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Amp: How many watts do you really NEED?

Telephonist
June 30th, 2010, 07:17 AM
The older I get, the more I come to the point to use amps with as low wattage as possible. We all know that tube amps sound the best when they are driven hard.

But sometimes Iīm not sure how many watts I really need. I do have a Mesa Boogie Studio .22 with 22 watts and it was always enough for me. Recently I bought me an old German tube amp which is basically a Tweed Deluxe clone but with 17 watts (itīs called Dynacord Twen). I havenīt played it on stage yet, and I donīt know if it can compete with a drummer, but I guess it will, because it has almost the power of the Mesa.

But I do have serious doubts, if a 12 watt Tweed Deluxe 5E3 or something like that will be powerful enough.

Iīm mostly a blues guy (sometimes a little bit jazz, funk, country...). I want to be able to play clean - not sterile clean, but clean in the sence of 50ies tweed sound (think of Elvis and other RockīnīRollers). And I want the amp to be able to handle a small club gig with about 200 people.

So, how many watts would you recommend AT LEAST for this domain? I know that I can always mic the amp and play through a P.A., but I want the amp be powerful enough, that I can hear myself on stage, even if the drummer is kinda like a smasher...

Thanks a lot!
Daniel :wink:

P.S. Do you think a Princeton Reverb or a Vox AC15 can handle that?

Batman
June 30th, 2010, 07:36 AM
My Peavey Windsor can keep up with fairly loud drumming, and that's less than 15 watts. 15 watts is loud enough to mike it for the PA, so even if it's not quite loud enough to hear you can use your monitors as reinforcement.

It does depend what music you're playing... if it's blues you'll be fine, if you're doing Metallica covers you'll definitely need some reinforcement.

imsilly
June 30th, 2010, 07:36 AM
Iīm mostly a blues guy (sometimes a little bit jazz, funk, country...). I want to be able to play clean - not sterile clean, but clean in the sence of 50ies tweed sound (think of Elvis and other RockīnīRollers). And I want the amp to be able to handle a small club gig with about 200 people.

I think here is your answer:

http://img52.imageshack.us/img52/1261/1955june21beamont.jpg

Looks to me like an Echosonic (25 watts), a Standel 25L15 (25 watts), Fender Widepanel Pros (25 Watts), Fender TV Deluxe (12 watts) and a Gibson of some kind. Seems that anything with between 12 and 25 watts should do and there won't be much volume diffence between that range if you are using the same cabs and speakers.

I'm pretty sure that in that picture the Echosonic and Deluxe are his own amps. The Deluxe seems to have seen him through the earlier recordings and gigs. I think he was using both at this time before using the Deluxe to payoff the Echosonic. As crowds got larger and needed more volume he started to use extension cabs with slave amps. So if you would like that kinda Elvis tone, I think if a Deluxe was good enough for Scotty playing those early gigs it should be decent enough for you. If you need more volume then of course like Scotty you can add another amp, cabs, etc.

With those 50s designs those watts become a little subjective as to what are clean watts and dirty watts, but you should be able to find a volume and tone balance around that power of an amp. I know from personal experience those early Deluxes are pretty much dirty all the way with some pickups. A standel seems a perfect amp for what you want, but they are expensive new and dam rare vintage. I'm kicking myself now for not buying one a while back I saw. Later version, but still all tube point to point wired Standels are rare as hen's teeth!

Interestingly it seems that Scotty Moore seems to use a Peavey Classic and vintage Magnatone as his current amps. Those would also be great choices. I'm guessing the amp he used the longest was the Echosonic.

I think Princeton Revebs are great amps. I love Blackface cleans more then anything else. It's definately different from Tweed cleans.

jmaul
June 30th, 2010, 07:38 AM
don't forget about speaker efficiency and micing your amp. When you add those to watts, these are a lot of formulas to allow you to go as low as you want.

re: princeton and ac15- I say yes but you'd probably want both the new speaker and the Mic.

blargfromspace
June 30th, 2010, 07:49 AM
Telephonist:
I play regularly in a club which holds around 200 people with a 5E3 with the volume between 2 and 3! It holds its own against the drummer, the horn section, the bassist (who uses a 4x10 Eden something or other, bass amps confuse me) and the keys man. I use my amp as my on stage monitor - as usual you have to make sure that it's angled towards your ears, not your legs, but I can hear myself just fine - and it's mic'ed up through the PA so the sound man can mix it in as he sees fit.

I understand the sound that you're after as it's exactly what I like too - not too clean. The 5E3 I have does exactly that. I think that your 17 watt version could do it too! Of course a Princeton or an AC15 could do it!

Durtdog
June 30th, 2010, 07:56 AM
In all the hoopla about how great low wattage amps are, let's not forget clean sound. We're not just talking about volume. You can take a radio with a 2" and "crank it" and yes, it'll be loud. But ii'll sound like *****. If you need any semblance of clean, you need a few watts, and I want a decent sized speaker(s). I don't care how great the amp is, a single 8-inch speaker is a fatal flaw, IMO.

diaz
June 30th, 2010, 08:15 AM
Speaker efficiency > speaker amount > Speaker setup > Tone > Wattage.

A 10 watt amp can sound huge through a Celestion blue angled 4x12 cab. A 40watt amp through a 112 cab can sound boxy and beamy - and even smaller in some cases.

diaz
June 30th, 2010, 08:16 AM
When I said "Tone", I meant clean vs dirt, mid heavy vs scooped etc...

Example: A clean scoooped sound (acoustic simulating) will require the most clean headroom and most power. -VS- a mid heavy dirty/cranked sound will punch right through even with a low wattage amp.

T Prior
June 30th, 2010, 08:19 AM
Actually the photo of Elvis is NOT the answer.. Upright Bass and no drums, no sound system, no monitors, etc...that's defining for an electric guitar amp. There is no wall of sound to overcome.

The question is not how many watts do you have and need, it's about how many do you require to execute as a player .

I had a somewhat similar conversation with my friend about this last night, with regard to Twin Reverbs. At first he was thinking it was to loud, to sterile but works well with pedals.

Then I explained MY position ( the one that matters of course ) .

I am a decades long Tele picker, no pedals and no picks. I played thru a Twin for 25 years before I sold it like a J..A...but I did just get another.

here's what I told my band mate...

With an amp like the Twin and the power it offers, it allows a player like me to understand and hear the guitar without coloring the tone. I can play at bandstand level with NO distortion especially off the front pup. In a NY minute you can tell what your guitar sounds like and if you have good strings vs worn or dead strings. You hear YOUR tone. After doing this for 3 decades, Telecaster, wire and an amp ( Hi powered Twin ) you really get to understand your own playing, execution and style. No hiding . What you hear is what you get.

An amp such as a Twin ( lots of watts) allows players like us to play at bandstand levels uncolored and unaltered, the real guitar, amp and player are on the scene..like it or not, good or bad...

That's how many watts a guitar player needs

my take

t

greggorypeccary
June 30th, 2010, 08:21 AM
In all the hoopla about how great low wattage amps are, let's not forget clean sound. We're not just talking about volume. You can take a radio with a 2" and "crank it" and yes, it'll be loud. But ii'll sound like *****. If you need any semblance of clean, you need a few watts, and I want a decent sized speaker(s). I don't care how great the amp is, a single 8-inch speaker is a fatal flaw, IMO.

+1 We don't all want the sound of a cranked, low wattage amp. In a blues-type band that's great but sometimes you need a loud clean tone. Thats why I have a 15w el84 amp and a 40w 6L6 amp.

imsilly
June 30th, 2010, 09:26 AM
Actually the photo of Elvis is NOT the answer.. Upright Bass and no drums, no sound system, no monitors, etc...that's defining for an electric guitar amp. There is no wall of sound to overcome.

I used that picture specifically because it's a great shot of Elvis and his band with amps on display. They used the same kind of equipement many times with a drummer and probably more then 200 fans. The likelyhood is there is a drummer out of shot and a room full of screaming fans.

One difference that I did notice is that is most of the shots with the whole band there is a Bassman amp with an electric bass. I reckon upright basses can cut it with a less noisy band and a mic nearby. Last two, three country, blues and rockabilly bands I've seen have used upright basses with relatively low to medium watt amps. So I see it as a personal choice rather then a necessity.

It also looks like that the acoustic a that Elvis is using has a pickup addded and the upright bass looks stuffed to prevent feeback from either a mic or pickup. I reckon that some of those amps are being using to amplify the bass and acoustic. So I think if they are booth blaring out and there is a drummer out of shot and the Echosonic and Deluxe are still doing alright I think you'd get away with the same kind of wattage today.

