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Thread: How much amp is too much?

  1. #1
    Senior Member andy474x's Avatar
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    How much amp is too much?

    Went to a show to see a friend of mine (drummer) play lastnight. We were in a medium sized bar, and I'm watching from across the place as they set up their gear, 2 guitars and one is playing through a Single Rec and 4x12, and the other through a 100 watt Marshall DSL head and 4x12. So I'm thinking to myself, wow, if this were me I would probably stick to my 30 watter and 2x12, am I not bringing enough amp to shows like this? Well, 10 seconds into their first song, that pissing contest was over. First of all, they were wayyyy louder than I usually play, second of all, I was fine with that because they were just blasting everyone's ears out. Couldn't hear the vocals for the whole show, and it was so loud I could hardly even discern what they were playing. Can't believe I'm saying the guitars were too loud, what's happening to me? It was a crowd of 30 or so, and I would say the bar wasn't hole in the wall small, it had a small stage and could probably hold 60-70 people. I don't want to knock the guys too much, they were good, I just wish it wasn't so loud!

    So what do you guys think? What would you be rocking the half stack, am I just an old geezer in a young body?
    -I'm no expert, but it seems to work and I haven't electrocuted myself yet. Which is pretty much the standard I live by.

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  2. #2
    Happy Egads's Avatar
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    I'm in the same boat. In my opinion, there is no need for 4x12s and 100 watts, unless you are play very large places or outdoors. 30 watts and 1x12 or 2x12 and a mic are more than enough for most gigs. Don't get me wrong. I am not knocking the shear awesomeness of rocking a full stack, but for the most part, it's just for the image, not the need.

    Yeah, I'm getting old, but I've felt this way forever. The other shoe is that I really don't want to carry that much gear, either. I sold a killer Mark IV COMBO (!?!?!) because it was a ***** to get up and down stairs. I really loved that amp, but didn't (and don't) need that much power. At 100+lbs in the flight case, no thanks!

    I'm back to a small head and a 1x12 or two. 30 watts or less.

  3. #3
    Member RichardJ's Avatar
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    In my early playing days I moved from a 15 watt solid state Peavey straight to a 160 watt solid state Fender and never turned it above 2. Nowadays I have had a few 40 - 50 watt tube amps and they are just sooo loud when you get them to the singing point. My main amp now is a 15 watt Pro Junior through a 2x10 Jensen loaded cab with a few effects up front. For everyday that is plenty, the 50 watt Koch Twintone II generally tends to only come out for special occasions.

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    I was using a Marshall JVM 410 halfstack as a practice amp at home...with the masters set on 4.5 and 5 (I would post pics but it has no PRS content and I do have loads of vids of it but I won't post vids on here anymore again no prs content).

    I was also using a really good noise gate so the clarity was outstanding and all gain hiss was removed.

    I thought this thread was going to be more about features on a amp being too much, nowadays I just want a basic plexi amp, having 4 channels 3 gain structures per channel 2 masters midi control 2 fx loops loads of pedals etc etc just doesnt appeal anymore (it did sound amazing though)

  5. #5
    Senior Member jfine's Avatar
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    Anything over 40 lbs.

  6. #6
    Junior Member -ST-'s Avatar
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    How much amp is too much? For me, it's any amp that weighs more than the smallest thing that will give me the tone I need for a particular show.

    And any amp that requires me to hit toxic volume in order to get my tone... that's too much amp.

  7. #7
    SuperD Boogie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Egads View Post
    ...rocking a full stack, but for the most part, it's just for the image, not the need.
    Very much so. Most bars we play have verbal stipulations that if they have to ask us twice to turn down, we are OUT without pay. Considering that we only mic vocals and drums, it's a bit of a challenge to maintain the mix and volume level. But that's a two sided coin in that we can't be too loud, but we also need to keep up with the venue size. A PRS 50W amp w/ 2x12 is perfect to maintain clean headroom when needed. The other guitarist's Marshall DSL40 1x12 combo can completely destroy the front row or anyone in direct alignment with the speaker.

  8. #8
    Senior Member garrett's Avatar
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    I've found that 50W and 2x12 is more than enough for most indoor gigs and just right for outdoor gigs.

    A couple years ago, I saw Stanton Moore with Anders Osborne in a mid sized club. The first set was just Stanton's band, and his guitarist was playing through a Deluxe Reverb. Sound was great. Then Anders came up in the second set, playing through a 100W Marshall and 4x12. He was so loud that it gave me a headache, even with ear plugs in. I had to walk out on the show.
    --Garrett--

  9. #9
    Senior Member garrett's Avatar
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    Speaking of full stacks, I saw Yngwie with G3 in a big club and he had three full stacks on stage, but only one of the heads was switched on.
    --Garrett--

  10. #10
    Senior Member vchizzle's Avatar
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    You may as well not bring more than a 15W amp anywhere anymore. I say that in jest...kind of. No place wants loud stage volume regardless of the size of the room or the system in it. I usually side wash cabs so they're not blowing out straight at the board. Then you have to make sure the monitor mix can handle whatever volume you're at. I had my Bad Cat hot cat w/4x12 turned up to 2ish??? -it was around 9:00 on the master and was asked to turn down. I couldn't hear myself for 3/4 of the set. At all. I had my little zoom recorder in front of the board to record. You hear the spot he had me turn down. Then the guitar is barely audible in the mix. Pissed me off.

