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more power

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by kcolyar, Apr 9, 2009.

  1. kcolyar


    Feb 28, 2007
    Moab, Ut 84532
    Is it just me or are amps getting more and more power every year? maybe I am just an old man, but it seems every amp is 400 or 500 watts. These are even seen as the lower side of what you need. I remember when the GK 700 or 800 came out, it was like WOW, way too much power. Are the newer designs not as efficent or are our needs greater. I am simply curious, not wanting to start any weird wars or anything. In the 80's it seemed like 300 watts was a lot unless you were playing stadiums. Every club I played in (300 or 400 bodies) my volume was ample and that was without PA support. Just one old mans observation.
  2. RickenBoogie


    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    I've noticed the same thing. I used to gig regularly with about 200 watts, (GK 400RB). Nowadays, that seems grossly underpowered. I guess everythings just got to be uber loud, and so I'm using an 1100 watt amp for gigging. With that much power, I rarely go DI, though I always pack an SM57, short stand, and long cable, as well as an active DI box, just in case.
  3. uaudio


    Apr 11, 2008
    I've noticed the same thing. I have two theories:

    1. People just spend more money on gear now (or at least they were for the last few years), and power is part of the equation. I know about three AWFUL, TERRIBLE guitarists who 15 years ago would be playing crate combo amps because the cost of an expensive tube amps was prohibitive. Now, they all have 100W Mesas and other loud amps. Bassists have to keep up.

    2. Kids that I talk to in younger bands don't understand the concept of "stage volume low, monitor reinforcement, PA does the hard work."
  4. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    Yes - more power and lighter. The newer class-d are more efficient. And ones with regulated universal SMPS power supplies even more efficient. More watts from the outlet converted into watts driving the speaker - and not wasted on generating heat. Less tripping of breaker-box breakers.

    More watts can mean you can carry a smaller cabinet and get the same SPL's as compared to amps of the past.
    There are some wild exaggerations by some amp manufacturers, but there are many legitimate claims.
    I like to see more amp companies buying amp modules from companies that special in modules. This gives bass amp engineers more time to spend on the pre-amp. And also helps to make the power amp side more universal to fix if something should go wrong. But will higher efficiency and less heat, there is less that can go wrong all around.
  5. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    John K Custom Basses
    it appears that the same thing has happened with PA's. my band used to use a Shure Vocalmaster :eek:, but i used to use a '62 85 watt blonde showman for bass back then too.
  6. The way I see it is like this......

    Years ago bass player gigged with 300 watt amps, but were pushing them hard.

    For the same money now, you don't have to work your amp as hard to play the same volume. More headroom = more clean power and punch.

    Additionally, alot of people seem to think that a huge amp is WAY louder.

    Doubling your watts only gives you an increase of roughly 3db.

    To double your volume, you need 10X the power.
  7. Rick Auricchio

    Rick Auricchio Registered Bass Offender

    Amp efficiency has gone up; costs are going down, so you get more output for the buck.

    Some young players seem to feel that decibels trump playing skill.

    Smaller cabs are less efficient, so more wattage balances that loss of volume.

    Biggest reason? Wattage is an easy number to compare, so players buy the amp with more wattage. Just like horsepower in cars. Whether that power is going to be used---or even if it can't be effectively used, it still sells gear.
  8. Bassmec


    May 9, 2008
    Ipswich UK
    Proprietor Springvale Studios
    Its very very simple! the answer is nobody actually sings in bands anymore let alone have any backing vocals, therefore its not necerserry to restrict bass or guitar volume to let this component through in the mix.
    The restricting factor also had a bit to do with controlling guitar feedback
    but now we have gui****s playing with so much gain and level that the only way to control this is with the channel switch with the clean channel volume on zero, no longer will string damping and a bit of noise gate hold it back. The way they set the gain these days It still feeds back continually, even if you are only getting it off a pod and only monitoring via headphones.:D

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