Underpowered?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Flanders, Sep 22, 2003.


  1. Obsolex

    Obsolex Guest

    Nov 17, 2002
    Sorry man, but he don't need 3,400 watts... Is it possible that you can could you run through a PA??
     
  2. Stu L.

    Stu L.

    Nov 27, 2001
    Corsicana, Texas
    Munji, don't you think a few 15"'s would work just as well ;)
     
  3. You'd be surprised what a little EQ can do. Back off the lowest freqs, and boost the hell out of the 100-200 Hz midbass range. That's where your sound is. The 30-100 Hz range will eat about 300 of your 350 watts without being heard. With all 350 watts in that midbass frequency range, they won't know what hit'em.
     
  4. Petebass

    Petebass

    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    Amen, except I would have said 100-300Hz. It's a taste thing I guess.

    This is doubly true if you have a PA taking all the sub 100Hz frequencies for you.
     
  5. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Retired Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    You're taunting me, aren't you. Don't deny it, I can hear it in your voice. You're taunting me and I know it. I know. I know.
     
  6. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Retired Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    That said, you do need at least 1,000 watts to compete with 300 watts of guitars. The conservative rule of thumb is four times the guitar power for bass. That means that even my WT-800 suggestion is going to put you on the wimpy side.
     
  7. aladdin

    aladdin

    Mar 7, 2003
    Chiba, Japan
    Quote:

    Just get a PIPE ORGAN!

    You'll go down to sub-20 Hz range (something like 18 or 19 Hz. IIRC), where no string instrument that I can think of can reach.


    Nope...No string instruments... but the Contra Bass Bassoon can! Just a little trivia for y'all.

    And all this talk about megawatts... I remember in college running an old pair of Klipschorn speakers with about 10 watts per channel and getting 140dB spl (1m) levels outa the things! Don't try that at home kids...

    Okay.. the backinmyday story over....we now return you to your regularly scheduled program.

    -Aladdin
     
  8. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Come on guys, let's get serious. The man asked a serious question and he deserves a straightforward reply.
    <br>
    Here's my 2c worth:
    <br>
    The "minimum" power for a respectable solid state bass amp is one kilowatt. That would roughly correspond to about 300 honest tube watts, which should put you in the ballpark with the Marshalls and a loud drummer.
    <br>
    SWR gear in particular is usually slightly overrated, so for example a 350 will probably generate about 250 "honest" solid state watts, which is nowhere near enough to get you heard in the situation you described. I use an SWR 750 with two 15" Bag End cabs (total power output about 850 watts RMS), and it's usually been enough to get me heard over a Twin and a loud rock drummer, but sometimes it's right on the hairy edge at an especially loud gigg.
    <br>
    What I would recommend, is start building up your gear one speaker at a time. That's the "sad but true" about bass playing, if you need to get heard you're going to need to push "lots" of air, which means you'll need some big cabs. IMHO a 4x10 isn't going to cut it in the situation you described, you'll probably need 15's or even 18's.
    <br>
    If you need more power, you can always run your line out either into the PA (not the preferred method, personally I never do this except at the largest concert-type gigs), or into an outboard power amp (that's what I do for "most" club gigs, usually I'll use either a Carvin DCM-2000 or a Stewart World 2.1, either of which will deliver around 2 kw into 4 ohms).
    <br>
    And yes, EQ is important, but there's usually no need to boost anything (especially the low mids, which can give you a really muddy and unpleasant sound). How I usually do it is to turn DOWN anything below 50 Hz or so, and then crank the volume a little more.
    <br>
    Fear not, some combination of the above will definitely get you heard. Also I'd recommend some earplugs :):):)
     
  9. First of all: get them to turn down.
    Otherwise follow some of the excellent advice already given and fiddle with your EQ and/or get some more equipment. But get them to turn down until you get it!!

    If all else fails threaten to quit the band. If they say 'You won't do it!' put your money where your mouth is.
    And if they don't want you to come back you were never really in the band anyway.
    Real friends listen to eachother. That's what this is about, not Watts, speaker cabs or EQ's.

    EZ
     
  10. redneck2wild

    redneck2wild

    Nov 27, 2002
    Memphis, TN
    Are you tuned down to C also Flanders?

    What type of Cabinets are the guitarists playing through? Are they 4x12 cabs?

