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watts vs speakers

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by kingnothing52, Sep 27, 2013.

  1. ok guys I am new to the bass thing and im trying to figure out exactly what to do about getting my amp set up. i have been playing guitar for 14 years and have a pretty decent set up there (crate blue voodoo 120 watt all tube).

    i have been doing alot of reading on here where people say you need about 3x to 5x the amount of wattage to push a good bass sound. which would put me some where between a 300 and 600 watt amp.

    now heres the kicker. will a 300 watt amp with a 2x10 speaker cab work for a small gig/band practice or do i need a
    4x10, or will a bigger head compensate if i was to stick with a 210 cab.

    the gear im currently looking at is the hartke lh500 or the ampeg pf350 with the peavey headliner 2x10 or 4x10.

    i know that was long winded thanks in advance for your post/comments back
  2. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Welcome to TalkBass! At the top of the amps section, you'll find a "sticky" thread or two with more information than you can digest about amps, speakers, and how they all work together.

    That being said, with the information given I will simply advise this. Always opt for the larger cab if you play live with any louder volume ranges. With the choices given, I would go for the Ampeg and the 4-10. Get an 8ohm 4-10 so that if your needs ever change you can add another just like it and not drop below common amp ohm ratings.

    Don't worry about the whole "underpowering speakers" thing. I power an 800W 4-10 with an Ampeg V4 (100W) all the time and it KILLS! Read up in those sticky threads for TONS of info on that.
  3. Watts are not a unit of volume of sound.

    How many watts do you need? Depends on the cab you are using. The cab you are using will be determined by how loud you need to be.
  4. Mr. Foxen

    Mr. Foxen Commercial User

    Jul 24, 2009
    Bristol, UK
    Amp tinkerer at Ampstack
    Need a really expensive 2x10 to deal with much more than 200w.
  5. +1
  6. Russell L

    Russell L

    Mar 5, 2011
    Cayce, SC
    True dat. Generally a smaller cab will have a smaller sound unless the gig is low volume. But there are also many boutique builders like fEARful and Barefaced, for instance, that have smaller cabs that can really put the sound out due to speaker specs and good cab tuning. Ya gotta pay for it, though. That kind of efficiency doesn't come cheap. IMO, it's worth it, though.
  7. 3star2nr


    Jun 2, 2013
    Here's how it works.

    Volume is a function of how much air you can move, more air means louder, therefore more speakers will mean louder.

    More speakers require more energy and therefore will pull more power from the amp.

    300W is pleanty loud and you should be able to cut through the drums and guitar with that provided you arent cranking your guitar amp up past 5. If you plan on playing at 10. then Id go for the 600W amp setup.

    410 in theory are generally louder and can handle more power makes sense right more speakers = more air.

    410 are a very very versatile setup. you can play low volumes and still sound good with them, because 10" drivers are very responsive and you can crank it up and rock the house down cause of the greater volume of air.

    I have an Eden DC210. and Im gonna get another cab, because I cant compete with the volumes of the 410s and my guitarist is clearly deaf
  8. lolwhat?

    No, more speakers do not pull more energy from the amp. In fact more speakers is more efficient so you can get as loud with less power.
  9. will33


    May 22, 2006
    Without getting overly technical....these are generalizatons using typical average to decent quality 10" speakers....not cheap/budget...not expensive highend.

    110 = coffeehouse/acoustic jam.
    210= tame blues trio down at the corner bar.
    410 = rock in the same bar/big enough for most gigs.
    810 = big stages/outdoors playing as loud as you ever should.

    Good 112 can do about what an average 210 does.
    Good 212=average 410
    Good 412=average 810

    115 = about a 210 or 310
    215 = about a 610 or 810

    Figure about 50-100watts per 10" speaker and calculate that for the others.

    Again, these are extreme generalizations and there are a lot of variables, but it's as good a starting point as any for someone new to all this.

    More speakers makes you louder than more power does.

    More speakers + more power gets you a little louder than that.

    These are just very general guidlines for the complete newbie, just so you don't end up spending whatever money you have and then finding yourself shooting spitballs at a gunfight, or hunting rabbits with a bazooka.
  10. thanks for all the input. i noticed that the ampeg pf500 was only 50 dollars more than the hartke i was looking at. so im sure i will go with one of the ampeg heads at the 350 watts or 500.

    any comments on running 2x10 and a 1x15? to get it down to 4 ohms for max power?
  11. Find a single 8 Ohm speaker you like the sound of. Then buy a second identical speaker.
  12. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Again........ this is covered to death in countless threads and in the STICKY posts I referred you to earlier. Seriously, it's all there.

    If you run a 2-10 and 1-15, the power distribution between individual drivers will be off. It is usually best to run either one larger cab (4-10) or two identical other cabs (2-10s or 1-15s).

    This topic (or these topics) usually start another argument among experts here. That is why I suggest you check out the threads that have already covered the topic(s)........ in detail..... like the sticky thread....... that I mentioned earlier.

    I'm not trying to give you a bunch of crap. You just have no idea how these topics can set off a penis measuring contest among physics professors, speaker cab designers, 400 year veterans who have done ALL the things we think are wrong with absolutely perfect results, and a host of others who will get offended way too easily.

    Please, just read the sticky and do a search. Thank you in advance.
  13. Gaolee

    Gaolee Official leathers tester and crash dummy

    My practice amp is a 1x15 combo with about 125 watts of power. That's all it is, but it is plenty loud. I don't think it sounds great, so it never gets out in public, but it is plenty loud to keep up with some very loud guitar players in the practice space. My current rig for playing any venue has a 400 watt power amplifier driving a single 15 with a folded horn. You woudn't expect a single 15 to have near the presence it has, but the folded horn makes a difference.

    The point here is that there are a whole lot of variables beyond the number of watts or the configuration of the speaker.
  14. For getting volume, presence, and depth, more speakers >> more watts.

    If unsure, go with the 4x10.
  15. BbbyBld


    Oct 13, 2005
    Meridian, MS
    I think a good single 8 ohm 410 would be better and will take you a long way. If all of a sudden you're playing large stages and need extra volume/presence, get another identical 410. A stack of 2 good 410's with some power behind them is pretty incredible.
  16. BbbyBld


    Oct 13, 2005
    Meridian, MS
    Wait, I thought that's what forums are for. :p
  17. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Yeah, he's trying to kill all our fun!
  18. basscooker

    basscooker Commercial User

    Apr 11, 2010
    cincy ky
    Owner, ChopShopAmps
    Seems like just about everything has been covered, except for one small detail. I'd advise you to trust the stickies OVER anything any music store salesman says. Also, don't be fooled by low volume gold, either. Things change ALOT at higher volumes. Don't even bother testing something you can't push. If you can't REALLY test it, you don't know what you're REALLY getting. Good luck, and welcome to the forum.
  19. :bassist:

    thanks for all the feedback, got a lot of really good info from you guys that helped a ton. i hope to make my purchase in the next couple of months.
  20. Woah back there big guy, SS amps routinely produce near double power with an additional cab. Efficiency gain is just the better half of the boost. Tube amps make same power into either, gaining volume only from efficiency.

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