One big amp vs 2 smaller ones

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by gpasq, Jan 29, 2013.

  1. homesick345

    homesick345 Poster Extraordinaire

    Jan 20, 2012
    Beirut, Lebanon
    Well a pair of 6L6 is generally enough for me :p 8 seems like overkill...

    I do like to mix amps & do "stereo" , but that's saturday/sunday morning for fun - never at a gig, this would drown me into endless hassles & dyslexia + I really don't need it. I really need to keep it simple at a gig, & not worry - not even think - about the equipment.

    I backed lot of international & american top guitarists acts, & I never seen one of them go "complicated" when comes gig time.

    Guitar / Overdrive pedal / 6L6 amp.... seems to work for me. I heard Duke Robillard say in an interview that's his classic setup as well, so I don't really want to look any further, crank any marshall, ride the volume knob, etc..etc..

    If you can't sound good on a super/twin on 4; with a strat, tele, or a gibson, you don't sound good period. That's my personal taste (of course, no aggression intended towards ANY other fellow guitarist)... The sound of a cranked Marshall doesn't "get" me anymore. It used to, before hair metal, when guys like Blackmore or Hendrix played them, a long time ago - but even with these, I'm bored with that tone now.

    But never bored with the typical Fender 6L6 tone, in the hands of a good player. Gets me every time, after all these years.
  2. blargfromspace

    blargfromspace Tele-Afflicted

    Apr 8, 2010
    Maybe thats the problem. One must be canceling the other out :idea:
  3. printer2

    printer2 Poster Extraordinaire

    May 24, 2010
    Give it a try. Just for the heck of it use 100dB for the speaker efficiency.
  4. Timbertea

    Timbertea Tele-Holic

    Sep 14, 2010
    Near St Louis, MO
    I generally take two amps to blend them, and to have a backup. For a great many places the blend amp isn't truly needed, but its nice to have the wet/dry effect going. Reverb is great, but an amp running without reverb will make everything you play much clearer, and will allow more extreme reverb effects (and distorted effects if one amp is running nearer clean -- and more extreme vibrato on one as well) to be tolerable to an audience at stage volumes.

    However, in terms of headroom. I have a 100w Rivera M100, and the huge output transformer in that amp will absolutely own any pair of less than 100w amps I own. Even if I were to combine my Ampeg Gemini II, and my Bandmaster together -- they would not equal the volume of the the Rivera, but they would come close in headroom (mostly due to the Ampeg). Even the Rivera can't hold up to the Peavey Ranger (which is more like a Twin reverb in tone) -- a mere 20 watts more, but a miserable 87lbs to move in terms of clean headroom. It has more headroom than all but the ultra linear twins.

    Unless you are playing in small clubs and running unmic'd -- you can pretty much forget stereo effects. 8 out of 10 smaller clubs don't truly have a stereo PA system, and of the remaining few that do, the odds of them hooking them up correctly, and blending them correctly for your particular tastes are pretty slim.

    Now if you are playing in clubs that only the vocals are going through the PA -- it is an absolute joy to run stereo effects with fairly similar amps. Running panned delays, especially into amps with very different EQ settings can give you the effect of multiple guitars, chorus, and just give you a really lush tone.

    The main hassle with any bi-amp rig is still the sound guy. Its inevitable that they mix them for what sounds good to them, not how you have them mixed on stage. Its definitely something you want to have a wireless to walk around and see what it sounds like out there before you give the nod to the sound guy that its all gravy.

    Sometimes the sound guy IS right and has to cut one down a bit or get you to adjust off a bit of treble or bass to keep their PA system happy. More often though they get one amp a lot higher in the mix than the other, and you lose a lot of the benefits.
  5. fauxsuper

    fauxsuper Tele-Afflicted

    Sep 15, 2007
    San Diego, CA

    Don't have enough information to give you an exact number, but if the two 4 X 12 stacks were properly matched to the head powering them, which one would be louder would depend on what you're talking about as far as the 1 X12" cabs are. To be an apples to apples comnparison, they would need to be in closed back cabs with 1/4 the internal volume of the 4 X 12" cabs (assuming the 4 X 12" are closed back cabs).

    The X factor (among a thousand others) here is the speakers in both cases will form an acoustic array and having the dirvers in close proximity to each other will increase the efficiency, (and also impact on dierectionality) so if those 1 X 12" cabs were stacked as to acomplish much the same thing as the two 4 X 12" cabs, say stacked 5 high and side by side: ten 12" speakers would have more surface area than 8 but powered with the same wattage, one might expect the side powered by the smaller amps to be slightly louder (less than a db if you use the calculator Printer2 provided) if heard from the same distance. In reality, dealing with the hassle of maintaining 10 amps, setting them up, and all that would probably eventually drive most people to just use one amp and be done with it. Unless they just loved those little amps. But we're getting a long distance from the real world with this little hypo, anyway.

    The are a million variables here, that aren't in the calculator, however. Things like structural rigidity of the cabinets and the dimensions of them will impact. There is a point of diminishing returns in terms of what one can expect from a speaker array, and the configuration of the individual 1 x12" into some sort of line array would depend some on room acoustics but 200 yards would seem to imply outdoors. Since volume diminishes inversely with distance, the configuration that would allow the most tightly focused projection would have some dergee of advantage. In most cases, with such distances involved, you'd expect a large number of people, so trying to focus on one spot 200 yeards way is probably not going to happen in the real world, so there may be some advantages in sound dispersion by using individual cabs.. The other thing would be, with such large distances, you would likely be running any such rig through a PA system.

    Those of you who are above a certain age will remember the Grateful Dead's WALL OF SOUND PA system. I won't go in to the details here, but it was quite a deal back in the day. In most cases, it provided the Dead with a much better sound system than was typical for the day. It was unwieldy and when they went out for the first time, they probably learned a lot of things they hadn't anticipated.

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