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Is a 100 Watt tube amp over kill?

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  • #31
    Love my C30 and all it can do but there I'm considering a Jet City 100h that's available here locally. My band is playing the typical club and party type gig and the other guitar player is blasting out through a 150 watt Line 6 and 4x12.

    I usually run the PV clean at about 8-9 to keep up even while using a CrunchBox and Fat Drove OD up front.

    Would 100 watts of tubage be just too damn much or is volume less an issue than the tone that comes with the extra juice?

    What's a boy to do?


    Great advice here.. I say have both the C30 and the JCA100H.. I will disagree with some people though. For example, my 4x12 lives in the bands equipment trailer. When I know its going to be an easy night, I tote in my Vintage Club 50 2x12. When I know its going to be an insane night with alot of crowd, singing along, whooping and hollering, I roll the 4x12 out and perch the JCM900 on top of it. What I am saying is, sometimes overhead may be a necessity, and you never know what you are going to need in the spur of the moment. Believe me, nothings worse than when everyone is looking to you to turn up, and you're already at 10.

    As a plus, with the JCA100H you'll probably find little need to touch your pedals much, they are a sweet sounding amp for the $... Do it!
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    • #32
      Overkill? Well, you don't need that many watts, but if you want the amp, you can still get good use out of it. Generally speaking, a 150w solid state/digital amp isn't as loud as a tube amp of similar wattage.

      That's a myth. A watt is a watt is a watt.

      The difference is that most solid-state amps come with craptastic speakers that aren't as efficient. For instance... Peavey Blue Marvels in a lot of their solid-state stuff but Sheffields in a lot of their cabinets meant to be mated with tube amps.

      Line6 stuff tends to come with pretty efficient speakers.

      Wanna see something crazy? Get yourself a Lil' Smokey amp. Plug the output straight into a good 4x12, like a Marshall 1960A or a Peavey 412MS. Suddenly your junk will be vibrating due to a tiny 1-watt amp. Sure, it won't be nearly as loud as a 100-watter, but it's not quiet.

      General rule of thumb... You want to double the volume (REMOVING ALL OTHER VARIABLES), multiply wattage by 10. That means that, through the same speaker cabinet, a 100-watt amp will be double the volume of a 10-watter and a 10-watter will be double the volume of a 1-watter.

      http://www.axiomaudio.com/power.html

      Now as far as the OP's question... Honestly, I'd love to have that amp. But I also run my stuff a bit different than most. I like my core sound to be LOUD but also CLEAN, like David Gilmour (my username namesake). I used to own a Fender Dual Showman head from 1966 that exemplified this. 80 watts and it would just barely start to get crunchy at around 8 or 9.

      The Jet City JCA100H gets most of it's gain from the preamp, so running it full-tilt won't be necessary, unless you're going to dime it like Eddie Van Halen, at which point faces will melt, people may pass out, and you might get panties thrown at you.

      How good that sound is going to depend on what speakers you run it through. What having that much wattage will give you is a good amount of clean headroom on the master volume control before the power tubes start to distort. If you play anything clean that just might be important to you.
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      • #33
        15-30w is what I consider sufficient. I like being able to push the power tubes way over the edge though so I gig a 5w VJ and just forget about clean tones.

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        • #34
          no... if you're playing huge outdoor gigs on big stages

          yes... if you're fingerpicking lullabies for your gran

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          • #35
            Yes, yes it is.

            But it's awesome overkill, do it!
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            Originally Posted by ashasha


            I find that it's just cheaper to turn my **************** up louder.

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            • #36
              A 100W tube amp might be useful if you're playing Shea Stadium and the PA system goes out. But their PA system is pretty reliable, so I'd bet against this happening.

              As for any indoor club I can imagine (including large indoor football arenas, etc.) I certainly wouldn't wish to be inside one anytime anyone was actually USING 100W. I treasure my ears.

              My experience is that a 20W tube amp is all you should ever need. Any club that's too small for, will have a PA system anyway. You're trying to entertain your audience, not injure them. If you have another guitarist actually pushing his 150W Line6, don't try to compete with him. Instead, aim the 412 cab right at him, send his and everyone else's output to the DI, where your sound man can blend and balance the sound for your audience. Once his eardrums burst, turn his amp way back down, and let the sound guy rebalance.


