1. Win a Broadcaster or one of 3 Teles! The annual Supporting Member Giveaway is on. To enter Click Here. To see all the prizes and full details Click Here. To view the thread about the giveaway Click Here.

1 Watt vs 5 Watt

Discussion in 'Shock Brother's DIY Amps' started by tubeToaster, Dec 3, 2020.

  1. tubeToaster

    tubeToaster Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    103
    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2007
    Location:
    Brentwood,Tn.
    A question to anybody that’s built a 1 watt micro. How much less volume do they have compared to a 5 watt amp. I’m guessing about 1/3 less. What is your observation ?

    Thanks , Dave
     
  2. 39martind18

    39martind18 Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    70
    Posts:
    2,304
    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2012
    Location:
    Spring TX
    Not separate amps, but on the Tone Master Deluxe Reverb I recently obtained, the attenuated output for 1 watt seems to be about half the volume of the 5 watt setting. YMMV
     
  3. Fuelish

    Fuelish Tele-Holic

    Age:
    63
    Posts:
    652
    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2018
    Location:
    foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, east TN
    Can only speak for my 5 watt through a 1x12....louder than I need...when my lady love is home...dogs don’t even mind the 15 watt cranked, go figure
     
  4. Fluddman

    Fluddman Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    515
    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2010
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    I think it's more about headroom than loud.

    My five watt amp is too loud to be cranked at home but doesn't have enough headroom to gig with.

    Its loud enough and sound glorious but isn't clean enough at gig volume.

    Its hard to appreciate how much louder a gig with a drummer is compared to just playing at home.

    Sorry for the slight detour.

    Cheers
     
    tubelectron and TokyoPortrait like this.
  5. jsnwhite619

    jsnwhite619 Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    36
    Posts:
    3,440
    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2013
    Location:
    Georgia
    I haven't built any of the micro amps, but I've built attenuators using the 1/4 power and 1/10 power mods on Rob's site. A project box the plugs between the amp and speaker. 1/4 power of 14-15W should be 3.5-4W. It isn't that noticeable, and a good speaker would still let me easily gig a 15 watt amp cranked up through it. The 1/10 (or maybe it's actually 1/9?) option is definitely quieter. But, it's nowhere near "no one else in the house will hear me" level, and that's down to 1.5 watts. It's still surprising if you have an efficient speaker.

    Here is a handy site & calculator. You'll see that speaker choice is crucial for keeping the volume down. The right - or "wrong" - speaker can still potentially cause hearing damage with a 1 watt amp. https://myhometheater.homestead.com/splcalculator.html


    Screenshot (5).png

    Screenshot (11).png


    Screenshot (6).png


    decibel_exposure_chart.gif
     
    tubeToaster, Bluego1 and Cali Dude like this.
  6. Hachiko

    Hachiko TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    5
    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2020
    Location:
    USA
    I have a micro amp (12ax7, 35C5, 35W4) and a champ like amp (12ax7, 6av6, 6V6, 5Y3). The micro is about half as loud as the 5w (maybe a bit more). I can get the micro amp to "crunch" at a very comfortable level vs the 5W. The micro amp doesn't really have enough headroom to stay clean.

    I use both with "high efficiency" speakers (V30 and C90). I do like the micro amp for days where you might have too much ear fatigue to use something else.
     
    tubeToaster likes this.
  7. kleydejong

    kleydejong Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    784
    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2010
    Location:
    Orange City, IA
    My understanding is that wattage and volume scale exponentially. I.e. to get 2x the volume you need 10x the wattage.

    I also agree with the above idea that it is more about clean headroom. The 1w amp will breakup sooner than the 5w amp moreso than it will be X amount quieter.
     
    Digital Larry, sds1 and TokyoPortrait like this.
  8. loopfinding

    loopfinding Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,525
    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2011
    Location:
    europe endless
    Yeah all things being equal just off of straight power gain equation it would be about 6db quieter. Which is significant, but might still be too loud for an apartment. I’ve always considered one as an amp sim for use with cab sims though, building a resistive load attenuator for it would be pretty cheap and easy, not too much to worry about with dissipation, and maybe not sound like total crap. At least, I’m wondering how that scenario would fare against something like a tech21 pedal. Plus it would be a cool bonus that it can actually drive a speaker.
     
  9. TokyoPortrait

    TokyoPortrait Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,295
    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2017
    Location:
    Tokyo, Japan
    Hi. I'm totally no expert on this, so someone please correct me if I'm wrong.*

    My understanding is that, in very very rough and approximate lay terms, and all other things being equal (which they usually aren't), to get a noticeable small change in volume for most humans, like tweaking the radio dial just a tad to bump up the volume in a slight, just noticeable way, typically entails about a doubling of power. This equates to around a 3dB increase. And it is relative to the starting volume.

    To get a perception of doubling the volume of that starting point, you need about a 9dB increase, which typically entails a three times increase in power. In other words, 3w or so in this 1w example. Then to 9w or so for the next 9dB to double that new volume, then to 27w or so, then 81w and so on. I recall reading most humans perceive a doubling of volume between 7dB - 12dB, with the average being around 9dB.

