Honest question...Why does anyone buy a 100 watt amp?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by hwatsky, Jan 29, 2015.

  1. hwatsky

    hwatsky Member

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    Disclaimer: I've never played a 100 watt amp in my life. I've owned a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe, 65 Deluxe Reverb Reissue, and a Vox Night Train (15 watts, switchable to 7.5 watts).

    I've been messing around with my Night Train recently and to tell you the truth, I cannot hear any tonal difference between the 7.5 and the 15watt settings - the only thing that changes is the volume.

    At 40 watts, my fender hot rod deluxe has way more than enough headroom to play rather large (200+ people) bars/clubs without being mic'd. ****, I can even get away with playing the 22 watt deluxe reverb sparkly clean at smaller bars without mics. But honestly, most gigs are mic'd, and if you get an ACTUAL pro musician, 100% are mic'd. We all want to keep the stage volume low, no matter if you're Brad Paisley, Metallica, or a wanna-be weekend warrior such as myself.

    You know what I dislike about my deluxe reverb? At just 22 watts, there are many times where I have to turn it up too loud on stage to get the natural breakup that I want.

    So what's the deal behind these behemoth 100watt shake the ****ing city amps? Do they really sound better than say, a 20watter? Either way you're going to run it through a PA...it cannot be headroom that's the issue. A few weeks ago I saw Eric Church live at a 14000 seat arena...his guitarist was rocking an AC30. 30watts was plently loud enough to play at STADIUM volumes, drown out the crowd noise going into his mic, etc. (and he ****in rocked).

    Are 100watt amps the equivalent to suburban dudes such as myself driving around in an F350 turbo diesel dually? (Yes, I used to own one...it was badass...especially when I pulled up to my office building and walked into my cubicle...)
     
  2. dohmar

    dohmar Member

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    Chicks dig tinnitus

    -D
     
  3. macmax77

    macmax77 Supporting Member

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    i love my neighbors
     
  4. Trotter

    Trotter Supporting Member

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    Big iron sounds better
     
  5. tone?

    tone? Supporting Member

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    No matter what we say here, if you havent played one you wont know why people buy them.

    Check one out for yourself.
     
  6. Serenity

    Serenity Member

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    I've been through a few small amps, but they just don't match up. I'm not saying small amps are bad, some are excellent. But bigger really is better, IMO.
     
  7. GAT

    GAT Gold Supporting Member

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    Obviously, the OP has it all figured out.

    BTW, this is topic I've never seen on TGP. :jo
     
  8. Geetarpicker

    Geetarpicker Member

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    I currently own one 100 watt amp these days, a '68 Marshall Superbass 100. To me that amp is like a rock and roll version of a Twin Reverb and I often use it with pedals and the amp set on the edge of break up. Where that amp excels is on outdoor stages with a 4x12, or clubs in the 300+ seat range. To me a 100 watt amp is more balanced in breakup than a smaller transformer amp, meaning the low end doesn't fall apart well before the top end and midrange does. I also gig quite often with a '64 Fender Deluxe or 18 watt Champ II. Though the Deluxe & Champ II sound great, I have to be really careful once the volume gets up or things can get loose. Keep these amps in their sweet spot and they can work nicely, but the low end is not their strength when things really get cranking. Still if the genre really needs great full power chord tones, or the band is a power trio with lots of room to fill nothing beats the bigger iron amps. Sure the smaller amps can sound great out in front of the the PA, higher wattage amps can have that miked up kind of fullness right behind you. When I do run my 100 watt Superbass I often attenuate it some, but the tonal balance of the "big" amp still tends to come across. There is definitely a tonal difference between a 100 watt amp attenuated down to 20 watts, and a 20 watt smaller iron amp. The 100 watt amp can actually sound bigger and fuller without being any louder.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2015
  9. bchamorro

    bchamorro Member

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    Because it feels good knowing that I own one.
     
  10. Scott Peterson

    Scott Peterson Staff Member

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    If you've never cranked up a 100 watt full stack; it's something you need to do. Is it something you 'need' to have to play a bar? No.

    it is, however, something every guitarist that plugs their guitar into an amp must at least do.

    People that have never driven a classic muscle car and do not understand the attraction to them just need to drive one. They may not take corners, but mash the gas, drop the clutch at a stoplight and hang on. Same thing, really, playing a 100 watt full stack. You'll 'get' it. Instantly.
     
  11. Chris Scott

    Chris Scott Silver Supporting Member

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    Basically, this.

    Sometimes you just need the horsepower that "big iron" gives you to get a balanced sound.
     
  12. trailrun100s

    trailrun100s Member

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    yep, ha

    yep!

    And heck yeah! You'll never forget either!
     
  13. chance0

    chance0 Member

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    Never startled anyone with a Vox 212. A full stack Mesa Triple Rec set to rip?--yep, that gets people's hearts pounding.
     
  14. localmotion411

    localmotion411 Supporting Member

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    I prefer the way my pedalboard works, reacts and sounds with a higher wattage amp. In any venue, regardless of the volume level at which I'm playing.
     
  15. tazzboy

    tazzboy Supporting Member

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  16. ufguy73

    ufguy73 Gold Supporting Member

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    some amps that i just like the tone and feel of come with a high wattage. not going to not get one because its too high wattage - not with the great pedals, attenuators, reampers out there these days
     
  17. Seegs

    Seegs Member

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    Loud drummer with no dynamics...

    Because he can??
     
  18. filtersweep

    filtersweep Member

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    I purchased one when I was 21 years old and didn't know any better--- if that counts for a reason.

    Eventually I moved out of the 'band house' and realized it was useless in an apartment.

    I am more than happy with my current 30W amp.

    To my credit, it was the very early 90s, pre-internet. There wasn't much good info about anything available, aside from guitar mags, which always had a marketing angle. This was also before the trend of micro-tube amps (sub 5 watters) becoming widely available. And..... my tone totally sucked back then.
     
  19. Promit

    Promit Member

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    On my Jet City 22, the low end drops out when it hits metal drummer volumes. This is kind of a hassle for chugging seven string type stuff. Not normal TGP fare, I know. That amp also struggles to stay clean in those volume ranges. I also don't like the sound or feel of a tube amp that is pushed into its saturation zone. The lack of dynamics and slow response do not appeal to me. But I found that 50 watts is plenty, and bought 100s because they were cheaper or the only option.

    A local store mentioned to me, when I asked about trading a DSL 100, that pricing on 100w heads and 4x12s is quite severely depressed right now. So those are actually great budget choices, oddly enough.

    Still, I have been testing a 15 watt Laney IRT Studio and I can't imagine the small gigger needing more than what this thing is putting out.
     
  20. 80sboy

    80sboy Member

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    In theory you buy a 100 watt for the cleans and crunch, but ironically most guys who own them keep it on the lead channel with the gain at 10 and master at 2 not realizing how redundant that is with all the emphasis we put into "pure tube" status. And to cater to this a lot of them now don't even have clean channels.

    It's all fun though, there are no rules. Some people just like how this sounds. To me it sounds boomy and hollow, to others it sounds "fat".

    Low wattage amps are a zillion times more enjoyable to me for high gain tones.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2015

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