Why aren't big amps more popular?

radiocaster

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Depends what type of music. Have you seen doom bands use Princetons? What about metal bands?

I threw a 30 pound bassman in a backpack and hauled the oversized 2x12 cab for years. It sucked.

If I needed that much firepower (I don’t really, 25-30 watts & and attenuator works best for my music as far as headroom/squish), I’d get a modern bassman clone in lunchbox format like a frenzel or a sovtek tube midget and a 2x10 or 1x15.
The Tube Midget weighs about the same as the Bassman head. Thar's not that bad (although I would probably not use a backpack), but oversized cabs are a pain.
 
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BoomTexan

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Depends what type of music. Have you seen doom bands use Princetons? What about metal bands?


The Tube Midget weighs about the same as the Bassman head. Thar's not that bad (although I would probably not use a backpack), but oversized cabs are a pain.
I have seen doom bands use smaller amps. The Hot Rod Deluxe is pretty popular. A doom band frequents our rehearsal room and the guitarist always brings a LP, a HRD, and a mountainous pedalboard. I've heard that Matt Pike actually uses a Champ pretty frequently in the studio, although that's just hearsay.
 

Matt G

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. . . So, my question is, why aren't more people using bigger amps?
I'm still using bigger amps. My bedroom amp for the electric sixes is a Twin Reverb, and I'm hoping to upgrade to a full Ampeg fridge (8x10) for my basses. But I'm just a back porch player. I don't have to please anyone but myself. It pleases my ear to move some air. On the flip side, if I were gigging local pubs then there's no way I'd cart that stuff from pillar to post simply to amuse punters who don't know from shinola. That's what DIs are for.
 

andrewRneumann

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Some ramblings to be ignored…

For me, playing music is all about inspiration. If a piece of gear doesn’t inspire me to play with my heart, I don’t want to play it. It’s completely subjective and aesthetically bound. I don’t want to play back porch blues through an amp with a polished chrome grill. In this case, it has nothing to do with sound.

As for power, well, power inspires me. I like having the throttles in my hands, so to speak, and knowing I can handle a high performance piece of equipment. I like jet planes. I like steam locomotives. I like the sound, the feel, the hotness, of a cranked guitar amp.

Micro amps, on the other hand, do not inspire me.

Another thing that doesn’t inspire me are fads. I’m allergic to fads and crazes. If everyone has to have something, I’m sure that I do not. Going your own way is inspiring, because playing from your heart is always going to have an element of going your own way.

“…music is spoken in many ways, but it comes directly from your heart.” —Michael Hedges

Whatever you do, find the amp that inspires you to play from your heart. Have I said it enough?

✌️✌️✌️
 

BoomTexan

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Some ramblings to be ignored…

For me, playing music is all about inspiration. If a piece of gear doesn’t inspire me to play with my heart, I don’t want to play it. It’s completely subjective and aesthetically bound. I don’t want to play back porch blues through an amp with a polished chrome grill. In this case, it has nothing to do with sound.

As for power, well, power inspires me. I like having the throttles in my hands, so to speak, and knowing I can handle a high performance piece of equipment. I like jet planes. I like steam locomotives. I like the sound, the feel, the hotness, of a cranked guitar amp.

Micro amps, on the other hand, do not inspire me.

Another thing that doesn’t inspire me are fads. I’m allergic to fads and crazes. If everyone has to have something, I’m sure that I do not. Going your own way is inspiring, because playing from your heart is always going to have an element of going your own way.

“…music is spoken in many ways, but it comes directly from your heart.” —Michael Hedges

Whatever you do, find the amp that inspires you to play from your heart. Have I said it enough?

✌️✌️✌️
I don't think I've ever seen a comment I agree more with. Especially with the fads and crazes part.

I love old unwanted gear. I love nothing more than finding a rusted Peavey for parts on Craigslist. My favorite guitar amp at the moment is a carpeted Fender Rumble 25.

Not one for boutique amps or small modern amps in general. I've never bought something new and I've never wanted anything new.

I despise pedals. I have a Behringer Reverb, Joyo Delay, and Sonicake Overdrive, and thats all I need.

Everything I like inspires me, can shake my bones with volume and punch, or is so practical and cheap that I just can't turn it down. And thats about it.
 

Synchro

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I didn’t read the entire thread, so pardon me if I’m be8 g redundant, but I can see little reason to use a big amp. I have a Twin, but I play my gigs on either a 5 watt or a 12 watt amp. With a good PA, my 5 watt Winfield Typhoon sounds as big as a Dual Showman. Why schlep a big amp, when I can use an amp I can lift with my pinkie?
 

telemnemonics

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100 watts solid state clean is the same as a 100 watt tube amp clean.
OK I‘ll bites.
Tube amps are widely varied so instead referring to all of them I will refer to my favorite types including classic Marshall, Hiwatt, late big Tweed Fender.

First fact that’s science based is that one of those tube guitar amps set to a volume where a measured 100w is sent to the speakers with a medium pick attack on a medium number of strings, is that if you hit harder or more strings, those classic tube amps can produce transients as great at three times the rated clean wattage.

Second fact also science based is that for example a 100w rated Marshall or Hiwatt may have a maximum output of 150-170w at clipping. While genuinely producing only100 watts of clean power.
One may insist that only the 100 watts of clean output counts, but for t it to be “the same” as your 100 w SS clean power guitar amp, you need to play the actual guitat plugged into both actual amps.
If the tube amp set for 100w clean produces much louder transients than the SS amp when you play more fiercely, while the SS power section cannot get that loud and does not sound more fierce because aSS power section just doesn’t do what a tube power section does, the two are not ”the same”.