    Most guitar 4x12 cabs are very efficient - they have a very high sensitivity.
    Chances are you will need both more power and additional speakers to match the same volume of the guitars.

    If you want to know how loud the guitarists are now, you might get a sound meter.
    Here is the model I use from Radioshack:
    http://www.radioshack.com/product.a..._name=CTLG_007_002_014_000&product_id=33-2055

    I think some radioshack stores carry cheaper models also.
    With a sound meter, you can determine how loud each guitarist is, how loud the drummer is and how loud you currently are. It could be helpful in determining what you need in the speaker/power area. If you can only put out 95dbs at your low C then you may need an additional cabinet that produces that frequency better.

    You can use a soundmeter to "prove" that they are too loud and have them turn down. They are also helpful when guitars start the volume war - one turns up - the other turns up to match - the first turns up again and so on. You can take a measurement at the beginning of practice, and then later when they start turning up to show that they are in fact getting louder.

    If you must have the deep lows then you might look at PA subs with 18's. Larger cabinets and drivers tend to produce lower frequecies. If you are tuned an octave lower than the guitars then that lowest octave may be the only area that they are not playing in.
     
  11. peatea

    peatea

    Sep 26, 2003
    chicago
    Last year I played several gigs with a 350 silver face SWR and 8 ohm 4X10 cabinet. My band is loud and I was always on the edge of clipping. Even with a second 8 ohm cabinet it was underpowered. It is a great amp but it is not loud enough to use with loud groups. I also play a guitar and have two Marshall stacks. A JCM 900 50 watt dual reverb and a JCM MK 2 100 watt. The 50 watt is not loud enough for a loud band but the 100 watter will destroy eardrums and it is dangerous to use at high volumes. Marshall never made a 150 watt tube amp that I know of. They did make a Master Lead that was 200 watts but they are usless unless you are playing in a stadium with 100,000 people and no PA. If the guys in your band are cranking 100 watt Marshall's you won't have much of an audience. They are painfully loud.

    Back to a bass amp.
    I would switch to a power amp that is rated at double the wattage that your speakers are rated at. Look for the bridged mono wattage at what ever ohmage your speakers total.

    Pt
     
  12. monkfill

    monkfill

    Jan 1, 2003
    Kansas City
    I used to have a 350x.

    Step 1 is to turn the Aural Enhancer down, if not all the way off. Set all the controls on the head flat. See if this gets you a little closer to actually being heard. Then push your midrange up, probably around 200 Hz. You're not going to have a beefy low end here, but maybe you'll be able to hear what you're playing.

    Make sure that your gain clipping red LED isn't flashing. But, in my experience, if the green limiter LED is flashing, you aren't hurting anything. Yeah, it means you could use some more power, but I don't think you need to worry too much about it if it isn't on constantly.

    Sit the guitar players down and talk with them about how to EQ their amps when they play in a band. They shouldn't have their bass cranked or even boosted at all. And consider that it really isn't worth it to be in a band where you're constantly frustrated over the volume issue. You're supposed to be having fun.

    Ultimately, you'll probably want to get more power and more speaker area. This will make you better prepared to handle whatever situation you might encounter. But, keep in mind there really isn't much you can do to keep up with these tools in your band if they insist on playing so loud.
     
  13. Heh, heh, nonsense. Do you want me to explain why that would defeat the laws of physics?

    With 2x10 watts into 2 VERY efficient speakers, you can get at most 120 dB. Environmental influences may add 5 more dB to that but that's it. 125 dB. That's an educated estimate.

    140 dB is 32 times that.

    Careful with decibels. Not only for ear protection.

    :D All in good fun. I'm just messin' with ya.
     
  14. Hollow Man

    Hollow Man Supporting Member

    Apr 28, 2003
    Springfield, VA
    I'm gonna second (or third, or whatever we're up to) the upgrading-to-power-amp suggestion. Another cab will free up more of those 350 SWR-watts, but even that likely won't stand up in a particularly rockin' gig. And since those blasted six-stringers are tuning to drop-C, you're likely gonna be needing some extra power in the low frequencies. I'd look to devote funds to a good power amp with at least 1200 watts, or you can Munji-size your life and go for a crisp 3 trillion watts. Personally, I think he's right. With that kind of power, you'll never have to question your rig.


    ...And get a 15".
     
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