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Why so power hungry?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by xyllion, Jul 19, 2004.

  1. xyllion

    xyllion Commercial User

    Jan 14, 2003
    San Jose, CA, USA
    Owner, Looperlative Audio Products
    I read endless posts everywhere about 600W here and 1000W there. Admittedly I have an 800W amp that I use at gigs, but lately I've been dragging my backup amp which is only 200W to practices. Low and behold, the smaller amp cranks out enough power to easily keep up with the drums and screaming guitars.

    Anyone else notice a similar phenomenon? Are we simply fooling ourselves into believing that we need the behemoth amps?
  2. ZonMaster


    Jun 18, 2004
    maybe Kansas
    Damn those marketing geniuses! :bawl:

    I always confuse "want" with "need". Kinda impulsive too. Impulsive. M-pulse. Crap, now I "need" a Mesa... :help:
  3. yeah, been curious about that need for 1000-1500w amps when all i´ve been using is 100w valve-amps and 200-350w solid-states? lately i´ve been using an old 50w amp and it works just fine at rehearsals but i dont mind a bit of distortion as long as it´s not "farting". on the other hand when using the pre-amp from an SWR220 into a500w pwr-amp the sound and punch was way better so i don´t know...
  4. 1 word: headroom
  5. NJL


    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
  6. xyllion

    xyllion Commercial User

    Jan 14, 2003
    San Jose, CA, USA
    Owner, Looperlative Audio Products
    You know, I've heard that before but it seems to me it is like having a 20-foot high ceiling in your bedroom instead of 8. You weren't going to hit your head on the 8-foot ceiling, but you pick 20 anyway to guarantee that you won't.

    Am I wrong here?
  7. inazone


    Apr 20, 2003
    For whats its worth, My practice rig is a crate 410, sonic 410 and a trace head. Total 810 cab/280 watts. Its as loud a my gig rig, two berg 322s qsc 3402. Total 410,212 cab/2200 watts. The gig rig sounded better but they were equal in volume and the practice rig sounds pretty dang good. With that said, I switched to a crest poweramp, 900 watts a side (1800 total) and now the gig rig sounds a LOT better and is louder. To me, watts = the "tone" your after more so than volume but it does get louder.
  8. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    My 180 watt SWR Baby Blue practice amp is fine for practice, but I would never dig in with lots of lows at such volume with it as I like to play live. So, I use a 1500 pre/power setup live. Overkill? You bet. Though I have headroom to spare, NEVER clip my poweramp, NEVER get unwanted distortion on a slapped note or a hard driven low B, or have any of my sub-effects bottom out. Its piece of mind. I also use TWO 4x10's when only one will usually do the job just fine, I don't have to drive two near as hard as one.

    Why drive a Ferrari when a Ford Aspire can also go 65 . . . .
    - One is stressed when pushed, and one isn't.
    - One gets you there smoothly, the other a bit more rough along the way.
    - One gives you a bit more instant "oomph" when the situation dictates.

    Personally, I've never damaged a speaker when running over 1000 watts of power judiciously, but I have blown several at 300 watts or less . . . :bassist:
  9. for me it was a conscious decision to go small and lightweight without sacrificing tone or loud. i use one bergantino HT-112 powered by one 590W side of my crest Pro 7200. why? because with 590W and one 12" driver, i can get as loud as a 200W rig with a 410, i can fit it all behind the rear seats in my honda civic Si, i can load in or out in one trip, and it sounds exactly how i want to sound.

    true, i can get up to 2000W into 8 Ohms if i wanted, and even 590W is a lot, though it's not too much for the HT-112 (or any decent, single-driver cabinet at 300W). for me it's not about having too much power, but rather never having not enough power. no matter what speaker cabinets i want to add, subtract, or change, i can do so with this amp. and it fits in a rack bag with my preamp and the whole thing weights about 40lbs. put that in one hand with the HT-112 in the other, and the bass strapped on my back with a backpack-style gig bag, and i have one-trip portability.

