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How many watts should I have for playing medium sized clubs?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Root 5, Jul 16, 2002.

  1. Root 5

    Root 5

    Nov 25, 2001
    Canada, eh!
    I want to start gigging but I am not sure how many watts I need cuz Ive plugged into 350 watt Ampeg and Yorkville heads and they don't seem very loud. Why not?

    And explain what the ohms mean as far as ext. cabs and just watts in general.

    Do I need some 2000 watt GK monster? Or will a 350 watt solid state do the job well?

  2. >Do I need some 2000 watt GK monster? Or will a 350 watt solid state do the job well?

    Get as many watts as you can afford - 1500 is better that 350, IMO. If you're too loud, you can turn the volume down. If you're not loud enough, you'll be tempted to crank the amp full, which will cause clipping and probably blow your speaker(s).

  3. 44me


    Jun 17, 2002
    Bedford, NH USA
    It's not just the power, speaker efficiency is just as critical. 350W in an efficient 410 can be pretty loud.
  4. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Get as many watts as you can, watts are for headroom, not only for volume.
  5. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    True. The only problem with this is, just because you can afford a 3kw rig doesn't mean you actually need one;). IMO one of the most important points is the effieciency of the cabs you'll be using. The same amp that cranked my Eden D210XLT cabs very loud didn't do the same with my EA VL-110s.

    The style of musical is also very important, along with whether or not you'll have PA support.
  6. The key part of the question is "medium sized clubs." I can't imagine that you'd need more than 350 watts with a decent cabinet. You do plan to run direct to the board too, don't you?
  7. superphat


    Sep 30, 2001
    but what kind of band? what kind of music?
    a medium sized venue with an acoustic jazz trio is different from a band with 2 marshall stacks...
    i'm sure people could make helpful suggestions if they knew more details.
    i agree with lonote... 350 watts and a 4x10 (or 2x10 & 1x15) should be enough. if it's not enough, then the rest of your band needs to control it's stage volume.
  8. Root 5

    Root 5

    Nov 25, 2001
    Canada, eh!
    We'd be playing Rush, Zeppelin, AC/DC etc..
  9. >We'd be playing Rush, Zeppelin, AC/DC etc..

    As I said, get more watts than less.
  10. Matthias


    May 30, 2000
    Vienna, Austria
    I agree.
    It's really a question of stage volume and wether you have PA support or not. A 350-400W amp with a 410 is really a very common set-up for medium venues with PA support. I've even seen such rigs at large outdoor gigs of pop/rock/funk bands.

    BTW the current bassist of the Blues Brothers Band (not Duck Dunn, unfortunately) used no more than a G-K 800RB (300W) with an Ampeg 810 at a large open air show in Vienna... (the G-K was the back up amp for an old SVT which quit working during soundcheck...)

    You could also look around and see what other bassists are using in situations like yours.

    For ohms and watts please see the FAQs or do a search.
  11. FunkySpoo

    FunkySpoo Supporting Member

    Feb 6, 2002
    Can we define small, medium and large as far as clubs and venues go? I might think a club is big but somebody with more experience might think it's small.
  12. ihixulu

    ihixulu Supporting Member

    Mar 31, 2000
    South Shore MA
    Spend more on a cab than watts. In order to double the volume you need 10 times the power OR double the speakers. In other words, you'd need a 3000W amp to double the volume over a 300 watter. Yes, the headroom thing is an issue but if you have enough air being pushed, you're not going to need to push the amp hard enough to cause problems. Besides for the music you'll be doing it's not like you'd need the Marcus Miller tone (who, incidentally, uses 2 350W heads into 2 410s)

    If I were you, I'd get a ~400W head and as much cab (efficiency, nuber of drivers) as you can afford and are willing to deal with.

    The GK800RB into an SVT810 is a pretty popular setup.
  13. IMHO, big stacks for basses and guitars became obsolete when affordable, sophisticated PA systems became readily available. I have seen bands where the bass player's rig consisted of a bass, a cable and a DI box, in fact I have done that myself more than once in tiny clubs with small stages. As far as I'm concerned, all you need an amp for is a stage monitor.

    Let the flaming begin!
  14. Matthias


    May 30, 2000
    Vienna, Austria
    There has been a thread on this topic.
    As far as I can rememeber we ended up with something like:
    small: 50-200
    medium: 200-500 (maybe more, I don't remember)
    large: 500+

    However, I agree with that and would add:
    small: coffe houses, bars, small clubs
    medium: larger clubs, churches
    large: theaters, halls, large churches,...

    Hope this makes sense...

  15. FunkySpoo

    FunkySpoo Supporting Member

    Feb 6, 2002
    Thanks. The smallest place we play is about the size a jerry's sub shop.The largest place is the Clarendon Ballroom in VA. My SM400 with a single 8 ohm EA VL210 with no P.A support can barely handle the ballroom which is a little smaller than a high school gym. I have to cut through 1 guitar, keyboard, a non heavyhanded drummer (thank gawd), trombone and sax. That's why I'm probably going to get a second VL210 if I can find one in really good condition.
  16. ldiezman


    Jul 11, 2001
    you can always pickup a power amp. a QSC or a carvin power amp can be had for not much. My DCM1500 works wonderfully and its transparent power. doesn't color my tone. however i've played medium sized gigs with my 200 watt nemesis and I was really pushing my rig because the sound guy wasn't putting me through the mains. 350 watts however should be loud enough, maybe you should tweak with the gain and volume alittle bit more
  17. superphat


    Sep 30, 2001
    now, NO p.a. support... that's a completely different ballgame.

    but still, i'll bet adding one more 210 will do the trick, if especially since your drummer is not heavy-handed.
  18. Root 5

    Root 5

    Nov 25, 2001
    Canada, eh!
    Are we talkin' 350-400 solid state watts or tube watts?
  19. Root 5

    Root 5

    Nov 25, 2001
    Canada, eh!
    How can I determine the efficiency of one cab over another?:confused: :confused:
  20. FunkySpoo

    FunkySpoo Supporting Member

    Feb 6, 2002
    The original post asked if a 350 watt solid state was enough. The cab efficiencies are usually posted in the specs

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