why the "depth and fullness" of notes on big wattage amps?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by music321, Apr 6, 2015.

  1. music321

    music321 Member

    Messages:
    3,439
    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2012
    Location:
    Greater New York Area
    What accounts for the "fullness" of notes on big wattage amps? I'm guessing it's the power supply. But what about the power supply? I'm thinking that maybe it's a large power transformer, but could it just be large filtering capacitors? Thanks.
     
  2. FFTT

    FFTT Member

    Messages:
    28,403
    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2007
    Massive Transformers.
     
  3. midnightlaundry

    midnightlaundry Member

    Messages:
    1,834
    Joined:
    May 18, 2006
  4. RG955TT

    RG955TT Member

    Messages:
    247
    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2014
    I don know why but at any volume I hear a difference....:beer
     
  5. Hulakatt

    Hulakatt Supporting Member

    Messages:
    11,031
    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2010
    Location:
    Pittsburgh
    I'm a big believer in bigger transformers. Not just high powered amps either, I have a 15watt OT in my 5f1 champ and it's my favorite amp at the moment. Between that and the Jupiter 8", it just sounds like a much bigger and fuller amp but I can still crank it to glory without killing small woodland creatures.
     
  6. music321

    music321 Member

    Messages:
    3,439
    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2012
    Location:
    Greater New York Area
    So, it's an issue of the output transformer being large as well as the power transformer?
     
  7. Zen Guitar

    Zen Guitar Member

    Messages:
    301
    Joined:
    May 31, 2010
    As has been mentioned, the larger iron plays a large role. Additionally, with tube amps, larger wattage amps tend to use different power tubes--6L6's, EL-34's, KT66's, etc--big glass. Some of the fullness that you hear is likely due to the bass response from the combination of all of this.

    Also, all else being equal, the increased headroom from a higher wattage amp yields a less compressed tone with greater percussiveness and punch. They feel more open.

    The last factor is that higher wattage amps are often paired with larger, multi-speaker cabinets, which impact the tone.
     
  8. jonnytexas

    jonnytexas Supporting Member

    Messages:
    3,276
    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2014
    Location:
    Houston
    They can move some air in all frequencies.
     
  9. SirGilmour

    SirGilmour Supporting Member

    Messages:
    9,893
    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2012
    Location:
    Fort Wayne Indiana
    I agree with the transformers but that really applied to any amp with beefy transformers.
     
  10. Valtyr

    Valtyr Member

    Messages:
    455
    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2007
    I noticed this with my 1 watt Marshall. I was able to resolve the issue by adding an EQ in the loop to boost the bass a little bit. I was very used to playing larger amps with the master volume barely open when practicing at home. Plenty of bass but very stiff. With the bass boosted a bit, the little Marshall gets there but the response feels more dynamic.
     
  11. bigtone23

    bigtone23 Member

    Messages:
    4,035
    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2013
    Location:
    Denver CO
    It's the size of the transformers and headroom on tap. It's like an 8 cylinder engine-it just sounds deeper vs anything smaller through the exhaust.
     
  12. Sparky6string

    Sparky6string Member

    Messages:
    3,527
    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2005
    Location:
    Thither
    I imagine it's the result of all of the physical aspects of an amp. More wattage doesn't just increase volume, it's invested in the quality of the sound, including that bigger aspect.

    I picture sound like a small hill. When you add dirt to make the hill bigger it doesn't just increase the height, it goes to the base, etc. The height only increases a little if you double the volume of the material.
     
  13. sleewell

    sleewell Member

    Messages:
    8,177
    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2012
    Location:
    Michigan
    Big iron and glass and using at least 4 12s.
     
  14. FFTT

    FFTT Member

    Messages:
    28,403
    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2007
    Play an AC15HWX, and a Bad Cat Black Cat 15R or a Matchless Lightening side by side through a Celestion Blue.

    Listen to what happens when you turn down and also to what happens when you play at just under 1/2 volume. Straight up, no pedals etc.

    You should notice that the amps with the big heavy transformers still have a rich full tone even with the volume on like 2. Pushed at the edge of clean to crunch, the light weight transformer loses definition, there's no clean headroom left.
     
  15. DeaconBlues

    DeaconBlues Member

    Messages:
    2,990
    Joined:
    May 2, 2007
    Location:
    way down below the ocean...
    It's really more the iron (transformers) than the bigger tubes. An AC30 is going to sound beefier than an AC15. Both use EL84's (granted the AC30 uses 4 vs the 2 in AC15), but the transformers in the AC30 are larger. I equate the larger tubes and the number of tubes used with more volume. It's the transformers that contribute to the depth and fullness of the sound.
    When I switch from EL34's to 6V6's in my Marshall 1987x I'm sacrificing volume, but it still feels the same. The depth and fullness are still there. It can still get plenty loud. It's just a more venue friendly volume.
     
  16. music321

    music321 Member

    Messages:
    3,439
    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2012
    Location:
    Greater New York Area
    thanks for all the replies. It seems that the main issue is transformers, followed equally by big glass and many drivers. I'm still confused, is it just an issue of the size of the power transformer, or the output transformer as well?
     
  17. hacinador

    hacinador Member

    Messages:
    722
    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2014
    And that is why some people like that losen response and dislike matchless for being stiff :)
     
  18. melvins

    melvins Supporting Member

    Messages:
    663
    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2008
    Would be cool if somone could demonstrate this. 2 Fender champs, side by side, one with stock iron and one with massive iron.

    Would be interesting to see/hear the difference.

    I have a Matchless Lightning and an SC30. The 12Ax7 side of the SC30 is the same circuit as the Lightning but has a bigger transformer. The SC30 set to 15 watts puts out a fuller spectrum of sound compared to the Lightning.
     
  19. FFTT

    FFTT Member

    Messages:
    28,403
    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2007
    Both Matchless & Bad Cat use special order pre-rola style V-30's with custom doping, simply to keep the prices competitive.
    Very few companies today are going to pre-load a speaker cab stock with $250.00 AlNiCo drivers

    While some people are fine with those speakers, they are not going to bring out the best in those amps. You also need to break in ANY speaker for a good 50 hours at band volume to get past some of that stiffness.

    Also how many stores allow you to try out their amps at realistic live band volume?
     
  20. FFTT

    FFTT Member

    Messages:
    28,403
    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2007
    Even if you don't use all the available power in a more powerful, heavy transformer amp,
    you have plenty of reserve headroom for your cleans.

    It's the cleans that need that extra headroom and support.
     

Share This Page