few gigs out and about) needs between 200 and 600watts depending on how loud the group is. if your band plays REALLY LOUD in bars or something get 1000w PLUS! and enough cabs to go with it.
     
  8. JRBrown

    JRBrown

    Jun 21, 2000
    North Carolina
    Didn't really work.:p

    The $$$ is not a factor.
    The loudness is not a factor.
    The amount of cabs is not a factor.

    The only factor of concern in this thread is quality of sound at lower volumes. As stated above, this may be more relative to the speakers than it is the amp.
     
  9. Bob Lee (QSC)

    Bob Lee (QSC) In case you missed it, I work for QSC Audio! Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 3, 2001
    Costa Mesa, Calif.
    Technical Communications Developer, QSC Audio
    The PLX 1202 is rated at 200W/ch into 8 ohms. The PLX 1602 is 300W/ch (not 1000W) into 8 ohms.

    Below clipping and at the same loudness, the two amps will sound identical.
     
  10. JRBrown

    JRBrown

    Jun 21, 2000
    North Carolina
    Bob Lee (QSC),

    Thanks, That's what I tought but I had to ask. Now here's the 2nd half of the question. Without reguard to power capability, will these two systems sound the same:

    - PLX 1202 bridged pushing two seperate 8 ohm speakers paralleled for 4 ohms.

    - PLX 1202 is stereo mode pushing the same 8 ohm speakers, one per channel

    Assume the sound level is the same for both setups ten feet out.

    JB
     
  11. Bob Lee (QSC)

    Bob Lee (QSC) In case you missed it, I work for QSC Audio! Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 3, 2001
    Costa Mesa, Calif.
    Technical Communications Developer, QSC Audio
    Yes.
     
  12. CaptainWally

    CaptainWally Supporting Member

    Oct 21, 2000
    Sandy Eggo, CA
    important note: if you really intend to use this amp primarily for lower volumes, beware of fan noise. my qsc1602 fan is definitely audible for bedroom play and can detract from the bass savoring experience.
     
  13. BruceWane

    BruceWane

    Oct 31, 2002
    Houston, TX
    Don't know how close your example is to what you will actually be pushing, but understand the headroom factor - if you intend to be running 50 watts continous average, a 200 watt amp gives you 6db of headroom, which is a little tight for bass unless you're using a compressor.

    Running at 50 watts, a 3db peak above the average signal will need 100 watts available (twice the wattage) for the amp to handle the peak without clipping; and in turn, a 6db peak will require 200 watts (twice again) the wattage.
     
  14. JRBrown

    JRBrown

    Jun 21, 2000
    North Carolina
    The volume level that I use most is:

    The lowest volume level that masks the sound coming directly off the bass with me playing 7-8 feet in front of the cab.
     
  15. BruceWane

    BruceWane

    Oct 31, 2002
    Houston, TX
    Well, it's still kinda hard to say unless you actually measure the wattage you're using with a meter. Soundwise, you really can't have too much headroom available, though - it hurts nothing to have unused wattage. Of course, the cost and weight of the amp are the limiting factor in this case. In trying to keep cost and weight to a minimum, my concern would be buying an amp that wouldn't be useful if you ever need more than a low volume rig. You never know what you may be doing a year or two from now.
     
  16. JRBrown

    JRBrown

    Jun 21, 2000
    North Carolina
    I borrowed a Crest vs1100 rated at 1400w @ 4 ohms--more than enough power. I can't tell exactly how many watts I need but the amps I am considering definately exceed my requirements. I not concerned with "How much" power, instead the concern is "Does an amp produce the same sound quality if it's used at 1% or 75% of its rated power".

    Per Bob Lee (QSC), as long as the amp is not clipping, the sound quality will be the same.
    Therefore, even though I do not need the power, having the extra headroom is a plus.
     
  17. JRBrown

    JRBrown

    Jun 21, 2000
    North Carolina
    Here's the current setup that works. Crest is running in stereo mode, one side per speaker. Bottom speaker is fed a low pass (150hz) signal with 25% more gain than the full range "A" side.

    JB

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