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How much power is necessary?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by John Bufo, Jan 25, 2002.

  1. John Bufo

    John Bufo

    Jan 14, 2002
    Salem, NH
    My band is finally going to begin playing some shows next month, and we've got gigs lined up at several small to medium sized clubs, almost all of which have PA's we can hook up to. Would a 50W Ampeg B-50R be sufficiently powerful to handle shows of that size? Hooked into a PA, I see no reason why it wouldn't be enough, but I really have no experience in these matters, so any information and advice would be appreciated. Thanks.
  2. mikemulcahy


    Jun 13, 2000
    The Abyss
    From checking your profile, i seriously doubt it. A good rule of thumb is 4x the guitars power (100w Marshall stack = 400w bass minimum).

  3. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    If the B-50R will compete OK with the stage volume of your drummer and other amps in use, sure.

    My own experience, especially at first gigs, is the stage volume easily gets out of hand so don't be surprised if your band mates will drown you out. You might want to talk to them about this :)

    Do consider putting the amp on milk crates, a chair or some sort of stand to get it up to ear level.

    If the PA is up to it, you might be abel to get some bass in the monitors. Do this only as a last resort, since this can impact being able to hear the vocals clearly.
  4. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    You'll need at least 1.21 jigawatts.:D

    Actually, If the bass can go the PA, you can use your ampeg as a monitor for yourself and the band. If you can't use the PA you will need something bigger for a medium club.

    edit: yep, elevate the ampeg, aim it at your head.
  5. John Bufo

    John Bufo

    Jan 14, 2002
    Salem, NH
    The B-50R can definitely compete with the stage volume, my guitarist uses a 60W Line6 Flextone, and I'm easily heard above the drums and vocalist playing through his PA at our practices, so I'm pretty confident that I'll be heard. I'll consider raising the amp up though, just to make it easier on myself. Thanks for the info though, I just wanted to be sure, as I'd prefer to keep this amp until it is absolutely necessary to upgrade to something more powerful.
  6. CrawlingEye

    CrawlingEye Member

    Mar 20, 2001
    Easton, Pennsylvania
    I usually try to triple the guitarist's watts, at least.
    It's always worked for me.

    If your guitarist is using an 100 watt amp, use at least a 300 watt amp.

    I've gotten by on a 200 watt amp before, but it was really getting pushed.
  7. White_Knight


    Mar 19, 2000
    Just something to keep in mind: elevating the amplifier off of the floor/stage will cause a loss in your low end because your amp won't be coupled with the floor anymore. If your amp is all that's producing your sound, you may want to think about doing a little creative EQ (such as a mid boost with bass and treble cut) to be heard. But if you do stay with more regular settings, you'll be losing some bass by not having it on the floor. Of course, if you have a nice enough PA, then you may just be able to use your amp as a monitor for yourself.
  8. Start looking now! Once you start gigging on a regular basis you'll probably want more power. Better to have more than you need and not use it than to not have enough and push your amp too hard.
  9. jcadmus


    Apr 2, 2000
    Scotty...I need...more...POWER.

    But, kepten, the di-lithium crystals...they won't HOLD...

    I'd follow Mike M's formula -- you need headroom, Max.
  10. Thats a rhetorical question.
  11. John Bufo

    John Bufo

    Jan 14, 2002
    Salem, NH
    You really think you need 3 or even 4 times the wattage of the guitar? Thats seems unneccesarily excessive to me. My amp is 10 watts less then my guitarists, and I do have to push my amp a little harder then I'd like, but I still have power to spare, and I'm easily heard above everything else. Triple the guitar wattage seems excessive, but reasonable, 4x the guitar seems very excessive. I'm sure I could get by just fine on double the power of the guitar amp. Especially if I'm going through a PA most of the time. Am I wrong in thinking this? Are you guys just addicted to excessive juice or something? :D
  12. jasonbraatz


    Oct 18, 2000
    Oakland, CA
    i've got 10x the guitars power.

    of course, there's also a drummer, percussionist, keyboard player with two peavey kb110 amps and a rhodes speaker cabinet, trumpet, trombone, bari sax, tenor sax, and vocals to compete with, so....