I know that it's up to the kind of sound you want, but I suspect that you could get away with a Standel or something like that for cleans in a 200 person gig.

BigDaddyLH
June 30th, 2010, 09:35 AM
I know you guys like your tweeds, but I didn't realize you'd be doing the full Elvis! :lol:

Amp for tone; PA for volume. Then you just need to hear yourself on stage and that means either aiming the amp, monitors or in-ear.

Do you think they ever have this discussion on the Marshall forums?

jefrs
June 30th, 2010, 09:40 AM
Assume push-pull guitar amps sound better than single-ended, because they do.

A pair of EL84 are quite loud enough to cope with a drummer, i.e. 15 to 22 watts. But it was found in the 60s that this is not loud enough to cope with a large noisy hall. So we got 4xEL84 or a pair of EL34: the 30-50 watt amp. And that was louder.

Loud was good, louder was better and too loud was just right. Then we got The Who.

RubyRae
June 30th, 2010, 09:55 AM
don't forget about speaker efficiency and micing your amp. When you add those to watts, these are a lot of formulas to allow you to go as low as you want.

re: princeton and ac15- I say yes but you'd probably want both the new speaker and the Mic.

I concur with jmaul here, but I will also say that the Princeton Reverb is a great amp in my opinion for most situations, and sounds great. One thing I notice tho is that if you really need that clean headroom, this is not the best amp for that, since it kicks in to overdrive fairly early on the volume dial. Folks rave about the extra gain stage in this amp, and it is sweet, but that is the main reason I opted for a princeton (non reverb) cause I can crank it and stay clean, then use pedals for all I need. With the new Weber 10F150T (50 watts), this amp cranks the full body clean, spank, and takes pedals great. Originally this amp was a bit light in the volume area, but with the speaker upgrade, and a transparent clean boost pedal, I have no issues with volume anymore.
In fact I run it on 6 or 7 now most of the time.

I only mention this so you don't get a PR and find that you don't get the clean tones at the volume you need, and end up bummed.

Blank
June 30th, 2010, 10:03 AM
how many watts you need for you amp.
always 1 more.

no but seriously. i've used a PR and was able to fill a venue with 500.

scantron81
June 30th, 2010, 10:05 AM
20-40 watts. I use a 22 watt drri, and when the space calls for it (or allows), I bring a 35 watt Bogen & 2x12 cab.

adjason
June 30th, 2010, 10:10 AM
twin reverb can handle any situation and always sounds great. If you have ever had an amp not be loud enough it will make you want to throw it through a wall.

T Prior
June 30th, 2010, 10:19 AM
imsilly, I do not disagree with what you are saying, but..

200 people at an Elvis show is not an AB to what may be a requirement for today, 2010...If I was playing with Elvis in a small combo with an Upright Bass, I would still use a Twin Reverb ! Doesn't mean I have to play loud.... I have several smaller tube amps, 30 watts up to 60 watts, each really nice, but none have the sparkling clean quality of the HI WATTAGE Twin Reverb at the SAME moderate volume. Each of the smaller amps add a "tube drive" somewhere early on the volume knob, based on the gig, one amp may be better than the other...

A player should use the amp that best defines his or her own playing style, sometimes it's 20 watts sometimes it's 200...


Using Elvis / 1956 as the reference may not be accurate as that's all that was available back then...there were no other options. That's all I am saying.

Look at the Beatles, they gigged with 15 and 30 watt amps, at first they didn't go to 100 watt AC100's for the audience, they did that so THEY could hear themselves play over the audience noise. Eventually those amps and amps in that category turned into the stadium standard .

Even James Burton used a Twin Reverb with Elvis on stage, he was not an excessively loud player. His amp fit the gig...but he was an excessively CLEAN player at volume..still is.


no right or wrong, just what fits the player...

t

Tim Armstrong
June 30th, 2010, 10:36 AM
I've played gigs with guitar amps from 5 watts to 130 watts, and they all worked just fine with a little foresight. One thing to remember is that first, watts ain't decibels, speaker size, efficiency and cab design greatly affect volume. As I've related ad nauseum, I played a few gigs with an SF Champ feeding a closed-back 2x12 cab, unmic-ed, and it was LOUD! Not incredibly clean, but it did clean up some with the guitar volume knob rolled off a little.

And as has been mentioned above, if you stick a mic on it, just about ANY guitar amp can work for gigging. I've been using a little Vox Pathfinder 15r or a really nice old Princeton Reverb, and either amp is just fine, as loud as the PA system makes it!

Tim

ZZB3
June 30th, 2010, 10:40 AM
I too love the Princeton Reverb with the Weber 10F150 upgrade. This gives me enough clean volume for most situations with great tone. When I need more I haul my Tweed Bassman but it is a different beast. For straight up clean for "every" situation a Twin Reverb is hard to beat. (I do not have one anymore) I like the size and weight of the Princeton much better though for the smaller places I now play. Have fun, Wayne

teleluvver
June 30th, 2010, 10:41 AM
I concur with jmaul here, but I will also say that the Princeton Reverb is a great amp in my opinion for most situations, and sounds great. One thing I notice tho is that if you really need that clean headroom, this is not the best amp for that, since it kicks in to overdrive fairly early on the volume dial. Folks rave about the extra gain stage in this amp, and it is sweet, but that is the main reason I opted for a princeton (non reverb) cause I can crank it and stay clean, then use pedals for all I need. With the new Weber 10F150T (50 watts), this amp cranks the full body clean, spank, and takes pedals great. Originally this amp was a bit light in the volume area, but with the speaker upgrade, and a transparent clean boost pedal, I have no issues with volume anymore.
In fact I run it on 6 or 7 now most of the time.

I only mention this so you don't get a PR and find that you don't get the clean tones at the volume you need, and end up bummed.

This is my experience almost to the "tee". I play 50+ gigs a year, mostly in wineries with less than 200 people where volume is always an issue. I play classic rock and oldies, and I use pedals through a mic'd amp that comes back to me through a floor monitor. In the past two years, I have tried a bunch of boutique amps, such as Tone King, Dr. Z, Bad Cat, Star and Red Plate. I've also played a Blues Junior, as well as several different vintage blackface and tweed Fenders. I have decided that the blackface Princeton non-reverb is the best amp for my needs. The reason is that I can crank it, and it will absolutely not break up, and through the PA and monitors sounds like a much bigger amp. I had a '66 Princeton Reverb that was louder, but it would break up starting at 3 or 4, and the non-reverb just sounds better. Actually, it is the best sounding amp I've played, and it also just happens to be the right size. Being able to crank the amp really yields the tone, but it's all clean tone. The bass will not get flabby unless you use pedals that boost the volume when it's cranked. Now I do like reverb, so I tried a Wet Reverb pedal, and I love it.

jjkrause84
June 30th, 2010, 11:00 AM
To me it's always a question of clean and versatility. I am a clean player first and foremost. I've been fortunate to be able to mic up on the rare occasion I've played out so it's not been a big deal but it is very annoying that my AC15 runs out of clean headroom at what is still a pretty "friendly" volume. I, personally, would prefer soemthing about 30 watts and am saving up. If I was more of a rocker 15 would be plenty.

Also don't forget that NOT every venue will have facilities to let you mic up, especially if you get creative about where you play. Better to be safe than sorry, I'd say.

studio1087
June 30th, 2010, 11:04 AM
22

My DRRI will take your head off clean.

I love my PRRI but the 15 watts and smaller speaker get dirty in a hurry.

johnnylaw
June 30th, 2010, 11:08 AM
15W works for me, but sparkling cleans are not my goal. I crank the amp to where it cooks, and use the guitar's volume knob (wind it back) to get as clean as I need. My guitar's volume knob almost never gets turned all the way up. The typical room is 30-100 people, rarely am I miced. I get good bite and sizzle when I need it, and sweet bowed effects from the Tele neck pickup pushing a bit. Backing off yields nice response and definition to light touch, but there is an edginess to the sound as I dig in harder. More Roy Buchanan than Don Rich (soundwise anyway!). Two 12AX7s to two EL84s.

If a drummer is too loud for this, I find another drummer!

jkingma
June 30th, 2010, 11:20 AM
A friend of mine has been building some low watt amps using parts from old radios and tvs as well as vintage tubes. I've got one at home right now that uses the Fender 5e3 circuit - whatever that is :confused: - and it sounds great. I'm not sure what the wattage is and I'm not an "electronics guy" but I do know its sounds amazingly crisp and clean.

