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Volume difference between 20 watts, 30 watts, and 75 watts through a 10-inch speaker?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Bluebard, Apr 21, 2015.

  1. Bluebard


    Oct 21, 2014
    How much difference in volume / sound quality / tone / lows do you guys think there would be between a 20 watt amp (Peavey Max 110), a 75 watt amp (Line 6 Lowdown Studio 110), and a 30 watt amp (Peavey Minx)? All of them have a 10-inch speaker.
    I'm looking to purchase one of these, but I want to make sure that I don't spend a lot on wattage if it doesn't give me a lot more volume, since they all have the same speaker size. The Line 6 is $150, the Max 110 is $85, and I may be able to get the Minx for $100. What do you guys think? do you think the Line 6 could work for small gigs / jams?
    Thanks a lot!
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2015
  2. bebass

    bebass Sho Me Music Commercial User

    Sep 3, 2006
    Bolivar, Missouri
    ShoMeMusic.com; Authorized dealer for Bergantino, Dingwall, Darkglass, Genzler, Phil Jones Bass, Quilter, Blackstar, Cort, Traynor, and other
    You can't look at it that way due to the speaker/cab contributes as much or more to your volume than just upping watts. IMO, if you are looking for something to actually play gigs with save your money up for something better. For a bedroom any off them would probably do - I think I had that 30w Peavey once and it wasn't too bad for what it is.
  3. Yahboy


    May 21, 2008
    I have try the Line 6 studio 110 few year ago, small in size and loud enough , just LACKING some bottom.
    Bluebard likes this.
  4. Assuming identical speakers and cabinets for each combo, the line 6 would be louder by almost 6db, which is a fair amount, chances are the cabinets aren't similar though, so it's hard to tell. I'm sure they're all best as bedroom amps, maybe as good as a coffee House acoustic gig, and they'd keep up with a drummer in a basement jam if you put one on a table or shelf at head level and dime all the levels.
    Bluebard likes this.
  5. Those bass combo amps all use different 10 inch drivers that are installed in 3 different cabinets. There's no telling which driver/cab is more efficient from the available specs. The only way is to try them out. If you are unable to audition these amps, a fairly reliable rule of thumb is that, for a given driver size, the larger the cab allows either deeper bass, greater efficiency or a little more of each.

    A large diameter driver in a low cost combo is just the manufacturer trying to sell the amp based on the larger driver, which of course cannot cost significantly more than the smaller drivers used by responsible competitors - don't fall for it.

    Keep in mind that, in a given price range, a manufacturer has a limited budget. Your basic needs are a cab, driver and amp. Any additional features are paid for by a reduction in the budget for the 'basics'. So, to get the most amp for your money, avoid non-essential extras.

    in the $100 area you are better off getting a combo with a good quality 8 inch driver. Good quality 10's come in around $200. You can get a lot more capability buying used.
    kwaping and Bluebard like this.
  6. Since this is obviously not a gig amp, practice amp nor jam amp I recommend whichever has the best sound quality as opposed to volume.
    For bedroom amps your number one priority is tone and quality of sound. I'd see if you can try them all out and go with whichever sounds the most pleasing as opposed to whichever is the loudest.

    To answer your question directly though it is true that it depends a great deal on the type of driver and the enclosure in question.

    Line 6 is a decent company though and I imagine their 75 watt 10" offering will be louder than either the 20 watt or 30 watt peaveys. In general watts do correlate to output but not always. Unfortunately 75 watts through 10" is not capable of keeping up with a live drummer.

    Most of TB agrees the minimum to jam with a drummer is 100 watts and 15" but on a cheaper or even just a budget amp this will be well into less than pleasing distortion territory.

    It is hard to judge sound quality and tone based soley off the speaker size and the amp power. That probably needs to be done in person, especially with little bedroom combos that most of TB is unfamiliar with!

