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How many Watts of Power for low F#?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by InsaneBassninja, Feb 5, 2014.

  1. Am just wondering, Really to be Hounsed I have no real used for Low F#. Am just woundering. How many watts is need to sound good.
  2. SactoBass

    SactoBass There are some who call me.......Sactobass Supporting Member

    Jul 8, 2009
    Sacramento CA
    One point twenty one gigawatts.

    Attached Files:

  3. basscooker

    basscooker Commercial User

    Apr 11, 2010
    cincy ky
    Owner, Chopshopamps.com
    ^^^ perfect.
  4. middy


    Mar 14, 2007
    Try banging on the lowest key of a piano, A0. See how hard you have to hit it until it becomes either: 1. musically useful, or 2. broken. Now imagine 3 more lower keys and try to figure out why virtually all keyboards stop at A0.
  5. Am going to guess over 800 watts then... Thanks for the Help... serorly
  6. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    If you want to scream loud F#-1, the more wattage you have, the better. But you also need a cab that can hang with that much wattage. Doesn't necessarily have to reproduce down to that frequency (good luck getting a cab that will anyway), but it needs to be stout and pretty big.

    JAUQO III-X Banned

    Jan 4, 2002
    Endorsing artist:see profile.
    500 watts minimum.
  8. DukeLeJeune

    DukeLeJeune rational romantic mystic cynical idealist Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 24, 2008
    Princeton, Texas
    Owner & designer, AudioKinesis; Auth. mfg, Big E (Home Audio only)
    Imo you'd need to do justice to the first overtone of low F# in order for it to really "sound good", and that's 46 Hz ballpark. So you'd need a cab that legitimately goes down to 46 Hz (like, -3 dB or so at that point); with high enough excursion-limited power handling to make it happen at gigging volume without farting out or self-destructing; and given that such cabs tend to have only modest efficiency, you'd need a lot of power.

    Notice that power alone won't do it - you need a cab with a rather specialized set of attributes if low F# is a high priority. 800 watts into a cab that has weak output and/or poor excursion-limited power handling down at 46 Hz is of academic interest only.
  9. ChrisHooker


    Jul 29, 2012
    Maryville, TN
    Low F# will NEVER sound good.

    But IF it could, you'd need this:
    ...or many smaller speakers that side-by-side add up to enough area to push such a large wavelength.

    And if you had that, then for the wattage:
    That doesn't depend so much on the note you're playing, but how much is needed to push whatever speaker(s) you're using. ...To sound GOOD? What is good? Non-distorted? Just don't clip the input of the amp, and use one that has the power output to move the speaker accurately, but not overload it.

    or... Good = loud?
    How loud is loud? What volume do you want? What size venue are you in? What are the acoustics?

    And lastly - are you mainly just going D.I. into the mains, anyway, and don't need to worry about your stage volume at such low frequencies that don't even develop until 24 feet away, so you can't hear them on stage?
  10. Snow day?
  11. School day
    No... Off work day, yes.
  12. Gizmot

    Gizmot Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2009
    Nashville area
    Power is definitely important - but if you're talking about ultra low frequencies, it could be below the box tuning frequency of most speaker systems. If you push a vented speaker below its tuning, you'll end up with lots of distortion no matter how many watts you have.
  13. Stick_Player

    Stick_Player Banned

    Nov 13, 2009
    Somewhere on the Alaska Panhandle (Juneau)
    Endorser: Plants vs. Zombies Pea Shooters
    Develop? 24 feet?


    Headphones anyone?
  14. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Yes, headphones do indeed disprove that myth that bass waves need their wavelengths to develop fully in order to be heard. Don't know how it got started, but people really believed that as gospel. I did too, until the headphone argument swayed me back into critical thought ;)
  15. Sartori

    Sartori Supporting Member

    The bassist of Bongripper tunes that low, uses I think a 1000 watt amp into some Greenboy cabs, if I recall.
  16. CL400Peavey

    CL400Peavey Supporting Member

    Nov 7, 2011
    Grand Rapids Michigan
    Yep. 1500 watts in to a fEARful 1515/66 will do the trick.
  17. I can get a pretty good low F# to come out of my rig. But I'm more about what it sounds like in the PA. the way I do it is by running the wet xlr on my sans amp RBI to front of house. Amp wise my rig is sans amp rbi, to just the power section of a SWR 750x, to an ampeg classic cab. Ratings aren't very standard obviously but using the ampeg 410he the SWR gives 450w and using an 810e its 750w. I run the power amp on the SWR wide open and control my volume from the sans amp and I do use the limiter on the SWR. Cab Wise I really prefer sealed cabs that aren't tuned that low. Because I run an XLR to FOH I don't need a cab tuned really low. I've used low tuned cabs in the past and they make the on stage sound extremely muddy, basically it leads to a situation where the bass is so boomy, everyone in the band and probably the sound guy will ask you to turn down because you'll be cranking the rig trying to hear yourself, the sealed cabs have more clarity when you get down that low. and because the low end isn't that boomy you'll find you can turn up your rig louder before bandmates start asking you to turn down.

    when it comes to low F# the right string is a big deal, you can't just tune down your average .125-.135 b string that low and get a decent tone. I generally use a .145 -.150 for low g# and at least a .165 for f# which are actually relatively light gauges. Because of the costs of the strings were talking a few bucks for a daddario xl .145 vs over $20 for just about any low f# string, my 7 string is more often than not tuned to G#BEADGC instead of F#BEADGC.

    my bass i conklin GT7 with an aguilar OBP3 pre, the bass and electronics can have a big influence also. I was also able to get good low F# tones with a warwick thumb NT, and a warwick MIG Corvette when I was first experimenting with it.

    So really there's a ton of stuff that has to there to get a good tone down that low, power is important but there's a ton of other things that are just as important if not more important than how much power your amp has.

    Attached Files:

  18. The Eminence LAB12 will honestly get you down that low.

    Housed in a QB3 vented box, it is good for 267w down to 20 Hz.
    QB3 is 3.67 cubic feet net, tuned at 23.1 Hz.
    SPL is only 112 at this input power, but with very flat response to 20 Hz.

    OP, these do work but are not very practical.

    112 SPL is not much noise.
    LAB12 is a subwoofer, so you will have to biamp or use a passive crossover at 500 Hz to a top box.

    LAB12 is a 6-ohm driver, so two can be used in parallel if your amp is 2-ohm stable.
    Two wired in parallel will give you about 118 SPL and draw 534 watts.
    Four in parallel is approximately 124 SPL and draws 1068 watts.

    To achieve war volume, you require four of these wired in parallel.
    You will also need the top boxes, and a second power amp and crossover.
    Not very practical, at all.
  19. ChrisHooker


    Jul 29, 2012
    Maryville, TN
    Well, you're right about the development bit in an open area. Touche. I suppose the only REAL acoustical on-stage problem for the low end could be if your speaker was a distance from the back (or side) wall of 1/2 the wavelength of your focus frequency. ...But that's due to cancellations, not "development" per se. My previous comment was more based on these small-room cancellations, but I didn't really put enough thought into it. Without the cancellations, it's a moot point. But by "development", I was thinking along the lines of a lack of restraint by cancellations.

    ...And of course, with headphones, you're not encountering room modes/cancellations, either, so yeah, you can hear the lows fine.
  20. Marko 1

    Marko 1 Supporting Member

    Mar 9, 2009
    N.E. Ohio