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how many watts do you really need?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by bchamorro, Mar 4, 2008.

  1. bchamorro


    Nov 13, 2007
    Miami, Florida
    at gigs? at practice?

    how much do you think you need?

    200- 300 watts? or do you need more?
  2. at least eleventy billion
  3. bchamorro


    Nov 13, 2007
    Miami, Florida
    your practice space must be very small
  4. Gnosticbass


    Dec 24, 2006
    It depends on whether your talking tube or solid state amp. Tube amps use the rule of 3,as they are usually roughly 3x the power of a similar watt solid state amp. Currently I am playing through an Ampeg B2R which is a 350watt solid state head (at 4 ohms) I would say volume/headroom wise its comparable to the 100watt all tube Ampeg V4BH although the V4 sounds a heck of a lot better. I have not had any problems playing at practice or small to midsize gigs. Hopefully in the not to distent future I will be upgrading to a Traynor YBA 200 (all tube) which IMO is the perfect size amp for the working musician.
  5. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    Depends on the speakers. 100 watts through a huge 8x10 will be louder than 1000 watts into a compact 1x10. Not to mention, less likely to explode! Seriously, though, 200-500 watts into 4x10 or 2x10+1x15 should get you off to a good start.
  6. thumpbass1


    Jul 4, 2004
    Good grief! I've gigged for over 30 years with amp rigs that
    only pushed around 300 watts while the p.a.did the rest
    of the work.

    Actually 200 watts with a good efficient cab can be loud
    enough for most rehearsels as well as doing club gigs. It's
    nice if you can get into the 300 watt and over range. You
    need enough headroom to be heard above your drummer
    and the rest of the band in the mix.

    I use a 100 watt head for most band practice situations and
    for a really big gig I can deliver a large rig if needed.
    I don't know what style of music you do and I'm amazed by
    the new generation of metal heads that play at apocalyptic
    volume levels even for a band practice. 1200 watts for the
    jam in the basement!:eek:

    If you get in the 200 to 300 watt range you should be more
    than fine for most situations.
  7. I am still a firm believer that wattage is not the best thing to base your decision on an amp on....
  8. yea the speakers have a hell of alot more to do with the situation
  9. Alexander


    Aug 13, 2001
    Seattle, WA
    All other things being equal, I would prefer more watts to less. I think 300-400W is generally enough (based on my experience anyway) to power against a moderately loud band in a mid sized room. Loud bands\bigger rooms\outdoor gigs, particularly if you are playing without PA support could benefit from more. I just upgraded to a 750W amp, which is doing REALLY well. I find that the harder you push an amp, the more compressed the tone - the headroom is what keeps it nice and fat...
  10. oh well headroom is definitly a beautiful thing!
  11. One hundred, meelion watts.

  12. my 300 watts through a muddy/cloudy 410 cab that was fair efficiency blows away my 300 watts through a clear/articulate highly efficient 215. my answer: in a typical setting with typical equipment with a typically loud band, around 300 watts would probably be okay, but more would be preferred for headroom.
  13. amos


    Oct 23, 2003
    SE Portland Oregon
    This question is common and depends on several factors like:

    1) type of music
    2) size of room/venue
    3) tube watts vs. solid watts
    4) PA support?

    A combination of answers to these questions will reveal how many watts YOU need.

    I've read general guidelines like at least three times as many watts and the same amount of speakers as your guitarist, but that all depends on the factors listed above.

    I use 4 speakers (3 cabs), and up to 1000 combined watts continuous power going from my power amp to my speakers. My guitarist uses a 100 watt hiwatt head and orange 412. We play progressive rock/fusion stuff and our setup is just about perfect. Everyone can hear themselves, etc.

    In my experience getting the volume you need has a lot more to do with the amount of air you can push aka how many speakers you have. Clean headroom comes after that in my opinion. Then again, I've never been in a situation where I ran out of headroom.

    If you are gigging, 300-500 watts is a good place to start.
  14. quickervicar

    quickervicar Supporting Member

    Jul 21, 2006
    Lancaster, PA
    Take $400 of whatever cash you were going to put into the rig & buy your guitarist an Ultimate Attenuator. It will be the best money you'll ever spend on gear.
  15. pedro


    Apr 5, 2000
    Madison, WI.
    I've come to believe that it all depends on your fellow musicians. I've found that my V4B is more than loud enough to keep up with my drummer, guitarist, keys. I've done a recent jam with some other 'reasonable drummer, guitarist, keys' with my B15s and everybody heard everybody.
  16. Dude, what cab do you have paired with that thing? I have an SVT-350H and presently looking for cab ideas. Gracias!
  17. All of them, or at least as many as I can find.
  18. Tired_Thumb

    Tired_Thumb Guest

    Aww man, I'm only pushing 10,999,999,999 watts right now. :bawl:
  19. bassman639


    Dec 23, 2006
    northeast ,pa
    300 to 800 watts,anymore,then i know you're doing MSG without pa support
  20. Warpeg

    Warpeg Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2005
    My $.02....

    My situation: Rock/Prog Rock band. Hard hitting drummer. Two guitarists. One guitarist uses a 50 watt all-tube amp with 4x10" cab. The other guitarist uses a 15 watt all-tube and a 30 watt all-tube with 2x12" cab. We always have PA support. We play houses in the 400 to 1000 people area. These are the stats that work for me:

    Tube power section: 200-300 watts. Any more than that and you really have to crank the amp to get some nice 6L6 or 6550 distortion.

    SS power section: 500+ watts. The more wattage gives you more available headroom. I don't think I need to go into why headroom is so absolutely wonderful. :)

    It all does depend on the speakers very heavily. I use a Mesa Powerhouse 8x10 or Ampeg SVT-610HLF with my Mesa 400+ or SVT-2 Pro. The 10's seem to give me a ton of volume. Whenever I've used 12's or 15's it just seems like I'm not getting nearly as much volume--even with different EQ settings.

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