How much is enough?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by buldog5151bass, Oct 24, 2003.

  1. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    I'm sure I'll get all different thoughts, but I wanted some feedback. How much is enough when it comes to power?

    I'm playing mostly small/med. sized bars, doing R&B and blues (competing with 2 Fender Deluxe Reverbs). We only use the PA for them in larger places.

    How much power will give enough headroom to keep the sound pure, without breaking either my wallet or my back?

  2. That is very debateable. I'm running 1500 watts into a 700watt acme. But it is an a acme. For lows you need a lot of headroom. I would say atleast 50% more of what your speaker rms is. I think in you highs you don't need is much. I'm thinking of getting two avatar b210's(700watts each) and either powering them with 1600 watts with a qsc plx 1600. Some people put only matching rms's together while some only put half. If you want clean you should get headroom.

    I hope that helped.


    As far as how much power do you need. I think the rule is for every one watt a guitarist has you need 5. Sucks don't it? Try competing with a rich deaf guitarists.
  3. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    This is going to be based more on your cabs that anything else. If you go with a reasonably efficient cab then a Hartke 3500 will fill the bill. That's 350 into 4 and somwhat less into 8 (200 to 250 ?)

    Those DR's, while only 20 watts or so can pump out the vol. A jamming buddy has an old Blackface one, not the new RI version. It hangs in with my Pro Reverb which is a 40 watt, 2x12 Fender combo pretty well...

    I'd be comfortable with the Hartke driving 2 15's in that environment. A 1x15 and 2x10, or a 4 ohm 2x12 would do it nicely.

    Last time I saw him, the bassist for Jimmy Thackery was using an SWR 350 driving an SWR 4x10, Jimmy is pretty loud (running a Twin and a Flextone 2x12 combo) and that worked pretty well.

    In general terms, more power is better but that Hartke wouldn't be a bad start at all.
  4. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Enough is as good as a feast!
  5. Mcrelly


    Jun 16, 2003
    Minnesota, USA
    I admire the bands where the bass player can HONESTLY say, and i've seen it here, "I use a 100w bass combo and I can hear myself fine.".

    my 0.02$ I use two 12's and 350W into 4. that seems to be plenty now. stage monitor ya know...
    although, I don't play in bars or arenas!

    I love my back...C-R-A-C-K...but it doesn't love me. one good back injury and poof! bye bye big cabs, not that I ever really had any, but I don't move my rig as often. NOTHING over 50Lbs for me thanks.
  6. My old rommate had an Acoustic 370 which is around 200 watts I believe. The thing was louder than god. On the other hand, I used to have a Stewart World 600 which, at 600 watts, was inaudible in a rock band. My current QSC amp at 900 watts is louder (and cleaner) than god.
  7. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Moderator Staff Member

    Apr 12, 2001
    Olympia, WA
    I second the Hartke 3500 suggestion.

    I played in a loud rock band for two years. The Hartke powered a 215 cab, and I never had an issue with being loud enough. Come to think of it, I never had any issues with my sound or tone. We played mostly outdoor gigs, and a few weddings. Never played any huge indoor gigs, but plenty of granges, medium sized clubs, and barns.

    I wanted to be "cool" and have a power/pre set-up so I sold it. I should have kept it.

  8. 1k watts. All you will ever need.

    Why so many? headroom .
  9. KingOfAmps

    KingOfAmps Inactive

    My SVT is a measley 300 watts. Hooked to my 810 cab I can literally make drums and gu*t*r amps walk across the stage. That's with the volume at 5 and that's enough for me.
  10. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PHL
    i'm a little more liberal with the wattage.

    onstage, i say 4x the wattage of the guitarists. some guys say that with solid state power amps, you should be looking at 6x the wattage. cause, you never know if those guit-boyz feel like crankin' their amps to the max one day. :rolleyes:

    so, if your other guitarist has a 50 watt 2x12, its safe to say, you should have 400 watts w/ a 4x10 or 2x12 or 1x15. depends on your taste of speaker sizes and cabs.
  11. miccheck1516

    miccheck1516 Guest

    Feb 15, 2003
  12. jani_bjorklund


    May 22, 2002
    My guess would be that anything over 150-160w should be sufficient. If you have 300w you'll never have to worry with the setup yuor band is using.
    The 1Kw guys are just showing off. You won't need that much power doing clubs.
  13. CamMcIntyre