    Good luck, and when in doubt go for tone not watts!
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2015
    shawshank72 and Bluebard like this.
  7. SBsoundguy


    Sep 2, 2011
    Los Angeles
    Unless the drummer you're gigging/jamming with plays a cajon then all of those choices won't cut it in a jam or live environment.
    kwaping and pie_man_25 like this.
  8. BazzTard

    BazzTard Banned

    only if you're gonna be playing with a lone harmonica player.

    If you're playing with a drummer and one other gui****, you'll need 150w minimum, maybe 100w if it's a good cab.
  9. hbarcat

    hbarcat Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2006
    Rochelle, Illinois
    The practical limit for little practice amps like you're describing is a small jam or cafe setting where the other instruments are very quiet. Add a typical electric guitar and drummer and you will be all but drowned out.

    On the other hand if you're playing with PA support you should be fine by using the amp's line out only. In which case you're better off buying only a bass pre-amp and using a separate monitor.
  10. Practice amps are not for gigging with anything else that's powered. I don't think you are in the realm of lining out to PA monitors.
  11. wcriley


    Apr 5, 2010
    Western PA
    Threads like this one always make me wonder how us old timers could have possibly gotten by with our 40/50 watt Bassman amps.
    Granted, we had larger/more speakers, but still...
  12. And those speakers were not 'Fear' based either! :)

    Perhaps the volume levels were a bit lower...
  13. mbelue


    Dec 11, 2010
    All three are useless for gigs or jamming.
  14. Bluebard


    Oct 21, 2014
    Thanks everyone for your responses! Very helpful, I appreciate it!
  15. bebass

    bebass Sho Me Music Commercial User

    Sep 3, 2006
    Bolivar, Missouri
    ShoMeMusic.com; Authorized dealer for Bergantino, Dingwall, Darkglass, Genzler, Phil Jones Bass, Quilter, Blackstar, Cort, Traynor, and other
    We made up for it with the cabs with multiple speakers. I remember I had a Yamaha 100 w head with a Yamaha dual 15 speaker and it was LOUD. The port was an attempt at horn approximation. I also built a very large horn with 15" speaker. That thing was so efficient that any of the amps listed above would hurt your ears when run through it.
  16. friendlybass


    Jul 19, 2012
    Love me some line6 stuff, but save up your pennies a little longer and you can get an amp you probably won't have to replace for a while, ie fender rumble, used old school beefy combo, tc electronic, gk, I know times are tough though, so of the three I'd pick the line 6
  17. Gravedigger Dav

    Gravedigger Dav Supporting Member

    Mar 13, 2014
    Fort Worth, Texas
    Funny. Have watts reduced over that last 50 years? We all gigged with fewer than that. The original Fender Twin as 25W and the Bassman was 26W. I gigged for a few years with a Silvertone 1484 2x12 that was 23W.
    Cajon had a differen meaning back then. We played average size clubs with 2 guitars, drummer, tenor sax, and bass.
    No, we couldn't melt hearing aids at 50 yard, but we could be heard.
    So I would say that for a small gig or a rehearsal, it would be fine provided your guitar player(s) are using similar size amps.
    And, the audience will appreciate being able to carry on a conversation.
    Bluebard likes this.
  18. Ratings procedures have changed, and in the past more speakers were used. Simple as that.
  19. Gravedigger Dav

    Gravedigger Dav Supporting Member

    Mar 13, 2014
    Fort Worth, Texas
    True enough on more speakers, but could you expand on the difference in rating procedures. I would be interested in knowing that, thanks.
  20. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2006
    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    fEARful Kool-Aid dispensing liberal academic card-carrying union member Musicians Local 72-147
    In theory, very little difference in loudness between what 20, 30, and 75 watts can produce, but that is not taking onto account the speaker/enclosure performance and sensitivity, as well as the amount of distortion in the amplifier as it reaches it's maximum output.

    Bottom line is that only direct experience can really tell you for certain.

    In theory, to double the actual loudness, you need 10 times (yes 10x!) the power. Thus, 100 watts is the potentially twice as loud as 10, and 1000 twice 100. Really. 1000 watts is not so much, it is only "twice" 100 watts.

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