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Old 09-30-2012, 10:54 AM   #1
asmithgdci
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How many watts for a bass amp?

Greetings UG, I am looking to purchase a bass amp in the next little while. I have been putting it off for a long time, but now my brother wants me to play bass for his band and there are two shows coming up. It will need to be loud enough for playing small gigs (up to 150 people probably). I looked at the Fender Rumble 75W, but then I wondered 'how many watts do I need?' So I came here. What do you think?

Recommend a bass amp loud enough for small shows with up to 150 people...?

Thanks! -Adam
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Last edited by asmithgdci : 09-30-2012 at 10:57 AM.
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Old 09-30-2012, 11:01 AM   #2
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the 'rule' I had been told was that if unmiced, the bass amp needed to be have 3x the watts of the guitar amp, so if the guitarist was 100w, then 300w for the bass.
this is of course, just a general rule of thumb, but you will need a fair few watts.
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Old 09-30-2012, 11:09 AM   #3
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It depends if there's a PA system or not. If there's no PA, 75 watts will be far from enough.
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Old 09-30-2012, 11:13 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rocknroll93
the 'rule' I had been told was that if unmiced, the bass amp needed to be have 3x the watts of the guitar amp, so if the guitarist was 100w, then 300w for the bass.
this is of course, just a general rule of thumb, but you will need a fair few watts.


Thanks! Do you have a recommendation for a bass amp that I won't have to spend too much money on? If I am playing with one guitar player would that make a difference? because I noticed you said "the guitarist".
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Old 09-30-2012, 11:16 AM   #5
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amp wise, I don't really have anything to offer. my bass player uses a behringer amp, and it's ok..

the guitarist/guitarists. it doesn't matter if there is more than one, jut 3x the power that they use.
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Old 09-30-2012, 11:35 AM   #6
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If you live in the USA check out some Acoustic amps the B200 combo will probably be worth a look.

Guitar center used section has some good deals used.
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Old 09-30-2012, 11:55 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by asmithgdci
Thanks! Do you have a recommendation for a bass amp that I won't have to spend too much money on? If I am playing with one guitar player would that make a difference? because I noticed you said "the guitarist".

First, what's your budget? Second, are you going to have PA support?

The general rule of thumb is that for gigging your amp should be around 200w or more so that you can maintain some solid headroom. That should be taken with a grain of salt because watts are more an indicator of headroom, not loudness. You may be able to get away with less, or you may need more, all depending on the amp and the cab you use. The only concrete rules to follow are don't use a guitar cab and don't buy a Behringer.

If you want to go the most economical route, and provided you have guaranteed PA support, you could just buy a DI box and keep it simple as that. Might not be much of a help at practice, but its relatively inexpensive and easy to carry to a gig.

If you need an amp for practice and gigs (with no guaranteed PA), I'd advise you not to cheap out if at all possible. Before we can make any realistic recommendations, you'll have to tell us what kind of budget you'd have to work with.
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Old 09-30-2012, 11:59 AM   #8
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I play with this amp, Behringer Ultrabass BXL 3000 A Combo, for bars and small stages and I can make myself heard over two guitarists and keyboards playing hard rock so it should be good for what your looking for.

word of warning though. before you buy a behringer amp you should try it out in a store, they tend to be a bit hit and miss in the quality department.
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Old 09-30-2012, 12:17 PM   #9
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Old 09-30-2012, 12:18 PM   #10
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i would go with ampeg, orange, or acoustic. they are they best bass amps i have used
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Old 09-30-2012, 12:21 PM   #11
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I played at a bar last week, we had to use house gear. They had a pretty nice bass rig though, I think it was a Peavey Series 400 version B "Bass Power Pak" or something. Plenty loud and though a 4 x 12 plenty of projection.
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Old 09-30-2012, 12:22 PM   #12
asmithgdci
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tostitos
First, what's your budget? Second, are you going to have PA support?

The general rule of thumb is that for gigging your amp should be around 200w or more so that you can maintain some solid headroom. That should be taken with a grain of salt because watts are more an indicator of headroom, not loudness. You may be able to get away with less, or you may need more, all depending on the amp and the cab you use. The only concrete rules to follow are don't use a guitar cab and don't buy a Behringer.