  10. metron

    metron Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2003
    I bought a higher powered PLX amp so I could comfortably run two rigs using the two channels one for electric and one for double bass. I started running my double bass through the house all the time so I decided to use the amp bridged for electric. This past weekend I found that I only needed one channel set at less then half the total gain and it was more then enough. I can see both sides of it... headroom is great but its not needed most of the time.
  11. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    Headroom: better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. :)

    I think a lot of the confusion comes from the logarithmic aspect: twice as many watts does not equal twice as loud.

    Finally: metron has an excellent point about modularity. My Stewart World 2.1 can push 2100 watts when bridged into a 4 ohm load, but that's not how I wire the amp. I like the fact that I get 400W from one channel into 8 ohms. For big gigs I can use both channels, or get more watts from a single channel by running it into 4 or 2 ohms (I usually run a 2.67 ohm load).
  12. thejohnkim


    Sep 30, 2003
    my old swr workingmans combo with 160watts into a 15" sounded great, but it was no way near loud enough for the times i played in larger rooms, churches that seated 200-400 people with a pa system that ddoesnt have subs most of the time.

    and especially with the b-string, fuggettaboutit.
  13. the power isn't necessary if you have a lot of speakers to move the air. like voodoobass using no more than 300W amps, it's pretty easy if you have a 410+115 stack to get loud. and that kind of rig can be done relatively inexpensively.

    alternatively, you can get loud with very few speakers if the speakers are well-designed and you have plenty of power to move the air. either way will get you loud.

    and then there's headrom.

  14. xyllion

    xyllion Commercial User

    Jan 14, 2003
    San Jose, CA, USA
    Owner, Looperlative Audio Products
    Don't get me wrong. I have no plan to sell off my SoundTech PS802. That amp combined with my MusicMan HD-210 cab can shake the rafters. However, I was quite amazed at how well my backup amp faired. I was expecting it to crap out, but instead it stayed strong and put out a great sound. I even let someone else play it for a while and I listened from a distance. It really was surprisingly good.

    So, all this does make me think whether or not it is wise to encourage new players to get big amps. If they are trying to scrape up the money for a gig ready rig, it seems that they can get by with a smaller amp and be quite happy for a long time. Well, that is of course until GAS strikes. :)
  15. TheChariot


    Jul 6, 2004
    Boston, MA
    I dunno... I'm in support of the headroom theory, I guess. I Previously I was running 350W into a 4x10, and I just got completely drowned out... and thats just in my basement. I'm competing with a drumset (that will soon be mic'd... much louder), a Marshall Halfstack at 150W, and a CRATE Combo at 120W. It really just wasnt cutting it for me. I never really clipped, because of the limiter and such though.

    I dont think a ton of SS or Tube power is generally important in relation to filling a large area with sound, as much as it plays a factor in the competition you often face with loud, distorted guitars. So obviously, this is all in relation to musical genres and styles as well.

    All I know is that I can pull my weight without going anywheres past 2 o'clock on one channel.. and with two, I can have them both at about 12 o'clock.

    ::3 Cheers for Headroom::
  16. PolkaHero

    PolkaHero Supporting Member

    Jan 5, 2002
    I ran 1450 watts through one 18 and 2 15s Saturday night at an outdoor wedding reception and believe it or not, wasn't far from clipping the power amp (a QSC PLX3002). For big bottom bass, you can never have enough wattage. :bassist:

  17. This could not have been stated any more concise. Notice his last sentence....You WILL fry more speaker voice coils with a lower watt amplifier. SO true - but folks just don't get it or believe it.
    The ONLY reasons I can think of for using the low power variety would be if you need a practice amp...OR its simply a matter of economics.
    I have (2) Stewart World 1.2 amps that I use individually or in tandem. If I'm using 2 cabinets, I always use both amps bridged with 1 amp for each cabinet, and run them wide open, using the masters on my preamps for volume control.
  18. I believe it! 1450 watts is NOT overkill.
  19. BCinU


    Jun 24, 2004
    I didn't get the SVT4 because it's got big power. I got it because I liked the sounds it made through my Bergantino 322. At any volume.
  20. inazone


    Apr 20, 2003
    Not to hi-jack but, how do you like the sound of the 322 with the ampeg sound? Is it muddy or "too" much? I havent heard this combo yet but Ive been thinking about it. Thanks.