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Will that extra 100 watts make enough additional heads explode?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by MisterSkimpy, Jan 17, 2006.

  1. MisterSkimpy


    Dec 21, 2004
    I picked up an Ampeg 410 cab and Ampeg B2RE head yesterday. I'm happy with both and think they sound good, but when I got home as a comparison I tried out the 410 with my roommates Hartke 3500 head (the type that switches b/w tube and solid state) and found I like the tone a good bit more. I'm thinking I should have looked at more tube heads, so I'm going back to the store today to try more stuff for a possible exchange.

    So here's my question. My current head puts out 450 watts, the Hartke head I've taken a liking to only goes 350; with the 410 that means I'll be compromising that last 100 watts. But I really only play this thing in medium-sized clubs, I've used the Hartke with a 410 before and it's been plenty loud. So, generally speaking, how stupid/how big of a deal is it to let that extra 100 go unused? I'm sort of feeling like it's a decent trade-off if I'm getting a tone I like more, especially since I'm not sure I'd need to go over 350. Any thoughts/ideas/suggestions?

    Sub-question: Any B2RE owners want to weigh in on my assessment of that particular head? I think its a good sound and range, but the Hartke seems to have a crisper tone, and I have trouble getting that on the B2RE without getting too much fret noise. Since it's not an issue of quality per se, I'm thinking this is just me maybe having a preference over the tube sound. But I haven't had it long, and the strings on my bass are somewhat old, so any suggestions for settings or stuff to try while I can still compare it to the 3500 before dealing with a trade-in?

    Sorry this post is so long/convoluted, but I'm sure you guys can empathize with a first time cab owner being so damn picky and needing some competent advice.:p

    Thanks everyone.
  2. Crockettnj


    Sep 2, 2005
    North NJ
    As far as your cab rating, the watts wont go unused, cause they werent ever there to be used. the cab rating just tells you what the cab could handle.

    if the ampeg is 450 watts, and the hartke is 350 watts, theoretically the ampeg could drive your cab "harder" and therefore be "louder".


    what are the chances you were going to crank your ampeg so that its pumping enough current to produce 450 watts? thats pretty well cranked. It's probalby rare that you run your amp wide open and play full on floored, right? in which case, you are getting along jsut fine at less than 450 watts (probablly MUCH less) anyway. In that case, the only big difference is in preference/tone.

    A fair analogy-
    if a ford and a chevy are both going 55mph, and maybe 65 sometimes, does it really matter if the chevy COULD go 155 and the ford can only go 135? (HEADROOM ISSUE ASIDE)

    a final thought. even if you are cranking your amp to max, the difference between 350 and 450 watts is really small. Someone could come on and tell you how many decibells, but suffice to say its not a huge noticable difference as you may think (its not a linear relationship)

    IMO go for the one you like better.
  3. Crockettnj


    Sep 2, 2005
    North NJ

    absolutely positively! But isnt it fun?

    best of luck with your choice... frankly it doesnt sound like you are going to regret either one.
  4. Petebass


    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    There won't be much of a difference between the heads you're looking at. Why?

    Firstly because Ampeg are known for their rather optimistic wattage ratings. I'm not accusing them of fudging the figures, but there's something about the way they deliver their sound and frequency response that makes them comparitively less loud than other amps with the same wattage rating.

    Secondly, 100w translates to very little difference in terms of dB. Why? Consider the formula:-

    dB = (Log"Wattage" x 10) + Cab Sensitivity if dB.

    The cab stays the same, so lets assume sensitivity of 100dB.

    At 350W, the maths looks like this:
    (Log350 x 10) + 100 = 125.44dB

    At 450W, the maths looks like this:
    (Log450 x 10) + 100 = 126.53dB

    The difference is only 1.09dB. Considering it takes a 3dB difference to be considerably audible, the difference is pretty much negligble.

    As a general rule, doubling your watts gives you an extra 3dB. To double your volume, you need to multiply your watts by 10.
  5. cheezewiz

    cheezewiz Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2002
    Having one preamp tube in a head doesn't necesarily make it a tube amp. The B2R is one of Ampeg's most notoriously underpowered amps. I would place it in the same class as a Hartke 3500. Bottom line, I'd use whichever you liked the sound of. If you get a chance, check out a few more heads. There are plenty that don't cost a great deal that will blow either of those two out of the water tone and volume wise.