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Is a 25 watt amp loud enough for gigging?

IndyBlues

Member
Messages
59
Hey all, I was thinking of purchasing the Mesa Boogie Express 5/25 amp, and was wondering what you folks that play out think about that level of wattage for an amp.

I used to gig back in the late 90s, and played through nothing lower than a 40 watt Fender Blues Deluxe. I've played with 50 and 85 watt Mesa amps amps, and they were plenty oud. Thing is, I never really had to turn them up past 3, or they were too loud. Especially the Mesa amps.

My Boogie DC-5 was probably my favorite at 50 watts, but again, never had to really crank it. I'm thinking the Express 5/25 would be perfect. because I could use it at home at 5 watts, and then crank it up to 25 for gigs. A friend of mine told me while the distorted channel will be plenty loud, he doesn't think the clean will stay clean at such a low wattage, and end up breaking up, defeating the purpose of a clean channel.

I hope this made sense, and I hope someone can help answer my question.
Mike
 

swimrunner

Member
Messages
575
not for completely clean tones, but you can probably get it clean enough depending on your tastes, especially since you seem to want to "crank it" (ie want a little power tube breakup).
 

Kingpin

Member
Messages
616
Depends on your drummer and type of music. The answer is that you are at the mercy of your bandmates. If everyone in the band is willing and able to play at low levels, sure you can. With the modern P.A. systems everyone is mic'd and your amp is serving as a personal monitor, more or less.
 

Dorianrock

Member
Messages
99
Any powertube breakup from the clean channel can probably be cleaned up with rolling back a bit of the volume on your guitar. I do believe the 5-25 sports el84's which breakup faster than the 5-50 which is loaded with 6L6's. Tough choice, el84, or 6l6
 

never-enough

Member
Messages
1,046
i have a mesa express 5:25 head.
even at 5w, the distorted sounds are loud enough to keep up with a drummer (maybe not for metal).
if you need a pristine clean sound with no trace of breakup, and your drummer hits hard, you will probably have a hard time with the amp in 25w mode.
if you dont mind a bit of edge to your clean sound you will be fine.
keep in mind as well that the el84s have a different flavor than 6l6s.
 

theHoss

Member
Messages
1,248
Are you micing it? If so, I would say heck yeah. I recently started rehearsing with my vibrochamp, and am completely satisfied with it. I can't wait to gig with it. If you aren't micing it, then as noted above you are at the mercy of your bandmates. They type of guitar will have an impact on it's headroom as well. What type of guitar will you be playing?
 

PatrickE_FenderADV

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
26,829
I am currently playing with a 15 watt amp... I still cannot turn it up the way I'd like to, both my drummer and bass player are telling me I'm too loud.

BUT... it's really up to the player and what type of music and venue you're gigging in. Also, if you're not mic'ing every gig it may present a problem.
 

Edmundo

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
327
I used my 5:25 1x10 combo and matching 1x10 extension cab for the local Costco x-mas party this past December. The gig was in a 100' x 200' ballroom. We used a 6kW P.A. to fill the room. The stage was 24' x 30'. Nobody on stage needed my amp in their monitor, and I was running it at 40% for both channels. Everybody heard me clear as a bell. The other guy's HotRod Deville was also at about 50%, and everybody needed his amp in the monitors.
 

Joseph Hanna

Member
Messages
466
I've been giging the last month or so with a 5:25. Make no mistake it's a loud little 25 watt amp. Sunday night I tried the 5 watt mode and was amazed at the overtones and feel. I'll need to get it off the floor but I'm tempted to stay a 5 watts.

As to the issue of very loud and still remaining clean, I've found that the "blues" channel which is voiced slightly different (more focused and a bit less bandwidth) than the "clean" channel stays clean to sterilizingly loud levels. More so than the fenderish clean channel which does begin to breakup fairly early.

YMMV but I find the cleans sounds on this amp addicting but the lead channels (burn and crunch)a bit too harsh for my taste. Still in all a screaming little amp and a total monster at 5 watts.
 

Bottle_Rocket

Member
Messages
176
25 watts is plenty enough for all but the biggest venues. Playing a bar or local club then this way enough.

I have used a DRRI at 22 watts at a rehearsal studio and was asked to turn down. How crazy is that?
 

jaxonmills

Member
Messages
373
With that amp, you probably won't get perfect cleans, but channel 1 will be alot cleaner than channel 2, so having the different channels does help.
 

IndyBlues

Member
Messages
59
Wow, thanks for the great responses, folks. I appreciate the help. I've been out of the loop on gear for about 8 years, so this is valuable info.
Some info for those that asked in their responses:
I play strats, usually with an S/S/H set-up, but thinking of trying an S/S/S (probably noiseless) for the first time in a long while. Also, I like playing in a more bluesy style, so super clean is not what I'm after. I figure if I'm doing anything that clean, the rest of the bands output will probably reflect that anyway.
Thanks again.
Mike
 

bynt

Member
Messages
2,120
I've got a 25 watter that gets too loud every time. Not huge venues, but for bars, it's TOO loud. And that's with NO breakup. Of course, the amp cuts through really well, and that may have something to do with it.
 

drewl

Member
Messages
8,583
Depends on the gig.
Sometimes I can get by with my 18w clone, it's not quite loud enough for some of the bigger rooms.
 

shredtrash

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
9,784
I just did a rock gig on a good-sized stage with my Matchless Lightning 15. I had it 1/2 way up with a clean booster and had enough juice that I had to knock off about 4 dB with my attenuator. It stayed cleanish (think Tom Petty).
 

shngn7

Member
Messages
1,232
I think it depends on how much clean headroom you are looking for. I have found that the volume difference between a 50W and 20W amp is not really that big but the headroom difference is what makes the biggest difference. 25W is plenty loud if you want it to be. I like higher wattage amps (I use a 50Watter but usually turn the variac down to about 40W for earlier breakup) because even when they're breaking up they retain a cleaner, clearer quality for me (kind of like why Dickey Betts used 100W compared to Duane's 50W). That's just what I have noticed in regards to me. I'm not expert at these things at all. EVERYTHING above 10W is too fricken loud for everyone these days. I can't even use my 5W champ above 4 in my apartment.
 

somedude

Member
Messages
7,603
I recently learned that not all 30w (or 25w I suppose) are created equal.

After having a couple of 30w amps that lacked in the headroom department I used to be in the 50w or more club. What I found was that while these amps were plenty loud they broke up and distorted way too fast for me. Great for lead guitar, totally sucked for rhythm (too squashed/broken up/undefined/insert term here).

Anyway, recently bought a Lonestar Special, and it has headroom galore for a 30w amp. Much louder, cleaner, and better defined than my previous 30w. Totally changed my view on being able to gig something less than 50w.

In short... you won't really know until you give it a try.
 

Guitar Dave T

Member
Messages
10,610
I get more volume complaints with my 15 watt Blues Jr with Celestion G12H30 than with my 40 watt Blues Deluxe with Celestion V30. The 15 watt amp cuts through more, whereas the 40 watter uses most of its extra power for more bottom end.

OTOH, the 15 watter is especially touch sensitive and articulate, especially with the replacement speaker.

Hey, I know! I'll use BOTH! THAT'll keep the volume complaints down ;-).
 




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