    Jun 6, 2000
    I'm upgrading from a bassman 200 [200 @ 4ohms] to a rack setup of a carvin dcm2000 and avatar cabs [4X10+1X15]. The guitarist has a 100watt marshall half stack. Currently his amp is on 1.5 to 3 and i have mine on 5-7. The added power will be nice. :D
  14. Well, although the discussion seems oriented towards watts, the real key to volume lies in King of Amps post. Only 300 watts, but he runs it into a 8X10. Total speaker area and efficiency of the the cabinet play a much greater role than wattage. I've played a bunch of small to medium bars with an efficient 4X10 and a 150 watt amp. (Note that I also always decoupled the cab and ran a mid heavy sound. As soundoholic notes it takes more power to push low fundamentals, so part of how much power you need depends on your sound.)

    OTOH, it's much easier to tote a 1K watt switching power amp than it is a huge speaker cab. So I recommend that, along with efficient cab(s) and as much speaker area as you can tote. Which combo of speakers again gets into the area of "whats your sound?", but a lot of folks are finding two 1X12s to be a good, easy to tote answer (with a lot of variety available by some primo cab makers).

    Not that I follow my own good advice. The pursuit of the mystic TONE is not always rational. :D I've been seduced by an inefficient ACME 2X10 and I like it so much that I'm saving for another.
  15. Tim Cole

    Tim Cole

    Jun 12, 2002
    Findlay, Ohio
    I hate to say it, but I say BS to that statement.

    My 2 latest rigs were: SWR bass 750, through a goliath senior 6x10. Couldn't hear it. EQ it however you like, it was hard to cut.

    New (and current rig) is an eden navigator pre, and an eden 410XLT cab. With this setup I originally used a 1000w stewart amp, which was 700W @ 8 ohms, which is what my XLT is. Same difference, didn't cut regardless of EQ, I was lighting up every light on my pre to keep up, and even sent it to thermal shutdown once in order to hear it.

    Enter my new power amp, one of the cheap XLS 602 crown amps. It gives my XLT 1200 watts @ 4 ohms, and that did the trick. I can now hear myself loud and clear, and really don't even need PA support at all anymore. I am now lighting the navigators -30db, and -25db lights, and am loud, crisp, and clear, with the master volume on 2.......and the masters on the power amp backed off to 3 o'clock.

    Call me a showoff all you would like, but for once in my life, I am LOUD, clean, and am not abusing my gear to do so. It's called headroom, and it is a good thing.
  16. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Moderator Staff Member

    Apr 12, 2001
    Olympia, WA
    Hey Tim Cole.....I have the same cab, and Crown amp as you.....How do you get the 4ohm load to your 8ohm Eden?

  17. Tim Cole

    Tim Cole

    Jun 12, 2002
    Findlay, Ohio
    Only way to do that is to run another 8 ohm cab.

    The amp is rated at (bridged)1200w @8, and [email protected]

    I'm by no means starving for power where I am at, so I have no complaints.
  18. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Moderator Staff Member

    Apr 12, 2001
    Olympia, WA
    Ahhh, OK....I only have one Eden, so mine gets 800 watts bridged at 8ohms. I thought you had a way to get the 4ohm power into your 8ohm cab. Sorry, I have only owned a power/pre set-up for a month or so, still learning about it.

    Hold on...I just realized I got the 402, you got the 602. Wow, I must be really tired.

  19. jani_bjorklund


    May 22, 2002
    I hate to say this too but if you're playing a small/medium bar and can't hear your bass when played through a 700w amp there's either something wrong with a)your ears, b)your rig, c)your bass or d) you're playing too loud (and have been playing for a long, long time).
    And most of all. The question is not if you are able to hear your self or not. The question is how does it sound from the listeners point of wiev? Often when you can't hear your self the problem is not lack of power but lack of projection. Projektion is not something you can fix by adding another kW of output power.Muddy tone is bad acoustics and big amps in small places just tend to mess everything up even more.
  20. Tim Cole

    Tim Cole

    Jun 12, 2002
    Findlay, Ohio
    Okay, thanks for clarifying that. Glad you could diagnose my problems from Findland.

    Once again, the power boost DID solve my problems, and my tone has always been FAR from muddy.
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