Why do people use big amps?

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  • earwighoneyearwighoney Frets: 1649
    Dopesick said:
    Oh man, some of you guys would hate it at a Jucifer or a Sunn 0))) gig.
    Cranked up Sunn Model T's & Attila Csihar = Perfection
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  • TTBZTTBZ Frets: 601
    Playing live I've only ever used a 50w amp into a 2x12. We had our own PA and did our own sound in the pubs and clubs we played at but the mixer wasn't big enough for running guitars through so we never bothered. Nobody ever complained about the sound but I also  still never managed to get my amp to its sweet spot even playing a couple of bigger gigs at santa pod.

    That was in the mostly pub covers scene though, I imagine the originals is slightly different in that the venues we're going for tend to be "proper" stages and clubs with a half decent pa and monitoring. When my band starts gigging I'll be using my 20w + 2x12 to start with but if the sound guys turn out ok I'll definitely be considering a Helix and going direct with a powered monitor.
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  • lukedlblukedlb Frets: 178
    We had a three day Hendrix festival here last week. The first night had Stan skibby playing so my mate offered some of his amps and cabs. On stage was a full plexi stack run with a 50watt ‘69 head as the sound guy refused to mic a 100watt. A large venue with pro rig. 
    Only one cab was plugged in and mic’d but the stack helped with the whole effect. It sounded good in the mix and especially good live direct as i sat in the audience in its line of fire. 
    Btw, on the Sunday I heard the same head without the cabs, instead a jcm800 cab. The difference was huge. Same support act on both nights used the same amp but different cabs. Suffice to say the modern cab was utter shite and muddied the sound. 
    The 4x12 vs 1x12 debate comes down to headroom. My amps are 50 or 100 Watts, all very loud and kept to just over 1 on the volume. The space and clean are supported by pedals pushing the amp in any direction I care. I’m currently enjoying the 2x12 100 watt. Keeping it high off the ground helps maintain a low volume as I get the full whack in my ears. Instead of constantly turning up I just adjust my stage position according to the speaker direction: more volume, closer to 90 degrees, less volume closer to 45. 
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  • lukedlblukedlb Frets: 178
    I’ve never tried this: turning the cab to face the stage wall, turning up the amp and gigging on the reflected sound, which should be a little more dispersed and the highs cut. 
    Anyone ever tried such foolishness?
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  • slackerslacker Frets: 947
    I played bass in a band in the 80 s with a good sound man. We sidewashed the amps for stage monitoring and ran a di from the bass amp pre and a 57 on the guitar speaker. We played 2 to 3 venues a week for a month. no volume issues no feedback no out of tune vocals.

    I was eating in a restaurant in Kathmandu when a band turned up. All the amps were in a rack, mixer, pa, two pods and a bass pod. Each player had a monitor and sounded great.
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  • slackerslacker Frets: 947
    Oh I forgot every situation that sounded great had one common theme, there were no knobhead in the band.
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  • EricTheWearyEricTheWeary Frets: 7196
    lukedlb said:
    I’ve never tried this: turning the cab to face the stage wall, turning up the amp and gigging on the reflected sound, which should be a little more dispersed and the highs cut. 
    Anyone ever tried such foolishness?
    I’ve seen several people gig with their amps at the side of the stage facing across it. Presumably so they can hear themselves without blasting the front of the audience. There’s also the Springsteen method of having your Marshall cabs lying almost flat on the floor ( Bruce must play larger pubs than I do). 
    Dum dum dum, dum dum de dum, dum dum dum, dum dummmm.
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  • StevepageStevepage Frets: 861
    I use a 4x12 and a head. 3 pedals maximum.

    That's just about do-able. I did try a 2x12 but didn't like the tone. 

    Stage volume shouldn't be loud as you'll sound terrible in the mix but a 120watt head in to a 4x12 sounds amazing for what I do.

    However, seeing some one turn up with a fridge size rack, mission control size pedal board, Apple Mac and stage props in a tiny venue was so bad an idea I actually laughed. I've never seen some one so full of themselves too. It actually caused more hassle than it was worth and still sounded bland.
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  • ecc83ecc83 Frets: 820

    Nobody has so far mentioned one advantage of a big (say 50W and up?) amp but whoever gave the 'car' analogy came close?

    Reliability. All else being equal, driving the tits off 2 EL84s is going to be riskier than coasting along with  2 or 4 EL34s.

    Dave.

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  • nick79nick79 Frets: 144
    I use a 25w head into a 4x12. Overkill possibly, but i like how it sounds. I can get the volume to the point where the amp is sounding good but it's not too loud. The cab gives me a 'big' sound, nice and full without being too loud. I think if i used a 1x12 i would struggle to be heard and would probably have to crank the treble up which i won't do. I do have to compete with another guitarist, so more often than not i have to go louder than i would like just have a hope in hell of actually hearing myself. Not ideal i know. 
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  • mr-macmr-mac Frets: 196
    lukedlb said:
    I’ve never tried this: turning the cab to face the stage wall, turning up the amp and gigging on the reflected sound, which should be a little more dispersed and the highs cut. 
    Anyone ever tried such foolishness?
    I’ve seen several people gig with their amps at the side of the stage facing across it. Presumably so they can hear themselves without blasting the front of the audience. There’s also the Springsteen method of having your Marshall cabs lying almost flat on the floor ( Bruce must play larger pubs than I do). 
    Some sound men will request this as the player gets their volume with much less sound projecting forward and contaminating the mic'd sound from PA.  Also can create all sorts of phase and cancelling issues if sound from cab is too loud as wave isn't aligned with pa one.
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  • p90foolp90fool Frets: 8538
    slacker said:
    Oh I forgot every situation that sounded great had one common theme, there were no knobhead in the band.
    This is the crux of the matter. 
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  • robgilmorobgilmo Frets: 1440
    So guys, what if the type of music you play requires a perticular amp which just happens to be loud as hell, if its played quietly it wont sound right at all, what do you do then?
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  • shaunmshaunm Frets: 899
    This weekend I’m gigging my JTM45 with a 2x12 cab for the first time. I don’t know if it’s going to be too loud or it’s going to be a good fit. 

