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What's the minimum wattage you will buy an amp at?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by A. D. Fairhurst, Jun 23, 2016.

  1. <50

  2. 50-99

  3. 100-149

  4. 150-199

  5. 200-249

  6. 250-299

  7. 300-349

  8. 350-400

  9. 400<

  1. At which point does it become too powerless for you? Please vote now! This is for live application.
  2. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny

    Nov 20, 2000
    I said 50W but that's a tube amp. 200W is about the least I could see being practical for me in a solid state amp.
    40Hz likes this.
  3. 800 watts or GTFO.

  4. jp58


    Dec 9, 2009
    I voted for what I'd buy for bass, which is probably 100 watts if it was tube.

    For guitar, I'm looking at a sub 20 watt tube amp.

    Totally polar opposite.
    A. D. Fairhurst likes this.
  5. two fingers

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

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    20160611_124844.jpg I own and gig an Ashdown LB30 (30W Little Bastard all tube) all the time. I run it into a Euphonic Audio VL-210. With zero distortion it still gets stupid loud.
  6. AstroSonic

    AstroSonic Supporting Member

    Dec 10, 2009
    rural New Mexico
    I like most players, voted and am voicing a preference based on my own needs and experiences. Since my current needs include small venues and no drummer, my 30w tube head with a fairly efficient stack does an outstanding job. However, for rock (with drummer) in an 80 by 150 foot large bar venue, I would prefer at least 100 tube watts or 500 solid state watts into an very efficient cab or stack (where a 'total' sensitivity of 96 db/w/m is generally insufficient).

    For a simplified, basic look at power needs consider that whatever indoor space you are trying to fill with rock music, that the bass does not have a natural tone until the average playing level is above the fletcher-Munson bass knee, around 90 db... in the room, not at 1 meter. You probably want at least a good 20 db of headroom (above 90 db), in-room (110 db total). That means 100 times as much power as it takes to get to 90 db in-room. So, if, for a cab with a 90 db sensitivity, it takes 10w for 90 db in-room, you'll need 100 times that, or 1000w, to get 20 db of headroom. Now, if the cab(s) sensitivity is 100 db/w/m, all I need is 100w. That's why cab sensitivity is SO important. Note that many players prefer closer to 30 db of headroom, which brings the total back to 1000w. Kind of explains why the 800w amps are so popular (another factor being the popularity of light weight, compact, lower efficiency cabs). Room boundaries can be your friend. Placing a cab at the wall-floor junction (where these are minimally flexible), can substantially decrease power needs, shaving several db off the amount of power needed (depends a lot on room geometry).
    rockinb, b-b-b-bass, bmax and 2 others like this.
  7. JohnMCA72


    Feb 4, 2009

    1. How loud does it need to be, how far away?
    2. Can the speaker do that?
    2A. If so, how much power will it require?
    2B. Can the speaker handle it?

    Answer is 2A. If I could get it done for 1 watt, why not?
    PillO likes this.
  8. chaosMK


    May 26, 2005
    Albuquerque, NM
    Too much hip thrust
    OP is asking about live situations.

    With the long term in mind more power is probably the better option.
  9. twinjet

    twinjet Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Sep 23, 2008
    I prefer 350W or higher, solid state.
  10. fretno

    fretno Supporting Member

    May 10, 2009
    Los Angeles
    I snagged a little bastard from a TB'er and that thing pumps bigtime , 30 watts pfff peels paint !
    GrooverMcTube likes this.
  11. Gaolee

    Gaolee Official leathers tester and crash dummy

    It depends. I have a combo that's rated at something like 100 or 125 watts that's plenty powerful enough for most venues. I also have a 250 watt combo that doesn't push near as much air, even with an extension cabinet. The speaker and enclosure make a huge difference. Same with the venue itself.
  12. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    It depends on:

    - kind of music
    - kind of band (too many are stupid loud)
    - kind/size of venue
    - kind of amp (tube v. SS)
    - kind of PA

    But assuming a SS or hybrid head, I think 300 puts you safely in a class of amps that will take care of you.
  13. I shoot for at least 200 watts (solid state). I play with jazz bands and cover bands, and typically we have enough sound gear that I don't need a ton of wattage to keep up with the band on stage.
    Groove Doctor likes this.
  14. arbiterusa


    Sep 24, 2015
    San Diego, CA
    That minimum wattage figure could vary a lot depending on the essential corresponding question: with what cabinet? My answer is going to be a lot different with a 1x15 cab than it would be with an 8x10 SVT. But even with the SVT it's going to be a minimum of 200 watts.
  15. groovaholic

    groovaholic The louder the better.

    Sep 19, 2004
    Mount Prospect, IL
    I would've said 1,000 before I got my GK (700RB-II)...
  16. MegaSwing

    MegaSwing Your Obedient Bassist® Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 26, 2002
    Baltimore, MD USA
    100-200 watts usually make a very giggable, toneful head. IMO, if you go below that, you're usually sacrificing something in usability. Power is the most important tone-shaping element of them all.
  17. Marial

    Marial weapons-grade plum

    Apr 8, 2011
    500 or more, 800 seems right for all occasions.
    alaskaleftybass likes this.
  18. Laurent

    Laurent Supporting Member

    May 21, 2008
    Napa, California
    I share the same observation. I run the same amp with a variety of cabs and it does get really loud. I would not play a big stage without PA support but for smaller venue at low(er) levels 30 tube watts seem to be a minimum. That being said the Little Bastard seem to get abnormally loud for its wattage. At times it seems as loud as the Traynor YBA-200-2 I owned many moons ago. That amp was 200 watts. It's probably more perception than reality but that little guy does get real loud!
    AstroSonic likes this.
  19. onda'bass

    onda'bass Supporting Member

    Sep 5, 2010
    Buffalo Ny
    500 for me, better more than not enough.
    Sixgunn and Fair Stephen like this.
  20. tilt724

    tilt724 Not too old to learn...I hope!

    Jan 1, 2016
    I'm still trying to learn so my Rumble 25 is fine with me and probably everyone else in my general vicinity. :laugh:
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Mar 3, 2021

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