  13. Nope, we just don't like to clip. I play over a loud-idiot drummer and against a guitarist w/ 100W and 2x12 (He usually has almost perfect practice/stage volume). So I'm throwing 900W against 100W, and I never see the little red light come on during practice (Unless I do something reeeeaaally stupid). Plus I like to feel the fundamental, low note.

    BUT, when It's show time I bring the pre/power and 2 2x10s. Run the amp in dual-mono, and put a cab by me and one by the drummer. House system's don't usually put bass in the monitors. I also don't bring my 1x15 because it's a heavy thing, and isn't needed if you're going through a PA. If you have a DI out of the amp, then take only what you need. It's so much easier making one fewer trip, it's amazing.
  14. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    I don't even consider the guitar player's wattage when deciding on what I need. IMO it doesn't really matter. Think about it, a guitarist with a 100w stack could mesh perfectly with a band that plays at medium volume, a guitarist with a 50w Mesa Boogie could play way too loud.

    What I do take into consideration is stage volume and what the PA and most important, the monitors, will consist of. I like the B-50R, I own a B-100R, my rule of thumb is to let my gear operate within a comfort zone. I don't want to have to run at 9/10ths to keep up.

    "Generally speaking", the advice you've received so far has been just that... very general.

    If you're playing in a loud Metal band, without serious monitors (something that will produce sound that approximates a bass rig) the little B-50R may work but it'll probably have to work it's butt off to keep up. If you need to go with a higher powered rig, how many watts do you need? Depends... what kind of cabs will you be using? Generally speaking, 1000 watts into an Acme Low B2 might give you the same volume as 300 watts into an Eden D210XLT, so you could need either 1000w or 300w depending on what you're pushing.

    By all means try the B-50R at volume and see if it'll cut it. The harder you work it, the harder it is on it... something to keep in mind.

  15. The reason you need more power than the guitar player is because low frequencies are harder to reproduce than the highs.

    I agree with the 4X power rule of thumb

    However, I am also guilty of being 10X.

    When I hit a low note, I want to feel the floor rumble. Even at loud practices or gigs I can accomplish this without having to push the amp. You can never have enough headroom.

    At the going rate for watts/dollar, it makes sense to go as powerful as you can afford.
  16. CamMcIntyre


    Jun 6, 2000
    I'd radther have to much power than to little [who says there's such thing as to much power ;) :D i know a stack for an acoustic gig :D ] I try to get 3Xs the guitarist power if i can but if i can't i just use what i got. Try it out then if you need more power by all means tell us what you end up with :D thats all
  17. Hategear

    Hategear Workin' hard at hardly workin'.

    Apr 6, 2001
    Appleton, Swissconsin
    When do you have enough power? When your guitarist has to tell you to turn down!


    Seriously, it's better to have more power than you really need than to not have enough. As was already stated, 2 to 3 times the wattage of the guitarist's amp should be plenty o' boom-boom!
  18. Ty McNeely

    Ty McNeely

    Mar 27, 2000
    Honestly, I see absolutely no reason to have even 2x the power the guitarist has if you're going through the PA. If you're using a 60 watt combo and the guitarist is using a 100 watt stack, and everybody is going into the PA, it really shouldn't matter. The best thing to do would be to angle the speaker towards your head like has been suggested. If you can't hear yourself then, you're in big trouble.
  19. mikemulcahy


    Jun 13, 2000
    The Abyss

    If you stand in front of the PA, sure you dont need much power, but most of us do not. It's the monitors you must rely on and most small systems dont have the juice to push the bass in a loud heavy metal set. A 10, 12, or 15 is gonna get drowned unless you wear it around your neck.

    Here is my set up: Crown Power Base3 &2(2 each), Peavey Alpha tube pre amp, Ross 2x15 EQ, Art effects BBE, (2) Eden 410 (2) Peavey 118.

  20. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    By some of the logic here I should call up the guitar players I work with and find out what the wattage of the rig they're bringing is;)

    BTW PAs vary, some bands go PA-only with in-ears, some have excellent monitor setups. It depends on whether you're working with a setup like this or not.

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