    The last time I played this venue I used a Fender Supersonic 60 and it was way way too loud.

    The time before I used an 18 watt amps and I didn’t cut through the band at all. 

    On paper it looks like a good fit.
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 32823
    robgilmo said:
    So guys, what if the type of music you play requires a perticular amp which just happens to be loud as hell, if its played quietly it wont sound right at all, what do you do then?
    Get an attenuator.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • mr-macmr-mac Frets: 196
    ICBM said:
    robgilmo said:
    So guys, what if the type of music you play requires a perticular amp which just happens to be loud as hell, if its played quietly it wont sound right at all, what do you do then?
    Get an attenuator.
    Yep or sound crap to the audience :)
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  • EricTheWearyEricTheWeary Frets: 7196
    robgilmo said:
    So guys, what if the type of music you play requires a perticular amp which just happens to be loud as hell, if its played quietly it wont sound right at all, what do you do then?
    Take up the accordion? 

    This is why people have Kempers,et al. 
    Dum dum dum, dum dum de dum, dum dum dum, dum dummmm.
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  • robgilmorobgilmo Frets: 1440
    Attenuator? Something I know very little about, can you guys recommend one?
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  • vizviz Frets: 4950
    edited May 25
    lukedlb said:
    I’ve never tried this: turning the cab to face the stage wall, turning up the amp and gigging on the reflected sound, which should be a little more dispersed and the highs cut. 
    Anyone ever tried such foolishness?
    Yes I do, with 100W through a 4x12 for the deep roar, but I don’t have it that loud and I mic it through the PA so it’s not directional. And I have a wedge monitor 1x12 at the same ohm rating so I can hear myself really clearly. 
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 32823
    robgilmo said:
    Attenuator? Something I know very little about, can you guys recommend one?
    For the Peavey?

    THD Hotplate, 4 ohm model.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • robgilmorobgilmo Frets: 1440
    ICBM said:
    robgilmo said:
    Attenuator? Something I know very little about, can you guys recommend one?
    For the Peavey?

    THD Hotplate, 4 ohm model.

    Wow, that's not cheap is it? Will that sound exactly like the amp at full tilt but at a decent, usable volume?
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 32823
    robgilmo said:

    Wow, that's not cheap is it? Will that sound exactly like the amp at full tilt but at a decent, usable volume?
    No, not exactly. There’s no way of doing that since some of it is from the speaker compression - but it will be closer than any other method.

    No attenuator capable of handling a 100W+ amp is going to be cheap, unfortunately...
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • robgilmorobgilmo Frets: 1440
    Cool , Ill still get that gritty , barking distortion? They seem to go for around 150 second hand so its not a massive spend if it gets me close to where I want to be.
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  • pintspillerpintspiller Frets: 548
    I like big amps coz it gives me the horn and a load of groupies
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  • robgilmorobgilmo Frets: 1440
    edited May 25
    I like big amps coz it gives me the horn and a load of groupies
    You get an erection and it attracts women? Do you wear Sex Panther?


    https://i.pinimg.com/736x/8b/21/e9/8b21e9af45297a54818f8a687ba26e2d--little-kitty-the-panthers.jpg

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  • sweepysweepy Frets: 1864
    Big Amps = Big Transformers = decent bottom end and dynamics, that’s all there is to it imho
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  • ToneControlToneControl Frets: 4218
    if you're not using a PA for the guitar, then a 100W clean amp is perfectly sensible
    But for heavy power-stage distortion, 20W or 30W tops I think.
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  • zepp76zepp76 Frets: 426
    shaunm said:
    This weekend I’m gigging my JTM45 with a 2x12 cab for the first time. I don’t know if it’s going to be too loud or it’s going to be a good fit. 

    The last time I played this venue I used a Fender Supersonic 60 and it was way way too loud.

    The time before I used an 18 watt amps and I didn’t cut through the band at all. 

    On paper it looks like a good fit.
    @shaunm ;I look forward to hearing how you get on. Have you considered having a PPIMV fitted? I have one on mine and it helps keep things sane without losing tonal quality.
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 32823
    robgilmo said:
    Cool , Ill still get that gritty , barking distortion? They seem to go for around 150 second hand so its not a massive spend if it gets me close to where I want to be.
    Yes - although it still won’t give you the sound and feeling of the speakers working hard, you’ll still get the power amp distortion which you otherwise can’t get with the amp’s controls alone.

    There are other attenuators, some of them cheaper, but I know the Hotplate works well with high-powered 6L6-based amps like this. (Attenuators can be a bit amp-specific.)

    Be aware that it does put a fair amount of strain on the valves and other power amp components, no matter what the makers say...
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • lukedlb said:
    I’ve never tried this: turning the cab to face the stage wall, turning up the amp and gigging on the reflected sound, which should be a little more dispersed and the highs cut. 
    Anyone ever tried such foolishness?
    I watched Dan Patlansky a few weeks back at a club venue. He had his 50w Dr Z head going into a 4x12 cab turned backwards. No idea how much was then going through the PA, but he sounded great.

    Talks about it at about 2:15 in this vid...




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