              Thanks man...well played.
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              • #37
                Are you in a Dinosaur Jr. or My Bloody Valentine cover band? If so, it can never be loud enough.
                NEWB since '09.

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                • #38
                  a 30 watt amp is overkill for gigging for me.
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                  • #39
                    That's a myth. A watt is a watt is a watt.



                    Thank you I was just going to say that. I have no clue how a tube watt is not the same as a SS watt.

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                    • #40
                      I don't know I'd personally ever need 100W. Not tube, certainly. For a good long while the other guitarist in Crash Pad used a 100W Marshall JCM 2000, and my 40W Super Reverb 4x10 had no prob keeping up. Iirc it was @ around 6, volume-wise.

                      I pretty much live in the 40-60W tube amp range, all three of my big-boy all-tube amps are there (Super @ 40, Sovtek @ 50, Sunn @ 60).
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                      • #41
                        I have many 100 watt( Marshall & Fuchs) amps and 50 watt (Marshall.Kittyhawk,Peaveyand Fender)and 15 watt amps( PR & Pro jr)that Ive played out with. Only at concerts or large outdoor gigs have the 100 watt Marshall not been overkill the Fuchs sounds the same at a whisper to way to loud. 50 watts are more than enough for most gigs. The 15 watts amps I use in Stereo and they to are more than enough. I've done sound for large auditoriums and and most SS amps really don't have the projection of a tube amp. Most of the amps were Line 6 or other Modeling amp with 100+watt and they just could not keep up with a 50 watt marshall combo 2x12 or a Mesa 50 rec. with a 4x12.

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                        • #42
                          That's a myth. A watt is a watt is a watt.


                          True.

                          But your science is ignoring the human factor.

                          A watt may be a watt. But perceived loudness won't be the same from solid state as it will be from tubes. Just won't. There's a reason people talk about "tube watts," and it's not because they're perpetuating any myth. They're accurately describing what they hear.
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                          • #43
                            I was just playing my 100 watt, all tube Carvin MTS-3200 through a Lopoline 2x12 in my family room. But, the basis of my setup is a big, shimmering clean, with dirt added by pedal (Blackstar HT-Dual) - so no need or desire for power tube breakup. I can play at virtually any volume, from noodling whist watching TV to pain inducing, with this setup. Like the Jet City that the OP is looking at, part of the appeal of my setup is that it was purchased used for next to nothing. The only downside? Heavy!
                            Geezer Brigade Member #350

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                            • #44
                              Unless you're playing a pretty big place, yeah, 100w is overkill. To me, an amp really sounds best when it is being pushed somewhat, and a 100w amp being pushed any at all is freaking loud. I was at a fairly small club once where the guitarist was using a strat and one of those Fender Blues Deville's (60w 2X12 combo I believe). He was pushing the amp pretty good and he had a gorgeous tone going. But it was way too loud for the place.
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                              • #45
                                True.

                                But your science is ignoring the human factor.

                                A watt may be a watt. But perceived loudness won't be the same from solid state as it will be from tubes. Just won't. There's a reason people talk about "tube watts," and it's not because they're perpetuating any myth. They're accurately describing what they hear.

                                That's why I substantiated it by speaking about speaker efficiency and the fact that most solid-state amps come packaged with inferior speakers. Run a 100-watt Raven craptastic head and a Marshall model 1959 Plexi through the same Marshal 1960A cabinet and they'll be just as loud as each other while outputting the same actual wattage (which isn't the same as the same setting on the volume knob).

                                Now... Here's the interesting fact that most don't know that does fudge the details. A 100-watt solid-state amp is rated at maximum output at a certain THD (Total Harmonic Distortion). Same thing for tube amps. However, put a Plexi on a scope with everything dimed and pounding the front end of it with a hot pickup and you'll probably actually see about 150 watts. Of course that would not be at the rated THD but distorting like a mofo. Put replace that hot pickup with something with a nice low vintage output and don't smack the crap out of the strings and you're right back at the rated 100 watts.

                                Variations in outlet voltage will also affect things. Most vintage amps were designed for 110VAC and most modern outlets put out 120VAC, which means there's a higher plate voltage, and thus the amps are actually running at a higher output wattage than they were originally rated.
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