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Question about Amp Power and Relative Sound

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by tastybasslines, Oct 10, 2013.

  1. tastybasslines

    tastybasslines Banned

    May 9, 2010
    Los Angeles, CA
    I'm about to pull the trigger on an amp for my pair of Aggie DB 112's. Here is my question:

    If you have a cab(s) that are rated at about half the peak wattage of your amp, you are obviously going to be able to drive it well. But what happens if you are unable crank the amp and want to play it at low volumes? Are you able to get a good sound at very low volumes or do you need to generally push the amp volume knob past a certain point in order to get *that* ideal sound? Do you need to push the output of the amp into a specific territory or will it perform as well at a lower (very low) level?

    All things being equal, would an amp generally sound better pushed but not maxed, or a much higher power amp set at a lower level?

    I only play out at temple once a week or less and would use the amp at home more until I get practicing/playing out with my band.
  2. I'm sure it depends on the amp and speakers. When you have an amp turned up you are taking advantage of its dynamic range, and also have a higher signal to noise ratio which will make things sound better. In my experience with bass cabs, they need a certain amount of wattage to move some air in order to sound like they were designed to. Sometimes the sound guy will tell me to turn my rig down but I don't want to because it changes my tone for the worse. There seems to be a sweet spot with my megoliath to where if I don't have enough power being delivered it doesn't have the punch that I like.

    Don't ever go by peak ratings. Always RMS! Ideally you want your total speaker wattage rated higher than the RMS rating of the power amp to prevent damage in the case that you turn it up past the level that the speakers can handle. You can even blow speakers that are rated higher than a power amp. Megoliath is rated 1200 watts RMS power handling but I can make them exceed their maximum excursion with 500 watts.
  3. tastybasslines

    tastybasslines Banned

    May 9, 2010
    Los Angeles, CA
    The amp I am looking at is 900w at 4ohms 500w at 8. I'll be using 2, 300W 8 ohms cabs. Would I likely reach that sweet spot you are describing? Do you see anything wrong with that setup or would less power be ok?
  4. 2 300W 8 ohm cabs in parallel will yield a 600W, 4 ohm total rating. Your amplifier exceeds that if the 900W rating is RMS. If it is peak then the RMS would be ~640 watts. 640 would probably work fine if you keep in mind that cranking it may damage the speakers but I think you would notice them farting out first. A 300-400 watt RMS amp should be plenty to push those speakers. Or you can get a bass preamp and stereo power amp that does say 1000 watts bridged mono into 4 ohms but run it stereo which would be more like 200 watts per channel into 8 ohms, depending on the amp. That way if you wanted to add more speakers later you won't have to buy a new amp.
  5. You haven't told us what it is but it's obviously solid-state. Very generally speaking, solid-state amps sound more or less the same from minimum to max output, with certain notable exceptions. What you're asking about is more of a tube amp thing.
  6. tastybasslines

    tastybasslines Banned

    May 9, 2010
    Los Angeles, CA
    I see, thanks.
  7. DriesG


    Feb 27, 2009
    Gent (Belgium)
    Hey tastybasslines,

    Maybe not totally about what you asked, but I've got two DB112's, a DB751 and a TH500. The DB751 is just incredible at any volume. The TH500 sounds really good for such a small amp and can get very loud if you push it. The drive knob gives plenty of drive if you need it. With the DB751 I use an overdrive or boost pedal if I need more dirt. On most of my gigs I don't need an outrageous stage level, so normally I don't really push the cabs or amp. That being said: the DB751 can go insanely loud :bassist:
  8. To the point just barely cracked on *may* be a tad noisy, unplug the bottom cab. I've never had any problem with 500w (peak) Trace amp at otherwise unamped acoustic sessions.

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