Dismiss Notice

Psst... Ready to join TalkBass and start posting, make new friends, sell your gear, and more?  Register your free account in 30 seconds.

Making a combo louder

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by silverthread, Jan 13, 2001.


  1. silverthread

    silverthread

    Jul 12, 2000
    OK, I think its probably best I've I just tell you all this stuff and you guys just tell me what you think. Basically after a year of playing, I've now got a Fender Mex Active Jazz bass and I'd like a new combo to go with it. I've decided to go with ampeg, and a 50watt one (some of you guys may disagree with this, but let me explain) basically my plan is to have the 50watt combo for home practice and rehearsals with my band (when the sound doesnt need to be that loud-up till now I've had a 35watt, and thats been great, except for when drums come in really loud and stuff), but because of the drums and for gigs, I'm gonna get either a 100watt or a 50watt extension thingy-I say thingy because I'm not sure what the correct term is...speaker? cab? I'm not sure. But basically that way, I'll have quite a light combo amp (I dont think there are hardly any 100watters that I would want to carry, becuase I will need to walk medium distances with it) and one that isnt too expensive (ampegs cost a LOT more here (UK) than the US, especially 100watt+), and if need be I can get the extension thing at a later date. Anyway, I would appreciate it if you could give me your opinions on this, and I'll reply to any suggestions. Oh, and also would I need to get an Ampeg cab (if thats the word lol-sorry!) to keep the sound that would also be coming out of the Ampeg combo.

    Sorry if thats all a bit jumbled, but as you may have guessed I dont have a lot of experience when it comes to amps, and I'm trying to work under the confines of money, the fact that shipping from the US costs a bomb, and the fact that whatever amp I get needs to be light.
    Thanks :)
     
  2. silverthread

    silverthread

    Jul 12, 2000
    Oh, I forgot to say, part of the reason I'm asking this is because I've seen an ad in the local free-ads paper for a 50W ampeg combo "with 100w speaker cabinet" and I wondered if that might be just what I'm looking for...
     
  3. Gabu

    Gabu

    Jan 2, 2001
    Lake Elsinore, CA
    Even if Ampegs cost a lot more in the UK they must be cheaper than buying in the US and shipping it!! I think that you have a good idea about using a combo with a extension cab. It's a nice way to combine portability and power. If you have been able to play with your band with a 35w amp certainly the 50 will be fine too, especially with the ext cab. Ampeg is a real cool brand but I would considder also some of the other brands that cost less, but still give you a great sound. Check the threads here for info on a variety of amps. I would pay attention mostly to stuff that is readily available in your local shops to save that killer shipping cost.
     
  4. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    The watt rating of the cabinet is somewhat irrelevant ... it doesn't add any power to your setup per se. If your amp has an extension speaker out, adding the extra cab will drop the output impedance, thereby causing the amp to put out more current and hence, more power. The trick is not to get your impedance so low that it overburdens your power amp. Fifty watts is probably the 4-ohm rating of the amp, so that would mean that the most power you're ever going to get is 50 watts, and then only when you have the extension cab plugged in. With the extension cab, though, your setup will be louder. But not loud enough. Which brings me to my conclusion. Fifty watts ain't enough for much of anything but practice. You need at least 300 watts.

    OK! Brad, Bruce, jt! Bring it on! I'm ready.
     
  5. Oysterman

    Oysterman

    Mar 30, 2000
    Sweden
    You need xxx watts... yyaaaawwwnnn... ;)

    (There's no need for another "how many watts" debate, we have gone through that topic enough times already.)
     
  6. Gabu

    Gabu

    Jan 2, 2001
    Lake Elsinore, CA
    You'll hate my new post. LOL

    Sowie
     
  7. Oysterman

    Oysterman

    Mar 30, 2000
    Sweden
    Oh, don't worry Sowie, I won't kill you. I won't close your thread either... :D

    I have played a couple of gigs with a 100 watt LabSeries L2 head, and it worked just fine. So Munji's statement on wattage is not the truth for everyone. It's just a bit annoying to see all those "You need at least 300 watts" posts, everywhere... it may be that way for YOU, Munji, but I'm sure (at least) half of us TB'ers will do just fine with less.

    To be true, I have never played through 300 watts worth of bass amps, only less. And still I have pulled through some medium-sized venue gigs. How? PA. ;) That's wherein the wattage should lie.
     
  8. Oysterman

    Oysterman

    Mar 30, 2000
    Sweden
    Now what am I doing? I'm continuing the wattage debate myself... aaarrgghh! [​IMG]
     
  9. Wattage is not the whole story the loudness goes up very slowly as the power doubles figure about ten times more power to double your apparant volume. So to get a real increase in volume think about 350 watts. Or find a cabinet that is a lot more effecient or a combination of the two factors power. and efficiency. So amp manufacturers as the combos get larger also use larger and more effecient speakers. The second thing is getting a sound that cuts through the mix. I play my double bass and a "P" bass with bigbands with only 25 watts or sometimes two 25 watt amps, for loud bands with one amp on each side of the stage you get more penetration with less total volume. And some of the loudness is the ability to play cleanly, its in the hands.