BigDaddyLH
June 30th, 2010, 11:34 AM
Not that anyone who uses a JC-120 or JC-160 has ever asked for more, but I'm wondering: has anyone ever gotten their hands on a JC-200 (head + a pair of 2x12" cabs), it's the stack on the far left:

http://brochures.yokochou.com/keyboard-and-effector/roland/1979/thumb/p25-26.jpg

jefrs
June 30th, 2010, 12:38 PM
A friend of mine has been building some low watt amps using parts from old radios and tvs as well as vintage tubes. I've got one at home right now that uses the Fender 5e3 circuit - whatever that is :confused: - and it sounds great. I'm not sure what the wattage is and I'm not an "electronics guy" but I do know its sounds amazingly crisp and clean.
5E3 is generically the Fender Deluxe circuit. using a pair of 6V6GT push-pull bottles for output, about 12 watts, nice!
Class it with the other "15 watt" amps e.g.
AC15 2xEL84 15 watts
WEM Dominator 2xEL84 "17 watts" (bigger and louder than the AC15 :lol:)
Marshall 18W 2xEL84 (straight crib of the WEM) so "18 watts" for marketing.

Don't get too hung up over actual power at this 'class', so two EL84 or 6V6 bottles in push-pull is "15 watts" thereabouts.

The EL84 is higher output than the 6V6GT. The 6V6 is a 5 watt valve, the EL84 is a 5.7 watt to 7 watt one. Rule of thumb for push-pull output is 2.5 times the power dissipation of the single valve, this is not exact: you can use a factor of 3.5 if you cook your bottles.

A misconception is that plate dissipation (Pa) is equal to maximum power output, wrong - a valve can pass more current than it dissipates (as heat) on its anode, not by much - but that Pa(max) figure is for continuous current, after which the anode will melt. With push-pull (notice I am avoiding Class-A vs Class AB bs) the valves are switched off nearly half the time, no current at all. This is how the Marshall 2024 pushes 22 watts out of 2xEL84, and the old AC30/6(TB) got 46watts out of 4xEL84 (the AC30/6 could be persuaded to shove out up to 96 watts (nevermind 5%THD), at the expense of the valves' lives).

Bigger or more bottles is more watts: 30 watts to 50 watts: 4xEL84; 2xEL34; 2x5881; 2x6L6GC; etc. More power needs more speakers needs bigger box needs bigger car, or van, and big beefy mates to lift them.
:idea:
http://www.wolfcraft.de/workarea/supplier/sWolfcraft/documents/200/5505FS.jpg
got one, packs flat too :cool:

Me, I like to use a 30+ watt 2x12 combo. It has enough power for all occasions and you can always turn it down. Ideally I'd like to use one of my better sounding 15 watt amps but they're not always man enough for the job, they run out of steam.

jimmynumber9
June 30th, 2010, 01:03 PM
I play a... slightly modified tiny terror. I keep it on 7 watts (I like the grainier tone) and it keeps up with the drummer and bassist just fine. I've even got the chance to play in a few bars with it and I've never gotten blown out before. Besides, the PA will pick up whatever volume you're lacking.

T Prior
June 30th, 2010, 01:33 PM
I think the question is ..

NOT which is the best amp / vs / wattage

but rather

How many watts do you really need...


A player who wants edge and overdrive probably does not need a real hi wattage amp.

A player who requires totally clean all the time at any volume ,on any PUP, on any guitar has a different requirement. So, the 7 watt and 12 watt and 22 watt amps serve a purpose but they don't serve everyone's purpose.

T Prior
June 30th, 2010, 01:36 PM
I forgot to add this to the above...

Both of these amps pictured can fill a need but they both can't fill the SAME need.

SnorkelMonkey
June 30th, 2010, 01:49 PM
What Tim stated is about as dead on as it gets. The difference between 10 and 20 watts is a few db's. Run a 5W Champ through an efficient 4x12" cab and it can be perfectly loud for the venue. Like he said roll back the volume knob a little to clean it up.

Speaking of knobs on guitars I find a lot of players are scared to explore the possibilities of them. I read all the time "ice pick in the ear, sold it" did they turn down their guitars tone pot to compensate? "Not enough headroom, need to move up to a 300W amp". Did they roll back the volume knob on their guitar to clean up the amp?

Now let's run home and play with our knobs! :lol:


I've played gigs with guitar amps from 5 watts to 130 watts, and they all worked just fine with a little foresight. One thing to remember is that first, watts ain't decibels, speaker size, efficiency and cab design greatly affect volume. As I've related ad nauseum, I played a few gigs with an SF Champ feeding a closed-back 2x12 cab, unmic-ed, and it was LOUD! Not incredibly clean, but it did clean up some with the guitar volume knob rolled off a little.

And as has been mentioned above, if you stick a mic on it, just about ANY guitar amp can work for gigging. I've been using a little Vox Pathfinder 15r or a really nice old Princeton Reverb, and either amp is just fine, as loud as the PA system makes it!

Tim

FMA
June 30th, 2010, 01:50 PM
Whatever works for you, is what I say. What works for me is an AC15. Been gigging with it for few years now and it's always worked. Played everything from bars to outdoor festivals with it. I set it up on the edge of breaking up, but still pretty clean and it's loud enough for stage volume. Throw a mic in front of it and let the PA do the heavy lifting.

martinsecrest
June 30th, 2010, 02:03 PM
Wattage, sure, but what about speaker area? 4x10 has a different projection from a 1x12, either might be appropriate depending on the space you're playing into.

greggorypeccary
June 30th, 2010, 03:18 PM
"Not enough headroom, need to move up to a 300W amp". Did they roll back the volume knob on their guitar to clean up the amp?


Yes that works, but it's not the same type of clean, especially when you need to play some funk and you're competing to hear yourself over a few horns. Of course we all have different definitions of clean...

There is no single answer (even though people keep looking for "the best" ____), rolling back the volume may make you not loud enough, you may not be mic'd, etc. We all have different needs so we each have to get the amp that fits our needs best.

SnorkelMonkey
June 30th, 2010, 03:49 PM
We all have different needs so we each have to get the amp that fits our needs best.

True it's all subjective in terms of ones needs but rolling back the volume on your guitar a little to clean up the signal actually does not turn down the amps output much if at all. You might loose a db or two. What's really happening is you're changing the impedance that is being presented to the preamp. I once saw a jazz fusion act that the guitarist used a 5E3. The inside joke with those tweed deluxe's is there is no clean headroom, but there is. He backed off his guitar's volume for very nice cleans that kept right up with the rest of the band (also see Larry Carlton's work with Steely Dan for example, clean and dirty all done with a 5E3 or so he claims). I talked to him after the show. He set the amp up where with the volume backed off a bit on the guitar he had cleans at a light to med attack of the strings. When he dug in hard he had a nice overdrive, he turned the volume up on the guitar for the heavy stuff. Again, not much of difference in output db's between these different settings just a difference in perceived distortion.

So I'm not arguing with you. My original point was the fact that a lot of players aren't hip to this knowledge and end up selling an amp that otherwise fills all their needs. :wink:

Hiker
June 30th, 2010, 03:54 PM
One benefit of many tube amps is plugging into a half stack, or full stack. This should wake up an audience when you move the vol. knob righty-tighty!

My 65W tube amp sounds similar to a Fender Twin & will carry a full stack, YMMV...

marshman
June 30th, 2010, 04:10 PM
I still feel the speakers are more important than the power output...for the same output, a Celestion Blue will be in the neighborhood of twice as loud as a Jensen C12K, ergo, it's better to find the speakers you need to get the volume you want from the amp you like. A head/cab set-up makes this easy to acheive--a 1x12 for 'small' gigs, a 2x12 for medium, and a second one for big gigs...or just the right set of speakers switched in & out of a good combo.

JonnyM
June 30th, 2010, 05:05 PM
I still feel the speakers are more important than the power output...for the same output, a Celestion Blue will be in the neighborhood of twice as loud as a Jensen C12K, ergo, it's better to find the speakers you need to get the volume you want from the amp you like. A head/cab set-up makes this easy to acheive--a 1x12 for 'small' gigs, a 2x12 for medium, and a second one for big gigs...or just the right set of speakers switched in & out of a good combo.

A lot of truth in the speaker selection point. We tend to choose based on a variety of criteria, but I'll sincerely admit, the older and feebler I get, the more weight creeps into the equation. I have a Budda Twinmaster that has that same 2x12ax7 2xel84 tube layout many small amps have, and it's rated at just 18 watts. However the 2 x 12" Celestion V30's will blow holes thru the ozone layer when I crank it to about 6 or 7. The same exact tubes in my Ampeg Jet II with just a single Jensen C-12Q also sound very fine, but not nearly the killer volume levels, a great tone though. In the good old days, ok maybe 6-7 years ago, I was all about the BandMaster Reverb and the Tall 39" 2x12 Cab. Plenty of Clean headroom, loves pedals, projects well, etc, but now even if my SF Champ sounds like blockbusters through that cab, who wants to lug it around? Not me! :oops:

tiktok
June 30th, 2010, 05:14 PM
As others have said, speaker efficiency, number of speakers and cabinet design make a big difference for a given amp circuit. If you have an amp that you feel isn't cutting it volume wise, try changing the other variables before upping the wattage.

