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How much power do I need?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by FatCity, Aug 13, 2002.

  1. FatCity


    Apr 30, 2002
    Lexington, SC
    Endorsing Artist: Howard's Crispy Fried Chicken Skins
    This is my situation. I play in a band with one guitar player (1 -1972 Fender Twin, 1- Fender CyberTwin), a keyboard player (150W amplifier) and a drummer. I currently own a Carvin PB100-15 and I am maxing it out just to be heard.

    We are looking to start playing out in six months or so, and I am beginning my search for a new rig. We play southern rock/blues/country- I play a Fender Hot Rodded P-Bass. I would like to stay at or below $1100.00 . I have considered a Hartke 3500 with a 4x10 and a 1x15. I have played through these and like the sound, but recently noticed the SWR Workingman's 4004 Stack and am interested in that.
    One other thing: I like tone of a tube amp.

    With the info that I have given, any help would be appreciated in finding a proper rig for my situation. All advice is welcome.

    Thanks in advance,
  2. BryanB

    BryanB Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    ampeg svt,preferably a mid 70's one. if not available, get a cl. I would mate that to a 2x15, or an 8x10. If you can't afford both, get the cab first.
  3. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    You could scrape by with the universal minimum of 300 watts, but applying the rule of thumb of "ten times the guitarist's power," even 600 is going to leave you a little shy on headroom.
  4. JoelEoM


    Mar 11, 2002
    Lancaster, PA
    i love the "universal rule-of-thumb." whose thumb are we ruling by? ive seen 2x, 3x, 4x, 10x the guitarists power. ive got a big thumb, so i say 43x the guitarists power. im also kidding. :p :D
    in all seriousness, with bass, the more power the better. pick up a used SVP-PRO, and something along the lines of a carvin DCM-1000, or a QSX-PLX. check lord valve for prices on the qsc's. theres a link around here somewhere for him, just do a search on here. IMO, youre much better going the pre/power amp route, its much more flexible, and easier to upgrade. it can be much cheaper in many cases as well. good luck!
  5. ldiezman


    Jul 11, 2001
    well.. considering munji thinks anything under 300 watts is cheesy... I would go power amp and preamp separate.. Get about a 1,000 watt power amp of your choice.. and get a nice tube preamp... of your choice of course ;)
  6. boogiebass


    Aug 16, 2000
    I agree with Munji. Get the most watts you can afford. Seriously. You'll never say to yourself, "Dammit, I wish I had less power!"
  7. boogiebass


    Aug 16, 2000
    This may sound totally crazy but if you end up with "high-end" cabs (e.g. Bergantino, Epifani, etc.) 1K watts may not actually be enough! I found that my two Bergantino cabs (HT112 and HT210) like 1400 watts to really "wake up." I'm looking at a Stewart World 2.1 amp these days. 2100 watts mono-bridged into a 4 ohm load. Power, a good thing.
  8. FatCity


    Apr 30, 2002
    Lexington, SC
    Endorsing Artist: Howard's Crispy Fried Chicken Skins
    Thanks for all of the replies- I appreciate it. I had never considered the power amp/pre amp option. Learn something new all the time...

  9. Another way to look at it, is by SPL comparison.

    Figure out how much SPL your guitar player can generate. Sit down... as his 60 watts will make a boatload of noise...

    Assume he has a Fender Hotrod Deville 2x12, with a pair of JBL E120 installed. He is capable of 106 SPL, 1w/1m with these speakers. If you have a D410XLT that will put out 106 SPL, you can match him, watt for watt. The caveat here is, "at small signal levels." Or, 1 watt at 1 meter.

    Now assume you have an Acme B4 at 96SPL. You need 10x the wattage to match the guitar player. Again, small signal level of 1 watt at 1 meter.

    Where it gets sticky, is the maximum SPL each rig is capable of creating. Bass rigs are limited in maximum SPL by both thermal and displacement restrictions. The voice coil will melt above X input power, and the cone will blow up (over excurse) above Y input power.

    Usually, displacement limitations occur long before the maximum input power is applied. This is frequency dependent, and gets much worse as the frequency goes lower. This is why guitar players don't have trouble making a lot of racket. They don't have to go down very low, so they have no cone displacement issues that limit them.


    My PLX 3002 is putting out 900 watts into the (left) subwoofer channel at 4 ohms. My left channel is constantly bumping the Clipping LED because I'm driving the snot out of it by trying to keep up with my guitar player and his 30 watt Peavey. Your mileage will be better. Mine is the price paid for subwoofers.

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