#1
The relation of watts to decibels doesn't work the way one would think:
http://www.amptone.com/g112.htm

I'm bad at math. Can anyone figure out what percentage of volume 15 watts is to 120?

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#2
about 1/2 as loud. but wattage isn't the only factor in loudness.
#3
Yup. For example, a 100w tube amp will generally be louder than a 100w solid state

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#4
And the amount of wattage affects the way tubes sound too right? THat's what I always thought anyway. So a 5 watt amp will sound worse than a 50 watt amp when cranked.
#5
either way, as far as im concerned, its arbitery, volume might be one thing, but thats only at full power, who regularly turns everything to 10?

then theres clean headroom, breakup point etc

then theres practical limitations, my 15w tube amp is loud enough for small gigs, but the 10" speaker sounds terrible when really cranked
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#6
Quote by Eryth
And the amount of wattage affects the way tubes sound too right? THat's what I always thought anyway. So a 5 watt amp will sound worse than a 50 watt amp when cranked.


No. If you had to amps with exactly the same specs, apart from wattage, they would sound just as good as each other cranked. You have always thought wrong.
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#7
Wattage is affecting your headroom and breakup. With lower wattage you can push the power tubes at a lower volume and get almost the same tone as high wattage with the power tubes pushed proportionally.
#8
Wattage only gives a very VERY general indication of volume. 1000 watts will be louder than 10 watts, but for example between 30 and 100 it's down to the specific amplifiers in question.

Again, as mentioned, headroom is an important factor, as are the speakers.

I've also heard that tube amps aren't actually always louder than solid-state amps of the same power rating, but they appear louder because they amplify even harmonics more efficiently than solid state amps. Don't know if that's true.
#9
For the sake of argument, you could make a 1000 watt amp quieter than a 10 watt amp with some circuitry fixes, but it really is just a general indication. It would drastically affect the tone, though.
#10
Quote by Avedas
For the sake of argument, you could make a 1000 watt amp quieter than a 10 watt amp with some circuitry fixes, but it really is just a general indication. It would drastically affect the tone, though.

Yeah, but why would you want to? All that energy for so little sound. Granted, anything that produces sound is really inefficient anyway, but why go through the trouble?

Anyway, if my calculations are correct (I know that sounds like something Velma from Scooby Doo would say, but whatever), then ignoring all other factors, the volume difference between 15 and 120 watts would be 9.03 dB.

The decibel scale is logarithmic, so that would be a pretty big difference. This is, however, a purely theoretical calculation and in reality the volume increase will be different. A 120 watt amp would probably also have a larger speaker n' stuff, so it would move more air and be louder. Maybe.
#11
I agree. It's almost as pointless as this thread. Comparing wattages involves so many variables it's just not practical and almost arbitrary.
#12
My G/F has an 1875 watt hair dryer. It sounds awesome .
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#13
can we make a resolution for the new year on GG&A? instead of talking about how loud a certain wattage is, can we just talk about how loud different amps are as individual amps? then we won't have threads and posts which are meaningless.
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#14
I hardly find this thread meaningless. I find it to be an interesting technical discussion. The only thing unproductive about this thread is the posts attacking it and contributing nothing to the discussion itself.
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Last edited by Sunn_O))) at Jan 1, 2010,
#15
Quote by Sunn_O)))
I hardly find this thread meaningless. I find it to be an interesting technical discussion. The only thing unproductive about this thread is the posts attacking it and contributing nothing to the discussion itself.

If you try to take into account every single variable that needs to be discussed to 'end' this discussion, the thread's going to hit the post limit.
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#16
Even though wattage and volume aren't always directly related, one can assume a 100w tube amp is going to be a crapload louder than a 30 or even a 50 watt tube amp. Trust me. I used to play in my bedroom with my Classic 30 on 4-5 volume and I can't even get my Valveking to 1 without making people angry.
#17
Quote by stevo_epi_SG_wo
either way, as far as im concerned, its arbitery, volume might be one thing, but thats only at full power, who regularly turns everything to 10?

then theres clean headroom, breakup point etc

then theres practical limitations, my 15w tube amp is loud enough for small gigs, but the 10" speaker sounds terrible when really cranked


What amp is that?

The thing is that "twice as loud" can sound different to different people too. People have a different idea of what it sounds like I think. Somethings you only need a bit more volume to cut.
#18
Quote by drewfromutah
Even though wattage and volume aren't always directly related, one can assume a 100w tube amp is going to be a crapload louder than a 30 or even a 50 watt tube amp. Trust me. I used to play in my bedroom with my Classic 30 on 4-5 volume and I can't even get my Valveking to 1 without making people angry.


A 100w amp is not a crapload louder than a 50w amp.
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#19
First off, decibels is not necessarily a gauge of how "loud" something is. How "loud" something is completely subjective because we don't necessarily hear decibels linearly. Also, a lot of factors can determine how loud we perceive something including how an amplifier is voiced, how it's EQ'ed, etc.
#20
5 watts might be half as loud as 50.

but when the 5 watt is cranked to 10, it'll likely be completely out of control and unable to produce clarity due to just being overdriven. where as the 50 watter would only need to be cranked halfway (theoretically) to produce the same volume with plenty of headroom and cleanliness.
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#21
I used to jam with a Spider III 30W and my mate with a Spider III 120W. When we played an unmiced show, he played with the master on 5 and I played with it on 6
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#23
From what I have seen and heard on here before is that a 50 watt tube amp is 2x louder (perceived to the human ear) than a 5 watt. Same goes for 100 watt and 10 watt tube amps.
#25
I think the real reason tube amps sound louder is down to clipping. When a Solid State is 15W and a Tube Amp is 15W, they both have roughly the same volume "clean" tone. But tube amps can push the tubes much harder and get a distorted tone, whereas this doesn't work the same way with transistors - you have to "emulate" this effect, though because of that you can have it sounding better at lower volumes.

Of course a lot of "clean" tones have some tube saturation, so you can still get much louder cleans from a 15W Tube amp than a 15W solid state - they'll sound "warmer" and a little more compressed instead of distorted. And of course a lot of clean tones are slightly dirty too, so you can add that onto it to.

I could be wrong but I feel this could be true rather than the "it sounds louder" explanation. It doesn't seem right to me, as you could just produce an SS amp that "sounds" like a tube amp if you tried hard enough and it wouldn't be any louder.
Last edited by GURREN LAGANN at Jan 1, 2010,