Is the 50w v 100w thing overstated?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by Random Hero, Feb 16, 2012.

  1. Random Hero

    Random Hero Member

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    I mean, in the grand scheme of things, is there honestly an enormous tonal difference, with all else being equal? For example, a 50w JVM v the 100w equivalent. Does the 100w always sound much "bigger"?
     
  2. guitarrhinoceros

    guitarrhinoceros Senior Member

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    I think a lot of it has to do with the amp manufacturer and the circuit. I have been heavily testing a lot of Mesas for about two weeks now. They are all very different. Anyways, the 50/100 watt thing, at LOUD volumes is very apparent. In terms of headroom, compression, low end, etc.

    I found 100 watt Mesas, in general, yield a more 3-D sound at 100 watts.
     
  3. lang.murphy

    lang.murphy Member

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    :munch

    I've had three different 100 watters; a Peavey Windsor, which really had zero clean headroom. A Marshall 1959, which had glorious cleans, and now a Kustom Defender V100, which has the same glorious cleans as the 1959.

    The biggest difference, from what I've read, is the clean headroom.
     
  4. Axe-Man

    Axe-Man Member

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    I find it's not just the clean headroom, it's the fullness and authority a big iron amp brings.

    A 40 watter can be bloody loud but they just don't punch like a 100 watter IMHO.
     
  5. omfg51

    omfg51 Member

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    In the case of marshall amps, I don't think wattage means a thing. The circuit is the same, the amount of power available isn't. Nothing to really effect tone there. Other amp companies, I've got no clue. I know of lots of amp makers that may use a different preamp tube or component for smaller amps, like combos or low wattage heads. Marshall is consistent though.
     
  6. Tonesmiths

    Tonesmiths Member

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    Yes, it's overated by 3 decibels!
     
  7. GT100

    GT100 Member

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    If you are talking about older Marshalls then you are mistaken.
    Yeah, if you take a quick look at a 1959 schematic v.s. a 1987 from the same year they appear to be the same -but they are not.
    The 1959s had way more volts on the plates than the 1987s did.
    This meant that the 1959s were more dynamic and the 1987s compressed more....

    Lloyd
     
  8. Lucidology

    Lucidology Member

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    So what if it's just 3 degrees more ...Yes, it still makes Huge difference ..

    I've demonstrated this many times to other guitarist with just the wattage switch on my Mesa Lonestar Classic ...

    50 to 100 gives a louder, bigger, wider beam ... there is no doubt of this ...

    Another instance is the comparisons I've made between my Peavey Classic 50 head through 4x10's,
    in contrast to my Peavey Classic 100 ran through the same 4x10s...

    OK, now let's take my Egnator Tourmaster Combo and switch between the two wattages ...
    There simply is a very noticeable difference ...
    Not only in tone width, but feel .. etc.

    Shell I go on in my shared comparisons ...
    In other words, I'm wasn't the only guy who deems this to be a true factor
     
  9. Random Hero

    Random Hero Member

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    So, would you go with a 100w 2x12 combo or a 50w head and 2x12 cab?
     
  10. Lucidology

    Lucidology Member

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    :agreewell said ...

    No one is saying that lower amps don't cut it on stage ...
    It's just the difference is substantial on some levels ...
     
  11. Steve73

    Steve73 Member

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    And the thing I like about 100 watters, besides what the guys have said above, is that I never show to gigs with not enough amp. Sometimes I've done country gigs on festival stages and 40 watts just disappears. Other times, I've gigged with a 12 piece funk band with a 30 watt and it wasn't functional as the clean was breaking up terribly. Big iron amps give you more options (and better tone IMO), especially if they have a decent master volume on them.
     
  12. Dave_C

    Dave_C Supporting Member

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    I have asked the OP's question of several HIGHLY respected amp builders who have had their own amps side-by-side in 50W and 100W formats and said exactly the same thing as you.

    I have only ever been able to compare completely different amps at various wattages, so I never thought it was a fair comparison, even though I have noticed all of the advantages of the bigger iron that have been mentioned by several people so far. Now, I believe that what I have noticed is due to the wattage differences.
     
  13. john l

    john l Member

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    Yeah this thread is meaningless unless your comparing a big and small watt version of the same model. The circuit is everything, yes the things mentioned here are correct in regards to how more power "can" present itself but these are not absolutes and can actually be just as bad as they as they can be good... depends on what your into.
     
  14. ctman64

    ctman64 Supporting Member

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    :agree 100 watt amps, in general, have more definition, punch, and responsiveness at louder volumes (at low volumes, there isn't much, if any difference though.)
     
  15. teemuk

    teemuk Member

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    If it's a guitar amp, no.

    If it's a bass guitar amp, yes.
     
  16. C-4

    C-4 Member

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    I've played on a lot of different amps over the years, and found that not only can I hear the difference, but I also feel the difference between lower wattage amps and a 100 watt amp. Lower wattage amps to me have a softer feel to them, which is great at times. But when I need the higher volume cleans, it becomes harder to achieve if the wattage is not available.

    I have used a Diezel VH4 in tuxedo jobs where the wattage was not only not needed, but volume would become a deterent if it got out of control. I simply put four Smicz Tads into the VH4, lowering it to four watts. I was amazed at how wonderful the amp sounded and how far I could turn it up, still achieving the cleans and saturation I needed far easier then if I had left the higher value power tubes in the amp and tried to get my tone from it the hard way.

    The advantage that I have found using a higher wattage amp is that in addition to what was previously mentioned in this thread, I can simply install some Yellow Jackets to lower the wattage if I need too. The amp still sounds bigger due to the iron, and use of four power tubes.

    Lowering the wattage has allowed me to open up the amp more in quieter settings and get more from it, as might be done with a lower wattage amp. The difference is that I don't need multiple amps.

    Some 50 watt amps will sound powerful up to a point, at which time the amp starts to saturate faster then a 100 watt version. We played a Hard Rock Cafe outside recently and I was using a backline amp of 50 watts. I had to turn it up almost all the way, and it stilll sounded lacking. A 100 watter would have been ideal.
     
  17. effectsman

    effectsman Supporting Member

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    No...it is not overstated.

    I agree with the guys who say that between the same amp model in either 50W or 100W versions, there is a big difference in tone, feel and response of the amp.

    I find to my ears 100W amps make the non-wound strings have a harsh quality to their attack which I don't like. 50's are softer in their attack but too soft sometime IMO.

    My ideal amp would be somewhere in between the two in terms of feel and tone.
     
  18. Fred Farkus

    Fred Farkus Gold Supporting Member

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    I have a PV Windsor I modified into a Marshall-alike (preamp mods, PI is LTP, added a choke to the power supply, new OT). When I run it at 100W it sounds a little fuller in the bass department than it does when I remove a couple of the tubes, adjust the impedance to compensate, and run it at 50W. I've done this swaparoo several times with consistent results.
     
  19. GCDEF

    GCDEF Supporting Member

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    As far as JVMs go, there's a difference. I started with the 100 watt and to get it into its sweet spot, it was too loud to be practical for me. The 50 was just right.
     
  20. cdntac

    cdntac Member

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    Regarding 50 vs 100 and tone....this is why I'm hoping the EVH III 50 is going to satisfy my desire for 100 watt tone in a 50 watt package.
     

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