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docjeffrey

Marshall 100 watt stack, Vox AC30, Fender HRD, how do they compare in volume?

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For those of you who read the feature in Guitarist (UK), no spoilers.

They also threw in the Marshall 1 watt JTM 50th Anniv. Combo and the Marshall Shockwave II Funny Car Dragster to add more fuel to the fire.

So how do you think they rank. Which is loudest when measured with a decibel meter placed 1 m from the speaker?

Here are the contenders:

Marshall 1 watt JTM 50th
Marshall 100 watt 1959 SLP full stack (reissue, 60's spec)
Vox AC30 (current, it looked like the fawn colored handwired version)
Fender Hot Rod Deluxe with factory standard appointments
Marshall Shockwave II Funny Car (8,000 hp, 0--220 mph in 4 seconds)

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Uh, I dunno, but I do know that the first time I opened up my DSL100, I had the neighbor calling me within 20 minutes. AND there's an empty lot between us. I'm still trying to figure out that amp, but I figure I never will until I break free of my living room gig.

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I would imagine the AC30. The efficient AlNiCo Blue probably does wonders for its volume.

I would think a 100 watt full stack would compete not as well because the power is being distributed among eight speakers and I doubt each speaker (Greenback, right?) is as efficient as a Blue. I'd imagine the spread of the sound is better but I doubt the volume is.

Hot Rod Deluxe might be quite loud. However, the stock speaker is nowhere near as efficient as a Blue, so I'd imagine the volume suffers as a result.

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I would imagine the AC30. The efficient AlNiCo Blue probably does wonders for its volume.

I would think a 100 watt full stack would compete not as well because the power is being distributed among eight speakers and I doubt each speaker (Greenback, right?) is as efficient as a Blue. I'd imagine the spread of the sound is better but I doubt the volume is.

Hot Rod Deluxe might be quite loud. However, the stock speaker is nowhere near as efficient as a Blue, so I'd imagine the volume suffers as a result.

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Quote Originally Posted by honeyiscool View Post
I would imagine the AC30. The efficient AlNiCo Blue probably does wonders for its volume.

I would think a 100 watt full stack would compete not as well because the power is being distributed among eight speakers and I doubt each speaker (Greenback, right?) is as efficient as a Blue. I'd imagine the spread of the sound is better but I doubt the volume is.

Hot Rod Deluxe might be quite loud. However, the stock speaker is nowhere near as efficient as a Blue, so I'd imagine the volume suffers as a result.
my first though too.

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Depends on the speakers. 30W to 100W is a difference of about 5dB in the nominal rating of the amp. That difference can easily by compensated by the difference between an efficient speaker and a less efficient one.

To be honest though, if you were to put your head 1m away from the front of any of the 3 amps fully cranked, you'd not be able to tell the difference in volume.

In fact, you'd probably only hear a few seconds of the first one you listened to before your ears gave up for good.

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The readings were from low to high for the three contenders, 119.5 db, 124.1 db and 124.6 db. The 1watter was 104.9 db and the funny car was > 128.

The Ac30 was not the loudest.

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There's lots of factors at work, but if one of the cabs was closed back and the rest open then it's likely the closed back would win because everything is being projected forward toward the microphone instead of spilling backwards.

As for perceived volume, although GBs are less efficient than Blues, because a 4X12 has double the speaker surface area of a 2X12 it is likely to be at least as loud. Also, worth remembering that different amps will push different frequencies to different levels. Thus it may be that one particular combination will be measurably louder while not *sounding* so loud.

FWIW when I was 18 I used to play using my AC30 (greenbacks) with another guitarist using a Marshall 50W head and 4X12 slant cab half stack. We were pretty much equivalent in volume, though I think I had more upper-mid cut.

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The funny car would have been the loudest, but of all the amps I've owned, the Marshall 100 watt Super Lead was the loudest. Nothing else was even close.

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Fender HRD, Vox AC 30, Marshall Stack, in that order. SPL is SPL, plain and simple, and that's what is responsible for hearing damage. Perceived volume, as anyone who has attempted to master an album will tell you, is, like Ancient Mariner pointed out, something completely different.

The point is that pushing 40 watts thru an efficient speaker can be frighteningly loud. The 33 watt Vox was not far behind. Bottom line, the number of watts doesn't tell you a lot about how loud an amp actually is. I loaned my HRD to a friend awhile back and he called me one night and said, "how many watts did you say this thing is because I can't turn it past 2..."

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