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how much wattage is REALLY needed?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Si-bob, Jul 10, 2003.

  1. i'm wondering hpw some people can get away with only using 150-300w combo jobs and going through a PA, i'm using a 350w head and most places i'm playing have me turn it up to clipping point even when i'm into the PA, surely i don't need that amount of power if i'm going through a PA to?.

  2. NJL


    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    i feel really good with my rig at 900 watts, i really don't know if you ever hear all 900, but i have that headroom if i need it (never have needed it)
  3. thats what i mean, is the common consensus that the more watts the better, or like a fellow tb'er advised me when i was looking for my first head "what do you want with more then 350watts"?

  4. FunkySpoo

    FunkySpoo Supporting Member

    Feb 6, 2002
    I use a 1600 watt amp. I never turn it up more than half way though. I never go through a PA. It's all about headroom for clean deep lows
  5. Gabu


    Jan 2, 2001
    Lake Elsinore, CA
    Wattage is only part of the equation. What speakers are those 350w driving?

    Then the next part would be, what are you playing against? How many guitarists, what amps, what cabs, drummer amplified?

    Then the next thing would be, what kind of music?

    Then finally, what kind of venues...

    Add that all together and you will be able to figure out what you need. As in my case, I play hard rock and alternative against two guitarists using 50w 2x12 tube combo amps (mesa boogie). Nonamplified drummer. PA just used for vocals (2 cabs 1x15, 1x8, horn), and I would play through a Carvin RC210 (600w 2x10 combo). Nowadays, I play though a 400w ampeg rig with one 115 and one 112 cabs. These are for indoors venues though. I am planning on getting an Ampeg 1540he (1x15, 4x10) cab in order to play outdoors.
  6. NJL


    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    i do r&b, what type of gigs does that TB member play? what about you?
  7. Jim Dombrowski

    Jim Dombrowski Supporting Member

    Jan 16, 2002
    Colorado Springs, CO
    If you're going through the PA, you don't necessarily need enough power to be heard throughout the entire club, but you do need enough power for everyone to hear you clearly (and cleanly) on stage. And if you're overdriving your amp to be heard on stage, there's a chance that the sound of your bass coming through the PA won't be very good either.

    The people that are using low powered amps successfully either don't play in loud bands or they have high quality and efficient gear, possibly including basses with active preamps that provide a hotter signal going into the amp.

    If you're on a budget, do the research to find the best sounding and most efficient rig that you can afford.

  8. the low one

    the low one

    Feb 21, 2002
    I don't get it. My 100w combo has performed for me in pubs, clubs and festival stages. OK, I'd like more for the bigger stages but the bigger stages can always give you some bass in the foldback.
  9. Gabu


    Jan 2, 2001
    Lake Elsinore, CA
    Hmm... I just re-read your question... I guess the simple answer is that anyone could play with a 100w 115 combo amp, so long as the other band members don't turn it up too loud.

    I do usually play with my Ampeg B100-R during practices. I can do that because my drummer is able to control how hard he hits and my guitarists don't need to turn their amps up to ear bleeding levels.
  10. xyllion

    xyllion Commercial User

    Jan 14, 2003
    San Jose, CA, USA
    Owner, Looperlative Audio Products
    1 Megawatt should work just fine for you. :D

    Seriously, amp power ratings aren't enough to determine volume. You can put 20,000 watts into a 1x10 and it will still be pitifully quiet. However, 150W amp into a very efficient 4x10 will rock the house.

    I would guess that your 350W head is sufficient if you either change your cab or add another cab. Also, remember that what you hear and what the audience hears/feels are two different things. You will often find that you bass sound is louder when you get 10 or 20 feet away from your cab.
  11. Your bass may have a very low output.
    But if you have little cabs...
    I have a gallien-krueger 700rb(350W) plugged in a ...hum...huh...marshall 4*10(i'm not rich enough to afford GK speakers:D )
    Anyway, there is absolutly no problem on stage with that configuration, even if my drummer is not a schrimp!my guitarist has line 6 flxtone head(200W)with 4*12. 2*10 is too small I think( that's what i read in your profile?), you should add a 15" and you'll hear your bass, as well as everybody will.
  12. Jim Dombrowski

    Jim Dombrowski Supporting Member

    Jan 16, 2002
    Colorado Springs, CO
    Another thought...

    What are your tone settings on your bass and amp? I used to be in love with thick, rich tone (lots of low bass and not much treble). The band was always asking me to turn up; and then when I did I would overdrive the speakers. And this was with a very powerful rig with several cabinets. I learned to roll off the bass and add more midrange and treble. No more problems!

    Also, how old are your strings?