    I like the way this roughly approximates the Vox AC amp designations incidentally. The traditional 4 / 15 / 30 is fairly close to 4w / 12w / 36w.

    Anyway, all things equal-ish, maybe 5w vs 1w would be a bit more than a slightly noticeable bump down in volume, but a lot less than a halving?

    And for what it is worth, my hand-wired Vox AC4 is stupid loud for home use, and has little in the way of usable headroom if that’s what one was after. I'm not :)

    Pax/
    Dean
    * having typed all this, I'm pretty sure I'm only kinda ball park right, right?
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2020
  10. Paul-T

    Paul-T Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    548
    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2018
    Location:
    London
    That's more or less right, doubling perceived volume is generally seen as 10db, although a 9dB increase actually takes x8 power : 2 x 2 x 2. .

    I have Rob's 10% attenuator on a 5E3 - it does more or less sound like half the volume.
     
    TokyoPortrait likes this.
  11. TokyoPortrait

    TokyoPortrait Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,295
    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2017
    Location:
    Tokyo, Japan
    Hi.

    Thanks.

    Yeah, as I was typing, I was thinking, 'Man, the guy with dyscalculia should not be typing this.' I was kinda dreading the responses I might get...

    Pax/
    Dean
     
  12. beagle

    beagle Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    61
    Posts:
    4,482
    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2010
    Location:
    Yorkshire
    On the 0.5 watt setting my Katana can crank out a window rattling 95dB.
     
  13. radiocaster

    radiocaster Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    8,009
    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2015
    Location:
    europe
    I don't know if this helps, I played one of those Marshall JCM-1H in a shop once or twice, through a 1x12" I think. I didn't buy it, but it's a cool amp.

    In the 1 watt mode it was like any amp, 50 watts or whatever, you'd put the master volume on 2-3 max or it's too loud, and mess with the preamp gain to get more distortion. Unless you wanted to be very loud, I'm talking practice scenarios.

    In the 1/10th of a watt mode, you could dial the master volume to different positions, it was much more useful as a bedroom amp for dialing in lower level tones.

    Keep in mind room size also matters.
     
  14. VintageSG

    VintageSG Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    4,327
    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2016
    Location:
    Yorkshire
    I had a Hayden 1 Watt, and it was a punchy little amp indeed. At close quarters, it could get too loud to be comfortable. My room is very small and I tend to have the speaker(s) up at head level for the best sound. In terms of headroom, it had the same as all my other amps, just at a lower volume, for a definition stretching description of headroom. It could do cleans, it could crunch, it could be set just-so to allow control from the guitar.
    Volume wise, it could easily get loud enough to annoy others. Not much quieter than my other low power valve amps and about on par in terms of perceived volume with my Hotone Nano head into 8 Ohms. The Hotone into 8 Ohms is around 2~3-ish Watts.
    Go by quality of sound, and use an inefficient speaker.
     
    Paul-T and radiocaster like this.
  15. tubeToaster

    tubeToaster Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    103
    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2007
    Location:
    Brentwood,Tn.
    Thanks. That’s what I was wondering about.
     
  16. marshman

    marshman Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    5,385
    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2007
    Location:
    SE PA
    Speaker efficiency is important to this discussion...play an epiphone valve Jr (5watt) through the stock 8" speaker and then through a "proper guitar" 2x12 and the difference will be significant.

    But with no actual experience other than years of reading people much smarter than I discuss similar topics, I suspect that a 1watt amp would sound roughly half as loud as a 5watt amp through the same speaker(s).
     
  17. tubeToaster

    tubeToaster Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    103
    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2007
    Location:
    Brentwood,Tn.
    I wish someone would make a new production super inefficient 12 inch speaker.
     
    ahiddentableau likes this.
  18. ahiddentableau

    ahiddentableau Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    416
    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2018
    Location:
    Middle of Nowhere
    I have had this same thought more times than I can count. I would absolutely buy a speaker that had a greenbackish or jensen ceramic style tonal profile but with efficiency a good 15-20+dB lower than a regular high efficiency guitar loudspeaker. I would guess that you'd need to make the tone profile heavier on the bass and treble ends of the spectrum to compensate for the Fletcher-Munson curve, but it would be glorious if somebody could do it. I could finally get some speaker compression and distortion at home volume levels.

    On the other side of the argument, Emi made those Maverick and Reignmaker speakers that were kind of along these lines and by all accounts they were a commercial failure. I'd like to think it's because they didn't go far enough (they could only reduce volume by 9dB, if memory serves--ie they didn't go far enough to hit what the market really wants--the volume level of a loud TV), but I doubt the speaker industry will look at it that way.
     
  19. ahiddentableau

    ahiddentableau Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    416
    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2018
    Location:
    Middle of Nowhere
    About the 1W v 5W thing: I don't think there would be that big a difference. If you're looking for a home amp, 1W may be too loud. Although you seem to be pretty reasonable about it with your 1/3 quieter guess. I think that's probably pretty close. My guess would be closer to 25% when cranked, so very close to your estimate.
     
  20. Wrighty

    Wrighty Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    66
    Posts:
    3,769
    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2013
    Location:
    Essex UK
    I always understood that 10 x the output gives 2 x the perceived volume.
     
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.