How much power do you typically use?

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by Jared Houseman, Jun 21, 2020.

  1. Jared Houseman

    Jared Houseman

    Jul 5, 2018
    I usually don't use an amp when playing upright but use one for monitoring when I play eub or bg in my bluegrass band.

    I use either a Rumble 25 or a 500w amp with a 110 cab. When using the 500w amp, the minimum volume that still makes sound is typically enough power

    Just curious what how much power other players typically use. I don't think I would ever need more than 50w on a gig
    Pjotor likes this.
  2. Biggbass

    Biggbass Supporting Member

    Dec 14, 2011
    Planet Earth
    I use a GK MB200 with a MB 2x10 cab most of the time.
    If I need more for a bigger stage I use a 100 watt Ampeg V4b w 2x12.
    Should there be a need of anything more that would have to be provided in a back line.
    210superair likes this.
  3. AGCurry

    AGCurry Supporting Member

    Jun 29, 2005
    St. Louis
    The power I *use* is a completely separate thing from the power my amp can make.

    The power I use is dictated by the room, the people I'm playing with, the size of the audience, the behavior of the audience, the genre/style, the instrument I'm playing, the efficiency of my speaker, and whether my instrument is going through the PA. All that said, I very seldom find a need for more than 200 watts (peak).
  4. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    I have a couple of powered MAS Speakers, although their rated at 500 watts. I rarely have to turn the volume past 6. What I've found is that a pickup or microphone on a Double Bas will

    usually feed back if you go beyond 5.
  5. bherman

    bherman Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2009
    Grand Junction, CO
    Genzler Magellan 350 into either a 4 ohm RevSound (350 watts) or an 8 ohm Genzler 110-2 array (175 watts). More than enough for everything that I do (mostly eub in a bluegrass/jam band)
  6. unbrokenchain

    unbrokenchain Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2011
    Black Mountain, NC
    I have two 200w rigs, and it's exceedingly rare that I get past noon on the level on either of them for DB or BG. Usually much lower than that, even on big outdoor stages. It's basically a personal monitor, and if it's a super loud stage volume, which is a situation I generally try and avoid, BG can come through the monitor (and my earplugs). Stage volume on DB is limited by feedback anyway. Worst is when the subs are under the stage and the soundguy is going for shock and awe.. Big fridge cabinets do look cool though, and appearance can be part of the show.
  7. AGCurry

    AGCurry Supporting Member

    Jun 29, 2005
    St. Louis
    That may well be true, but we - typically, I believe - have to consider the "51st" watt, when you have asked for fortissimo from your instrument and hope that your gear delivers it cleanly, because we double bassists like a clean sound. Headroom.

    When we used tube amps, like a 30-watt Ampeg B-15, we could expect the 31st watt to be delivered pretty well, because tubes will do that - there will be distortion, but it will be relatively pleasant. Transistors don't, so we need some built-in headroom. [numbers given for purposes of illustration]

    Also, the power of a watt depends on how it is measured. The conservative way, which used to be common, is "RMS" (root-mean-squared). We also saw or see "program" (what the amp could deliver over a period of time) and "peak" (absolute limit) power. That B-15 was 30 watts RMS, which translates to a peak roughly twice that.

    I'm sharing what I've learned over the years... please correct me if I've misstated.
  8. Dr. Love

    Dr. Love

    Nov 5, 2008
    Lubbock, TX
    My amps are 500 and 750 watts. It's easy to make a loud amp quiet by turning down, but trying to make a quiet amp louder usually doesn't work very well.
  9. I have an AI Coda combo. I think it's 300 watts by itself. I bring an EA 1X10 which is rated at 300 as an extension. I always bring that just in case but do not plug it most days. Sometimes I bring by EA doubler Mark II and two Wizzy 12's specially if I have to play EBG. lately just using the AI Coda combo for upright
  10. MynameisMe

    MynameisMe What will you be remembered for?

    Dec 31, 2018

    Attached Files:

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  11. Jared Houseman

    Jared Houseman

    Jul 5, 2018
    I understand what you mean. The 50w estimate was basically me guessing how much amp power I'm am actually utilizing. Even the smallest class d amps are at least 200w so headroom isn't an issue for me. I don't suspect many db players are using tube amps.

    I'm a young player, I've never heard a tube amp in person, let alone used one and it seems digital modeling is getting very close. I'll probably only ever use class d amps that continue to get smaller and more powerful. I don't expect headroom will ever be an issue in my life. I'm feel like I'm lucky to be getting into music now. All my gear is affordable, light, and sounds great and I've never had to deal withany "bad" gear. And stuff will just continue to get better.

    Sorry that last part was rambly but I was just thinking about how my experience in the music industry is so different from all the musicians older than me. It's easy and approachable and I'm able to afford gear that I love.
    AGCurry likes this.
  12. Jared Houseman

    Jared Houseman

    Jul 5, 2018
    Nice board. I've tried using in ears and I like them but on some gigs it's more hassle than it's worth. My band has a new sound system but we haven't gotten the chance to dial it in and optimize it yet. When we do, I'll probably be switching over to iems
  13. dhergert

    dhergert Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2018
    Blue Zone, California
    I'm a minimalist regarding amping. I only amp about 25% of the time, so I like small, light, battery power and wireless.

