22 watts enough for live? - Amp Decisions


Silver Supporting Member
So im looking to get a tube amp. I left my Classic 30 back home due to space on my move.
Anyway, my range is aorund $400. I have been looking at the Bugera 22w, but hear of the heat soak issue. But is the 22w enough to gig with over drums? small venue of course

I have also been looking at the new Ibanez tsa 15 but that seems more practice then play. the tsa 30 looks kool but jumps in price.

I have also considered the hughes kettner 20th aniversary tube, but hear that its hard to work on and stuff.
I wouldnt mind another classic 30 but would prefer something different
I do have a few pedals i plan on running

should i get a combo amp or 212 and a head?

What do you all think?


Silver Supporting Member
It would bw enough for me. But it depends on your playing situations, volume levels, and need for clean headroom.


I have a jet city jca22h that is plenty loud for any situation. Remember that a 20watt amp is not half as loud as a 40watt amp. I believe that the calculation would be 10%. So that would mean that a 200 watt tube amp is twice as loud. Basically you will just get to the headroom faster


Silver Supporting Member
Yep, clean headroom is the only reason I would play w/ and amp ( with heavy iron, OT, PT and an efficient speaker i.e. 100spl) more than about 20 watts.

Member 20177

Mesa Subway Rockets, Fender Deluxe reverbs other stuff have all worked over the years.... somewhere around 15 -22 watts... most places you'll place these days will want you mic'd anyway... I've Vibro-Champs and a pedal and had no issues.. I've used Classic 30s a lot and they can be too loud for a lot of places I've played.
I used a SFDR for almost 10 years on the gig. 22 watts. The problem is generally drummers, hitting like they're John Bonham.


bahklava gave a great, and helpful answer.
Just keep in mind to that the speaker is going to have a lot to do
with the loudness, especially the SPL number.
They can make a world of difference.

Also the amp design. I have a Budda SD-18, 18 watts, but
It is killer loud. I have a bit of clean headroom with my Strat,
But not much with my LP, and I kinda dig clean playing as we'll as
OD but the grit with the LP though not squeaky clean, is still "clean"

Guinness Lad

Depends upon the amp, a Matchless, my Aiken's, and others like these can easily do it. What it comes down to is how loud do you play? In the other band I was in I was buried with a 100 watter, they played stupidly loud, it was a joke.


22W is fine in most cases, larger our outdoor festivals can also be no problem if you guy run an in-ear system and or stage monitors.
I have seen lots of guys using 5W amps on stage these days, drummer loudness has nothing to do with it if you use in-ears.

Now if you are going old school, it could be a problem dependent on venue size.
Back in the 70's my main guitar rig was a 300W Ampeg SVT with 8-10's.
Several outdoor festivals I even used a pair! Locally we did not have the stage technology back then and a loud band needed loud gear.

Floyd Eye

Senior Member
Not enough for my band, but it may be for yours. Just say no to Bugera. Of the amps you listed I would definitely be looking at the H&K


Silver Supporting Member
Also depends on your pa support and monitor system. I can't use in ear monitors. I just can't get comfortable with them.

Keep one of these around just in case you end up in situation where you just can't get enough from your amp.


These are a great alternative to in ear monitors. Plus these sound great for vocals as well. With a good pa and sound man that amp is plenty for almost any stage indoor or outdoor. If your stage sound is less that ideal chances are your soundman has your sound dialed in. So the stage footprint and or acoustics may give you fits from time to time and that's when the this monitor saves you from cranking your amp and keeps your soundman in control.


My buddy plays in a four piece with a bugera. It sounds great. It has not had any problems and I think it's four maybe five years old now. He gigs every week in all different venues.


Silver Supporting Member
I had nothing but issues with my H&K edition tube 20.. with that being said it was plenty loud and sounded great.. I love that little amp.. but it gave me nothing but headaches... also a PITA to work on


Silver Supporting Member
A Dr. Z Maz 18 ( As well as many of their other offerings) will be way more than loud enough

Silent Sound

I play my V22 regularly with a drummer and a bassist with a 400w rig. It holds up great! I usually have the master volume dimed, but never turn the preamp volume on Channel A above 2.5 maybe 3. I'm not a fan of master volumes, but anyway, It's plenty loud. At 4, it just hurts. If you need more volume, add an extension cabinet. Additional speakers will make more of a difference in volume than additional watts.

Of course, amps like the Deluxe Reverb and Bugera V22 aren't made with tons of bass in mind. Because they're not super heavy in the bass these amps have no problem being loud enough to play with any drummer who isn't miced up. Bass is what requires the wattage. That's why most professional guitar amps don't go above 100 watts, but most professional bass amps start off around, say 400 watts? However, if you play one of those metal genres with a seven string guitar and all that super heavy distortion, then these sized amps probably won't cut it. But if you're playing that style of music, these amps would be all wrong for you on a number of different levels, not just volume.


Senior Member
A Jet City JCA 22H into a 2x12 or 4x12 would be a good amp and plenty loud enough for basically any band.

Just throw the chinese tubes away and put in JJ EL84's and some decent 12ax7's...then RAWK ON!


I gig with either a Deluxe Reverb (22 watts) or a Dr Z Maz 18 (18 watts) and I haven't had a problem competing volume-wise. I also don't need a whole lot of clean headroom, so that helps...


My DRRI with an efficient speaker works great for live use. 22 watts is just about perfect for most small to medium bar gigs. It can be miced for larger gigs.


I continually get into trouble, with my Fender Deluxe reissue. As a matter of fact I just put in a Eminence Maverick speaker in it, so I can use the attenuator control to keep the amp on 3 1/2, (which is the sweet spot). The only time its not enough, is on large outdoor stages, for that I grab my seldom used Fender Super. The four tens have a wider spread so I don't have to stay dead center in front of the cabinet all the time.

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