Dismiss Notice

Psst... Ready to join TalkBass and start posting, make new friends, sell your gear, and more?  Register your free account in 30 seconds.

Wattage Importantness

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by semborg, Mar 29, 2005.


  1. How important is it to have much wattage?
    Is 500 watt WAY more powerful than 100 watt?
     
  2. Way more? No.
    Enough to make all the difference? You betcha.
     
  3. Aenema

    Aenema

    Apr 18, 2001
    Michigan
    are you talking about a cabs power rating or a heads power output?
     
  4. A 50 watt amp is twice as loud as a 5 watt amp, a 500 watt amp is twice as loud as a 50 watt amp. There's a lot of physics involved, but that's the bottom line.
     
  5. I am talking about the AMP.
    But will more wattage result in a clearer tone at higher volumes?
     
  6. billfitzmaurice

    billfitzmaurice Commercial User

    Sep 15, 2004
    New Hampshire
    Owner, Bill Fitzmaurice Loudspeaker Design
    Not necessarily. How loud/clean you can go is 90% determined by your speakers. Amp power is only significant if it's insufficient to drive your speakers to the volume that they are capable of operating at.
     
  7. Selta

    Selta

    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    Wow dude... you need to learn to use the search ;).
    When you get into the huge amps of 500W+, then mostly you're just talking headroom - which is your 2nd best friend (your best friend is MIDS!). Always just be sure to have good cabs, or else no matter how much wattage ya got, it'll sound like ass.

    Ray
     
  8. pickles

    pickles Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    Doubling power gives 3db more output until you reach the power handling of the speakers. 2-3db is the smallest increment of volume increase that most people can hear.
     
  9. Joe Beets

    Joe Beets Guest

    Nov 21, 2004
    All those numbers can be confusing. What is more important is the threshold of farting. If you have a 500 watt amp you will be able to keep up with one or maybe two small guitar combo amps with only occasional farting on the loud notes. If you have a 50 watt amp you will hear constant farting on every note. Unless, of course, you are backing up some folk singers. The 500 watt amp will reach its threshold of farting at 300-350 watts depending on how much low boost you use and how hard you thump on your bass. The 50 watt amp will reach farting power as soon as you turn it on. :eek: :rolleyes:
     
  10. Selta

    Selta

    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    How do you get this at all? I just stopped using a 120W/1x12 combo for my band... 80s metal (metallica, Iced Earth, Maiden, Priest, Queensryche) and it NEVER farted out on me. Even when I'd slam a low B, it gave true tone, not a problem, at high volume. Maybe you had a bad expirence, but your logic doesn't seem to hold much ground, IMO & IME.

    Ray
     
  11. Joe Beets

    Joe Beets Guest

    Nov 21, 2004
    What kind of compressor are you running??? :eyebrow:
     
  12. Selta

    Selta

    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    Zero FX, just a volume pedal.

    Ray
     
  13. Selta

    Selta

    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    And for further proof, I currently run a Peavey T-Max head into a 1x15 Ashdown MAG cab. EQ flat -switchable to the classic smiley-face EQ, tube pre at 6, post at 4.5 and master at 1 (practice) and 3 (gigs), and again, same band, same high volume, no problem. I'm putting I think 280W into the cab. What do my guitarist use? Randall 100W 2x12 and a Line 6 125W 4x12. It's 80s metal, so you know how that's played.

    Ray
     
  14. pickles

    pickles Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    Do you have the amp strapped to your head like headphones? :ninja:

    Just kidding ... I played in a simmilar band in high school using a peavey 150w 1x15, and it was always "not quite loud enough" as long as I was within 3 or 4 feet of the cab. Outside of that circle it was gone. The audience was hearing a lot more cymbal and guitar than bass, I can assure you. I was always really bummed on it, then I got an SWR SM-400 and a 4x10 (so about +6db from the old rig) and found that I could finally hear the bass the way I liked all over the room.

    If you're digging what you've got then great, and the important thing to remember is that 400 watts is only "barely noticably" louder than 200 ... so by the time you've got a 100w amp you are most of the way along the log curve.
     
  15. Aenema

    Aenema

    Apr 18, 2001
    Michigan
    generally yes. its what us bass player like to call "head room". assuming both heads are solid state... a 500 watt head will sound better at high volume then a 100 watt head. the 100 watt head cranked up will clip and could damage the speakers. the volume knob on the 500 watt head will not have to be turned up nearly as much as the 100 watt head to acheive the same volume.
     
  16. lowphatbass

    lowphatbass ****

    Feb 25, 2005
    west coast
    Without sacraficing quality, buy the biggest(highest wattage) amp you can within reason. Better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it. I think this can pay off over time for two reasons. #1-your equipment will last longer. #2-you're need to upgrade(sell and buy something bigger)will be less frequent.
     
  17. ras1983

    ras1983

    Dec 28, 2004
    Sydney, Australia
    Don't get caught up with numbers. there are many important factors relating to an amps power handling. for a theoretical example, a $100 1000 watt rms amp would most likely be a poor class of power (probably class c, or some other crap class). but a $500 200 watt amp would have better components, a better class (class d for efficiency or class a for the best sound reproduction) and so it will give a much better signal than the cheaper amp. therefore, USUALLY the more expensive but technically superior amp will provide far less farting and probably similiar sound levels due to its greater efficency and superior components, just like RAY SALAMON's 1x12 combo.

    For example, think of car audio. Many of my freinds had cheap amps and subs rated at massive wattages (400w+ rms) but would fart constantly. then they got MUCH better built and obviously more expensive subs and amps rated at only 1/3 the power, but thumped and were CRYSTAL CLEAR at all amplitudes.

    this is EXACTLY the same for any driver/cab.

    BOTTOM line, test the amps and the cabs in the future, and pick the one that you feel is the most efficient, well designed and well built FOR THE PRICE.

    MORE WATTS DOES NOT MEAN BETTER SOUND QUALITY!!!!!!

    Better build and better efficiency means better sound quality at high amplitude.
     
  18. popinfresh

    popinfresh

    Dec 23, 2004
    Melbourne, Aus
    Just remember, watts does NOT = volume. dB does!
    There are many factors on volume, including what speakers you run it with (And their sensitivity).
    I own a 300 watt amp now, it's barely loud. A Mesa 360 (300 or 360 watt) is about 3 times as loud as my amp using the same speakers.
     
  19. Stolen from member 'Joe Beets'

    What is more important is the threshold of farting.

    I love it.I gotta steal it. :bag:
     
  20. Joe Beets

    Joe Beets Guest

    Nov 21, 2004
    It's always fun to hear from bass players who play in a heavy metal rock band and use a combo amp. All I can say is your drummer must have a very sensitive and tastefull style. And your guitar players are truly rare and exceptional musicians to control their stage volume so well. You are very lucky. On the other hand, I haven't left the house without at least 1000 watts for thirty years. Unless it was for a hotel-room rehearsal or maybe for one of those "special jobs" like backing up some folk singers. I've always had enough headroom to never worry about TOF. But if TOF hits you because you are short on watts you will sound like crap and everyone will hear it. Avoid the heartbreak of TOF (Threshold of Farting) by always having plenty of power. I use a Stewart 1.2 with a PLX3002 for emergency backup. It will work for you too. ;) :smug: :D