    [Edited by bassdude on 01-13-2001 at 03:44 PM]
     
  10. Lance Jaegan

    Lance Jaegan

    Dec 23, 2000
    Illinois
    Efficiency in a amplifier/speaker system is sickening. Generally, amps are maximum 70% efficient, or even worse, especially tube amps. Then, speakers are pretty damn inefficient too, because you're converting electrical power to mechanical power.
    Lets say your amp's power supply is 80% efficient. That's a nice estimate. Then lets say your OPS is 70% efficient, that equals to a total efficiency of 56%. For every 100 watts your amp pulls out of the wall, only 56 of those watts will be converted to energy to drive your speakers.
    That's extremely sad. Then if you take into account the fact that most direct radiating speakers are only 1% efficient to .05% efficient, it's even more sickening. Assuming a 1% efficient speaker, which is extremely efficient for your average speaker, only .56 watts of acoustic power are generated from your amplifier. that means the entire system is a little over 1/2 of 1 percent efficient. Gah!
     
  11. Oysterman, you just gave me a real good chuckle! Munji is right, IMO. It's not about volume. Power = tone, my friends, simple as that. The more power you have, the better the tone you're gonna get (generally). I use 1500 watts, not 'cos I want volume (I HATE loud), but for tone, especially with a low B string. When I hit those lows, my band mates turn round and grin, 'cos it's giving them orgasms on stage! Hahahahaha.
     
  12. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    He got you good, O-man;)

    BTW Munji's right... you do need 300w to have a 300w amp.
     
  13. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Sorry. But it's really about headroom.
     
  14. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    I won't say Munji is wrong... I'll just say that on several occasions I've gotten paid well playing with "inadequate" equipment.

    You may very well need 300w... I don't;)
     
  15. ga_edwards

    ga_edwards

    Sep 8, 2000
    UK, Essex
    back to the task in hand.

    If you want an amp you can walk distances with, you could have a look at the Warwick CL and CCL. They both have wheels set into the back corners, and a pull up trolley type handle. They don't weigh too much either.

    Alternatively, you could get a sack-barrow and a couple of bungee cords, then you could go for a 100w+ combo
     
  16. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    Wheels are available for some Ampeg combos. Some Ampegs do not support extension cabs. Warwicks may be cheaper in Europe than the U.S.
     
  17. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I've tried both Warwicks and Ampegs in the UK and both are pretty heavy for small combos - I wouldn't want to have to lift them regularly - for portability and sound I prefer the Hartke Kickback, which is 120 watts and not that hard to lift.

    I'm with Munji, though - my 300 watt Eden amp is only 14lbs, so why go for an Ampeg that weighs like 4 times as much and is less watts? :confused:

     
  18. freddylang

    freddylang

    Dec 24, 2000
    Columbus, OH.
    I've never even played in a club situation yet and I'm already feeling I need more power. I have a Peavey 210 TMAX combo. Our guitarist plays a 50 watt Marshall head with a Marshall cab. We have (mostly) a heavy Tool and grungy type sound and my brothers drums drown me out to the point I can't hear myself playing. I haven't got my 15" cab to make it 300 Watts yet but I need it. But I don't know if it will still even be enough. My next rig will definitely be in the 500-700 watt range. So I'd say, if your gonna pay the money, don't pay it now and then again in 6 months wish you'd gone bigger. Of course, it depends on what you play. If you don't have a 126 pound jackhammer beating on his Paistes' like a madman you might not need 300 watts. But I'd still get at least 200 with the option to expand. I'm also not a big practice amp believer. I like jamming on my good stuff!
     
  19. Check out http://www.musiciansfriend.com and look at the new Gallien-Krueger combos, they have telescoping handles (like big suitcases) and wheels. I've not used this brand, but know people who have and they like it.

    If I were in your shoes, I go for 200 watts with a major brand. It's obvious from your comments you don't need 1000watts if 50 has been doing it for you up to now. But do remember that you have to double your wattage to see any real increase in volume.

    I'm with Oyster-guy, no one needs to tell you how many watts you need, if you've been playing a while you should know.

    This brings up a point that some will find interesting.....while sitting out a set a while back, I was looking over the soundguy and the board, I noticed when the guitar player played (and only him) every input LED on the board lit up; some for the bass guitar. Apparently, stage volume was so high that every mic on stage (vocals, guitar amps, drums) picked up every sound on stage. So, HOW ARE YOU GOING TO GET A CLEAN MIX OUT OF THAT?! Simple, keep the stage volume as low as you can and still hear what you need. It's an age-old problem...one guy turns up, others can't hear themselves so they turn up, then you turn up, then they turn up... ARRRRRGH!

    Another point, get the sound where you need it. Point the amp up towards you, tilt it, whatever. Consider wireless monitors if you just can't get enough of your own volume, they're less than buying more amps/watts.

    That's all...

    Mark
     
  20. that's wireless in-ear monitors by the way. I saw them on sale for less than $80 US recently.