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Power amps: How much wattage needed? Conditioner?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Steven Green, Aug 20, 2001.


  1. Steven Green

    Steven Green

    Jul 25, 2001
    Pacific NW
    I currently am running a MESA/Boogie Basis M-2000 head which is rated at 625W RMS @ 4 ohms through an Eden 410XLT (700W RMS) and 118XL (500W RMS) cabinet.

    I hear that having extra power prevents damage to the voice coils from power amp clipping. How much power do I need? Is the 625 w enough? I don't need overkiller either...

    Also, If I do end up needing a bigger power amp, should I get a power conditioner? Or is that not necessary?

    Thanks guys!
     
  2. Richard Lindsey

    Richard Lindsey

    Mar 25, 2000
    Metro NYC
    How much do you have to turn the amp up when you play the places you currently play?

    If you're having to crank it, you could benefit from a bigger amp.

    If, say, you're only turning it up to 3 and you don't hear any clipping, then you probably don't need a bigger amp at all. The max power handling capacities of your speakers are irrelevant to how much power you need. What matters is how hard you have to work your amp to get your speakers to produce the level of acoustic output you want.

    For the most part, extra power will only make a really big difference to you once you get close to using up the clean power you've got. If you hardly ever ask your amp to deliver more than 100 W, going from a 600 W amp to a 1000 W amp probably won't change your bassplaying life drastically.

    Generally, having more power is just about always a good thing. But practical concerns usually play a role too--as in, why deal with the extra money, weight, etc. if you don't have to. If cost is no object and transport logistics no problem, then by all means get a bigger amp. All I'm saying is that you may not really need one, depending on how you answer the initial question above.

    A power conditioner couldn't hurt.
     
  3. Bob Lee (QSC)

    Bob Lee (QSC) In case you missed it, I work for QSC Audio! Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 3, 2001
    Costa Mesa, Calif.
    Technical Communications Developer, QSC Audio
    The best person to judge whether 625 watts is enough is you. Are you getting the volume you need without clipping the amp? If so, you're fine as is. If not, consider getting something bigger.

    Signal processing gear sometimes benefits from a power conditioner, but as a general rule, power amps don't need them.

    -Bob
     
  4. generally the idea is like this :

    big wattage + low volume = high soundquality

    example.. if you have an 100w amp, which you crank up to say like 75 % to get the volume you like, it will sound like sh#t.
    but if you get a 400w amp, which you turn up only to 33 % to get the same volume, it will sound a heck of a lot better.
     
  5. Bob Lee (QSC)

    Bob Lee (QSC) In case you missed it, I work for QSC Audio! Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 3, 2001
    Costa Mesa, Calif.
    Technical Communications Developer, QSC Audio
    Headroom is good to have. But gain or volume controls actually don't correspond to output power capability, so you can't really judge an amp by where you set the knobs.

    -Bob
     
  6. Steven Green

    Steven Green

    Jul 25, 2001
    Pacific NW
    Thanks for the replies!

    My band typically plays as loud as possible. Our guitarists (2) have a 100W Fender Twin and a Quad-Reverb (same wattage). Our drummer hits very hard as well...

    I usually play with my output knob at about 11:30 or 45% of the way up. The knob has a very even taper the entire travel of the pot.

    I don't hear audible distortion when I play (although it's possible it is so mild I can't tell). My speakers a visibly moving in and out. Does that mean I already am pushing the cabs with enough clean power that any extra would be unwarranted?
     
  7. Bob Lee (QSC)

    Bob Lee (QSC) In case you missed it, I work for QSC Audio! Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 3, 2001
    Costa Mesa, Calif.
    Technical Communications Developer, QSC Audio
    You can't tell from whether you can see the cones moving in and out.

    Crank your amp up a little more and play as you normally do, to see if you've got some headroom. If you don't hear clipping distortion or the speakers bottoming out, you're probably okay with the amp you have.

    -Bob