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Lowest Amp Wattage :confused

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by ArchBass, Mar 1, 2001.

  1. I am looking to get a new combo amp that will be sufficent enough to jam with a drummer. I have looked at the 60 watts with a 12" speaker, 90 watts with a 15" speakers and even 200 watts with twin tens. I don't need anything big but just something that is better than 15 watts with a 8" speaker but is still a practice amp. I am hoping this will help other beginner bass players so they don't go down the wrong amp path purchase as well.
  2. White_Knight


    Mar 19, 2000
    Well, this is mainly going to be depending upon the style of music that you play and the sound that you like. A jazz group that I play with gets along just fine with a 160 watt Crate, and the volume's only around 7-8. However, if you like a real heavy bass/dub sound, you'll need more wattage. Also, if you're playing in a loud rock group you'll need more wattage than my jazz gig (though the bassplayer is competing against 15 other musicians volume-wise). I've heard that 200-400 watts is a good point to start around when looking for a gigging amp. However, for a practice amp, you may be able to get by with 100-200 watts. It's all going to depend upon how you want to sound and how you want to sit in the mix.

    Finally, about the speaker thing: that's going to be a personal preference. I prefer 15's, mainly because to my ears, they produce a warmer, rounder tone that's more suitable for the jazz and Christian rock stuff that I do. A lot of people prefer 10"s for their extra high end response and better slapping transients. The 12" seems to be a good compromise.

    My advice: since you said you want a practice amp, I'd get something that's around 150-200 watts with either 2x10" or a 15". Make sure that you can add an extension cabinent to it - that will help out you're volume down the road (more air movement). The amp that comes to mind is the SWR Workingman's 15 (http://www.swrsound.com).
  3. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Remember, if your amp is maxed out and it's too loud, you can always turn it down.

    If your amp is maxed out and it's too soft, you can't turn it up.
  4. just picked up a mesa boogie buster bass 200. 200watts of tube power, one 15 " EV speaker w/horn. i had a wm15 and this blows it away! its not really that much bigger, its got wheels and a tote handle and plenty of balls . you can add ext speakers also. although id just use my gig rig instead of adding speakers. i bought this for portability. the good news is you can buy these discounted because they are now discontinued. they go for 1299. i paid 900 for mine w/ tax included in the price. it rocks! one just sold on ebay for795. + shipping. a wm15 is gonna cost you @ 650 at best.......just my opinion......
  5. I'm only saying one thing:

    Gallien-Krueger 400RB/115. 240 Watts, 15" speaker.
    Very good. I have one.
  6. To answer White-Knights question,I play more blues style, southern rock and Chrisatian rock music than anything else. I want to be able hear a solid low end sound.

    Based on what everyone is saying, I shouldn't even consider anything less than 120 watts or smaller than a 15" speaker. Correct?? Or could I get something with power and a 12" speaker (for pracitce amp) that also has the ability for an extension cabinet?

    If going with power and 12" speaker route is an option. Any good suggestions?
  7. NJXT


    Jan 9, 2001
    Lyon, FRANCE
    I think 15" or 12" or 10" is not the point. (hey, 4*10" move some air ;) ) but wattage is.
    I would say don't get less than 200W but I don't know how loud are your bandmembers.
  8. The rule of thumb that I typically tell people to go by is: if your guitarist uses distortion then have no less than 4x the wattage (100watt guitar amp=400watt bass amp)....if your guitarist only plays clean then I would say no less than double his wattage.

    That being said I would personally never buy anything under 1000watts bridged into 4 ohms, but being that you play lighter music than me and specified a combo amp I would use the above rule of thumb.

    As for speaker size I don't think it matters too much, but I would recomend either a 1x15 or 2x10 for a combo depending wether you want the smoother low end or the extended highs. I prefer 10's (eight of them to be exact :-D) but you may like a 15 better for what you're doing.

    Good luck with whatever you choose.
  9. What if you don't have a guitarist? Right now I just jam with a neighbor who plays the drums. Is all the wattage still and issue?:confused
  10. unoriginal


    Feb 23, 2001
    i have a Hartke KB 12 right now. I understand it's a 12" inch speaker that puts out 120 watts. I went to the Hartke site and saw that the Kickback 10 and 15 (10" and 15" inch speakers) both put out 120 watts, as well.

    this being said, why would anyone buy the 15 over the 10? The 15 is much more expensive and is as loud as the much less expensive 10. please clear this up for me. Are there advantages for the bigger speaker sizes? etc..
  11. Unoriginal:
    My understanding of the differences are (in simplified terms and someone can correct me if I am wrong)the amount of air you want to move for carrying your sound and the other difference is if you want better highs use the 10's and use 15's for the lows.