Back to science facts about SS guitar amps, if they are truly rated the same with 100 watts of clean power, they cannot produce 300w transients and cannot produce 160 watts at clipping, because that’s simply not the nature of SS power amps.
Your claim might hold up if a signal generator sent the same small signal to both amps.
 

robinrockus

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With modern technology, it has become possible to run a cranked Marshall at less than 80db easily, or just run it into a line-out. I can get a Harley Bentonville PA-100, load box, attenuator, and DI box, all for around $100. The OX is an incredible tool as well, and is incredible versatile. So, my question is, why aren't more people using bigger amps?

Every boutique amp I see on the market is 30-watts, or has an option to bring it to 30 or less from a maximum of 50. Vintage 50-100 watt amp prices are remaining steady. That would be a good sign normally, but due to COVID, vintage stuff in general has soared.

I've always loved big amps. With one, you can get as loud as you need, and as quiet as you need too. At lower volumes, put an OD in front, at higher volumes, turn a rangemaster on and let the tubes do the work. I believe that bigger amps have more of a bass response, and sound rounder in general, in experience as well as in principle. I've owned more 100 watt amps than amps below 50 watts at this point, like a Fender Roc Pro, a cheap Danelectro SS amp, a Fender FM100, a Fender Dual Showman Reverb, Ace Tone Bass 6, Carvin VL100, Fender Stage Lead 212, Carvin X100b, Kustom K250-1 and probably some more I'm forgetting. They had overall a rounder and fatter sound, even on clean channels, than their 20 watt brethren.

I know of weight issues, but carrying an OX Box and a head isn't as bad (imho) as a 20 watt combo with a 12" Alnico speaker. I've carried that Carvin X100b and I've carried a Hot Rod Deluxe, and the X100b was so much easier. The same people touting the Tonemaster amps seem to neglect that a 50+ watt head weighs less in 90% of cases. I guess that if your venue doesn't have any cabs, it'd probably be better to get a combo, but that's not a very common occurrence, for me at least. Anyways, you can just use a line out direct to the PA with a cabinet emulator, which has the exact same effect as the people micing their 20 watt combos.

Anyways, this rant has gone on long enough, if you have any other reasons, let me know in comments.
Uh, transporting loading volume level not playing at a stadium
 

cyclopean

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Well, I owned a Sonicake Reverb mini-pedal and it was hands down the best budget reverb I've ever had. I'm using the mini Sonicake Blue Skreamer in my church rig, and it's also perfect for Cream woman tone when dimed on the Loud setting. If they were in full pedal enclosures, I wouldn't mind, but they cost less this way. It's never bothered me or anything when fumbling with pedal settings before or during sets.
Why would you want something to needlessly take up more pedalboard space than it has to?
 

cyclopean

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Gigs are different where I am than when I was gigging around Houston in the '90s. Back then, I'd bring big 100-watt amps to gigs and mic them through the house PA. Crowds and venues wanted it loud, and big amps looked cooler, too.

Now, a lot of venues want conversational volume or a little more. And PA systems are better than they used to be, so running a 5-watt amp and making the PA do all the work is a good option, though it wouldn't have been 25 years ago.

And "rock" as we knew it in the '80s and '90s doesn't have the same cultural dominance now. The tropes of the big rock band, including big amps behind the hero guitarist acting like he's slaying a dragon, look pretty silly now to a lot of folks.

A good amp made well can cost a lot regardless of wattage; it doesn't bother me that a 15-watt amp could be as expensive as a bigger amp. The amount of plywood in the cabinet and the size of the transformers aren't a huge part of the cost of an amp.
Where are any of you going, as performers or as audiences, where the music is quiet enough to talk over?
 

cyclopean

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Over the past few years I have used a variety of 15 watt amps, and never found a situation where it was not loud enough. In fact, more often than not my volume is on 3 or 4 and people are telling me I'm too loud. Yet many, many people here believe it is impossible to gig with anything smaller than 40 watts. I know this because they say so around here, frequently. I guess it all depends on what kind of gigs you have, and how big the rooms are. Even then, it seems better to mic something smaller and let the PA do the work.

That said, I would love to have the kind of gigs that required a twin reverb, so I could justify playing through one. But that does not seem to be in the cards.
“Having the PA do the work” is making a whole lot of assumptions about the quality/wattage of the PA system and the amount of microphones available.
 

BoomTexan

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Why would you want something to needlessly take up more pedalboard space than it has to?
They don't shift around as much as the mini pedals, you can put a 9V in for portable playing, and I have a lot of space left on my board, so why not?
 

39martind18

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I had a 1968 Twin Reverb that I "lightened" by installing a pair of Jensen Stealth neo speakers, which brought the weight down to around 60 lb. I loved the sound but the situation that used that amp drird up with the advent of Covid, both in the couple of outside gigs where the power and volume could best be used and the ensemble that I used it in went by the boards. I traded it in November of 2020 for a TMDR, and have never looked back. My recently acquired Vibrolux Reverb also went on a weight reduction program with a pair of Jensen neos, bringing the weight down to around 40-42 lb, much more manageable for my arthritic old hands. Yes, I do miss all that glorious cleans and power of the Twin, but not the hand and back pain associated with it.
 




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