    Nothing sounds like a 4x12 on stage, I've tried making other cabs work but

  11. #11
    Senior Member jfb's Avatar
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    I am trending towards smaller amps with less gain now days. They just seem easier to deal with around the house. As of late for high gain I go to software or a load box / cab sim behind an amp head. I dig the results.
    Plank Owner

  12. #12
    For me, there are a number of factors, but bottom line is that I want sufficient headroom, and some degree of flexibility.

    50 watt amps and a 212 cab seem to deliver that, and I've been using them for recording as well for the past decade.
    I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken...

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    Quote Originally Posted by garrett View Post
    Speaking of full stacks, I saw Yngwie with G3 in a big club and he had three full stacks on stage, but only one of the heads was switched on.
    If you would of looked into the back of the cabs 2/3 of them didn't have speakers in.

  14. #14
    Opaque John Beef's Avatar
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    Our band has been having some issues like this. Our bass player is my wife, so that's a wrinkle to consider when I explain. She has an Ampeg SVT2 300 watt all tube amp, which is a beast, sitting on top of an Ampeg 8x10, another beast. Beast times two. She rocks a Lakland Bob Glaub sig P-bass into it. It sounds like the thunder of the gods. Seriously, it is one the best bass tones I have ever heard.

    The problem is, I absolutely have to run a 4x12 to keep up with her. I have a Bogner open back Alchemist 2x12 that I really like. But even with my 50 watt head cranked up to a higher setting than with a 4x12, it simply does not compete with her beastly rig no matter what her volume it set to.

    I convinced her to pick up a used SVT 4x10 recently. With her running the 4x10, my 2x12 is able to hang in there, but she's not as happy with the tone, and admittedly, it's no longer the thunder of the gods. We took this set up to a small club recently. We were way quieter than usual. After the gig we called them to see if we could play there again because we felt it went pretty well, but the guy told us he dig our music but we were just too darn loud. This made my wife say, well screw it, I'm playing the 8x10 all the time then. We'll just be loud because that's who we are.

    The saga continues. I like the clarity and definition I get with the 2x12, and that's partially due to the speakers I think (G12H30 and a greenback, vs vintage 30s in my 4x12). I wish I could play it more.
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    enough said.

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    Quote Originally Posted by vchizzle View Post
    You may as well not bring more than a 15W amp anywhere anymore. I say that in jest...kind of. No place wants loud stage volume regardless of the size of the room or the system in it. I usually side wash cabs so they're not blowing out straight at the board. Then you have to make sure the monitor mix can handle whatever volume you're at. I had my Bad Cat hot cat w/4x12 turned up to 2ish??? -it was around 9:00 on the master and was asked to turn down. I couldn't hear myself for 3/4 of the set. At all. I had my little zoom recorder in front of the board to record. You hear the spot he had me turn down. Then the guitar is barely audible in the mix. Pissed me off.

    Nothing sounds like a 4x12 on stage, I've tried making other cabs work but
    I totally agree nothing sounds better than a 4x 12 , I use a 2x12 mesa rectifier with a Blackstar series one 50, the mesa is great and does a good job many say it sounds like a 4x12 but I don't think so, I'm on the look out for a another different voiced 2x12 to add to the rig just to get that massive sound. I can lift it all on my own even though its 3 trips to the van.

  17. #17
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    15w amps sound tinny and small, you just can't get the air movement,

  18. #18
    Senior Member garrett's Avatar
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    I guess it does depend on the music you play. Anything more than a 22W 1x12 Deluxe Reverb is probably more than you need for blues. But nothing thumps for metal like at least 50W and a 4x12.
    --Garrett--

  19. #19
    Senior Member garrett's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sonicboomfatboy View Post
    15w amps sound tinny and small, you just can't get the air movement,
    Depends on the speakers and the cab. 15W is plenty loud, but lacks clean headroom. Run it with efficient, low power speakers and it would rock.
    --Garrett--

  20. #20
    Classic Rocker prsrocker1988's Avatar
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    I like my old combo Fender Reverbs. Super and Twin... Most of the time it's the Super. I just like the headroom. I don't like amp distortion and I use a whole bunch of pedals to color the sound and so those clean amps really do it. It's about headroom.

    Depending on the venue it's either a Super Reverb and a 65amps Ventura OR a Super Reverb and a Twin Reverb (most times). I use pingpong delay between the two so I like making small rooms sound like arenas. Not for image but for the sound I get. And as I don't need to crank them, I can run them on 2 or so and have plenty of headroom and use my pedals for all dirt.
    Last edited by prsrocker1988; 03-29-2013 at 01:52 PM.

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