Psst... Ready to join TalkBass and start posting, make new friends, sell your gear, and more?  Register your free account in 30 seconds.

How much is too much.

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Wadge, Mar 8, 2006.


  1. This has probably been said before but I'm starting this thread because I've seen many post where newbies ask 'How much power do I need' and people keep posting that 600 watts or 1000 watts are a must.

    I beg to differ. I've played big gigs (6000 plus) as well as many small bar gigs with an average of one or two gigs a week for the past twelve years. Twelve years ago I've started out with an 80 watt combo which couldn't take the strain and died on me. I then purchased a 200 watt Trace Elliot head and a 2x15 Trace elliot cabinet and two years ago changed the Trace Elliot Head with a GK 400RB 200 watt head.

    In all these years, I have never yearned for more power. In fact, I've rarely gone more than six on my volome knob and that is pretty loud.

    In the big gigs which require more power, there is invariably P.A. support, because the drums would need it anyway.

    Now I understand the idea of having headroom and while in most situations I could easily do with having 100 watts of power, I'm very glad I have 200 watts at my disposal. Of course a big cab also helps.

    My rant however is with people who advocate having huge wattage. I mean, if your guitarist has a twin stack and is really loud, you don't need to get a bigger rig.....you need to ask the guitar player to put it down or change bands.

    And this is comimg from a guy who at 28 has a permanent hearing loss resulting from gigs which were too loud.

    Rant over.
     
  2. As has been said in many other threads and posts, power is only one part of the equation.

    A very efficient cab can sound much louder than an inefficient cab with triple the wattage. Also, the tone you prefer has a great impact, with mid-punchy tones taking less power to project through a mix than hi fi type tones.

    Finally, playing style has a lot to do with power needs... with aggressive slap style playing, for example, requiring more headroom than traditional finger-style playing.

    So... the 'how much power do you need' question is unanswerable IMO unless you take the above (and I'm sure many more) issues into account.

    Edit: You also make a good point concerning the maturity and professional level of the people you play with... if they play at a reasonable volume... that helps a lot!
     
  3. ge9375

    ge9375

    Sep 5, 2004
    I've been toying with the idea that what you have, 200w into a big cabinet, is enough. I know that 120w into a 12" cone is NOT enough for louder gigs (especially outdoors). But it sure seems like my 180w head into my SWR 4x10 is pretty darn loud. If it had to be louder, I'd be at venue that was running me through the P.A.

    That said, I use a QSC-RMX-1850HD mono bridge (1200w, 8ohms) into my 700w 4x10 Goliath. However, if you do the math, the 1200w isn't as much louder as you'd think than the 200w head. Sure, I've got headroom, but I'm confident I'm over-powered. (But it beats being underpowered).
     
  4. K-Frog

    K-Frog

    Feb 6, 2002
    Camden, AR, USA
    This has always been my main point to "argue".

    I have seen very, very few gigs where my M-80 combo wouldn't couldn't the gig. There are the occasions where the house PA was crap or AWOL and you needed a stand alone "arena rig", but I would say that is, IME, very rare.

    And speaking of speaker efficiency, I saw a huge gain in going to a new speaker (in the same combo) with an efficiency rating of 99 dB, over the stock speaker which was 96dB.