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Worth getting a 100w amp if you live in an apartment and can never turn it up?

Gene46

Member
Messages
210
Hi all,

I live in an apartment. I love great gear and I am thinking of buying a 100w amp head and cab. My question is, if I live in an apartment and NEVER have the chance to turn it up, is it worth it?

I use S-Gear now, an 11R and some studio monitors. The sound (to me) is great. I also recently bought a Zoom G3 which is fun. Recently though, I've been gassing for a (particular) amp. My buddy says everyone needs at least one real amp and although I want to agree with him, I just struggle with the reality of the situation. I don't gig or anything, I'm just a gear head.

And before any one asks me to get a lower watt amp, the particular amp(s) I am gassing for only come in 100w heads.

Convince me either way please. Thanks!
 

Phoenix59

Member
Messages
1,019
Unless you're playing very large venues, I don't know why anyone needs 100w. I have a 15w solid state amp and a 5w tube amp and they are already incredibly loud in the bedroom. Wait... that sounded wrong.
 

Braciola

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
6,225
Unless you're playing very large venues, I don't know why anyone needs 100w. I have a 15w solid state amp and a 5w tube amp and they are already incredibly loud in the bedroom
Because my Germino, SLO, Marshalls etc. through my Aracom all sound infinitely better than any low wattage amp.
 

fenderlead

Member
Messages
4,444
100 watt amps were designed for dudes playing larger venues like The Who.

What's the point of a 100 watt in an apartment.

A Nano half a watt amp can be too loud for an apartment.

Attenuators suck especially when they are used to really lower the volume.

All attenuators have filter circuits in them (or should have) because no matter what anyone does, lowering the volume alters the tone (Fletcher–Munson) and the attenuator filter circuits try to compensate but it is never the same.

So someone ends up with a 100 watt attenuated amp that has tone altering output transformer/attenuator/speaker and Fletcher–Munson effects and has a thing stuck between the amps output transformer and the speakers with a filter circuit trying to compensate.

Sounds like a great tone combo doesn't it.

The 100 watters are made to play in suitable venues.

Keeping a 100 watt amp in an apartment is like keeping a Ferrari in a lounge room.

For volume control there are attenuators, master volumes and slaving amps and maybe a few other things.

The best to my ears is a slaving amps setup where the 100 watt amp's output is fed to a dummy load resistor that substitutes for the speaker load and then a fraction of the output from the dummy load is fed into a wide range frequency power amp (preferably tube).

The 100 watt amp can be on full volume but the overall volume is controlled by the wide range frequency power amp and can be set pretty low but the lower the volume the more the Fletcher–Munson effect will kick in but slaving is the best solution overall for volume control and tone IMO because the 100 watt amp doesn't have to have master volumes or attenuators and can be run in a way that is similar to what a 100 watt amp on 10 would.

The output transformer/attenuator/speaker interaction becomes a slaving output transformer/constant load interaction fed into a power amp and the output transformer/constant load keeps the output frequency response steady and the power amp operates in an independent sort of way and is not a huge part of the amps output interaction and it is different to a output transformer/attenuator setup.

There are some drawbacks to slaving but all volume control has some drawbacks.

A amp has a audio volume control so that means that at a volume setting of 3, a 100 watt amp is pretty loud and at a setting of 10 it is louder still but not by that much compared to 3 and on 10 is where the amp usually achieves it's maximum distortion and sustain.
 
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whiteop

Senior Member
Messages
2,987
Way too loud IMO. Get something like a 15w if its for an apartment. If you plan on gigging with it get something a little more powerful. My 15w SCXD can rattle my windows just set on 3.
 
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MCK

Member
Messages
1,862
Life is too short. You know you want it. Lets not beat around the bush... Photos please when you have it in your apartment.
 

Axe-Man

Member
Messages
6,514
Life is too short. You know you want it. Lets not beat around the bush... Photos please when you have it in your apartment.
Now that's more like it!

I agree...if you want it, get it! I LOVE my 100w Jose Plexi...it's my favourite amp and even if I only play it once a week (I try to at least a couple of times), it is always a special moment.
 

Bendimax

Member
Messages
83
Not unless you found a genuine original Marshall Plexi head (or something like it) for a great deal. My 3w amp is too loud for my house.
 