BigDaddyLH
June 30th, 2010, 05:23 PM
What if everyone in the audience is armed with a vuvuzela?

FraKcture
June 30th, 2010, 05:27 PM
20 watt head, apply different cab configurations that suit the given situation best.

greggorypeccary
June 30th, 2010, 05:33 PM
So I'm not arguing with you. My original point was the fact that a lot of players aren't hip to this knowledge and end up selling an amp that otherwise fills all their needs. :wink:

Not arguing with you either bro! I've just found for me that 40W is the perfect compromise. To my ears, in certain situations turning down works, but when I need bright, tight sounding chords and clean riffs, the guitar's volume has to be all the way up.

My thing with these discussions is that some people seem to assume that we all want crunchy amp overdrive so everyone should just get a low wattage amp and crank it. (Re: the OP "We all know that tube amps sound the best when they are driven hard.") Some of us prefer clean tones.

If I want amp OD for a gig I'll take my 15 watter, if not I'll take the 40. I often practice with the 40 watter at home, and I don't bother the neighbors either (hint, it has a volume knob too and I have a great od pedal)! :wink:

So yes, I'll agree that 15w will get you over a drummer (usually), and you can clean it up with the guitar's volume, and you can mic it, etc. But if you want really clean tones, at a gig volume, especially with a bigger band, you need some watts behind you.
There's a reason Jerry Garcia used 300W Mac power amps - his clean tone killed!

SnorkelMonkey
June 30th, 2010, 05:46 PM
But if you want really clean tones, at a gig volume you need some watts behind you.

I guess I will argue with you a little bit here. :razz:

I designed a tube guitar amp once that was running at about 22 watts. That amp could not get dirty if you threw it into a pigsty. :lol: Seriously, it would breakup some at max gain but was basically clean as a whistle up through the dial. It was so *** loud with a single 12" Celestion speaker that a 100W Marshall Plexi could barely keep up with it. I ***** you not... I'm a gonna have to beg to differ with you about needing watts to get cleans at high db's. :wink::grin:

Joe-Bob
June 30th, 2010, 05:57 PM
It all depends on the circumstances. I have several amps, and use the one that fits the gig and the style of music.

Tim Armstrong
June 30th, 2010, 06:10 PM
But if you want really clean tones, at a gig volume, especially with a bigger band, you need some watts behind you.

Again, a microphone levels the playing field. When I use my Princeton Reverb, I can get a lovely clean tone that's loud enough for stage volume, and the PA system doesn't care much how powerful the PR is!

Tim

Telesavalis
June 30th, 2010, 06:19 PM
15 will do it

RomanS
June 30th, 2010, 06:28 PM
Again, a microphone levels the playing field. When I use my Princeton Reverb, I can get a lovely clean tone that's loud enough for stage volume, and the PA system doesn't care much how powerful the PR is!


This works, assuming there IS a decent PA system, and esp. decent monitors so that you can hear yourself.
From my experience with my cover band, I don't take that for granted at all any longer, what passes for PA systems at some of the places we played would make you shudder - so, I'd rather bring a bigger amp that can cut it without any PA support, if I don't know the place; you can still mike it and turn it down, if there's a nice PA (but that's the exception...)

davidge1
June 30th, 2010, 06:43 PM
Again, a microphone levels the playing field.

In theory, maybe. But when you get up on the stage and there are only two monitors, and you're not able to stand close enough to either monitor to really hear anything, and it wouldn't matter anyway because everyone in the band has a different opinion about what should be coming through those monitors... you need an amp that will let you hear yourself clearly.

To me, going onstage is like going into battle. You need to be prepared and not rely on anyone else (like the sound guy). I can think of maybe twice in 25 years of playing that I ever played at a club and was able to hear everything really clearly.

I've never played onstage with a Princeton, but I'd love to try it just to see if it really is loud enough. I'd buy the smallest amp I could get away with, just because I hate hauling equipment around.

greggorypeccary
June 30th, 2010, 06:43 PM
I guess I will argue with you a little bit here. :razz:

I designed a tube guitar amp once that was running at about 22 watts. That amp could not get dirty if you threw it into a pigsty. :lol: Seriously, it would breakup some at max gain but was basically clean as a whistle up through the dial. It was so *** loud with a single 12" Celestion speaker that a 100W Marshall Plexi could barely keep up with it. I ***** you not... I'm a gonna have to beg to differ with you about needing watts to get cleans at high db's. :wink::grin:

Indeed, watts don't tell the whole story. But most low watt amps do tend to get dirty quick. I use my Princeton for rehearsal and it stays clean almost all the way up and is loud enough in our little practice space, but it would get lost at an unmic'd gig.

This works, assuming there IS a decent PA system, and esp. decent monitors so that you can hear yourself.
From my experience with my cover band, I don't take that for granted at all any longer, what passes for PA systems at some of the places we played would make you shudder - so, I'd rather bring a bigger amp that can cut it without any PA support, if I don't know the place; you can still mike it and turn it down, if there's a nice PA (but that's the exception...)

That's exactly what I'm talking about. Better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.

davidge1
June 30th, 2010, 06:45 PM
Ha... I was typing my reply when Roman posted his... he pretty much said what I was thinking.

BTW, I think a Deluxe is definitely loud enough for any band situation I've ever been in... and I've played in some pretty loud bands in my rock and roll days.

SnorkelMonkey
June 30th, 2010, 06:58 PM
Indeed, watts don't tell the whole story. But most low watt amps do tend to get dirty quick. I use my Princeton for rehearsal and it stays clean almost all the way up and is loud enough in our little practice space, but it would get lost at an unmic'd gig.


That leads me to my final point. I got done tweaking the hell out of that amp and I was like "look what I have accomplished! A super clean tube amp that's super loud!!!". And then I picked it up... :wink: (mind you it was not that heavy maybe 35 lbs?)

And it dawned on me... That I could build a solid state amp that sounded just as good doing those cleans, and just as loud at maybe less than half, maybe a 3rd the weight? :wink::wink:

I promptly dissembled the experiment and built a proper tube amp out of it. :lol:

Tube amps are loved for their distortion capabilities. My suggestion is if you want crystal clears at high db's bring a solid state amp to the gig instead. They do a much better job at it than a tube amp. At least the ones that have come out in the last decade, decade and a half or so. The newer power amp chips are aces at getting harmonically rich output at high db's and like I said they weigh next to nothing by comparison. Heck bring the SS and the little 10-15W to the gig for the best of both worlds!

Tim Armstrong
June 30th, 2010, 07:25 PM
Well, in my case we:

1. Bring our own PA system except for the one or two places locally that provide sound (that we know have at least as good gear as our system); and

2. As a band we try to keep our stage volume reasonable. Our drummer is REALLY good, and can play as loud or soft as the song and situation calls for; and

3. Since we're mic-ing the guitar amps, we feel free to point them in towards the center of the stage, so that they act as guitar monitors for us too. A Princeton Reverb (with a 12" speaker) aimed across the stage (or even my Vox Pathfinder 15r) is plenty loud enough to be heard onstage. It doesn't have to carry the whole room!

This isn't theoretical. I make half my meager living playing gigs in a busy beach resort town, indoors and outdoors. If it didn't work, I wouldn't work!

Tim

DMace
June 30th, 2010, 07:36 PM
I've yet to find a situation where my PR wasn't enough, both miked and unmiked. Maybe if the second guitarist in my band played through a Marshall stack I'd have a hard time keeping up, but short of that, the PR does everything, gets over a drummer without a problem.

JohnnyCrash
June 30th, 2010, 08:04 PM
The older I get, the more I come to the point to use amps with as low wattage as possible. We all know that tube amps sound the best when they are driven hard.

But sometimes Iīm not sure how many watts I really need. I do have a Mesa Boogie Studio .22 with 22 watts and it was always enough for me. Recently I bought me an old German tube amp which is basically a Tweed Deluxe clone but with 17 watts (itīs called Dynacord Twen). I havenīt played it on stage yet, and I donīt know if it can compete with a drummer, but I guess it will, because it has almost the power of the Mesa.

But I do have serious doubts, if a 12 watt Tweed Deluxe 5E3 or something like that will be powerful enough.

