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Tube watts vs Solid State watts

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Clark W, Mar 12, 2019.


  1. Clark W

    Clark W Supporting Member

    Aug 26, 2018
    Is there a difference in how loud a tube watt is vs a solid state watt?

    Or....

    Why is it a guitar player can bring a 30 watt single 12 combo up on stage, barely turn up the volume and be loud as heck vs a bass rig?

    I guess what I'm asking is what is going on between not only tube vs solid state, but even more so between guitar vs bass heads as far as loudness?

    Why does a bass player need a 300 watt head when a guitar player can get by with only a 100 watt head? Does the frequency spectrum the instruments cover have a hand in this?
     
    ccfalkner and Stephen Davis like this.
  2. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    the Cali Intergalctic Mind Space
    Song Surgeon slow downer software- full 4 hour demo
    Guitarists play the treble, bassists play the venue.
     
  3. byacey

    byacey

    May 16, 2008
    Alberta, Canada
    I get the impression you're the kind of guy that likes to walk around with a stick, and whack every hornet nest you come across...:laugh:

    If you do a quick search, this has been discussed to death on more than a few different threads.
     
  4. Clark W

    Clark W Supporting Member

    Aug 26, 2018
    Well there's no such thing as a quick search on this site. Most of the time I wind up with a bunch of threads that are posted in the For Sale section. Or maybe, it's cause the only decent thread I ran across about it is from 2014 and I would like to have a discussion about it with people currently and not a thread that has been inactive over the last 5 years that no one even pays any attention to anymore. Excuse the fk out of me for asking.

    But since you decided to pounce I went and used Google and got the answer I was looking for instead of worrying about getting it here or being able to discuss it with someone who is more knowledgeable about it than myself. Have a nice day!
     
    dpbass66, Mike H, GreyMark and 33 others like this.
  5. Coolhandjjl

    Coolhandjjl Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2010
    Appleton
    25 watts at a guitar’s frequency range is insanely loud.

    25 watts at a bass’s frequency range is not loud at all. Won’t even bother your neighbors.

    Reason is is that it takes a lot more power to drive a speaker cone to the excursions necessary to create those bass frequencies. A lot more power. Some say at least 10X the watts. Probably more.

    You can use Google search to research the tubes vs solid state thing. Probably will get a lot of listings to your query from here
     
  6. Clark W

    Clark W Supporting Member

    Aug 26, 2018
    That's what I'm slowly finding out. Found one person online who recommends at least 3x more power for bass than guitar. But I'll take the 10x figure. One can always roll off the volume knob if they need too :D

    thanks for the response
     
  7. My guitar player runs 22 watts, I run 180 watts, both all tube. Works pretty well. I would need way more wattage if I was running solid state......
     
    Monterey Bay-ss likes this.
  8. Clark W

    Clark W Supporting Member

    Aug 26, 2018
    Now that's another question, why?
    What's going on between tube bass amp wattage and solid state bass amp wattage?
    Are the tube amps underrated and actually putting out more than rated?
    Are the solid states overrated and actually putting out less than rated?
    Or both?

    But there is a difference for sure.
     
    SactoBass likes this.
  9.  
  10. That is recycled from another thread. It could be used almost daily around here.
     
    Greyvagabond and Clark W like this.
  11. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    the Cali Intergalctic Mind Space
    Song Surgeon slow downer software- full 4 hour demo
    There's also how many speakers you play through that makes a difference. When you move more air you make more sound.:thumbsup:
     
  12. cheers.
     
    Nashrakh and Clark W like this.
  13. Mingo Sanders

    Mingo Sanders

    Mar 11, 2008
    Austin, TX
    Tube watts have more weight, heft, mass, impact, and "oomph." You will "feel" it. Solid state watts are louder and have more sound grams. All your base
     
    PillO, QRanc, Burwabit and 1 other person like this.
  14. Clark W

    Clark W Supporting Member

    Aug 26, 2018
    Yep, I guess in the end it all comes down to how much air you're moving. One of the reasons I'm gassing for an extension cab. Don't really need it for my current gigging situation.

    On the one hand with two gigs I do, I was told if I got the extension cab, don't bring it. And another gig I do, I was told if I got it, bring it, because it would make my bass sound fuller, just cut back on the volume some to compensate and not play over everybody.

    All three gigs are very similar in volume, gear, and types of music. But the two in charge of those gigs have very differing opinions on what is needed and not needed. The one who says don't bring it is in charge of the gigs at the two bigger venues, and the one who says bring it is in charge of the smaller venue gig. Go figure...
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2019
  15. pht2356

    pht2356

    Apr 28, 2018
    Los Angeles
    If it's too loud you can always turn down, if not loud enough your *#@^ed
     
  16. Wasnex

    Wasnex

    Dec 25, 2011
    A watt is a watt. I have close to 30 amps ranging in power from 12.5 watts to 2,500 watts. The volume they produce is pretty consistent with their power rating. However, many of the tube amps do not actually make their full power before they begin to distort. I have one 200W amp that really only makes about 120W clean and another that makes about 165W. Even the iconic SVT with is supposed to make 300W at 3% THD per the factory service manual typically only makes about 265W at 5% THD. My 380W solid state GK amps will easily play clean louder than both of my SVTs pushed into heavy distortion. For this comparison I used the same exact speakers with the SVTs and GK.

    Playing guitar through one of my 100W Marshall full stacks cranked will easily bury any of my all tubes amps played with bass...and I have several all tube amps rated for 400W. I suspect playing guitar through my Vox AC30 and pair of Celestion Blues would also bury any of my all tube bass amps. The issue here is bass requires a lot more power than guitar to have the same perceived volume.

    I am pretty sure my amps with over 1KW of power and a large efficient speaker can go toe to toe with my Marshalls.

    Click the thumbnail...this rig makes 1,800W. Epifani UL902C and four Genz Benz 1288T Uber Quads.

    Quad of Quads.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2019
  17. Clark W

    Clark W Supporting Member

    Aug 26, 2018
    Alright, you're not helping my addiction any :laugh:
    But a what a beautiful sight that stack is.
    I think with that you shouldn't have any problems going toe to toe with anybody.

    On a more serious note, yeah what you said about the distortion and break up makes sense too, a lot of sense that I never thought about. There's just so many friggin variables to power vs air moving vs sound.
     
    tb4sbp and Wasnex like this.
  18. Clark W

    Clark W Supporting Member

    Aug 26, 2018
    Amen to that.
     
  19. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    the Cali Intergalctic Mind Space
    Song Surgeon slow downer software- full 4 hour demo
    You can use the second cab as a stand to your amp/cab to get it closer to your ears.

    Also, if you go wireless you can go FOH to hear how you sit in the mix.
     
  20. Clark W

    Clark W Supporting Member

    Aug 26, 2018
    I'm using a stand now. It makes a difference for sure, especially since two of the stages I play on are two tiered with upper & lower sections, and have a lot of hollow space under them. Before getting the cab up off the stage I was having to eq bass out of the sound. Now with it up off the stage I'm actually eq'ing it in. And like you said, it gets the sound closer to my ear level.

    Going wireless is another "must" on my list of things to do this year for the very reason you stated.
     
    Rocker47 likes this.

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