If you want to go the most economical route, and provided you have guaranteed PA support, you could just buy a DI box and keep it simple as that. Might not be much of a help at practice, but its relatively inexpensive and easy to carry to a gig.

If you need an amp for practice and gigs (with no guaranteed PA), I'd advise you not to cheap out if at all possible. Before we can make any realistic recommendations, you'll have to tell us what kind of budget you'd have to work with.


I mostly play the guitar, so I don't a very good idea of what a reasonable price is.

Can you tell me the cheapest possible solution (other than a direct input box) and the average to high priced solution, so I can pick something in between? If I have so save up a bit more then I will do so.

We also have a small four channel mixer, only 100W, that I can use. But that will probably not do so well.


I will most likely have a PA for my use. I will contact the the organizers to make sure. If there is a PA I will just buy a direct input box because they aren't expensive.

Thanks for the help!
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Old 09-30-2012, 01:41 PM   #13
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Firstly the thing the bass player really needs to match is the drummer. They are the one without a volume control and the person whose sound you have to integrate with.

Wattages only go so far, some speakers are much louder than others so need fewer watts. Having said that I really wouldn't advise going for a 75W amp. It will struggle in a lot of band situations and is overkill for practice. A 200W amp will cope with pretty much any situation so long as the speakers are average or better sensitivity. Go for second hand decent'ish stuff rather than a cheap new 75W combo. In the UK second hand Peavey stuff is good vaslue and their gear is pretty bomb proof but choose something that sounds good rather than obsess about an exact number of watts.
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Old 09-30-2012, 05:00 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Starr
Firstly the thing the bass player really needs to match is the drummer. They are the one without a volume control and the person whose sound you have to integrate with.

Wattages only go so far, some speakers are much louder than others so need fewer watts. Having said that I really wouldn't advise going for a 75W amp. It will struggle in a lot of band situations and is overkill for practice. A 200W amp will cope with pretty much any situation so long as the speakers are average or better sensitivity. Go for second hand decent'ish stuff rather than a cheap new 75W combo. In the UK second hand Peavey stuff is good vaslue and their gear is pretty bomb proof but choose something that sounds good rather than obsess about an exact number of watts.

+X^0

Most dives I've been to have the requisite Peavey organ or bass amp, such tanks.

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Old 09-30-2012, 06:45 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by asmithgdci
I mostly play the guitar, so I don't a very good idea of what a reasonable price is.


Well, a reasonable price on bass = a reasonable price on guitar. There's no sort of disparity between them - a 300 bass amp is going to be about as good as a 300 guitar amp or vice versa. Sky's the limit really, depends on the quality of the kit you're after.
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Old 10-01-2012, 11:59 PM   #16
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Check out the new Peavey Max 2 112 200watt combo.

Has alot of power also direct out for mixer or PA.

Very loud !!!!!!!!!! and sounds super.

I just got mine Friday.
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Old 10-02-2012, 12:10 AM   #17
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I'd agree with Phil Starr. Sounds like the dude knows what he's on about. Also, the number of speakers kinda matters too. If you have a choice, go for something which has at LEAST 2 10inch speakers or a 1x15inch cab. But as previously mentioned all amps and cabs vary and you'll have to try em out before purchasing blind.

Peavey are excellent for the price and I hear great things about Acoustic amps in the States.

Best bet is to look around in the used market. So many bargains out there!
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Old 10-03-2012, 07:07 PM   #18
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If it's all valve/tube 200 watts will suffice, for solid state a minimum of 300 watts.
I use an Ashdown Little Giant 1000 for most gigs these days into self build 1x15 450 watt Eminence Neo with a 2x10 500 watt Eminence loaded cab on top.
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Old 10-11-2012, 07:26 PM   #19
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locate the highest wattage light bulb in your home.

Multiply that by 3.

That is your minimum wattage.


I hope someone laughed
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Old 10-11-2012, 07:31 PM   #20
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I find 200 watts to be the sweet spot, it's enough to keep up with most tube amps and any solid state amp
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