Iīm mostly a blues guy (sometimes a little bit jazz, funk, country...). I want to be able to play clean - not sterile clean, but clean in the sence of 50ies tweed sound (think of Elvis and other RockīnīRollers). And I want the amp to be able to handle a small club gig with about 200 people.

So, how many watts would you recommend AT LEAST for this domain? I know that I can always mic the amp and play through a P.A., but I want the amp be powerful enough, that I can hear myself on stage, even if the drummer is kinda like a smasher...

Thanks a lot!
Daniel :wink:

P.S. Do you think a Princeton Reverb or a Vox AC15 can handle that?



I'm not sure if a tweed Deluxe will work for the tone you mentioned. It dirties up fairly quickly on the dial.

A Princeton or a Vox AC15 has as much power, but less preamp gain, so they might be a little better for that '50s type of gig with a drummer, etc.

A Deluxe Reverb and a pedal would definitely cover small gigs where you need it mostly clean and loud, with a touch of dirt.

If you're micing the amp for sure - then a tweed Deluxe should be plenty loud for yourself and your drummer as a "stage monitor" (depending on where you place the amp) and the mic'ed signal can go FOH for the crowd.

davidge1
June 30th, 2010, 08:07 PM
Tim, your situation is different then. I've never been in a band with a steady gig... we'd usually play at a club with one or two other bands, where everyone does a 45 minute (or so) set. You're hauling all your stuff up onstage while the last band is still taking their stuff off the stage. You throw it up there, plug it in, turn your amp on, the sound guy sticks a mic in front of it and you launch into the first song... most of the time without even a sound check, or even any conversation with the sound guy. Guerilla warfare!

Jack Knife
June 30th, 2010, 08:17 PM
I like about 30w max for stage use. At home 5w is more than enough.

w3stie
July 1st, 2010, 01:00 AM
This whole question of watts vs dB has really turned my understanding on it's head. There's a good explanation on 300guitars (http://www.300guitars.com/articles/amplifier-loudness-watts-and-decibels/)

Basically, you need 10 x the power to sound twice as loud, which is about 6 - 10 dB. So a 10W amp into a Celestion Gold rated at 100dB will sound as loud as a 100w head into a 93 dB Celestion Super 8..... I think :wink:

Dave_O
July 1st, 2010, 01:33 AM
What if everyone in the audience is armed with a vuvuzela?

Then an amp ain't the hardware (http://world.guns.ru/shotgun/sh09-e.htm) you're looking for...:twisted:

JohnnyCrash
July 1st, 2010, 01:55 AM
This whole question of watts vs dB has really turned my understanding on it's head. There's a good explanation on 300guitars (http://www.300guitars.com/articles/amplifier-loudness-watts-and-decibels/)

Basically, you need 10 x the power to sound twice as loud, which is about 6 - 10 dB. So a 10W amp into a Celestion Gold rated at 100dB will sound as loud as a 100w head into a 93 dB Celestion Super 8..... I think :wink:



While that has been interesting reading for a few years, wattage still makes a big difference.

If you've tried gigging with a 5 watt amp and actually gigged with a 30+ watt amp, you can tell the difference between volume and overdrive. A 5 watt amp is friggen loud - but it aint clean by any means.

Besides, the math aint that clear. Throw speakers into the mix as well as other variables and it becomes very apparent that a 5 watt amp is NOT half as "loud" (clean/dirty and loud) as a 50 watt amp... again actual db's aside, clean headroom is as important of a factor as volume. A cranked 5 watt Champ is filthy compared to a clean-as-a-whistle 50 watt Marshall only on 5.

It's not only about volume - sometimes a Champ can be just as loud - BUT having clean headroom is different than just being loud.

T Prior
July 1st, 2010, 06:44 AM
It's not only about volume - sometimes a Champ can be just as loud - BUT having clean headroom is different than just being loud.

Bingo.. The dynamic range of the amp is not about VOLUME....it's about clean and efficient sound reproduction at various sound levels. I am reading here scratching my head..

for ex: A Champ is as clean as a Twin Reverb at the same volume ? Which volume, the Champs volume or the Twin Reverbs volume ? Forget the theory details, in reality they are not the same and they are not supposed to be...

In the reality of life, as that is actually where we are...I have 6 different tube amps

Classic 30
Band Master 40 watt (maybe)
Tremolux 35 watts ( maybe )
Princeton Reverb 12 watts
Hot Rod Deville 60 watts
Twin Reverb 100 watts( supposedly )

Now sure, each at a low sound level, they all sound good and clean..
lets turn the knobs up a bit..Telecaster knobs maxed out...

Exit the PR, the Band Master and the Tremolux..they sound great but not perfect clean with a clear bottom end.. next out is the Classic 30. Turn the knobs up a bit more, out goes the Hot Rod Deville, sounds great but the bottom end is growling...no more clean chords off the front pup...

who's left ?


Twin Reverb >>> with more to go and we ain't playin' all that loud...band stand levels.. By the way, each have stock speakers so the speaker field is fairly level...no premium brands

So whats the difference ?

easy, circuit design, transformers etc... exit the theory and replace it with reality.

Everything sounds good at 2 or 3...maybe...but efficient headroom design matters... it's the part of the equation that does not come with a smaller powered amp unless you pay dearly for it...

Plug that Les Paul in, play off the front pup with accentuated Bass response, turn up the volume knob on the amp..play some fat chords...now tell me what you have...

just sayin'..

but seeing that the question is how many watts do YOU really need ?

it's all good...obviously I need more than others here and not for volume... I'm one player in a row boat out in the ocean...

t

w3stie
July 1st, 2010, 07:42 AM
Which is just reinforcing what Billy Penn said in the article I referenced;

So there you have it Max. Ask yourself the two questions: “What will the amp be used for”? and “Do I want the amp to sound perfectly clean or do I want it to break up a bit”? Answering these two questions and going by the general guidelines I laid out should make it easier to choose the right amp for you.

Hopefully the OP can take something from this?

zoppotrump
July 1st, 2010, 09:20 AM
i play either a Dr.Z maz jr. and an a Z28, both in the 20-25 Watt area and i never had any problems cutting through, even with a loud drummer. i mostly never go more than 4-5 on the volume and thatīs pretty loud enough. And if i play a really big stage , the amp is miced anyway and i can hear me perfectly even without having the guitar on my monitor.

SnorkelMonkey
July 1st, 2010, 12:04 PM
A 5 watt amp is friggen loud - but it aint clean by any means.

Tube amps? It depends on the design of that 5 watt amp. :wink::grin:

stevieboy
July 1st, 2010, 01:00 PM
For me, and in my experience, around 30 watts with a 12 or a 15 is perfect. A DR would work, but it would be forcing it and wouldn't sound as good. I like some breakup but not over the top.

There is something about a Princeton Reverb though, that defies explanation. The Princeton non verb is an amazing amp too, if you want to stay clean. I know a guy who uses one for his keyboard amp.

fezz parka
July 1st, 2010, 01:21 PM
I've never played onstage with a Princeton, but I'd love to try it just to see if it really is loud enough. I'd buy the smallest amp I could get away with, just because I hate hauling equipment around.

You sounded great through my Champenstein w/ the Red Fang at the POW. It was a small room, but I could hear everything you did.:grin:

jefrs
July 1st, 2010, 02:33 PM
This whole question of watts vs dB has really turned my understanding on it's head. There's a good explanation on 300guitars (http://www.300guitars.com/articles/amplifier-loudness-watts-and-decibels/)

Basically, you need 10 x the power to sound twice as loud, which is about 6 - 10 dB. So a 10W amp into a Celestion Gold rated at 100dB will sound as loud as a 100w head into a 93 dB Celestion Super 8..... I think :wink:

dB is a logarithmic ratio: 10dB is twice as loud, but 3dB is the smallest difference an untrained human ear can discern. We might consider that a musician has a trained ear, but many are deaf too.:wink:

So you should be able to just hear a difference in volume between a 97dB and a 100dB speaker on the same amp, on the same power settings.

A 103dB speaker should be twice as loud as a 93dB one on the same amp at the same power settings.

Personally I would go with the speaker that made the nicest sound, not the loudest.http://www.mbclub.co.uk/forums/images/smilies/slayer.gif

-Vampyre-
July 1st, 2010, 02:46 PM
All your watts are belong to me.

/thread


lol

octatonic
July 1st, 2010, 03:31 PM
All your watts are belong to me.
/thread
lol

LOL indeed.