    If you review other threads on the site you can get additional views.

    Also, if you review the Amp Pics, you will notice where some of the members have a cabinet with 10's and an additional cabinet with a 15. This way the get a full sound spectrum.

    Hope this helps while I am still in search of additional views to my 12" option.
  12. 100Watts tube, (4) 12" speakers.


    And my normal church gig rig, 50Watts tube, (1) 15" :


    I know they aren't combos, but this custom one I designed is, (2) 15's, 50 Watts tube, the cabinet should arrive in about 2 weeks:


    You can only get away with so little power when you have big, efficient speaker cabinets, and tubes help it sound louder, too.

    If you want modern, I recommend Peavey TNT or TKO 1x15 combo's depending on the size of your wallet. They'll be fine for most jamming and even small gigs. Heavy as lead, and lots of volume for a combo. Good sound, to me, and I'm a tube head.

  13. I appreciate everyone's input. Most of the rigs mentioned are to big for practice amps since I mostly play along with CD's and occasionally get the chance to play with a drummer. I will take the power part into my search for the right combo (practice amp) for me. I haven't heard form anyone disagreeing with my option about getting a combo with power, 12" speaker, and the ability for an additional cab. So I guess I will go search the manufactures and see what matches and then try to find them at the music stores.

    Again thanks to everyone!!
  14. SantasCabanaBoy


    Jan 15, 2001
    You dont need a 1000watts or 4 speakers to jam with a drummer. I play with 2 guitarists and a drummer playing hardrock. The lead guitar has a 2 12" combo and they rythym guitar play through another 12" and I play through a 150 watt 15".

    If you are just going to jam with a drummer go for somthing like a 60watt 12" it will be loud enough to hear over a drummer with no problem
  15. Archbass, everyone here has given very good advise, but, I just wanted to ask you: Is this amp
    only going to be used for practice? If so, what
    SantasCabanasboy is pretty much on the mark.
    One of my amps is a Fender Bassman 60 w/1-12
    and it has excellent tone, and is more than enough
    for practicing. One thing I can say that most members will agree on is; One amp is never enough.
    Honestly, one amp really can't do both jobs well.
    A good practice amp won't really cut it at a gig, and
    a big amp is frankly a real pain to drag all over the
    place. Ask yourself; am I mainly going to just practice with my friend, or is there a potential gig
    not too far down the road. Money is a problem for
    most, but, not all. If you're in the former group, I
    humbly suggest that you get the biggest combo you
    can afford(power wise) because you won't regret it.
    Even when "practicing" you'll find yourself turning up
    the volume subconciously. It's like driving a car on an open road; who wants to go slow? As for the
    speakers, I'd recommend 1x15 because it has very
    good midrange, and noticeably better bottom than
    10s or 12s, but, that's just my opinion. Eventually
    you'll probably find yourself with two amps.
    It's one of the quirks of life like: wife/mother and

    Just my two pennies.

    Mike J.
  16. Thanks for the input MJ. I also agree with the 15" being able to push much more air as well as carry the lows.

    I don't see any gigs in my future unless the Big Man upstairs has something down the line. My view at the moment is a 12" speaker is better than 8" (which I presently play through) and I can always buy (rent or borrow) an additional speaker cabinet if that gig from the Big Man ever arises.
  17. yawnsie


    Apr 11, 2000
    Archbass, I'd say 60W is more than enough if you only want to play with a drummer. Personally, I use a 50W Laney amp with a 15-inch speaker, and it's plenty loud - I can get above the guitars at about 5 or 6, so the drums are no problem. However, if you're planning to gig at any point, you're probably better off saving your money for a bigger amp. Rickbass hits it on the head - if you buy too big an amp, you can always turn it down.
  18. Oysterman


    Mar 30, 2000
    Not my drummer. ;)
  19. yawnsie


    Apr 11, 2000
    Take his sticks away. It didn't shut him up completely (unfortunately), but it did lower the volume a bit. :D
  20. Oysterman


    Mar 30, 2000
    Why should I? I'm getting a Fafner! :D
    Silly me to take this off-topic. I will be quiet.

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