    I use a Roland Micro Cube Bass Rx which sports 4x4" 6AA battery optimized speakers, rated in specs at 5W, and it has proven itself repeatedly in a large variety of indoor and outdoor venues.

    The key with small audience-serving speakers is to mount them high enough that they aim sound to peoples ears, not their legs and feet.

    In my experience watts are a very imprecise method for rating speakers.
  14. Zbysek


    Mar 23, 2017
    Czech Republic
    I usually use between 130 and 300 watts of amp power for my EUB...
  15. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    Well, there are a couple of things that were helpful to me, when I made the transition from ye olde B-15N(C) rated at 25 Watts RMS to a Walter Woods MI-100-8 rated at 100 watts RMS into 8 Ohms. The Woods was louder into the same cabinet which had a 8" ohm speaker. Once 4 Ohm

    speakers became available, many manufactures TC Electronics, Trace Eliot, Markbass, and a host of others started to rate their amplifiers at a 4 ohm load rather than a 8 Ohm load. So a TC Electronics BAM 200 is only a 140 watt amplifier if you run it into their B208 Cabinet. So

    for some that difference in power may be an issue. The Trace Elliot Elf is again rated at 200 watts into a 4 ohm load. However if you purchase their 110 cabinet that's rated at 8 ohms it's power output drops to 130 watts. Even the venerable Mesa Subway 800 amps are rated at a 4 ohm load.

    While their cabinets are rated at 8 ohms. Just something I learned along the way. Take it for what it's worth.
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2020
  16. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011
    Perhaps this will be perceived as a bit pedantic. Power alone is pretty meaningless. You also need to consider the sensitivity rating of the cab. For example the Acoustic Image amps are quite powerful, but their speakers are some of the most inefficient bass speakers you can buy. They are also some of the most compact and portable, so they may be exactly what you are looking for. I think they are great for grab and go when you have relatively low volume requirements.

    Here's how you figure the volume. The sensitivity rating is typically given in the number of decibels produced/measured at a distance of 1 meter when 1 watt is applied. So you might see a rating like 97dB 1W/1m. Now we know that for each doubling of power the SPL increases by 3dB. 1,2,4,8,16,32,64,128,256. So if you have a 250 watt amp the power double 8 times...actually we are 6 watts shy but lets say it's close enough. 8x3=24. This is the decibel difference between 1W and 256W. Add this number to the Sensitivity rating and you have the max SPL. 97+24=~121dB. This is the figure you need to be concerned with rather than how much power your amp makes.

    Throughout my career in the military band program, I typically used amps with 250W or more and relatively efficient speakers for everything except jazz combo gigs. For jazz combo, when available I would grab a small light amp. Early in my career I used a GK MB150S, which I did not like :vomit:. I also used a GK 200MK which I did like as it had a lot nicer mids and sweet highs. I also used an SWR Baby Blue for awhile. It sounded great but really lacked headroom, and made an awful distortion sound if pushed too hard. Next, I used one of the original Acoustic Image Contra amps. The Contra was actually bought with a matching extension cab to be used in big band, but it was not quite loud enough. If you played a little too hard, it would go into protect mode for a few seconds. Due to the limited volume capabilities it was repurposed as a jazz combo amp, and I borrowed it whenever it was available.

    All of the amps I have mentioned so far were not bought specifically for me. Midway through my career I bought a GK 700RB/112 combo for personal use. The woofer amp makes 225W at 8 ohms and 380W at 4 ohms. It's fairly heavy, but it has a telescoping handle and tilts back on casters to roll around for easy transport. The combo alone struggles with the loudest gigs, but I have never run out of headroom if I brought an extension cab. Eventually I had the military buy one of these for official use as well, and I used it primarily for jazz combo and rehearsal with all ensembles. It sounded decent with pizz or bowed string bass.

    For touring I needed the ability to quickly switched between three instruments, so I used a rack mixer and power amp.
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  17. BarfanyShart


    Sep 19, 2019
    DC Metro
    I used to use a 100 watt 1x10 fender bassman with DB and EUB.
  18. Deltatim


    Nov 5, 2016
    Stockton, CA
    I use an Acoustisonic 30 for both EUB and DB. Mostly for church in a venue of aprox 400 with good results. If I need more ( such as outdoor festival) I have a Behrenger BXD3000H with Crate 210 that never comes up short....and sounds very good.
  19. I have a 100W Phil Jones cub, which has a great sound and enough power for loud rehearsals or coffee shop gigs, but it typically runs close to flat-out.

    And I have a QSC K10 with nominally 1000W, though I believe it is 500W bi-amped, for big gigs. It has more volume than I’ve ever needed.

    The Cub I always wish had more headroom, and the K10 I always wish was smaller and lighter.
    Plus ca change...
  20. ArteK

    ArteK Supporting Member

    For upright, I mostly can get away with a MarkBass MicroMark (1x8, 45W) combo. Occasionally, I might go up to the MiniMark (2x8, 145W) combo.

    If I have to get any louder than that, I play electric.

    I've tried and failed many times playing an upright in a loud band. All I ever do is shred my fingertips trying to get louder.

    For the folks who really want the upright bass sound and are willing to come down in volume enough to make it happen, those two amps are plenty loud enough. And I'd say 90% of the time the 45W tiny amp is enough.
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