20 watts is usually enough for me at a gig.
If I need oodles of clean headroom then 50w.

fezz parka
July 1st, 2010, 03:41 PM
The Red Fang is the best of both worlds. Incredibly efficient and toneful.:grin:

spikypaddy
July 1st, 2010, 03:53 PM
My CVR is 40 watt, but so far I've not gigged it above 2 on the volume knob. I had a 60 watt Marshall JTM60, which was nowhere near as loud as the Fender... Not even close.

Jakedog
July 1st, 2010, 04:44 PM
How many watts do I really need? Depends.

If I'm going to play a tube amp, on a gig, it will not be less than 30 watts, no matter what the size of the gig, and it will not be pushing less than two twelves. Anything else does not give sufficient amounts of what I'm after. Doesn't mean I'm loud, I play some very quiet gigs with a rig like this. It just means I get the sound I want. Low watt amps are not capable of making a sound I want.

I run my 30 watt Marshall head into an open backed 2X12 cab rated at 200 watts. That's what I need to get my sound out of a tube amp. Loud or quiet, that's what I need. Nothing smaller is going to sound good to me. At least nothing I've ever tried in 25 years of hunting, and trying everything I can get my hands on.

If I am playing SS, depends on the gig, but I really can't see myself getting by with less than my Cube 60. It's about perfect for small gigs, but I wouldn't want to chance going with less than that.

I will gig a 30 seat room with 80-100 watts in some instances. Sometimes SS, sometimes tube. More watts doesn't mean it's got to be too loud. If I wanted to crank an amp into natural breakup, my amps would be too big for a lot of my gigs. But I'm not after that sound.

Personally, if I had to play with a 5-20 watt amp, I'd rather not even play guitar. They just don't make nice sounds to my ears. It would not be any fun for me at all.

bradpdx
July 1st, 2010, 07:26 PM
I've been on stages armed with everything from 5 watts to over 400 watts. The real differences have a lot to do with DYNAMICS and TONALITY.

My 400 watt rig (long, long gone) was all Peavey solid-state going into a 2x12 and a 2x10 cab in stereo. Loads of power but little sense of menacing "cut". I discovered that a mid-sized Fender tube amp could shred it not because of shear volume but rather tone (e.g., EQ) and dynamic behavior. The mild compression of tube amps running at the edge of breakup certainly helps provide a sense of presence in the mix that a drop-dead clean sound does not.

Since the mid-80s I have been gigging with Deluxe Reverbs, with the occasional foray into other Fenders. The tone is just what I have in mind, at a volume level I can stand under real life conditions. I play a lot of different spaces and even outdoor shows, and rarely find that I want something louder or beefier than the DR.

Getting there required only one thing: the right speaker. For me, that's a JBL - everything else sounds thin and lacking authority. JBLs certain make a smaller amp a real proposition on stage!

So my answer, proven over the last 25 years: 20 watts. Into a JBL.

SnorkelMonkey
July 1st, 2010, 08:48 PM
So my answer, proven over the last 25 years: 20 watts. Into a JBL.



http://www.kinggraphics.com/images/480.jpg

casadyrocks
July 2nd, 2010, 01:02 AM
I never thought I could get away with 30, but I do. My hope is that I can get a bigger house and can go back to 100...

3 Chord
July 2nd, 2010, 07:25 AM
Not too many if you run your amp thru the PA and the stage monitors. 15-30 watts is lots!

greggorypeccary
July 2nd, 2010, 08:40 AM
Not too many if you run your amp thru the PA and the stage monitors. 15-30 watts is lots!

And to echo myself and a couple of others, if you don't run through the PA and or have good stage monitors...and want loudish, clean tones...

Plus, part of the equation is feel. If I'm running a small amp through a PA I might hear it OK, but it's not the same thing as being three feet away from a speaker or two (or four) actually moving some air. That doesn't necessarily apply in all contexts, but for some it's definitely part of the trip.


Many people in this thread have given great real-world examples with different points of view, but in general, I think that a lot of the small-amp chatter on the net comes from guys who never get their amps out of the house and then come to a message board looking for an amp to get a cranked Bassman tone at a lower volume. And have the Bassman they realized is way to loud to crank at home for sale.

franchelB
July 2nd, 2010, 10:09 AM
My Peavey Delta Blues has 30 watts, and I think it's more than what I NEED.

dgabbear
July 3rd, 2010, 04:31 PM
My SFPR is more than enough volume for the wedding band I play in, including outdoor festival stuff. I really love these amps. Jusst plug in and play. This amp is used for work 2-3 times per week, and I have rarely had a problem being heard or hearing it from stage. To get a little more volume, the speaker has been replaced with a Ragin Cajun and it has the Stokes mod (I believe), it sits up high on a road case where I can hear it, and it is miked with an sm57. I have a Dr. Z Maz 18 that can peel paint it is so loud and unfortunately sits quit a bit. My PR serves me just fine. There is something to be said about simplicity I guess. So yeah 15-18 watts is very giggable.

jjkrause84
July 3rd, 2010, 04:44 PM
Another thing that should probably be mentioned again is the type of amp....a Deluxe Reverb at 20 watts is gonna KILL a 1974x at 18 watts for headroom, no contest thus making it much more gig-friendly for clean players.

getbent
July 3rd, 2010, 04:57 PM
whut tony sed.

diaz
July 3rd, 2010, 05:08 PM
The amp's speaker configuration has as much effect on the headroom as the wattage of the amp.

A champ running through a Celestion Blue 4 x 12 will be surprisingly louder than one might think...

-D

Heritage
July 3rd, 2010, 05:25 PM
And to echo myself and a couple of others, if you don't run through the Plus, part of the equation is feel. If I'm running a small amp through a PA I might hear it OK, but it's not the same thing as being three feet away from a speaker or two (or four) actually moving some air. That doesn't necessarily apply in all contexts, but for some it's definitely part of the trip.


Many people in this thread have given great real-world examples with different points of view, but in general, I think that a lot of the small-amp chatter on the net comes from guys who never get their amps out of the house and then come to a message board looking for an amp to get a cranked Bassman tone at a lower volume. And have the Bassman they realized is way to loud to crank at home for sale.

Well said.

And half-wit can crank air. To do it when you need it, an to make it sound natural. That is *hard.*

Jayson
July 3rd, 2010, 07:54 PM
Tough question! I think 30 is safe. And yet, when I get my AC30, I'm really going to consider an attenuator, which means that technically in my own mind (granted- that is a loudddd amp), 30 is too much.

It all depends. I know this- I've never heard a 22 watter Deluxe Reverb sound too quiet.

Dave Hopping
July 3rd, 2010, 11:22 PM
[QUOTE=Jayson;2608501]Tough question! I think 30 is safe. And yet, when I get my AC30, I'm really going to consider an attenuator, which means that technically in my own mind (granted- that is a loudddd amp), 30 is too much.

It all depends. I know this- I've never heard a 22 watter Deluxe Reverb sound too quiet.[/QUOTE

I have-I worked in a not-very-loud country rock band with a guy who played an SG thru a SFDR.My MM 210-65 and the bass players Bassman 50 just plain buried that DR.We made the guy leave the DR at home and bring his Bruce 100 watt 2-15.THEN we could hear him.

Martin R
July 4th, 2010, 01:00 AM
I've been able to cleanly get over every drummer I've played with using a '65 Deluxe. In fact, I have to use a pedal to overdrive it.

The only time I've had that amp cranked enough to where it sounded GREAT, was playing frat parties...and even then the guitar I had was a Travis Bean Artist with humbuckers the size of a dollar bill.

tomfarnan
July 4th, 2010, 07:27 AM
5E3 is generically the Fender Deluxe circuit. using a pair of 6V6GT push-pull bottles for output, about 12 watts, nice!
Class it with the other "15 watt" amps e.g.
AC15 2xEL84 15 watts
WEM Dominator 2xEL84 "17 watts" (bigger and louder than the AC15 :lol:)
Marshall 18W 2xEL84 (straight crib of the WEM) so "18 watts" for marketing.

Don't get too hung up over actual power at this 'class', so two EL84 or 6V6 bottles in push-pull is "15 watts" thereabouts.

The EL84 is higher output than the 6V6GT. The 6V6 is a 5 watt valve, the EL84 is a 5.7 watt to 7 watt one. Rule of thumb for push-pull output is 2.5 times the power dissipation of the single valve, this is not exact: you can use a factor of 3.5 if you cook your bottles.

A misconception is that plate dissipation (Pa) is equal to maximum power output, wrong - a valve can pass more current than it dissipates (as heat) on its anode, not by much - but that Pa(max) figure is for continuous current, after which the anode will melt. With push-pull (notice I am avoiding Class-A vs Class AB bs) the valves are switched off nearly half the time, no current at all. This is how the Marshall 2024 pushes 22 watts out of 2xEL84, and the old AC30/6(TB) got 46watts out of 4xEL84 (the AC30/6 could be persuaded to shove out up to 96 watts (nevermind 5%THD), at the expense of the valves' lives).

