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How many watts for a decent bass set-up?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by SlappyMcLardfat, Apr 20, 2009.

  1. I'm looking to rackmount a poweramp and use it for both guitar and bass (with a tech 21 preamp for each on my board) but I'm not sure how many watts I'd need for bass. Most tube heads that I've found are 300 watts, which would be overkill for most guitar applications, but I've been considering a 120 watt tube power amp (6L6s, would these work too?). Right now I'm gigging with a Hartke HA2500 into an avatar 4x10.
  2. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    It depends on the venue, the speaker cab, what the rest of the band is playing, and whether you'll have good PA support. Most folks say the range between 300 and 1K W is what a bassist needs "in general", but where in that range (or above/below it) you need to be, depends on you.
  3. 400 max --- then a setup to go out to a PA.
  4. 553W

    I've gotten by with 120 tube watts, that's the bottom end. No less than 300W SS from a reputable manufacturer (GK)
  5. uaudio


    Apr 11, 2008
    +1, 300W is a good start but it depends on a lot of other variables. Plus, 300W through a single 15 isn't the same as 300W through a 410/212/810 etc - greater speaker area will lead to greater perceived 'volume.'

    Wattage translates very poorly as both an absolute and relative measurement of volume.

    EDIT: Slappy McLardfat is the best username ever.
  6. gregwatts2008

    gregwatts2008 Supporting Member

    Nov 30, 2008
    Jupiter, Florida
    Get the GK 2001RB
  7. I wouldn't go under 300 watts.
  8. lo-freq

    lo-freq aka UFO

    Jan 19, 2003
    DFW, Texas
  9. EricF

    EricF Habitual User

    Sep 26, 2005
    Pasadena, CA
    For performing/practicing with drums and a loud guitar or two, this is a good rule-of-thumb starting point for a budget-minded solid state amp. Keep in mind that an amp with a 300-watt SS power section will get you heard; a 300-watt all-tube head (i.e Ampeg SVT) will give you enough grunt to maim small animals. I know about the argument about "a watt is a watt, SS or tube", but the reality is that an all-tube amp will give you a LOT more usable volume.
  10. shoot-r


    May 26, 2007
  11. All depends on your needs. If you play something heavy and loud you will need to up the watts.

    Tube watts? I would say 300w should handle most if not all situations.

    Solid State? Personally, I would say a minimum of 500w but you could get by with a little less. More is better though as you can always turn down but never get more out of your rig than it can give.

    and more speaker area will increase what your ears hear.
  12. whitespike


    Nov 28, 2007
    Austin, TX
    300 watts solid state
    100-200 watts tube
    bare minimum

    It's hard to say without knowing what kind of music and volume and speaker setup.

    I've known people to get by fine with 100 tube watts and others who could never use so little.

    I would go 400 watts solid state or 200 watts tube to be safe...
  13. You want to use it for guitar as well as bass? Are we talking acoustic or electric guitar?

    I'd personally want 600+ for solid state... I bet the 120 tube would do the trick.
  14. Jim C

    Jim C Is that what you meant to play or is this jazz? Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
    I don't agree with less tube watts equaling more SS watts.
    My 350 watt Trace absolutely kills my SVT
    My 400 watt SWR is also louder than my SVT
    My 100 watt V4B has killer tone but doesn't have much volume
    Fender BXR 300... you get the idea

    Then again, I really don't care what you think as this is my truth and yours is yours
  15. Go for a 350-500 watt hybrid amp. Done deal.
  16. 5 Gw through an 8 inch speaker.

    As said, there are too many other variables. Speaker size and number of speakers used, speaker sensitivity.

    What are you playing with? An acoustic guitarist or a pair of guitarists stripping paint with full stacks?

    I agree with Jim C about the there not being a difference between watts (seriously daft argument for anyone to state otherwise!). But the difference there is, is that you can run a tube amp at the point of clipping and it will sound pretty nice and have a useful "natural" compression. Where-as a similar SS amp run at the same level wouldnt have any compression and would sound like ass as it clipped.

    I'd agree that a good figure to aim for is 300 watts with a 410 or similar. I gig with an SVT-II and 810. No PA support and not needed to turn it up past half volume very often. Thats playing with a reasonably loud drummer and two marshall tube half stacks.
  17. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    Nice, Jim. Nice.
  18. I rarely have my HA2500 over 10 o'clock. Would a solid state power amp sound alright for guitar (if anyone here plays guitar)? My main guitar band is post-rock/shoegaze style so I fear that the solid state might detract from the warmness of my tone. I run my guitar into my pedalboard (which now has a Tech 21 California preamp) and would like to run it into a power amp if a PA isn't available. I'd be using the Avatar for guitar as well because it sounds pretty tight for cleans and swells.

    Solid state power amp sound okay for shoegazey music?
  19. Why not try it and see? It's all subjective!
  20. new question! there's a used walkabout head at my local music store for $600 but I could probably rub down the price a bit if i pay with cash. Could I plug my rig into the power section of the walkabout and get decent sound?

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