Gene46

Member
Messages
210
Life is too short. You know you want it. Lets not beat around the bush... Photos please when you have it in your apartment.
I know I want it, but I also want a boat load of other things and can always find something else to buy. More guitars or a kemper :bonk

So even with an attenuator like a Aracom I can't get the tone and feel the amp at bedroom volumes?
 

MCK

Member
Messages
1,862
So even with an attenuator like a Aracom I can't get the tone and feel the amp at bedroom volumes?
I have 2 100W amps and 2 Aracom DAGs as well as a number of other 50W amps. I can safely say that you will be able to enjoy your 100W amp if you get an Aracom DAG to go with it. I know I do. Heck, its 12:03 where I live and I think I will go make some 100W cranked noise in your honor right now. !
 

Onioner

Member
Messages
2,862
There's only one thing that matters: do you like the sound of a 100W amp at the sound level you will be playing it. If you do, rock on. If not, find another amp.
 

Axe-Man

Member
Messages
6,514
The solution...ear plugs...make sure you order another couple of sets for your neighbours :rotflmao

I can't imagine a 3w amp being too loud for home usage. Maybe for practice and when the wife is watching TV/baby sleeping type stuff but for when you are alone in the house...3 watts would not IMHO be enough.

Saying this, my Orange on its 7 watt mode through a couple of 1x12's is pretty darn loud...but it doesn't sound like my 100 watter.
 

Gene46

Member
Messages
210
I have 2 100W amps and 2 Aracom DAGs as well as a number of other 50W amps. I can safely say that you will be able to enjoy your 100W amp if you get an Aracom DAG to go with it. I know I do. Heck, its 12:03 where I live and I think I will go make some 100W cranked noise in your honor right now. !
Thank you sir!

I've never heard a 100w with an attenuator. Probably won't have a chance to either, so I'm relying on others who have the same constraints. Between getting a 10w head or a 100w head with a attenuator, I would rather go with the 100w since I am gassing for it so bad. Heck even a 1.5w amp can be too loud right? I'm just trying to work through my thought process and justify the fact that its not a stupid idea if I have an attenuator.

My nightmare would be getting the amp and still turning on my 11R cause the amps just too d*@n loud...
 

Axe-Man

Member
Messages
6,514
My nightmare would be getting the amp and still turning on my 11R cause the amps just too d*@n loud...
Once I got some decent amps (100 watter included) I sold my 11R...and I had a freakin killer hand built power amp to go with it.

Honestly, I never miss it.
 

charveldan

Senior Member
Messages
3,374


I've been here in my 1 bdrm apt going on 6 years and play 1/2 & full stacks couple times @ week, i have practice amps too, but they're no fun, i try to play during the day when most everyone's not here. :munchDo what you need to do, i don't really like anything smaller than a 100 watt Marshall.
 

mds

Member
Messages
1,187
I'd say no. My big amps live in road cases and only see the stage. In my house and in the studio its pretty much either my Princeton and/or my Tweed repro(Clark) unless its something really heavy and then I break out my Mesa DC-5 1x12 (50w). The 100 watters are too much to deal with.
 
Messages
1,947
If it's an amp with a lot of preamp distortion, then hell yeah. You can crack the volume on it, and get a satisfying tone out of it. Of course it won't sound as good cranked, but you can still enjoy it. The truth is that 5 watts is to loud cranked up in an apartment. 15 watts can hang with a band...

Just get the 50 watt because it's almost as loud, and you'll get into power clip faster than a 100 watt. BTW, so called 30 watt 4-EL84 amps put out closer to 50 watts when into power clip...

$.02
 

Space Hammer

Member
Messages
612
I own some big amps - a 150W Wasp (70's Australian amp), a Late 60's Marshall 1987 (50W) and a '59 Bassman RI. I also live in an apartment (that is full double brick) - I would not dream of playing though ANY of them at home unless it was for a few seconds to test something.

I own these amps because i gig/record with them, if i didn't do shows then i woudn't have them (well... i'd have to keep the Marshall - I love that thing).

If it really is about 'big iron tone' and you have to attenuate the hell out it for it to be useable i really don't see the point - it's going to be quite expensive to re-tube/maintain and a 100W amp attenuated down to bedroom level really isn't going to sound that great.

there are plenty of good small wattage amps out there for whatever amp taste you have (Marshall class 5, Mesa mini rectifier, blues Jr, VoxAC4, Mini Matamp etc). Get one, hook it up to a 2x12" cab and enjoy.
 
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