Bigger or more bottles is more watts: 30 watts to 50 watts: 4xEL84; 2xEL34; 2x5881; 2x6L6GC; etc. More power needs more speakers needs bigger box needs bigger car, or van, and big beefy mates to lift them.
:idea:
http://www.wolfcraft.de/workarea/supplier/sWolfcraft/documents/200/5505FS.jpg
got one, packs flat too :cool:

Me, I like to use a 30+ watt 2x12 combo. It has enough power for all occasions and you can always turn it down. Ideally I'd like to use one of my better sounding 15 watt amps but they're not always man enough for the job, they run out of steam.

what does 'push-pull' actually mean?

Joey
July 4th, 2010, 08:01 AM
[QUOTE=studio1087;2602212]22

My DRRI will take your head off clean.

I love my PRRI but the 15 watts and smaller speaker get dirty in a hurry.[/QUOTE

Put in a T020 Output transformer and JJ6VS power tubes and it made a world of difference. Louder cleans and eliminates bottom end flub with stock speaker.

59TweedVibrolux
July 4th, 2010, 09:51 AM
Steve Carr (Carr Amps) said even 2 watts is too loud for home playing .

jjkrause84
July 4th, 2010, 09:53 AM
Steve Carr (Carr Amps) said even 2 watts is too loud for home playing .

I'd agree 100%. Crank a 1 or 2 watt amp at home and see how long your family loves you (although I guess it depends on the family...).

BluezyBruce
July 5th, 2010, 03:41 AM
55 Pro, 28 watts, 1x15" speaker is all I ever need.

Psyclone
July 5th, 2010, 09:50 AM
I've been using a 12 watt Fender Princeton w/ a C3 player, drummer, electric bass, and a 4 piece vocal quartet for several months now. I keep the amp tilted back facing me like a monitor and haven't had the need for anything more powerful.

Robsocal
August 22nd, 2010, 07:07 PM
I brought my SFDR to an outdoor party this weekend, and a number of musicians plugged in - even an electric violinist. There were about 150 people in attendance, and the drummers and conga players were loud. All the guitarists who plugged in to the 22 watts could be easily heard whether they played clean or used OD. The volume was set at 5 or lower with an efficient ceramic speaker (Celestion V30). I think that 40 watts would have been major overkill, and not appreciated. I know every situation is different, but it was no stretch for the DR at all.

adjason
August 22nd, 2010, 07:23 PM
There are times (granted few and far between) when it is good to rock out and at those times when the drummer is hitting the skins hard I think 40 is good but a twin reverb is even better

wind knot
August 22nd, 2010, 07:44 PM
I don't think wattage matters much as long as your volume knob goes to "11.":lol:

jh45gun
August 22nd, 2010, 09:03 PM
I would rather have enough watts instead of not enough and they did put a volume knob on them amps for a reason. Every one thinks you need to dime an amp these days to sound good. Not so.

cyclopean
August 22nd, 2010, 09:27 PM
my two cents:

this is all fine and dandy if you play mostly commercial venues.

almost every show i've ever played has been in a DIY venue and the only thing that gets miked is vocals - there's not even always a second microphone. i've never needed more than 50 watts for a show like that, but i also think that a significantly less powerful amp isn't going to give that satisfying thump in the chest without any reinforcement.

sonvolt
August 23rd, 2010, 08:51 PM
20-30 watts are fine for me !

tele salivas
August 23rd, 2010, 10:23 PM
my two cents:

this is all fine and dandy if you play mostly commercial venues.

almost every show i've ever played has been in a DIY venue and the only thing that gets miked is vocals - there's not even always a second microphone. i've never needed more than 50 watts for a show like that, but i also think that a significantly less powerful amp isn't going to give that satisfying thump in the chest without any reinforcement.

I play DIY venues as well, and if I want to keep my rig country-clean and be heard above the rowdy crowd(forget the drummer-you ever hear a beer barbarian get loose?) I'm going to need at least a good 50 watts. But realistically, a Twin will keep me much happier in an atmosphere we like to keep in line with "Dim Lights, Thick Smoke (And Loud, Loud Music).. "

Joe-Bob
August 23rd, 2010, 11:45 PM
I've never needed more than 50 watts for a show like that, but i also think that a significantly less powerful amp isn't going to give that satisfying thump in the chest without any reinforcement.

This is an easy point to miss, and one a whole lot of people don't seem to understand at all. If you like to play with an obnoxious ice-pick tone, and an inexplicably large portion of you seem to do just exactly that, then you may well be able to get away with a smaller amp. But there's never going to be that "oomph" there that you get with a bigger amp.

The whole "x" decibels is "x" much louder thing also gets tremendously misrepresented. Most people can tell a difference in volume of about 1 1/2 decibels, but to say that "x" amp is twice as loud as "x" is just ridiculous in a real world. First of all, you have to pick a specific frequency; high frequencies take far less power than low ones do. Since we cover a pretty wide range of frequencies on a guitar, the blanket statement of "x" is twice as loud as, or "x" is half as loud as, is just foolishnesss.

Then you have to decide if you want it clean or with some distortion. As we all know, in a live music situation, distortion can really make the sound "wash out" and lose it's distinctiveness in the context. So, it really needs to have far more power behind it to equal the clean volume you may have used before the solo. If you want that "oomph" there too, then there's just no way that your Pathfinder 15R is going to be able to deliver.

This is exactly why amps have volume controls. Big, powerful amps can always be turned down, but small amps will never be able to do for you what a dimed Twin Reverb can. Especially if you're playing outdoors on a flatbed semi-trailer at the local annual _____ festival.

That's why I have several amps that span the size and power range. I take the one to the gig that will work for that gig. Sometimes you can be in the PA mix and sometimes you can't. As a competent guitarist, you've got to be able to do the job either way.

samato
August 24th, 2010, 12:34 AM
I only have significant experience playing out with 3 amps, but I've done a lot of gigs with the first 2 and a few with the 3rd.

1) Fender Hot Rod Deville 410 - I've done at least 50 gigs with it and never been able to get the volume above 4 in any live situation, indoors or outdoors, without being ridiculously loud. I did crank it for a recording once, that was fun! I think it's a good sounding amp but it seems to want to work harder and unfortunately I just can't let it. Plus I'm just not interested in carrying around something that big and heavy anymore.

2) Fender Twin Reverb - I can't think of anything this amp doesn't do well. This would probably be all I would ever need BUT, it's too damn heavy! I just don't want to do it.

3) Fender Pro Jr. - I'm liking it so far but it will never sound as good or as loud clean as a Twin Reverb no matter how great your PA system is. As far as being loud enough to get over a drummer, that has not been a problem yet. I do like the sound of a tube amp working hard but sometimes I'd like to be cleaner at volume than this thing can handle. One big plus is I can travel to gigs on my motorcycle, nice!

These are 3 very different amps and I like them all. All 3 can handle pretty much any gig but they all do it differently. Maybe I'm too easy - if I have single coil pickups and a Fender tube amp I'm happy.

cyclopean
September 1st, 2010, 04:25 PM
the last two commercial venue shows i went to were two consecutive nights at the same small bar. night one was all crust and old early 80s style us hardcore. nothing was miced except vocals, the bassist played through a sunn coliseum, and both guitarists had old mesa heads hooked up to 4x12s. it sounded fine and it sounded solid enough to be satisfying. if anything, the sound guy put the vocals up too high with an annoying high mids spike that really hurt when i wasn't wearing earplugs.

the next night was deke dickerson, playing through a standel and some sort of fender 2x12. no microphone, sounded great. in a pretty small bar.

smokerjoe34
September 2nd, 2010, 02:34 AM
I don't know for sure but I'm a small amp guy !! I gig constantly with a 15 watt princeton reverb RI miced through a very nice PA !! I have the chassis in a head cab with a 1-12'' cab loaded with a Celestion Blue.....Very sweet tone for sure !!

colereevestele
September 2nd, 2010, 02:56 AM
Hey I have played through a 15 watt Fender and it did the job great unless it's a huge venue then you can mic. Now I play through a 1978 Fender twin reverb.

nosuch
September 2nd, 2010, 03:26 AM
IMHO how much amp you need is also a question of context. I got away well with my 15 watt 1 12" blues junior when I had a piano and organ player in the band. it cut through the mix just right and I did not miss anything. when the piano player left it sounded thin though so I started to use bigger amps with 2 12" which can move some more air and spread full chords better then the tiny fender. I suspect it's more about having more speakers then wattage though 'cause I keep the volume control low.

cntry666
September 2nd, 2010, 08:52 AM
I like to get in and out when I play so obviously a smaller amp helps. 15-20 watts is really all you need. My friend had a plexi and that was too much. I've owned just about every amp, I even got through a gig using an Ampeg Jet 12 once. Comfortably 20 watts. I want that new Traynor Dark Horse. That's bad ass.

pontmercy
September 2nd, 2010, 10:29 AM
I have no doubt that when I bought my SuperSonic 60watt that I overshot the loudness! But with my powerplug attenuator switched to -12db, it's comfy for home playing playing volume at 2-3, jamming with folks set to 4-5. Then switch to -6db and that 4-5 is loud enough for a venue but still clean headroom for my pedals. So it all works out great for me. I have enough firepower to do outdoor shows AND play practice levels at home.

