How Much Power Is Too Much?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by ebozzz, Oct 1, 2001.

  1. ebozzz

    ebozzz Supporting Member

    May 17, 2001
    Denver, Colorado
    While making my rounds to the various dealers this weekend, I found a 2 year old Mackie M2600 power amp (2 x 1300 watts @ 2 ohms) for $600.00. Immediately when I saw it I thought, "Now I know I have enough power for those Acme Low B cabs!" :D I didn't get it but at that price it certainly seemed to be a great value. I just don't have the need for that kind of power at this time. Realistically, I don't know that I will ever need that kind of power!

    How much is too much? Other than being the great start of a P.A. system I can't see why any bassist would need that kind of wattage in this day and age. Does anyone agree?
  2. I run a QSC MX-3000a and use all of it for my subwoofers.
  3. Too much power? What does that mean?
  4. ebozzz

    ebozzz Supporting Member

    May 17, 2001
    Denver, Colorado

    LOL! I hear you Thomas!
  5. Luis Fabara

    Luis Fabara

    Aug 13, 2000
    Ecuador (South America)
    Audio Pro - Ecuador
    You have too much power when the lights of the place you are playing begin to dim.


    That translates: "There is no such thing as too much"
  6. ebozzz

    ebozzz Supporting Member

    May 17, 2001
    Denver, Colorado
    Hah! Another good one! BTW, nice rig Luis.
  7. "Too much power" isn't the issue. Too much money and too much weight are the issues.
  8. mgood


    Sep 29, 2001
    Levelland, Texas
    When I did live sound for a living, we used a lot of Crest 8001 power amps. They put out 750w x2 @8ohms, 1225w x2 @4ohms, and 1400w x2 @2ohms. We had racks full of these things in the shop! We used to say that you knew you had a real amp when it was too heavy for UPS to ship it. (UPS used to have a max weight of 75lbs. An 8001 weighs 80lbs.) I have run my bass through a direct box, a little mackey mixer, a Crest 8001, and a couple of EV Delta-Max cabs (PA cabinets). It was incredible! I have kicked around the idea of getting one of these amps, but they ain't cheap. There are bigger amps than that now, but at the time, that was the big badass amp in the pro sound industry.
  9. mikemulcahy


    Jun 13, 2000
    The Abyss
    I use a Crown Powerbase3 for each of my 2 bottom cabs, Powerbase2's run the 2 410's.

    Power is good!!!

  10. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Take the power ratings of all the cabinets you expect to have to drive at one time. Add together, multiply by two. That's how much power you want the amp to put out to drive those cabinets. Of course, you might be able to get by with less (maybe MUCH less) power depending on your volume requirements.

    Other possible considerations: a typical AC line wil be a 15 amp circuit. At 120VAC, 15 amps is 1800 watts. No amp is 100% efficient so figure that an amp in the 1200-1500 watt range if driven to full power is all that circuit can handle. Using multi-KW amps on gigs you need to understand a bit about the circuits in the club (especially where they put the breakers :)) Perhaps mgood could expand on this.
  11. gweimer


    Apr 6, 2000
    Columbus, OH
    I think smoke and fire are the only true indications of this...
  12. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I think it's quite amusing that this thread is now next to one called "I blew it!" about blowing your speakers because of too much power! ;)
  13. Check out the Peavey PV2600. Same specs, bit (!?) cheaper.
  14. mgood


    Sep 29, 2001
    Levelland, Texas
    Not much really. Crest recommends a seperate 50 amp circuit for each of these 8001's :eek: but that is overkill in my opinion. I have run a rack with three 8001's and a 4801 (little brother to the 8001) on one 15 amp circuit, but I didn't push it very hard at all, and I don't really recomment this myself.

    When we ran the big systems, we had our own power distribution system which amounted to a breaker box in a rack. Then all our equipment like amps, mixers, effects racks, etc were run from that distro, as well as stage power for the musicians guitar and bass amps and whatever else they had. We tied in our power to the main electrical lines coming into the venue, before their breaker box. That should be done by an electrician, but I've done it when no real electrician was available.

    When we brought a large system like that into a place and asked where we could tie in power, some clueless club owner or show promoter would occasionally point to the electrical outlets on the wall. At that point, it was like, "um, we need to talk about this."
  15. To me there is no such thing as too much power (wattage) but I have had to bring a generator to drive a PA system in some places so AMPERAGE can really be an issue. As a Sound Engineer I was once doing a gig at a resturant / bar and the owner told me to watch the celling fans during the night. He had them on the same line as his walk in refreigrators. He told me that if the fans slowed down his food would spoil. Well lets just say that I wouldn't eat there for a month after a normal weekends gigs.
  16. mgood


    Sep 29, 2001
    Levelland, Texas
    Hehe, you run into all kinds of crap out there.

    Actually, we rarely had trouble with not having enough power for the sound. We could do a pretty damn good sized show with 100 amps. Yes, I've used those f^@&/%g generators, too. The lighting is what would really strain their electrical system. We used to ask for three-phase power with 300 amps per leg for lights. We didn't get it much, but that's what we asked for. When they gave us less, Jon, the lighting guy, though it was his mission to put the place in the dark on the last note of the last song of the show. This squint was pretty good at it too, lol. He'd spend the whole show trying not to turn too many lights on at once or to not turn them all the way up, then at the end, he would turn every light he had all the way up, and... nothing... Thank you and good night. Please be careful trying to find your way out of the building in the dark. Just follow the red exit signs. :D
  17. ebozzz

    ebozzz Supporting Member

    May 17, 2001
    Denver, Colorado
    This thread turned out better than I expected! Lot's of good information. Thanks.