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what is the minimum wattage to have decent sound in an auditorium?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by mastadulog, Jan 20, 2003.


  1. mastadulog

    mastadulog

    Jan 13, 2003
    NYC fo sheezy
    i have a school talent show coming up in a couple of months. i was just wondering whats the minimum wattage i would need to fill a high school auditorium. i was thinking about getting an ampeg ba115 but would this be enough to provide?
     
  2. That depends on at least two things:

    #1 What kind of music are you playin'

    #2 How good are you
     
  3. BassWizard55

    BassWizard55 Guest

    Dec 21, 2002
    Rome, Ga
    If you are playing with drums, I'd say at least 250 watts.
     
  4. BassWizard55

    BassWizard55 Guest

    Dec 21, 2002
    Rome, Ga
    But I'd borrow someone else's amp for the show, and save up at least $1,000 and buy a really good amp.
     
  5. redneck2wild

    redneck2wild

    Nov 27, 2002
    Memphis, TN
    I think your amp choice depends on:
    1) what type of music you play,
    2) who you play with,
    3) and type of sound you want.

    For example:
    1) If you play metal you may need more power than if you play country.
    2) If you play with 2 guitarists each with Marshall full stacks you will probably need a larger rig than if you play with a single guitarist with a small combo amp.
    3) If you like a deep bass tone (or have a 5 or 6 string bass and use the lowest notes frequently) you may need more power than if you like a more midrange tone.

    If you are playing with a single guitarist in a rock band you probably need 2 to 4 times the power. If it is Metal band then I would say 3 to 5 times the power. In both cases you will also probably need 1.5 to 2 times the speaker surface area of the guitarist. Low Bass frequencies require more speaker surface area to produce (even though cabinet specs also makes a big difference).
    If there is more than one guitarist then add them together.
    A quick and dirty method for speaker surface area:
    1.5 10" speakers = 1 12" speaker
    2 12" speakers = 1 15" speaker
    2 15" speakers = 1 18" speaker
    Note that Speakers are conical so a larger speaker is deeper as well as larger in diameter. Also Guitar 12" speakers tend to be shallower than PA or Bass speakers. I tried to take this into account above.

    So if you have a guitarist with a single 12" cab with 50w of power, a 4x10 cab or a 1x15 cab would be more than capable with 200w power. If the guitarist has a 4x12" cab with 100W of power, you would want a minimum of 300W of power (with 500W being better) and a minimum of 2 cabinets (maybe one 4x10 and 1x15) or maybe 1 8x10 cabinet.
     
  6. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
  7. Check to see if the school will be providing a PA. We always miked our amps for shows. If so, then you won't need a powerful amp.
     
  8. Matthias

    Matthias

    May 30, 2000
    Vienna, Austria
    It also depends on how loud you are allowed to play ;)

    The BA-115 is a nice amp and it can be enough if you have PA support and/or are not playing too loud.

    You could also check what kind of amps the other bassits are going to use and what kind of amps have been used last year.
     
  9. wulf

    wulf

    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    Something else not mentioned yet - what size is the room? The larger the space, the more air you need to push (roughly speaking, power * cone area) to sound 'loud'.

    Also, how many people do you expect and are they likely to be sitting quietly or moshing around?

    It might be worth finding some people who've done similar things at your school before. What did they use, and what was their experience?

    Questions, questions, questions.... but when it comes down to it, you're the one who's going to find the answer :cool:

    Wulf
     
  10. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Most cheap PAs can't really handle bass, as such and are only really meant for mics and vocals. You can't always rely on the PA.
     
  11. There are so many factors to consider that I don't think anyone can really give you a meaningful answer without more information. Are you playing death metal or polka music? Has your band played out enough to get anykind of balance? Howmany people does the auditorium seat? In any case with 250 watts and a good efficient 4x10 or 2x15 cab, you should be OK.
     
  12. mastadulog

    mastadulog

    Jan 13, 2003
    NYC fo sheezy
    Thanks for the reply guys. All the info is really useful. Now, the music we play is generally heavy, ranging from Pantera to Deftones. Theres 2 guitarists in the band that play through Line 6 Spiders.

    Now there's this guy I just talked to last night who's selling his Hartke 3500 with with a 410XL for 350. Is this a good deal?
     
  13. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    350 what?

    Beans, then I'd say yes!! :D
     
  14. mastadulog

    mastadulog

    Jan 13, 2003
    NYC fo sheezy
    if thats the nickname for dollars, then yes..........
     
  15. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    It's a very good deal.
     
  16. jokerjkny

    jokerjkny

    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PA
    I just get enough wattage to be able to hear myself on stage over whatever din i'm working in. i let the PA handle the rest of the crowd. :D

    sounds simple, but that's cause it is. ;)
     
  17. If it is in decent shape and good working order, JUMP ON IT!:eek:
     
  18. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    It's only simple, if you can gaurantee having a decent PA. Some of the PAs I've been presented with, distorted at the first hint of bass!! :rolleyes:
     
  19. Have to agree with this one. Unless you dealing with a known quantity you'd better prepare for the worst. It has been my experence that if the PA is not at least a bi-amped system, adding bass will compromise the vocals.
     
  20. mastadulog

    mastadulog

    Jan 13, 2003
    NYC fo sheezy
    it turns out the head is missing a knob. thats no problem for me. but the only worry is he says the side of the cab has been scratched by his cat. i was thinking of just getting the head for 200. is that the wise decision?