Plus the speaker and tube changes make a huge difference!

JD0x0
September 2nd, 2010, 11:26 AM
50 watts (at least) for me. I use alnico speakers which are smoother and less "in your face" so they require a bit more wattage. I also use a two channel amp so i need the wattage to keep the "clean" channel clean.

DADGAD
September 2nd, 2010, 06:37 PM
I've lost count. Can someone tally this thread up up?

<12 watt category

15 - 22 W range

30 -40 watts

50 - 60 watts

70 - I need my tinnitus meds.

:mrgreen:

T Prior
September 3rd, 2010, 03:06 AM
Once again, 20 watts may be all "YOU" need but don't lock that in to imply that 20 watts is all anyone needs. Maybe it's not about volume...maybe it's about clean tone. OR are we now saying a 20 watt amp can deliver all the clean tone you will ever need as well ? I own a few amps, Classic 30, PR, DR and a Twin Reverb, guess which one offers the best clean tone at volume. Guess which one does not !

Tele-phone man
September 3rd, 2010, 01:02 PM
Once again, 20 watts may be all "YOU" need but don't lock that in to imply that 20 watts is all anyone needs. Maybe it's not about volume...maybe it's about clean tone. OR are we now saying a 20 watt amp can deliver all the clean tone you will ever need as well ? I own a few amps, Classic 30, PR, DR and a Twin Reverb, guess which one offers the best clean tone at volume. Guess which one does not !

Exactly. Too many of us on this forum (and I've been guilty of it myself) project our experiences on others, assuming that their experience or needs will be the same. Some of us find a DRRI to be enough headroom for all occasions. That's fine for them, but I would never be able to make that work. I find that the minimum I can get away with in a smaller room w/o reinforcement is a Peavey Classic 30. Larger rooms or outdoors, the C30 needs PA help. As with all my amps, I simply want it to stay completely clean. For larger situations, I use my HRDeville 410, or Peavey Bandit 75, or my Yamaha G100112III (and when coupled with an additional 2-12 cabinet, this will seriously hurt you...but I haven't needed that kind of volume in 20 years).

davidge1
September 3rd, 2010, 01:23 PM
I think that you just need to be able to keep up with the drummer and get the sound you want. If the drums and bass are drowning you out onstage, mic'ing up the amp isn't going to do it, IMO. You'll never be able to hear yourself onstage, and the soundman will assume you're supposed to be that quiet in relation to all the other instruments.

The smallest amp allows you to do that is what you need, IMO. It's all up to the drummer, unfortunately.

Tele-phone man
September 3rd, 2010, 06:19 PM
I think that you just need to be able to keep up with the drummer and get the sound you want. If the drums and bass are drowning you out onstage, mic'ing up the amp isn't going to do it, IMO. You'll never be able to hear yourself onstage, and the soundman will assume you're supposed to be that quiet in relation to all the other instruments.

The smallest amp allows you to do that is what you need, IMO. It's all up to the drummer, unfortunately.

I used to believe this, also, but I've found that it really depends on the venue. Lately, if I play a room or an outside stage with a decent soundman, I have had an EASIER time hearing myself the LOWER I set my stage volume, because the soundman then cranks me through the system monitors and mains to compensate. The lower I go, the louder he brings me in the system. I can then hear myself spread all over the place, and it really sounds great. I also get great feedback from the soundman, you know how they love it when you play quietly.

samato
September 4th, 2010, 12:34 AM
I think that you just need to be able to keep up with the drummer and get the sound you want. If the drums and bass are drowning you out onstage, mic'ing up the amp isn't going to do it, IMO. You'll never be able to hear yourself onstage, and the soundman will assume you're supposed to be that quiet in relation to all the other instruments.

The smallest amp allows you to do that is what you need, IMO. It's all up to the drummer, unfortunately.

That's my take on it too.

krisls
September 4th, 2010, 01:05 AM
It always depends. Not being in the position to have many for various venues I need one to do it all. Mostly a 50/60 will do it and I go 112 combos. For several years a Rivera 55. Loud enough at 3/4 for any small to medium room and miced in an outdoor setting if pushing. Smaller 20/30 works in most situations but might struggle in some settings. A twin is nice and certainly has the 'room' covered, but damn they're heavy. Don't even mention 412 boxes.

As ever it's subjective, whatever works and looks and sounds right to you.

Kristina

jbdrumbo
September 4th, 2010, 01:15 AM
Once again, 20 watts may be all "YOU" need but don't lock that in to imply that 20 watts is all anyone needs. Maybe it's not about volume...maybe it's about clean tone. OR are we now saying a 20 watt amp can deliver all the clean tone you will ever need as well ? I own a few amps, Classic 30, PR, DR and a Twin Reverb, guess which one offers the best clean tone at volume. Guess which one does not !

+1

The sweetest live clean tone that I can recall was a couple of years ago at a private clinic, and was coming from a Twin Reverb, unmiked, in a small 150 seat auditorium. Robben Ford & The Yellowjackets. Both the chords and the leads were very present and rounded.
The same db level on his solos coming from a low watt amp would have sounded good also, I'm sure, but they certainly wouldn't have been as clean and fat.

And yes, this was a venue provided backline amp, so it was probably not modded.

mudfinger
September 8th, 2010, 01:01 AM
If you can stand the weight of a Twin, they'll never let ya down. I can't, so I went for a Deluxe Reverb. I play heavy blues and blues-rock, so I don't need headroom, I need sag and tube saturation, and the DR dishes that out nicely. Never an issue with not being loud enough when playing unmic'd even with really powerful drummers. Works for me.

backsideslappy
September 8th, 2010, 02:14 AM
I realise alot of you guys don't play the same kind of gigs or the same kind music as perhaps I used to (I no longer gig), but I used to own a Peavey 5150 (120w) head and a Fryette Fat-Bottom Cab and found that, even though it never got fully opened up, I wouldn't have survived with something around the 50-80w level, wouldn't have had the same attack or the right amount of push behind it.

Also, I'm a firm believer that a power attenuator (THD is the fave) is a sound investment for anybody who wants to get good tones out of a gigging amp at home.

nosuch
September 8th, 2010, 02:35 AM
I've lost count. Can someone tally this thread up up?

<12 watt category

15 - 22 W range

30 -40 watts

50 - 60 watts

70 - I need my tinnitus meds.

:mrgreen:

From my experience:

< 12 watts for home use or if you like your guitar to sound dirty all the time. prepare to mike up to transport that to the audience on most occasions. I remember playing a vintage vox ac 15 on a big festival stage once and had problems hearing myself.

15 - 22 watts if you like breakup or play real quite with a really lighthanded drummer (e.g. Jazz in a small room). I remember my bjr breaking up (really nicely btw)) even at that kind of gig when I dug heavily into the strings of my archtop guitar. I have fond memories of deluxe reverbs also.

30 - 60 for the average gig, clean or just a slight breakup, depending on the speaker configuration and efficiency and if you have master volume/attentuator. I had a 50 watts mesa caliber+ which could stay clean anyway I wanted it.

> 60 watts depending on speaker configuration will give you enough clean headroom on any gig (with 212 or 410). be prepared to use a mic for the stadion, though. ;-)

This is my personal experience, yours may differ. Personally I like a bit of breakup now (playing blues with some jazz and soul flavours). A bjr. has always been loud enough with that kind of sound, actually I was asked to turn down a couple of times. but some sound guys are just ridiculous. Just lately aquired an AC30 which has more umph with the 212 speaker configuration and can be clean or dirty for my kind of gigs thanks to the master volume.
I didn't want that breakup when playing Jazz so I played solid state amps around 100 watts like the polytone or roland. I did not turn them up, but the headroom was important to me.